Review: Patkus – Nigel’s Brie

Patkus - Nigel's BrieNigel’s Brie is full of pockets. Within each pocket resides a worn trinket of sound: weathered guitar drones woven together into beautiful loops, resonant hums curled into gleaming ambient rings, rosy melodies that re-iterate themselves until they fuse with my breathing air. The record crossfades between these little pockets of looped object like someone plunging their hand, curiously, into each hole in turn. I extract each loop of melody and run it through my ears. I roll it across my fingers. I acquaint myself intently with each fret scrape, each fingerpluck, each little tuft of cotton wool synth chord – like the tiny dents upon a hand-beaten singing bowl, or the fingernail indents in a clay statue, or the worn engraving upon a beloved jewellery heirloom. Patkus lingers upon each event long enough for me to become intimate with it, and when the time comes to crossfade into the next section, I’m left with the fleeting imprint of absence within my ears, as I accept the departure of one sound object and welcome the entrance of another.

Upon my initial acquaintance with these sounds, the melodies feel utopian and unequivocally pleasant. The cyclical plucking of “Joy, For The One Who Matters Most” sounds like a dandelion twirled between forefinger and thumb, tilting weightlessly between three chords. Yet the more I hear it, the more I acknowledge how helplessly it clings to the present tense. Noise settles upon the melody like winter dirt obfuscating an autumn leaf. Distortion trims the branches of harmony. The persistence becomes haunted by the knowledge that it has to fade eventually; that the suspension of gravity is momentary, and with each repetition of the phrase – which I embrace with ever-tighter love – the loop and I edge closer toward separation. I can vow to keep an heirloom safe for as long as I shall live, but upon my death this promise of safety becomes worthless. Within each loop on Patkus Brie is a promise broken by time – the glimmer of mortality tucked within the amber glow of the illusionary infinite, and a crossfade waiting in the wings to sweep each idea into the conceptual heaven of ellipsis.