It snows a lot in Montreal, around a third of the year in fact, with winter months plummeting way below zero – making it curious how sun drenched Balearia can emerge from such a place. Warmth really is the definitive aspect of Patrick Holland's sound, and his debut full length I Want to Believe put out on 1080p back in 2015 epitomised this.
Project Pablo's latest offering is no less of an auditory vacation, and over the course of Risk the Rip we are thrown into the undulating mood of a night out. The title track is a slow groove, beginning with staccato stabs and percussion which occasionally flourishes into intricate finesses, before returning to restraint. This builds gradually over it's course, without reaching a climax – a solid yet unremarkable intro, which sets a vibe but doesn't do much to amaze. This leads onto the hazy, reverb soaked and progressively livelier Trash Town, which breaks down into Holland's winning combination of a funky slapped bassline accompanied by just enough synth lead to drive the melody, whilst avoiding sugary sickliness. The addition of a dusky cowbell rattling alongside hints at carnivals and day parties; a contextual setting which becomes relevant when the mood is then darkened in Vibrancy Room. Uncharacteristically heavy from the start with an offbeat, muddy kick providing a noticeably quicker pace, this is a side of Holland rarely seen other than in raucous anomalies such as Instant Coffee. The Mediterranean mirage is restored however when twangs of detuned steel pans roll over the bare drumwork, much like a warm breeze on a cool summers evening. The tempo is then slowed once more for Out to Lunch and we're greeted by another brilliantly sloppy bassline which chugs cooly alongside a buoyant lead.
It could be said that this is doing the bare minimum, and that the fat basslines and crispy synth melodies alongside house beats create a formulaic structure, lacking in originality. However the fact that Holland has not jumped from the Ibiza-bound ship which has brought him thus far, comes as a relief. For an artist still relatively fresh faced, it's admirable to see efforts in building a catalogue of work rather than searching for a ride on the next short lived scene. Risk the Rip is exemplary of Holland's confidence in what he's doing, and that the Balearic House scene – although trending, should not be defined as a trend.
Words: Julian Caldwell