Patten Talks the Influence of the Past on 'ESTOILE NAIANT'
Published Mar 04, 2014UK electronic musician patten recently released ESTOILE NAIANT, his first album for Warp Records. But despite the music's indelibly contemporary sound, patten very much has one eye on the past, as well as one fixed on the future; one of his pet peeves is that he feels that often people's focus is too narrow, very much focused on what is happening right now, as opposed to looking at the breadth of human existence.
"There is something very strange about being able to read a story that was written 500 years ago and to actually fully identify with this person," patten tells Exclaim! "A certain way of looking at time would have you think that you couldn't be more different from them. You live in the 21st century and everything that comes with that, but there's something quite poignant about the realization of there not being such a huge distance between yourself and someone who was very much like you, living and breathing 500 years ago, falling in love, talking with friends and feeling the weight of gravity on their body as they move through space."
The work patten creates is imbued with much of this wider perspective and historical references. Fittingly, the title for ESTOILE NAIANT is constructed using words from blazon — a form of late-medieval English used to describe the design of coats of arms — meaning "star" and "swimming," respectively, which was then made into a cheeky anagram as EOLIAN INSTATE, for patten's previous release.
Talking about his working process, patten describes his tracks as existing in a constant state of flux. Rather than seeing the work on ESTOILE NAIANT as the definitive work and the supporting live performances as an attempt to recreate that experience, as some artists and listeners often do, patten sees ESTOILE NAIANT as a snapshot, a frozen moment in time of a constantly evolving work, rather than finished pieces in any real sense.
"The way that I play live, it's set it up in such a way that it can be really open," patten explains. "I can make a lot of decisions as I'm playing and things can shift. Every time I play I'm really testing things out and just seeing what the tracks can be in some way. So there's always this dialogue between live performance and studio work whereby I'm going out and playing things and working some stuff out from that, then bringing my findings back into the studio, continuing this cycle."
ESTOILE NAIANT is out now. Read a review of the album here. You can also check out patten's upcoming international dates here.
Read our interview with patten in its entirety here.