By the time Creating Patterns was released in 2001, the group was already known for their sublimely crafted drum and bass. They had already established a reputation for the kind of smooth harmonies and melodies that would help define the liquid funk sound so popular in London shortly before the turn of the century.
This album was different. The subtlety and flavour are, if anything, more cinematic and warmly uplifting, but the hectic double-speed rhythms are gone. The opening track, Conceptions, swims easily from laden, reverberant discordance to easy groove and with that, the darkness is largely abandoned and we’re opened up to new horizons in sound.
Pairing with legendary soul singers including Jill Scott and Ursula Rucker, the album’s lyrics are more poetry than song, and the timbres swing from Rhodes, strings, vibraphone, bass and brush kits to wailing Theremin, Juno and slamming half-step beats as easily as you could want, without ever losing the flow.
And that’s what characterises the album, really. Take any two tracks and play them back to back and the chances are good that they’ll sound nothing alike in terms of instrumentation, but they’re sure to share a unique class and jazzy dynamism that bonds the whole together. Ten years later, 4hero’s genius still holds Creating Patterns well and truly a cut above the rest.