His ‘Body Issues‘ debut for Opal Tapes paved the way to a worldwide-growing, experimental-flirting, analogue techno scene eager to build its own realm somewhere in limbo between Detroit and Chicago’s skyscraping heights and more spacious leftfield expanses. Proving the capture of friable live moments and raw modular experimentations possible beyond mere technical representations, Max Ravitz seems to have found the exact formula preventing the overly fragile magic of one-take epiphanies from eroding into physical engraving’s oblivion.
With ‘Bem Inventory‘, Patricia gives prominence to interwoven modulations over superimposed layers, preferring sinusoidal inflections over square-shouldered, linear shifts. His tracks undulate in and around a melodic kernel, testing industrial-leaning drum patterns through lusty phases and deftly controlled sequences. Diminishing the physical presence of kicks to focus on enticing minor keyboard chords and clink-y hat jolts on wistful highlight ‘Mercury In Retrograde‘, Ravitz turns his recipe upside down on the bassy ‘Just Visiting‘, recorded in collaboration with Canadian producer Cloudface. The track’s a massive 4/4-driven stomping rhythm, efficiently and tastefully interspersed with random-programmed, high-pitched keyboard apostrophes sneaking in between its mesh of obelisk kicks and reverbed claps that explode like firecrackers in a Sunday fair.
Between pure techno tropes and a subtly-textured backdrop, Ravitz is comfy enough when it comes to cooking circuitous electronic delicacies halfway Border Community’s finest slices and a J. S. Bach on acid. ‘Life Is A Hideous Thing‘ and ‘Needs A Nap‘ roll their way at two different tempos but share common features : if both unfold full lines of hypnotic arpeggiated harmonics, the first one spits its dirty, low-pass bass dregs, restlessly repeating the same switchback motif while ‘Needs A Nap‘ reels off a tenser, fast-paced crescendo of lashing, light-seeking harp slivers over a stone-faced drum backwash.
Climax point actually comes with ‘Bed Of Nails‘, a track that encapsulates both Patricia’s sense for lo-fi hardware nerding and club-shocking strike force in the most accomplished manner. Take a scree of saturated analogue gargles, add a cascade of short-fused, pack-hunting percussions and shuffling hi-hats going all hard in the paint while drowsy pad secretions glide over and under and you get the kind of dusty modular leviathan only Ravitz knows crafting with such depth in arrangements. A man-to-machine dialogue with a bipolar state of mind, fracturing its way through equally nebulous and ominous scapes with a boiling bass work for main propulsion. Stormy weather.
‘Hadal Zone‘ closes the six-tracker on a much clearer tone before getting slowly overtaken by a droney blitzkrieg rising underneath. From that resounding phreatic-like, aqueous rumble merging around the track’s second half, echoed piano stabs do not give in and incise these hazy textures deep enough to let some light in. That confrontation between rawer spans and crystalline accents is of essential importance in Patricia’s sound architecture. An elemental dichotomy even. But there is music for every taste here: light-hearted and wrenching, harmonic and dissonant… In the end ‘Bem Inventory’ does certainly more than hitting the mark, it puts Ravitz’s body of work on a long-term footing that few producers can boast about reaching.
Bem Inventory is out now, order a vinyl copy from Opal Tapes’ Bandcamp.
1. Mercury In Retrograde
2. Just Visiting feat. Cloudface
3. Life Is A Hideous Thing
4. Bed Of Nails
5. Needs A Nap
6. Hadal Zone