London’s Happy Robots Records
has announced they will be releasing the ‘Total Squaresville’
mini-album from synth-electronic crafter Pattern Language
. From this collection of six tracks, they are teasing the lead single ‘By Time We Get There’
with a catchy retro video by Cheyene Grow
at 75 Ohms
. Created using obsolete corporate video equipment from the 20th century and generating real-time video landscapes and infinite textures. This is Pattern Language’s debut release, scheduled for release in June 2017.
Pattern Language is the new project of Chris Frain. Currently based in Boulder, Colorado, Frain was previously keyboard player for the indie-pop band The Giranimals (where he developed a love for the staple sounds of the Minimoog and Melotron instruments) and bassist for the power-prog rock trio Tanuki. In 2013, Frain decided to pursue a solo electronic music career after a chance viewing of the BBC4 documentary “Synth Britannia”, which made him fall back in love with the sound of the synthesizer.
“Each one of the pieces on this album were started from some very basic idea about sound or structure or primary influence, and yet I was surpirsed by all the twists and turns they took through the stages of composition, recording, and mixing,” says Chris Frain. “It’s still fun to listen to each piece and how they took on a life of its own to become something new and unexpected, even to me.”
Apart from sounding similar to krautrock legends like Kraftwerk, Cluster, Harmonia, and La Dusseldorf, the tracks found on ‘Total Squaresville’ showcase Frain drawing heavily on influences from his childhood, including The Art of Noise, Eurythmics, Thomas Dolby, and the 1980s iteration of King Crimson. Particularly noteworthy is the use of pre-Roland 808 sounds for the drum machine parts, placing this version of synthwave closer to the late 1970s than the mid-to-late 1980s sound currently dominating this sub-genre.
Tracks like ‘By the Time We Get There’ and ‘Squaresville’ sound like lost Conny Plank projects – complete with simple, direct melodies and motorik-beat rhythms. The Mini-Album’s closer ‘Le Chocs des Etoiles’ (named after the original French title of campy science fiction flop ‘Star Crash’) could easily remind the listener of songs by AIR and Stereolab with its liberal use of Melotron strings and bongo-heavy percussion. While almost unheard of in popular electronic music, ‘The Castellers’ glides along in 3/4 waltz time, replete with flamenco hand-claps. Electro and space disco-inspired ‘A Pattern Language’, along with the moody minimalist piece ‘Deeply Recessed Windows’, round out the tracklist for this debut release.
‘Total Squaresville’ follows up Chris Frain’s remix on the most recent EP from fellow Happy Robots artist Rodney Cromwell, described by Louder Than War as “replete with keyboard accompaniments that could easily be by John Carpenter…one of the stand out tracks of the EP.”
‘Total Squaresville’ is the ninth release on Happy Robots Records and is distributed by Cargo Records, mastered for analogue warmth on digital devices. Watch the video to ‘By Time We Get There’ at www.happyrobots.co.uk