Artist in Residence: Nelson Patton
Presented by AIR Serenbe
Nelson Patton are a 2018 artist-in-residence duo with Transient Project Residency, a collaboration between AIR Serenbe and ArtsATL. The Transient Project Residency supports musicians and composers to explore new directions in their work.
Nelson Patton is an experimental duo of looped trombone (Dave Nelson) and drums & Moog bass pedals (Marlon Patton). The result is a sound that is greater than the sum of its parts as the two musicians continue to layer and develop motifs into elaborate textures and interlocking grooves. Nelson Patton’s full-length debut was recorded in Dave’s personal studio in upstate New York over three days and features Lonnie Holley on vocals. The eleven songs on the album, edited from dozens of improvised pieces, reflect the spirit of their expansive live shows.
“We stayed true to the improvisatory spirit of the project while making this record, and I’m really glad we did,” says Dave Nelson, trombonist of Nelson Patton, about the duo’s new album, “Along The Way”. “We were able to spend a few days jamming at my studio, freely exploring new sounds and textures, and capturing it all in real time. That type of spontaneous and unfiltered improvisation is our favorite part of what we do live, so we thought ‘why not record a bunch of stuff like that for this record?’ It’s the kind of thing we’ve been wanting to do for a long time.”
That spirit of unrehearsed creativity was continued when the opportunity arose to collaborate with Lonnie Holley. Widely celebrated for his visual art, Lonnie just recently began releasing music even though he’s been singing and recording himself for many years. His music and lyrics are improvised on the spot and evolve with every new performance, an approach that works perfectly with Nelson Patton’s music. “Lonnie came into the studio and would listen to like 30 seconds of a track and say, ‘I’ve got it!’ and then run into the booth and all these beautiful ideas would just start pouring out of him in real time,” says Marlon. “It was amazing to watch him work.”
Both successful sidemen and session players, Dave Nelson (The National, David Byrne/St.Vincent, Sufjan Stevens) and Marlon Patton (Jim White, Larkin Poe, Lera Lynn) joined forces in 2013 to form Nelson Patton as a creative outlet. Dave’s use of the loop pedal as a minimalistic compositional tool recalls influences of Brian Eno and Steve Reich, and Marlon’s intricate drumming and Moog bass add dynamic punctuation, channelling John Bonham and Max Roach.
Learn more about the AIR Serenbe program at airserenbe.com