3 out of 5
Label: Analogical Force
Produced by: Max Ravitz
While I do think Patricia’s (aka Max Ravitz) acid-y braindance set on Blue Ridge is worthy of a close listen – preferably on headphones, where the artist’s subtle tone changes can be appreciated – it ultimately draws from a well of sounds too familiar to the electro scene to maintain the splash of its opener, Ibex, and a few other standouts.
That first track is definitely a grabber, though, and, in general, the sequencing on Blue Ridge very much earns those “close listens,” as you’re tuned in way before some of the tedium starts to tune out, with those scattered pick-me-ups renewing ear-energies once more. The general template here mixes a chill ambient layer with clipped percussion, flipping between burbly Ovuca-esque stuff or the icier, muted end of the spectrum, with the longer run times – almost always over five minutes – giving Patricia plenty of room to let a beat fill up space, then nudge it here and there with tweaks to the effects on the keys, or slowly bringing in another layer. When this is effected with a certain frequency, it gives the tracks a unique mix of soothingness and momenum, Ibex being a grand example of this, and mid-album Sial another, proving it can work at extended song lengths, going past seven minutes.
But these are the rarities. More often, Blue Ridge’s songs are slow to the punch, and also do so in the most subtle ways. Again, this can make a headphone listen rewarding, but even after several spins, this more laid-back approach makes it easy to lose track of where we are in the album: working with a certain range of synths that feels very familiar amongst peers, there’s not much identity for the album as a whole, or between songs.
The album is quite beautiful, though, and I would draw a line between the music seeming rote as opposed to just pulling from rote sources – the arrangements are Patricia’s own, and achieving these types of soothing tones with this consistency is impressive, but I don’t know if there are enough notable tracks / moments for me to yet identify a sound unique to the artist.