Duncan Patterson – Grace Road

The return to the scene of Duncan Patterson, after a long period of “self-exile”, as he himself has defined it, is obviously wonderful news for those who follow the exploits of this musician since his first steps in Anathema (with which he was largely responsible for that immortal masterpiece titled Alternative 4) and later in Antimatter, sharing the leadership with Mick Moss until Planetary Confinement. Subsequently, Duncan’s artistic journey was marked first by the birth of two other notable projects such as Alternative 4 and Ion, and then by his first work under his own name (The Eternity Suite – 2016). Grace Road should have been released last year, but all the problems linked to the pandemic have delayed its release until now, a wait that has been repaid with interest, since Patterson‘s compositional traits have remained immutably recognisable and inspired. The rarefaction of the sound taken to the extreme consequences of the opening track Absolut Absolutum (whose incipit piano bringing back the memory to that priceless fragment of beauty that was Shroud of False) seems a sort of test to see who, among the listeners, will have the constancy to continue the journey along a path full of inescapable melancholy; in fact, the track is characterized by long pauses that to some may also appear nerve-wracking but that, in fact, are the representation of a poetic that resembles the thread of a spider’s web, so thin and apparently fragile as, in fact, able to withstand strong stresses. The splendid voice of the Palestinian singer Enas Al-Said is the vehicle chosen by Patterson to spread his art, in analogy to what he did in the past with Antimatter, where in works like Saviour and Lights Out the vocal part was largely entrusted to female voices. The union between the crystalline timbre of Enas and the compositional vision of the English musician is reached in the wonderful Walking Between Worlds, but this is only the peak of a work that needs only five tracks for a little more than half an hour of music to give us back a composer with a superfine talent and uncommon sensitivity. The “Grace Road” is paved with pain and regrets but it is also the only one left to find purity and, perhaps, inner peace.

2022 – Independent