Synth Duo Pato Y Pato’s New Music Video ‘Moonrunner’ Takes Us to the Lunar Surface

The Detroit-based electronic music composers release their second LP, “Green & Gold,” on Dec. 10.

Musicians and longtime friends John Duffy and Mark Maynard began experimenting as Pato y Pato in 2018 by combining acoustic sounds and tape loops with elaborate synthesized soundscapes. Inspired by the aesthetic of ’70s proto-electronica (see: Tangerine Dream, Faust and Brian Eno), they created songs out of improvisational “jams” with both of them in the same room, resulting in the odyssey-like 2019 debut, Staples. 

Watch the “Moonrunner” music video:

The expansive songs of the pair reside in the perceivably colder realm of electronic music, typically free of vocals and composed via analog modular synthesizers, but these songs nevertheless have always been about a dialogue between two human beings with warm beating hearts. When it comes to songs like “Moonrunner,” the lead single from their second LP, Green & Gold, the majority of the collaboration occurred at a distance, as it was recorded over the course of 2020. What resulted were songs with an elevated urgency to maintain a sense of connection, not even to each other as bandmates, but to the wider world.

Though these songs were made on machines in isolation, they embody the unique exhilaration of discovering a sonic harmony with another living person. Distance didn’t stop the dialogue; they were able to weave together a series of songs that still felt explorative and transcendent, full of entrancing tones, enticing melodies, intricate rhythmic patterns and, in one instance, proto-punk inspired vocal samples (courtesy of musician/producer Fred Thomas).

Green and Gold will be out in mid-December, but the pair released this new music video for “Moonrunner” late last week. Videographer and electronic music composer Jeffery Evergreen made the visuals for “Moonrunner,” appropriately matching its ethereal intonations and propulsive beats to a lot of POV shots behind the wheel of a lunar rover, splicing together moments where it’s parked amid the beautifully desolate and lonely terrain of the moon as buoyant astronauts follow their busy procedures. Evergreen is meticulous in applying a new visual effect to match every shift, click, blip and crescendo of the music, whether it is a splash of distorting static, or a lava-lamp-like blur waving across the screen, going in and out of photonegative and neon colorizations.

Pato Y Pato recently collaborated with Evergreen for a similarly dazzling blend of sonic visuals for the most recent Dlectricity festival in downtown Detroit last September. Their second LP, Green & Gold, premieres on Dec. 10.

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  • Jeff Milo
    Jeff Milo is a Reporter for CultureShift. He's a longtime music journalist documenting the Michigan scene for 15 years.