If ever there was a record to unite the seemingly disparate worlds of pop, ambient, and noise music, this is it. Composed loosely around a fictional love story between two merging corporations, The Patron is a masterful meditation on polarity and synthesis.
Imagine a glacier composed of frozen television static rolling over your body. As the immense weight slugs over you, a face emerges from behind the flickering pixels of black and white. Haunting melodies seep through the static, reverberating hot breath from the milky-eyed angel trapped within. Though obscured by the atmospheric storm in the ice, her eyes connect with yours. In an instant, all clatter and ambience subsides; clarity strikes like a cold dagger through warm flesh.
The album opens with a couple of staggering bursts of noise before settling into a lulling melodic soundscape that lurches forward like a funeral march. Soft-mallet floor toms pace the cavalcade as dissonant glitches flood in, creating aÊbeautiful, melancholic dirge. Vocalist Jehna Wilhelm sounds like a whispering sirenÊtrapped at the bottom of a ceramic mine shaft.
Composed and recorded entirely by Wilhelm and Mark McGee, The Patron features some organic instrumentation from members of the Dad in Common, but the whole thing is swamped in McGee's electronic texturing. As the music swells and settles around noise and ambience, Wilhelm's voice remains the most tangible and affecting element. Even when her words are blurred into sibilant incomprehensibility, the mood is undeniable. As beautiful as it is dour, The Patron is an astounding full-length debut.
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