“In 2009 my music career nearly ended from a severe case of tendonitis in my guitar-playing wrist. The main thing I regretted not having done was this album, an honest, zero-compromise report of the music playing between my ears.
This setback actually motivated me to put all my energy, over the next two years, into recovering. It eventually happened, and the album-creation process started as soon as I could pick up the guitar again, with roughly one hundred songs written, arranged, demoed, rehearsed, the right equipment for playing and recording put together, even built or modified if necessary, like-minded musicians scouted and music relationships given time to mature (or disintegrate). A long procession of trying and failing, pulling myself back together, learning and trying again. Years of touring, presenting the songs live, testing the audience’s reaction, adjusting the sound, the equipment, getting the songs under my skin, was also an important part of the process. As the recording was done on a two-inch-tape analog machine, practising for the skill and feeling necessary to record the perfect take directly on tape – a process quite unfamiliar to musicians of my generation – was of course an aspect that took a long time as well. The best part was working with musicians like Jonas Hellborg, Devin Townsend, Jonathan Herrera, Zoltan Csörsz! The lessons learned from observing them in the process of music are not to be found in books or schools!
In the end it was the other way around, the album produced me, a more patient and respectful human being, enlightened to give up on set goals, deadlines and expectations, in the awe of serving the music, for the only purpose of music.
I know you can hear it, and I hope it brings you joy!”
“Vocalist and guitarist Ana Patan has an excellent new album out titled ‘Spice, Gold and Tales Untold.’ It’s a live analog recording that captures deep groove interplay from a very serious band. It features stellar bass work from Jonas Hellborg, who contributes to most tracks, as well as Devin Townsend and Jonathan Herrera. Drums are by The Flower Kings’ Zoltan Csörsz.
Of course, all of these musicians are known for their work across the jazz-rock and art-rock spectrums, but on Patan’s album, they’re here exclusively in service to the songs. Her pieces feature intelligent lyrics focused on the current, unfolding human condition, both micro and macro. Patan’s vocals are deep, soulful and kinetically intertwine with the songs’ very creative arrangements.
It’s superb stuff.” (Anil Prasad for Innerviews)
“I was recently introduced to Berlin-based Ana Patan’s music, and I was immediately impressed at the combination of sophisticated music and broadly relatable human themes. Her latest album, Spice, Gold, and Tales Untold is an eclectic exploration of life and love, abounding with witty insights and philosophical musings.
The album is a clever mix of singer-songwriter rock, jazz, and features a fantastic lineup of musicians: Zoltan Csörsz (Flower Kings) on drums, Jamal Evans on percussion, and Jonas Hellborg on bass (although there are also several tracks that feature Jonathan Herrera on bass, as well as surprise bass performance from none other than Devin Townsend on “Trivialize Love”). Jonas Hellborg (who has worked with everyone from Ginger Baker to Shawn Lane to John McLaughlin) also made significant musical and technical recommendations, which helped the album take shape. But, the skill of these musicians is most evident in the fact that they know how to step back and allow Ana to take center stage and shine. Her vocals are emotive and pure, and her guitar playing is both direct and full of flourishes and clever melodic lines. (Thomas Hatton for Proglodytes, read the full article here)
“A decade in the making but offering surely more than ten years of enjoyment for your ears, Ana Patan’s Spice, Gold and Tales Untold is an album that delights in air, light, and above all the song. The arrangements are limited to drums, bass, guitar, and vocal, all played as proper ‘takes’ and with minimal effects or post-production processing. Careful attention is given to tone and space between the instruments, resulting in a very live but very clean sound put down in analog to 2” tape (more than 200lbs of it, all told). This approach drops the listener right in the studio, as though in the midst of a series of relaxed, effortless live takes.
Patan has assembled quite the cabal of collaborators, enlisting for bass duties Jonas Hellborg, Jonathan Herrera, and even Devin Townsend. She covers all guitars and vocals. And on drums is the mighty Zoltán Csörz (who played on what is arguably the greatest progressive rock album of the 21st century thus far). These players bring incredible feel and finesse to the album’s uncomplicated structures: each song sets a groove and keeps the listener deep in that pocket. And the sound of the pocket?—World-influenced grooving folk-jazz with undertones of grunge-inflected alternative rock. And Patan’s voice excels at it all, from singer-songwriter to jazz crooner to fifth Non Blonde.
Do yourself a solid and have a look at the lyric sheet while listening through headphones. Dedication to a deceptive simplicity imbued with richness of subtleties; revelry in wit, warmth, and joy; the centering of Patan’s beautiful voice—for these reasons and more that you will discover, Spice, Gold And Tales Untold is a winner. Listen early and often.” (Craig E. Bacon for Radio Eclectic, read the full review here)
“Most of all a great presence, an intense dose of funk, jazz, prog, rock passages, lots of groove, music that is not interested in belonging to a genre, music that wants to be played, to impress, to involve and to entertain. […]
Everything in a mood that is alternative and very personal. Music flowing without limits, without barriers, impetuous like the water in a torrent” (Luca Piotto for Metalhead Italy, read the full article in Italian here)
“The first time I listened to Ana Patan’s superb album ‘Spice, Gold and Tales Untold’ I felt that immediate connection that only wonderful music can give you. The album is a superb mix of musical styles with basic, soulful music embellished by hints of the orient and a touch of Eastern European promise on many of the impressive songs. The bare yet intricate music is complemented superbly by Ana’s earnest vocals, sometimes fragile and at other times loud and proud.
‘Spice, Gold and Tales Untold’ is collection of culturally diverse songs that transcends the current trend to try and pigeon hole musicians. Wearing her many influences proudly on her sleeve Ana Patan has just allowed the music and her excellent vocals to tell her many intriguing and involving stories and this has allowed them to breathe and come to life quite spectacularly. An album that has surprised me in its simple brilliance and one that, if you let it, will enrich your life in a myriad of ways.” (Martin Hutchinson for ProgRadar, read the full article here)
“Ana is one of those ‘heart on their sleeve’ artists, her lyrics are personal, yet relatable, her sound is jazzy, funky. It contains elements of rock, even prog to some degree. Most of all it contains soul. You can just feel her smile, laughter and sometimes heartache filter through as Ana reveals her deepest emotions and memories to the listener. Her songs are filled with stories, anecdotes from her travels and her life, observations of a world that Ana obviously loves and yet questions.
[…] So if you want music that will lift you up, make you feel stress-free and invigorated, have moments of pure joy, excitement and love, music that will also make you think and question the norm, then “Spice, Gold and Tales Untold” is the album for you. It took 10 years to make, so on that basis it looks like 2031 is going to be a great year for music too. ” (Pete Devine for Rock News and Views, read the full article here)
“The album opens with jazzy guitar chords wafting in on an easterly wind. Electric bass and rimshot drumming add a gentle groove. We could be wandering through a Turkish bazaar. […] We have come just a few steps on our journey of discovery and we are already spellbound.” (Phil Bass for The Crochety Man, read the full article here)
“Music as warm as a friend’s hug.” (the first reaction of a listener)