Artist Profile: patten
patten (the p is always lowercase) doesn’t want to waste your time with his life’s details, like his name. The British producer prefers to leave his face and biography out of the picture so that his music — the brilliant hypnotic, genre-defying sonic labyrinths that he has begun pairing with visual montages by artist Jane Eastlight — stands at the forefront. I spoke with patten before a set at Glasslands to learn more about his experimental approach to making music that began with his 2011 debut GLAQJO XAACSSO and continues with his recent LP ESTOILE NAIANT.
On withholding details about himself:
Well, I don’t release that much biographical information about myself. Likewise there aren’t really many images about my face because I’m aiming to focus things on the materials that are being produced rather than any group of individuals that may be working on those materials. I’m really aware of the fact that there’s very limited time in people’s lives, so I really endeavor to be as concise as I can. To put things in the world that I think have a reason to be there.
On experimenting with creating music in different psychological states:
I do work in different psychological states. I’ll work on pieces on the edge of sleep where there are certain decisions you wouldn’t make in a different kind of psychological state. I’m really interested in that, and also how altered states of consciousness find their way into producing different kinds of decision-making that would then become woven into the project.
On his visual collaboration with artist Jane Eastlight:
There’s a constant exchange of information between us. It could be that there’s a sonic object or kind of a textual kind of notion or a linguistic thing — all manners of linguistic material. And that moves between us throughout the whole process. As the whole environment that consist of this work grows and shifts and becomes actualized somehow, there’s no distinction between that which is visual, textual, sonic, or linguistic. It’s all elements of the same thing. They are produced simultaneously. Because of that deeply entangled nature of those different elements, one of the results of that is it seems to often connect uncannily the visual information and the sonic information. So you could think of the patten project as a space where certain things can be developed and thought and produced. That’s the kind of environment that in itself shifts as materials come to be.
On a song’s evolution from recording to live performances:
I don’t consider there being a moment when the work itself is complete. In the live performances, it’s always shifting and developing. In fact I think of the record as kind of a snapshot of the moment in time. Even saying that, a recorded work seems to change as time goes on without touching it in the sense that it becomes part of all sorts of different concepts in people’s lives and so on. Like any object, as time shifts it changes. The discourse around this particular thing changes. Where it fits inside a whole kind of matrix of other objects, images, sounds, words and environments. The whole thing is always shifting.
On audiences’ reactions to his music:
There’s no value judgment in what those different interactions with the work might be so it’s all really interesting. And the unknown quality is pursued rather than steered away from. Those spaces where it’s unclear may happen, the way things might unfold. That’s when things become quite fascinating.
*Interview edited and condensed.
Photography by Imani Lindsey