Since the start of the pandemic, Blake Pattengale — the jazz guitarist and rapper frequently known as Redbeard Samurai — has been on an artistic pilgrimage. In spring of 2020, he shifted away from his rambunctious, free-spoken rap style and started to implement soulful, sensitive elements into his work through his single, “Rain Fall Down.”
His latest project, Two Truths, pushes the envelope even further, capturing a sound that is both nostalgic and futuristic through the combination of mandolins, complex electronic drum beats, and flourishing synth arrangements.
In Two Truths, Pattengale is joined by fellow musicians Garrett Mader, Max Greenberg, and Byron Cage. The music video for their debut single, “Brushstrokes,” tells the story of an older man that has lost all recollections of his former lover, and can only remember her through an original painting depicting her in their younger years.
- YOUTUBE SCREENSHOT
- The music video for Two Truth's new single, "Brushstrokes," stars Olivia Edvalson and the band's singer Blake Pattengale.
The perspective returns to the painting, which depicts a young, blonde woman in a dress that looks like it could have been fashionable in Victorian England. The song revs up to the chorus through Mader’s guitar lines, and the viewer is quickly brought back in time through the canvas. A younger man, played by Pattengale, is joined by the girl represented in the painting, who is portrayed by Edvalson.
- YOUTUBE SCREENSHOT
On screen, the visuals match Pattengale’s lyricism to a tee, as the two young lovers run through clover and fields filled with wildflowers. The staging for the video is sublime, creating the effect of stepping into an Impressionist painting. At times, it’s hard to believe that it was filmed in the rural town of Walworth, New York, rather than the Scottish Highlands.
In a message over Instagram, Pattengale described Two Truths’ sound as “electric campfire,” which seems fitting for a single that infuses such a broad mix of old-school and new age techniques. As “Brushstrokes” progresses, Pattengale slips into his higher register and his voice becomes warped through a series of electronic effects. The visuals switch back from the past to the present, and during each iteration the older man’s face becomes filled with more and more strokes of paint, until his visage becomes the canvas.
The sheer depth and Romanticism represented in Two Truths’ single and its accompanying music video illustrate the emerging group’s talent. As two perfectly executed mediums collide, it’s impossible to walk away from Two Truths’ first endeavor without a feeling of awe and excitement for what’s to come for this band.
Emmarae Stein is a freelance writer for CITY. Feedback on this article can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.