Prisyn by Jaye Jayle began when designer Ashley Rose approached singer songwriter Evan Patterson about making a song for her runway show while he was on tour in Europe. Patterson started working on the material and began exchanging it with Ben Chisholm (Chelsea Wolfe). What transpired is Prisyn, an electronic, industrial, and collaborative endeavor between Patterson and Chisholm out through Sargent House.
The album begins with “A Cold Wind,” a song with hints of mystery and noir in the dissonant synths while Patterson sings deeply. “Don’t Blame the Rain” builds on that mood by laying down industrial sounds and escalated tension in the keys.
While the songwriting on Prisyn is experimental and creative, other tracks are entirely instrumental. “Synthetic Prison” is one such instrumental song. The instrumentation here conveys orchestral and cinematic qualities like a soundtrack to a dystopian film. Besides the album title, “Synthetic Prison” also calls to mind the instrumental tunes in David Bowie’s Low from the Berlin Trilogy.
The Bowie in Berlin vibes are also strong on “The River Spree,” particularly when Patterson sings, “Thinking about David/ Thinking about Iggy.” The creative writing, storytelling, and travelogue elements on Prisyn become clear when Patterson sings about Berlin on this track.
The speaker describes wandering around the city on acid in search for his hotel. To the sounds of a digital contrabass, Patterson sings, “Broken glasses and a dead phone/ Torn sheet of paper on my tongue.” The speaker enters a bar only to learn that he has found his hotel.
“Making Friends” sounds like a retro vision of a dark future. The gothic synths and keys give “Making Friends” a cyberpunk vibe. There is a sinister quality to the songwriting when Patterson describes getting into a cab at “half past three” only to have the driver interrogate him. “Now you know too much to let me go,” sings Patterson with doubled vocals. The lyrics about confinement reflect the theme of imprisonment in the album title.
“Guntime” has sinister, sonic, and lyrical qualities. On “Guntime,” the speaker describes having an Uzi pointed at him by a car full of teenagers. With deep vocals accompanied by an electric piano, Patterson sings, “This kind of thing happens all the time/ They’re just kids having a gun time.”
There is an atmospheric horror and lyrical tension in “Guntime.” The horror here and in other songs on Prisyn feels like a logical progression for Jaye Jayle considering that Dean Hurley, a collaborator of David Lynch, had produced No Trail and Other Unholy Paths.
The experimental and literary qualities continue on “Blueberries.” To the accompaniment of bass synths and arpeggios, Patterson reads from a short story in a surreal and spoken word performance about swapping eyes with a man who is blind.
“I Need You” employs an array of hypnotic effects punctuated by the repeating lyrics, “Sometimes I need you to say/ You need me to say/ I need you.” “Last Drive” is another instrumental. Similar to “Synthetic Prison,” “Last Drive” is like an interlude with keys that echo, reverberate, and linger.
The album concludes with “From Louisville.” For a travelogue such as Prisyn, ending with a song about Louisville, Patterson’s home, seems appropriate. “You’re at your end,” sings Patterson. Then, Prisyn ends.
Prisyn by Jaye Jayle is out now.