Patio: Parallel Play

pat-pp.jpg (16k) Patio: Parallel Play
(Involve - 1999)

Easygoing rhythms and just-slightly-edgy electronics are the parallels I hear in Parallel Play... both are dazzlingly arranged by Patio to form some of the coolest sounds coming out of New Zealand.

Patio is Aspen ( a.k.a. Bevan Smith) and Jet Jaguar (Michael Upton)... I can't tell you much more other than I love their stuff.

Beginning with the most experimental foot forward, Nine Letter Conspiracy Theory (2:27) steps out with distorted rhythms and a shifty background haze. A faintly grooving shimmer phases into Forget That Lamp Bring The Sun to be illuminated by a warmly envigorating beatsystem and a buried robotic vocoder. Cymbals and brushes open Liam, Let It Rain which gorgeously expands with slow, echoey twangs and fluttering electronics.

Through the digitally swaggering vibe of Purist Trap, a fragmentized male voice rhythmically sputters and stutters, revealing its Germanic self at the track's end. Insectoid chitters and dove-like coos add a "natural" touch to the softly sweltering xylo-tones of Hamper. Effeminate Bus Driver lays a rock-steady beat (including a micro-cow bell) over serpentine synthstrands and other floating electronic minutia.

Sounds like some buoyant, bouncy fun going on Behind Bike Sheds... twiddly electrowarbles and bulbous bass notes are sprinkled with catchy cymbalism. File Hazard Could Guess under "electro-ballad"... a track so gentle and lovely but far too cool to be sappy. With layers of jangling string-like effects and a lazy-afternoon-kinda-beat, Sofa Bunk Bed emits a laid-back, almost rural (though thoroughly electronic), charm.

More streetwise though still sweet, Syrup oozes with with a liquid bass flow, actively mutating background textures and hip e-percussion. Wavering contortions drift through leisurely Damper (7:25), with a microscopic texture (and eventual bass accompaniment) squiggling underneath. A jungle-ish rhythm tops the yummy waves of Muffin; crunchy distortions, bleepy synthlines and a little pitch-shifting tastes great together.

Some great sounds coming from Patio... beaty enough to keep you moving and eclectic enough to kee it interesting... Parallel Play practically defines what a mixture of electronic ambiance and rhythm should be. I had so much fun with this I'm cranking the rate-o-meter up to 9.2.

Look for more related Aspen and Jet Jaguar projects to be reviewed here soon...

This review posted May 29, 2000

AmbiEntrance © 2000-1997 by David J Opdyke (except CD cover art, rights retained by original owners).