Sean Patrick: Flight
Andras Klang / Square Root Records

The title of Sean Patrick's CD / DVD release Flight (a joint release between Square Root and Andras Klang, the record label Patrick inaugurated in 2006) may suggest rapid movement but its three instrumental settings are more akin to cloud formations that billow and shimmer in slow-motion (the opening piece, “Gatwick,” in particular). Patrick uses piano, mellotron, moog, tape loops, and guitar to generate the material which, subjected to delay, reverb, and digital manipulation, assumes the character of an abstract synthetic mass. Despite the physical association of air travel and the psychological disorientation that accompanies that experience for some, Patrick's music more easily locates itself within inner experience, and specifically the zone betwixt sleeping and waking. There is a discernible change in character from one piece to the next, with each becoming progressively more naturalistic. Following upon “Norfolk Sides,” with its long, shuddering tendrils and slow-burning haze, “International Airspace,” for instance, brings readily-identifiable piano patterns to the fore. There's an undeniable ambient dimension to the music, and strengthening the association is the title's obvious connection to Eno's Music For Airports, a tie that extends further into the oft-becalmed musical style shared by the two releases.

The DVD component is a twenty-two-minute film showing vaporous, smoke-like patterns that swirl peacefully until they're abruptly pierced by liquids of contrasting hue. In one setting, teal and blood-red elements are gradually buried under oil-black shapes until the screen turns completely black too. Flowing shapes in another resemble the kind one might discover gently swaying at sea's bottom, until, that is, they transform into ice-like shards of blue and violet colour. The translucent overlays that result are strikingly beautiful, especially when displayed on a large screen, and make for a natural analogue to Patrick's music.

May 2009