Boomkat Product Review:
A haunting debut for The Infected Mass project from Winnipeg-based composer Matthew Patton.
Long-running Montréal outpost Constellation play willing host to this haunting new project from the celebrated American composer Matthew Patton. Describing Those Who Walk Away as an "ever evolving working group of melodic constructivists," this debut album from the project finds Patton striking up a symphonic understanding with a local Winnipeg string quintet and a quartet of Iceland Symphony Orchestra players, utilising the implicit restraint and tension of their craft alongside musique concrète methods. Despite the interaction of these musicians, ‘The Infected Mass’ is clearly a very personal one for Patton and framed in honour of his brother who passed away in a plane crash.
He elects to exorcise the demons of this tragedy in a disturbing manner (a fact Patton freely admits to in the press notes) by implementing audio from black box recordings of commercial flights in distress. These appear notably on two tracks, First Partially Recollected Conversation and Second Partially Recollected Conversation, interspersed with field recordings of hushed, indecipherable hums and whispers. “This work is disturbingly personal for me. The music is filled with ghosts and artifacts I couldn't erase,” Patton notes solemnly.
Elsewhere, the obvious chi between Patton and his fellow constructivists offers an equally chilling feeling, the ‘ghost choir’ of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra expertly arranged over the calming vista of almost-silence that is opener Before the Beginning. Looking to Morton Feldman for inspiration, Patton’s usage of silence is equally as important to ‘The Infected Mass’ as the participation of the violin, cello and double bass players.