Donor Lens - Desire Path
May 6, 2022
Quebec-based producer Patrick Holland starts things of with the atmospheric Soaked. A slowly phasing sequence plays out amidst echoed pads. The background of the track is haunting and dark, but there’s something about the dynamic of it that keeps it feeling more melancholic and forlorn than dark and sinister. The main synth melody dives in and out of the mix as the hazy vista is cleared of low, cloudy resonance.
Run Off instantly breathes a more positive note into the space left by the preceding track, leading to a binary melody of feathery synth. Patrick brings a pounding bass in and we are introduced to the first percussive elements of the EP. Without hindering the heartfelt to-and-fro of the track, a trickling of hi hats and rhythmic breathing begins, using the low bass note as its timekeeper. The absence of a solid and tuneless kick drum gives the atmosphere of the song space to breathe. Though there is now a quite infectious rhythm presence, we don’t feel that the EP has transitioned in any sizeable way from this beautifully laidback feeling it started with. A small break in the drum sequence brings a high pitched synth whirring into the foreground, it exits almost immediately. A second break brings a echoing melody, gracefully complementing the tone of the track so far. Patrick Holland holds everything in its place. In this restraint we get a sense of his authoritative style, unafraid to hold a track back from imploding into a cacophonous climax. Like the slowly fading light of a sunset, the track evolves incrementally. Visions of dark streets and dimly lit windows fill the listener’s mind. Nothing is overbearing as we venture further into Reality Picture.
The titular track begins with a snappy arpeggiation that careers through the stereo field. The snappy nature of the sound melting every so often into an almost string-like sustain. Another melody joins in, augmenting the beauty of the unfurling tune. A few seconds of this duet a bass drum begins a trappy melody. The first of its kind on the EP, the fully-formed beat brings out the full production value of the track. Sharp synths trill out, landing like a thin sheet of ice on the more mellow parts. The track yawns as the beat drops out, the arpeggiating synth reaching up into higher frequencies as it revolves in its graceful orbit. Everything pulls back, we are cast adrift into the aether, a female vocal sample peels out into the large expanse. A feeling of weightlessness submerges the listener. The cushion of the bass and beat reappears, clicks into place like it never left, the full instrumentation returning once again. The moment is fleeting but absolutely unforgettable.
Living fades in. Large shrouding pads spread themselves over the floor of the mix, lifting on occasion as certain frequencies lash upwards into the air above. The light sound of nature laces the background of the track, charging forward at certain points in a glittering rush toward the listener. It’s almost as if the EP must rest after the rhythmic gymnastics of the track before. Patrick Holland allows the pads to melt wherever they may, covering the track in syrup that we then hear being stretched and contracted as the pitch falls up and down.
An abrupt rhythm begins. We are thrown almost immediately into a bubbling house rhythm. No time to end our session of meditation, the beats are cold and tuneless, lacking the emotive value of the tracks before. Please, Let Me Sleep presents the listener with their biggest switch up yet. A laser synth begins to play out a melody, controlled completely by the rhythmic elements of the drums. A pad begins to slide its way in, its sound giving melodic guidance to the beat that came before it. You almost chastise yourself for thinking that the artist wouldn’t implement this impressive sense of melodic direction. An aquatic sounding lead splashes in the shallows, pushing toward us through the ever-present rhythm. As the track comes to gather, we can feel the soothing and tranquil aspects are still very much active. What started quite pressingly has now become a lulling revolution, a calculated and serene head-nodding track.
Dialed begins with delayed chords playing over what sounds like bedsprings moving up and down with the beat. Patrick keeps on beat for this one as well as a hi hat snakes its way into the mix. The bed springs have now turned into some sort of synth note played through a contracting and expanding coil spring. Just as the track steadies itself, Patrick sends these wonderful organic bells careering through the centre of his creation. The delay almost beats the original sound, resulting in a bewitching outward flow of chimes. Melody and percussion work together toward one goal, a drum being added as the tune becomes more complex. A controlled climax is being created, not heavy or explicit enough to break the arresting tranquility that weaves throughout the whole EP. But effective and engaging.
Bells reverberate with a simplistic tune, as we find piano begin to wander through the space created. World in B Minor finally finds Patrick Holland tinkling some organic ivories to suit his incredibly powerful musicality. The piano continues to play off of the bells, expanding upon the simplistic notes with wild and adventurous scales. Reality Picture holds steady, trilling notes echo out into the cool, somber air. Patrick puts his foot down on the proceedings, before sending bright piano chords streaking across the mix. They stand with solitary triumph, a heart aching expression as the foot pulls off of the sustain pedal and we are left with the echoing of the piano’s internal mechanisms.
Reality Picture requires undivided attention at points, Patrick Holland’s air speaks to an undying passion for serene and somewhat mournful melodies. Two tracks on the EP kick with more of a club-friendly atmosphere, but do not extract any of the feeling from the rest of the journey. What we find is a pure and honest expression from an incredibly talented individual. Feelings of loneliness, detachment and happiness all swirl within the cadences of the 7 individual ventures, a thoughtful and comforting experience.
Download/listen in full here: https://patrickholland.bandcamp.com/album/reality-picture