29 Sep 2021 - Thorsten
New Wave, Post-Punk, (classic) EBM | Profound Lore Records | Release date: 27 Aug 2021
Ryan Patterson is not only a singer from Louisville, Kentucky but also a veritable chameleon skinning his musical appearance with every new record. Having been the frontman of Coliseum, one of the most highly praised Hardcore/Punk bands this side of the millennium, he afterwards turned towards the more Post-Punk and New-Wave-affiliated kinds of music. And what is the most irritating thing? His output is still relevant and vitally variable!
When his last record South Of Heaven was still focused on dark Post-Punk and a perfect soundtrack for isolated fall days with the wind pounding against the windows – the new one is focusing on another genre largely relevant in the 80s: classical EBM. Electronic Body Music – a term used for music whose basis was clearly a form of electronic device (Synth, Drum Computer and more) – whose forefathers seem to be DAF, Nitzer Ebb, Die Krupps, Cabaret Voltaire and (mood-wise) Einstürzende Neubauten, although he doesn’t share their love for self-constructed industrial instruments. Sometimes it also sounds like an earlier prequel to Nine Inch Nails’ Pretty Little Hate Machine. Music right on the verge between Industrial, Post-Punk, New Wave and even tinges of HipHop (compare the beats used here); furthermore music whose primary acts often came from (Western) Germany or had connections to it. That somehow also reflects the decade he is aiming for: the Cold War 80s, with the advent of a new Ice-Cold phase before Mikhail Gorbachev took over power in the Sovietunion and a new phase of the self-determination of nations began. Music that might have rocked teenage parties before 1985, to pinpoint it even more precise.
And somehow his music, which he engineered himself for the first time, transports us back to a time when neon clothes became a thing, when mullets were rocked with a Gardner-Minshew-like ‘stache and when the world was in a fever because the political situation seemed unbridgeable. It has this somewhat mixtapey sound when you got the 13th cassette copy of a 13th cassette copy of the latest album by DAF – the static noise and the gnashing sound took away a lot of the hi-fi clarity of the original songs, as these had already been recorded aiming for a really clear and clean sound.
There are songs on Heart Of Crime that one would never have expected from Patterson: ”Delicate Prey” which sounds like taken straight from an early 80s discotheque and one just expects Rick Springfield to sneak up behind you singing over a song somewhat early HipHop and Dance music but with a strong Pop affinity. The latter of course is not given in Patterson’s song which is darker in general. ”Politi Policia Polizei” which is like a techno-fied version of a German Krautrock track somewhat between Grauzone and New Order; the slow-down moment towards the end is one of the best-executed ones I heard recently. ”Learn to Love The Lash” is a track steeped in glorious Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds-lore but simultaneously trying to cooperate with Trent Reznor before he got big. ”Skinned Alive” is like a connection between Krautrock in the Kraftwerk-sense of it alongside the Bauhaus Post-Punk. The project becomes more advanced with each release.
One last thing that needs to be mentioned is the one constant on all Fotocrime-records: Patterson’s voice! He sings like Blixa Bargeld but his voice sounds more like Mark Lanegan’s. Ryan’s clean singing has been what surprised me most when first listening to Fotocrime, that is for sure. Nevertheless, he has also outdone himself with this musical performance. The songs are atmospherically condensed and yet, Patterson still finds way to invite himself into a conversation between Ian Curtis and Trent Reznor. One might want to keep this as a secret but on the other hand – doing so would constitute a crime!