I refuse to believe there is still someone out there who doesn’t know Patrick Wolf – yet, if there is, this is probably the best time for them to get introduced to Patrick’s music: his latest album Sundark and Riverlight, in fact, has just been released and it is the most beautiful and the first retrospective on this talented English singer-songwriter‘s career ever published. Sundark and Riverlight is the perfect excuse for me to write about Patrick Wolf, who has been one of my favourite artists for a long time.
Patrick Denis Apps – who is only 28 – was born in South London in 1983, into a creative family, which introduced him to music at a very early age; when he grew bored of piano lessons, Patrick moved onto violin lessons, joined church choirs and even made his first theremin – all at the age of 11 years old. At 13 years old, Patrick was already recording his own songs and experimenting with a various range of musical instruments – which he still hasn’t stopped doing.
After dropping his music A-Levels in college, Patrick started earning his own money by working in a clothing store in Covent Garden and by busking on the streets with a string quartet; he then formed his first band, a trio called Maison Crimineaux – it was at a trio’s performance in Paris, where Patrick’s talent was first recognized by electronic musician Capitol K, who eventually released Lycanthropy.
During the recording of Lycanthropy, Patrick’s debut album, Fat Cat Records, impressed by the young artist’s writings and recording, provided him with a mixing console. After Patrick studied composition at Trinity College of Music for one year, the album was finally released in 2003, containing most of Patrick’s first songs, composed while he was only 15-16 years old. Patrick Wolf‘s style, which though has been growing and changing over the years, immediately became recognizable because of its unique combination of electronic music with classical instruments – which he has never abandoned. Wind in The Wires (2005), Patrick’s second full length album, remains one of my favourites: dark ballads full of violin and acoustic folk pieces alternate beautifully to electronic bits, all in perfect balance – the album was inspired by Patrick’s Cornish and Irish roots. In 2007, The Magic Position was released – possibly the most cheerful album ever written by Patrick Wolf, as the artist had apparently fell in love at that time; in 2009, The Bachelor, proved to be a much darker album, with dramatic ballads that reminded of Wind in The Wires; it was supposed to be followed by a complementary album, The Conqueror – which was never released as such, but as Lupercalia, in 2011.
Between the released of The Magic Position and Lupercalia, Patrick had changed various record labels and toured around the world – I had the chance to attend to two beautiful shows, one in Milano, during the The Bachelor’s tour, and one in Helsinki, during Lupercalia’s tour: Patrick is a wonderful live performer and it is extremely entertaining to see the variety of instruments he exchanges on stage.
“I’m going back to the studio and recording my jubilee record… The album will be totally, totally, totally stripped down. It’s time for me to be retrospective about the last ten years before I move onto the next ten. I’m 28 and I think it’s quite fun to sing the songs you wrote as a teenager.”
Sundark and Riverlight was released at the end of September and it is now available on Spotify too: it is divided into two cd’s, each of them with 8 songs. I was extremely pleased by this album, just by reading the tracklist: all of my favourite songs seemed to be there at first glance and I couldn’t wait to listen to them revisited by Patrick, after 10 years of music career. Needless to say, I fell in love with Sundark and Riverlight after the first few notes of Wind in The Wires.
Patrick Wolf – Overture, Sundark and Riverlight
More about Patrick Wolf on www.patrickwolf.com!