Premiere: Patricia Brennan’s ‘Magic Square’ Paints an Abstract Picture of Disassembled Cuban Landscapes

Lead Photo: Courtesy of the Artist
Courtesy of the Artist
Read more

Patricia Brennan’s name is bubbling up in the New York City avant-garde scene, so we better get acquainted with her work quickly. Born in Veracruz, the vibraphonist, marimbist and composer is currently a member of Grammy-nominated John Hollenbeck Ensemble and Michael Formanek Ensemble Kolossus. She’s also worked with the likes of Vijay Iyer, Meredith Monk and Tomeka Reid. Now, she’s ready for her close-up. On Jan. 15 2021, Brennan will drop her debut album Maquishti via Valley of Search, the NYC label founded and operated by 4AD’s general manager, Nabil Ayers.

The Mexico-native has been cultivating her craft since she was 4 years old, balancing classical piano and the flavor and intricacy of Latin percussion. It’s precisely that passion for Caribbean rhythms like son Cuban (inherited from her father) that drives her new single “Magic Square.”

On this piece, a piano montuno pattern serves as a playground for Brennan to showcase her improvisational skills. The glassy notes fall in place with a mathematical design that shares the song’s name, tickling our brains and painting an abstract picture of disassembled Cuban landscapes.

The single comes with an in-studio video of Brennan performing the piece, where you can really focus on her impressive technical ability and see how she works her magic to bend notes.

“Magic Square” is only one of the 12 songs included in Maquishti, an album where Brennan recurs to her beloved mallet percussion to document her sonic, musical, and personal journey, building each chapter using both composition and improvisation.