Time to get political

Palmers Green artist and musician Patrick Samuel has channelled his thoughts and frustrations from the last year into his new album, Communion
Palmers Green artist and musician Patrick Samuel has channelled his thoughts and frustrations from the last year into his new album, Communion

The ‘Asperger Artist’ is releasing a new album inspired by the seismic global events of the last year, writes James Cracknell

How can we try to make sense of the events of the last year, and the emotions that arise from them?

Patrick Samuel from Palmers Green – also known as the ‘Asperger Artist’ – is both a painter and musician, known locally for his popular exhibitions at the Dugdale Centre. But Patrick decided early on in the pandemic that music would be his primary focus, writing songs to deal with his frustrations of the seismic events going on around him, beyond his control.

Now, he is ready to launch his third full-length album, Communion. Patrick told the Dispatch: “With everything that was happening last year, from the bushfires in Australia to the pandemic, Black Lives Matter and Trump, it created a lot of anxiety, anger and frustration, but I was able to put it all into my music.

“Up until then I was writing music about my autism and how trauma has affected me, but I started looking at everything going on globally and tried to put myself in other people’s shoes, experiencing it from a different perspective and channelling that through my music.”

Unlike Patrick’s previous efforts, the album is overtly political, opening with the desperate cries of “I can’t breathe” that rallied people against racist police violence last summer. He explains: “The album opens with a song about not being able tolerate fascism, and that is a theme that continues all the way through.

“There is another song called White America which is a frightening title but it is saying things need to change and we can’t go on like this.

“There is optimism sprinkled throughout, but there is a lot of heavy stuff all around it. There are a couple of ballads, including a love song about falling for someone who you know tells lies.

“There is an irony to the album as well. It is called Communion because the dictionary definition of the word is ‘communicating intimate thoughts and ideas’ – but with the lockdown, being able to commune with others is something quite difficult to do.”

As well as a creative outlet, Patrick uses both painting and music to manage his mental health and cope with his emotions. “When I am frustrated I write, I record, or I paint. I felt with the last album I said enough about my autism and this time I wanted to tackle these other ideas.

“I felt it was the best way to deal with it, rather than going online, on social media, where people go around in circles arguing with each other.”

Being cooped up indoors for most of the last year also gave Patrick plenty of time to get creative with making music videos in his own home, with the help of close friend Uwe Nietzold. These are now being uploaded to YouTube.

Written and performed by Patrick, and produced by Uwe, Communion is being released on Friday 5th February via Tiergarten Records, a label run by and for neuro-diverse artists.

Order a copy of Communion:

Check out Patrick’s music videos:
YouTube /user/staticmass