[sic] Magazine

Test Card – Patterns

Test Card – Patterns

Test Card is the solo project of Canadian based musician, Lee Richardson. Formerly of Domestic4 and Preston’s Formula One Richardson has released three long players and an EP as Test Card. Patterns is the fourth and sees Test Card mining a rich vein of analogue, retro sounding electronica.

The new album is 45 minutes in duration and completely instrumental however it remains engaging throughout. Each piece is loaded with personality. Take the opening salvo of ‘Return Parts Rewind’ and ‘Days Like These Like Every Day’. The former evokes an urban noir – a night drive through a neon lit city. The latter is more mellow. If Mark Hollis had scored a Michael Mann film it might have come out sounding something like this.

The accompanying blurb suggests comparisons to artists such as Hood and epic45. These are bands I adore and I get why they are referenced. Patterns is a nostalgic and occasionally whimsical listen. The key difference though is that Richardsons’ music is less anglophile. You can practically hear 70s Britain in epic45s records whereas Test Card’s take on ‘pastoral’ is firmly North American. Patterns is pining for The Banana Splits or Hill Street Blues more than, say, Camberwick Green or Z Cars. In that respect it is akin to artists like Lemon Jelly or Boards Of Canada with a comparable retro vibe. Yet it also has the touch of new age mastery that you’d more associate with the likes of Eno or Bill Nelson. Listen to the twang of ‘Lynnwood alleys’ and you aren’t a million miles away from James’ ‘Out to get you’.

The ambient market is a saturated one but Patterns sticks out a mile due to its variety, its love of analogue synths and simply in its execution. The more I play it, the more I want to keep playing it. Actually, the more I play it, the more I want to dust off the old Playstation and boot up Streets Of Rage. Consider syndicating your music for gaming Lee as I think it would be very suitable indeed.

Patterns is out now on the Sound In Silence label, so yes, you get the lovely handmade card packaging and inserts……while they last.