Vessel: Patterns of Blue – album review
Vessel is Dane, Anders Mathiasen, a prolific artist, whose activities include sound installation, poetry, performance, teaching and various cross-disciplinary work with writers and painters. Simon Tucker reviews his latest opus.
Inspired by becoming a father and husband, Mathiasen has set out to record an album that peeks into the sunlight and searches for joy and whilst it is there in abundance he never lets everything on here become plain or tedious with enough rough edges and unexpected twists to make Patterns of Blue an intriguing and interesting listen.
Patterns of Blue is soaked in the traditional forms of folk music but instead of relying on one voice and a guitar Mathiasen utilizes a band to create the arrangments which allows the songs to breathe and to be fleshed out more than if they were presented in their original form. The textures on display here are rich and full of depth (the subtle introduction of wind instrumentation and skittering drum patterns on Viels of Wine being a case in point) which lifts the album from others of its type.
The slow drone and noise that unfurls on Clear as Day is wonderfully presented and paced before the guitar riff rides off into the sunset and lyrically the album is full of pure optimisim with one lyric in particular “only love undivided” really hitting home in our current uncertain climate.
Patterns of Blue was all recorded live with minimal overdubs and it is this process which helps the album hit an effective and emotional punch as you really hear the creaking of wood, the drummer slowly starting to find focus and the rest of the musicians seemingly to have free reign to paint whichever colour on the song as they see fit. It is no big surprise to find out that all the musicians here come from an improvisational background.
Patterns of Blue is warm and soothing, rich in detail and full of nuance. A gentle but ambitious record.