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Total Squaresville – Pattern Language (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Pattern_Language_-_Total_Squaresville_(cover).jpg.pngI’ve been reading some of the writing by those music bloggers they have now days. You know the ones, with their skinny lattes, even skinnier jeans and complicated hair. It seems that the current trend is all about juxtapositions and I was thinking just how they might approach Pattern Language’s intriguing sound in one of those achingly hip publications. They may try to suggest that this is Vangelis’s Dusseldorf years or Jean Michel Jarre getting a dance grove on, use terms such as indietronica or reference the Krautrock motorik sound. It all looks good on paper but I’m not sure it gets to the heart of the matter.

 

Sure, there is a heavy debt being paid to those Germanic sonic explorers of the 70’s but there is also a lightness of touch to these instrumentals which references what came through the door that they kindly left open. Thomas Dolby’s eclectic electronica, the pre-pop sensation years of The Human League and the dreamy retro-futurism of Air to name a few.

But it is a lot more than an exercise in cherry picking past glories, the instrumentals found on Total Squaresville are nothing if not contemplating the future, sometimes the far future and Blade Runner-esque cityscapes and Isaac Asimov book covers seem to be intrinsically linked to the music. And for all its grandiose imagery and often-clinical qualities the music is also somehow surprisingly romantic and overwhelmingly beautiful. It is the stuff of atonal music boxes and digital fugues, of escapism and longing and for all its conjuring of space vistas and alien encounters it never seems anything less than rooted in the now and locked on to a human heart and soul.

 

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