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In Jamaica, mythical Rastafarians use the expression “I and I.” The first “I” simply stands for “myself,” and the second “I” reminds us that man is always under the influence of his physical and spiritual environment. In the sixties, American scientist Edward Lorenz posed the theory of “The Butterfly Effect” to explain the same notion of interdependence.
The title of Patrice’s new album attempts to explain this idea in a single word: “One.” “No living being is truly autonomous”, says the singer. “The planet is a unique mass of materials and of moving energy; they are not separated by the elements that they are composed of. I think that in terms of music, it is the same.”
In terms of its course, one may understand this title in a pragmatic way: “One” synthesizes a career spanning twelve years, of a debut in Jamaican reggae (“Ancient Spirit” in 2000), passing on to soul, rock, and English folk….Patrice has tamed many styles in the course of four albums, rich in their colors and facets. Today, the thirteen tracks of “One” contribute to his discography as the most electric and homogenous sounds. “I don’t want a mosaic of contrasts, I want the track listing to reflect the harmony and the coherence of all these flavors.”
For the album, Patrice has incorporated spices form four corners of the world: in London, he summoned a dozen violinists of the female orchestra Demon Strings, directed by Izzi Dunn (Gorillaz, Blur), with whom he had already worked on his album “Nile” and who participated on this album in “The Maker,” “King’s Love,” and “Walking Alone.” In New Jersey, he had worked with Grammy award winning producer Commissioner Gordon who had already worked on his previous album. In Jamaica, he solicited old friends, like the legendary saxophonist Cedric IM Brooks and the selection picked by the Skatalites (“Ain’t Got No/I Got Life”). He also includes new experiences with Sly and Robbie on the track “Nobody Elses.” The entire album was mixed by Tom Elmhirst (Amy Winehouse, The Kills) and by Patrice himself in his studio in Cologne – “Supow Studio.” “I would like to avoid digital; I prefer analog. I treated the sound of this album the same way rappers used to treat samples, to give it a warm but modern aspect.”
The public ignores this side of his personality: Patrice is not simply a globe-trotter who travels to four corners of the world with his guitar on his back. When he goes back to Cologne, he can transform into a studio-head who locks himself up into his musical laboratory. He also loves to talk for hours about his guitars and his Fairchild compressors that he happily collects: “I found a professional Farfisa keyboard in New York, the same one that Sly Stone had. I spend months repairing it, sending hundreds of letters to find missing parts in antique stores or from collectors, because they don’t make them anymore.”
COLLABORATION WITH THE ARTIST J.R.
Less experienced in the graphic design field, he preferred to let one of his friends to work on the sleeve of his new album. It is the Parisian artist and photographer J.R. whose movie, “Women are Heroes,” for which Patrice composed large parts of the score, premiered in the official selection of the latest Cannes Film Festival. “I am happy to have confided in someone who has a better visual understanding than I. I never stop mastering my image,” he says.
“I have progressed in many areas. In the past, I let other people direct and produce my albums, and finally in listening to them again, I find ‘Free-Patri-Ation’ too smooth, for example. For ‘One,’ I took charge. I had a precise idea in my head: to marry the extremes, to mix guitars and Western pianos with a rhythmic, African-funk-infused sound. It was truly a pleasure to record this album, because I dealt with it with the enthusiasm of a young child. I tried to break the habits and methods of creation, to start from zero and to treat it as if everything was new, as if it was my first album. This could also be the significance of it’s title, ‘One.’”