Polar Patterns is the second solo album released by Todd Pipes, founder of the band Deep Blue Something and co-owner of Dallas-based recording studio Bass Propulsion Laboratories.
All signs indicated Pipes was destined for a creative life. He grew up in the East Texas college town of Huntsville, which is home both Sam Houston State University and to eight state penitentiaries. Pipes describes his childhood and adolescence as “idyllic–like something out of a John Hughes movie.” Pipes and his younger brother Toby lived in a home ”where my parents were always playing Simon and Garfunkel albums, Neil Diamond, and other singer/songwriter types, as well as a endless amounts of classical music…“
In his pre-Internet teenage years Pipes‘ musical lifeline to the outside world was a little record store called ‘The Ear Doctor’ where he learned about and ordered Indie, New Wave, and Industrial imports. The Pipes brothers played in their share of bands, but when Todd entered graduate school and joined Toby at University of North Texas, everything changed. Inspired by the sheer number of bands in the area, they ditched their synthesizers and formed a new group.
That band became Deep Blue Something, which after knocking around the Midwest club circuit for a few years, scored an international hit in 1996 with the album Home and its breakthrough single Breakfast at Tiffany‘s, which reached #3 on the US charts, #1 in the UK, and found top five success in almost every country in the world.
In 2000 the Pipes brothers opened Bass Propulsion Laboratories recording studio in Dallas, where such acts as Cat Power, Drowning Pool, Forever the Sickest Kids, and Five Times August have recorded. DJ Shadow used the studio to remix the Rolling Stones‘ “I‘m Free” for a Chase Bank commercial with the Pipes brothers programming synthesizers as well as playing guitar and bass.
For several years Pipes worked as a producer and session musician, but by 2008 he realized he‘d owned the studio for almost a decade, but had yet to record one note of his own music there. And so in early 2008 he started writing. The result is the concept album Taurus Petals, the title being a homonymic reference to the Moog Taurus pedal keyboard.
Musically the album was inspired by Nick Drake, The Cure, Depeche Mode, and the early solo work of Morrissey, but the ideas behind the album came from a combination of everyday life and his voracious appetite for reading obscure titles concerning comparative religion and philosophy.
Polar Patterns, the new EP, continues where Taurus Petals left off with Pipes again writing, recording, mixing, and playing all instruments. This time around, however the tracks are leaner and more focused, with Pipes’ primary instrument, the bass, prominently featured on three of the four titles. Lyrically, the songs are more personal, dealing with friends divorcing, suburban paradise, and the inevitable struggle between fate and freewill.