Primitive Alien Worlds - Patricia Kokett’s Artefakt EP - Cass

Gediminas Jakubka aka Patricia Kokett

artwork design by su-y

Techno and minimalist percussions animate an imaginable alien tribal world on this odd recording from the Lithuanian artist Patricia Kokett

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It’s not so often that we find ourselves considering to review someone from the land of Secret Thirteen, Lithuania. True - this is partly on account of the lack of music that has anything to say, but I think more often than not it is the act of saying itself that most of our artists find so daunting. Case in point - Patricia Kokett, a.k.a Gediminas Jakubka. Gediminas has been alive through the medium of music for over a decade now. He’s been part of numerous important projects (e.g. Vilkduja, Cutthroats, Flesh Flash), pursued various musical directions, played at most Lithuanian festivals, and has deservedly built himself the reputation of a musical savant. Yet here we are, in 2017, reviewing Gediminas’ very first solo release as Patricia Kokett.

Artefakt is an opening statement on the basic tenets of Patricia Kokett’s sound: an industrial soul with its metallic, inhuman qualities, draped in the mysterious ornaments of neo-krautrock/techno repetition to create a futuristic tribal ritual. The tape meets us with a perfect visual metaphor (delivered by visual artist su-y) for these musical aesthetics - a nature born out of chemistry. One possible explanation for this concoction of organic and artificial has to do with Gediminas’ previous projects, all of which are closer to live music and mostly feature him playing the guitar. Perhaps this also accounts for the unmistakable sense of direction exhibited by the four unique tracks on the EP.

“Tiur” starts us off and it’s as if some lever had been pulled to awaken a piece of arcane machinery. Its heartbeat pounds as it shakes off its slumber, gathers its bearings and begins - screechingly - to move. The deep kick drum evokes the vivid image of dust jumping on heaps of scrap metal, the oscillating, gritty synths giving room for something to breathe in and out. There is an otherwordly gurgle, an electronic buzz, and we hear the machine calming - finally it is operational. Next comes “Luxor Bambina”, the most kraut track of the record. Its entire length is built upon a medium-paced monotonous beat, interwoved with samples that vaguely remind the sound of a jumping person’s voice, as if in a trance. The track progresses smoothly, adding synth layers, percussive elements and gaining in intensity. Its high point comes in the middle when we hear tribal singing, imperfectly mediated through some apparatus with all its glitches, eventually giving way to a ghostly choir or orchestra that adds an element of grandeur to the proceedings. On “Hominids” Patricia Kokett again plays with tribal percussion, but this time the overall vibe is war-like, reminiscent of William Bennett’s Cut Hands or perhaps some of Marcos Cabral’s works, albeit taken in a different, more rave-like direction than either. The voice samples and dissonant percussion samples do a great job to evoke images of coordinated chaos in a primitive battlefield and the ending trails off smoothly to give way to the last track. “Vulturos” is a soft touch - certainly the most melodic and catchiest part of the EP. With its bouncing bass on top of the steady, minimalistic beat it could almost pass for a deep house dancefloor killer. The drifting, contemplative nature of “Vulturos” reflects the mysterious and numinous surroundings of the Artefakt tribe, a glimpse of which we are given over the course of the record. It features samples of an imagined natural environment that is finally given texture through a melancholic synth-pad melody. It keeps on lingering long after it’s gone.

What Artefakt does really well is draw a vibrant, almost tangible image. It gives plenty of aural cues to form a narrative - whatever it may be - for anyone listening. In that sense, it can be said without reservations that Patricia Kokett is a superb musical director. This element of his work overshadows any of the minor drawbacks in production that this record displays.

Nevertheless, a few things can be said for the sake of delineating what would make this (and, hopefully, future) albums great, rather than simply very good. The various sounds - samples, synths, cuts - used on Artefakt are not only very diverse, but also well placed. However, a stronger connection between these sounds would go a long way to avoid the feeling of there being miniature “gaps” in the tapestry. Occasionally the thought comes to mind that more could be done with less, particularly when it comes to the addition of ever-new micropercussive elements to the overarching song structure. There’s a sense that some of these are inserted to be neglected. Finally, the mastering is somewhat reminiscent of Orphx’s last release - both seem to be heavy on the highs and lows and lack in the mid-low sound spectrum. This might not do the record any favors on a home soundsystem. A sign of the times?

Ultimately, nothing can be a dealbreaker for an EP that is this visual and strong in its ideas. We can only hope that Patricia Kokett’s next offering comes quicker than the first.

Artefakt EP (cassette)

A1 Tiur
A2 Luxor Bambina
B1 Hominids
B2 Vulturos

Material and sounds collected in various spaces and places. Tracks composed during 2014 - 2016.
Edition of 50 individually designed pieces.

About Author

Tadas Švenčionis is a Secret Thirteen editor and journalist. He organizes the occasional event in Lithuania and is obsessed with the harsh, the sad, the delirious, and the political.

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