Sometimes you’re left wondering what happened to your favorite artist after they put out that huge double album (in this case, a triple LP) a year or so back. Luckily, with Patricia, that’s not the case. It’s crude to say, but there’s still gas in this tank.
Free Lunch is Patricia’s first release on the Berlin-based record label Nona, accompanied with artwork by fellow electronic artist Jahiliyya Fields (whose music is also stellar).
Nona may be a less familiar name, but there are some brilliant, under-studied gems in the catalog from a wide variety of experimental musicians. It’s not an electro factory, instead cultivating sounds from many places.
Free Lunch is the concise follow-up to last year’s triple-LP Several Shades of the Same Color. As with that release, Free Lunch showcases Patricia’s immense breadth as a musician, drawing influences from many places. This time around, Patricia speaks in electro and riffs with acid lines.
Although Several Shades of the Same Color did seem to depart from earlier Patrician works, Free Lunch is practically foreign compared to the now-five-years-old LP Body Issues.
Sometimes against the artist’s will, and other times a welcome pigeonholing from the artist, fans will often create and huddle around contemporary genres, again at the chagrin or joy of the artists, who are not as complicit in the affair – sometimes.
Such is the case with Outsider House and the artists contained within. Patricia was arguably near the epicenter of that movement. And maybe out of spite for the term, or maybe out of boredom, or just a desire to do something else, he’s skirted that scene more so than ever on this EP. The house from Body Issues is further off in the distance.
The result is five carefully constructed acid electro jaunts, nary a sample and not much else beside the most necessary components. The saying “Keep it simple, stupid” is fully embraced.
Perhaps not as quintessentially electro as some of Cygnus’ work, nor as true to acid techno as Tin Man, but a hybrid child of the two. Acid Electro.
But really, it’s exciting to see where this is going, and it’s exciting to imagine what comes next for Max Ravitz aka Patricia.
Going back to Patricia’s older releases, it’s clear that he mastered a sound. It’s also clear how stimulating it must be to produce Free Lunch, which is compositionally rich and saturated with notes and tonality by comparison. Free Lunch is practically classical standing beside Body Issues.
“Consumer Recreation Services” is simple and beautiful writing, ripe with melodies and countermelodies undulating in and around each other. This is Patricia at their most poignant. It’s sharp with feeling.
“Winnipeg” is thoughtful and teasingly charming, featuring some nice counterpoint between a whimsical lead and a hop-along bassline. The crisp snare and stuttery hi-hats are at a peak on the EP.
With the ever-growing popularity of modular synthesis, the world seems to have exclaimed that it hasn’t got enough of it. And so it is that Free Lunch and the New Modular School have emerged. With Patricia’s ability to turn on a dime, there’s no doubt he’s one of the best in his class.