Patrick Cowley

Patrick Cowley “Mechanical Fantasy Box” (Dark Entries)

2019-10-25T03:46:06+00:00October 25th, 2019|

Mechanical Fantasy Box is Cowley’s homoerotic journal, or as he called it, “graphic accounts of one man’s sex life.” The journal begins in 1974 and ends in 1980 on his 30th birthday. It chronicles his slow rise to fame from lighting technician at The City Disco to crafting a ground-breaking 16-minute remix of Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love” to performing with Sylvester at the SF Opera House. Vivid descriptions are told of cruising in ‘70s SoMA sex venues to primal highs in Buena Vista Park and composing pornophonics in his Castro apartment. The entries are introspective and show a very out-front, alive person going through the throes of gay liberation post-Stonewall.   French-born artist and Berlin resident Gwenaël Rattke works in collage, silkscreen, photography and Xerox graphics. Rattke’s collage works borrow from the visual codes of the 60s and 70s. Intricate, ornamental and excessive, they present “an imagined past fired with beauty and sexual freedom.” For this book Rattke created 25 original illustrations inspired by selected entries, 3 street maps documenting locations mentioned herein and 4 collages of photos, ephemera and notes Patrick stuffed inside the journal. We’ve included Patrick’s doodles too, as well as introductory essays by Josh Cheon, Theresa McGinley and Jorge Socarrás.

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Patrick Cowley “Afternooners” (Dark Entries)

2017-10-29T01:06:07+00:00October 29th, 2017|

Dark Entries and Honey Soundsystem Records have teamed up once more to release the final volume of gay porn soundtracks by San Francisco-based musician and producer, Patrick Cowley. One of the most revolutionary and influential figures in the canon of disco, Cowley created his own brand of Hi-NRG dance music, “The San Francisco Sound.” Born in Buffalo, NY on October 19, 1950, Patrick moved to San Francisco in 1971 to study at the City College of San Francisco. He founded the Electronic Music Lab at the school, where he would make experimental soundtracks by blending various types of music and adapting them to the synthesizer.By the mid-70’s, Patrick’s synthesis techniques landed him a job composing and producing songs for disco superstar Sylvester, including hits like “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)”, “Dance Disco Heat” and “Stars.” This helped Patrick obtain more work as a remixer and producer. His 18-minute long remix of Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love” and his production work with edgy New Wave band Indoor Life were both of particular note. By 1981, Patrick had released a string of dance 12″ singles, like “Menergy” and “Megatron Man”. He also had founded Megatone Records, the label upon which he released his debut album, “Menergy”. Around this time Patrick was hospitalized and diagnosed with an unknown illness: that which would later be called AIDS. Throughout 1982, he recorded two more Hi-NRG hits, “Do You Wanna Funk” for Sylvester, and “Right On Target” for Paul Parker, as well as a second solo album “Mind Warp”. On November 12, 1982, he passed away.

In 1979 Patrick was contacted by John Coletti, owner of famed gay porn company Fox Studio in Los Angeles. Patrick jumped on this offer and sent reels of his college compositions from the 70s to John in LA. Coletti then used a variable speed oscillator to adjust the pitch and speed of Patrick’s songs in-sync with the film scenes. The result was the VHS collections “Muscle Up” and “School Daze” released in 1979 and 1980. “Afternooners” is the third collection of Cowley’s instrumental songs, recorded in May 1982. These recordings were culled from two 23-minute reels in the Fox Studio vaults. All songs were originally untitled, so we’ve used the titles from Fox Studio’s 8mm film loops. This compilation also includes three bonus tracks found in the archives of fellow Megatone Records recording artist Paul Parker and the attic of teenage friend Lily Bartels. Influenced by Tomita, Wendy Carlos, and Giorgio Moroder, Patrick crafted a singular sound from his collection of synthesizers, percussion, modified guitars, and hand-built equipment. The listener enters a world of forbidden vices, evocative of Patrick’s time spent in the bathhouses of San Francisco. The songs on “Afternooners” reflect the advances of the equipment available at the onset of the 1980s. Cowley’s unadulterated electronic forms are stripped down and dubbed up. Lush electronic percussion, soaring synthesizer riffs and low slung funk grooves comingle on these magnificent soundscapes.Featuring 70 minutes of music never before released on vinyl. All songs have been remastered by George Horn at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley, CA. The vinyl is housed in a gatefold jacket designed by Berlin-based artist Gwenael Rattke, featuring black and white photos of Patrick in his studio that opens to a full color array of x-rated scenes from the Fox Studio vaults. Included is a fold-out poster featuring a handmade collage using photography and xeroxed graphics of classic gay porn imagery and an essay from Drew Daniel of Matmos. For Patrick’s 67th birthday, Dark Entries and Honey Soundsystem Records present a glimpse into the futuristic world of a young genius. These recordings shed a new light on the experimental side of a disco legend who was taken too soon.

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Patrick Cowley & Jorge Socarras “Catholic” 2xLP (Dark Entries)

2015-05-10T01:18:59+00:00December 3rd, 2014|

Dark Entries and Honey Soundsystem have teamed up to release Catholic, the lost opus of disco pioneer PATRICK COWLEY and INDOOR LIFE vocalist JORGE SOCARRAS. Perhaps one of the most revolutionary and influential people in the canon of disco music, Cowley created his own brand of Hi-NRG dance music, “The San Francisco Sound.” Born in Buffalo, NY on October 19, 1950, Patrick moved to San Francisco at the age of 21. He studied at the City College of San Francisco and met Jorge Socarras in 1973 through mutual friends. The duo’s first collaboration was a ten-minute trance-inducing epic that Cowley composed for a performance piece by Socarras in 1975. Patrick, who played drums, guitar and keyboards, provided the perfect match for Jorge’s vocal talents. Between 1975 and 1977 they recorded an album’s worth of material before Socarras moved to London and Cowley started playing synthesizers for SYLVESTER. Upon Jorge’s return to San Francisco in 1979, the duo would re-record some of the Catholic songs with Patrick’s newly acquired equipment. Meanwhile, Socarras met the musicians with whom he would form Indoor Life, and in 1980 Patrick co-produced their first album. The Catholic album was offered to San Francisco’s Megatone Records who passed on it. Fast forward to 2007 when Honey Soundsystem was contacted by John Hedges, former co-owner of Megatone Records. Hedges’ was moving to Palm Springs and invited the crew over to his basement to collect over 2,000 records from his collection. Among the archives were three moldy boxes of quarter inch reel to reel tapes featuring unreleased music by Cowley, including the Catholic material. The reel was passed on to Stefan Goldmann of Macro Recordings in Berlin who was able to track down Jorge Socarras and clear the rights. Catholic was finally released on CD in 2009. Catholic is a genre-bending concept album that ranges from minimalistic proto-techno to synth-driven post-punk, pre-dating the dance punk acts LCD Soundsystem and The Rapture by almost 30 years. It shows a much broader range than any Cowley or Socarras material available and gives a totally new perspective to one of the most inspiring eras in music history. Influenced by Tomita, Wendy Carlos, the Velvet Underground, and Roxy Music, “Catholic” prefigures acts like Talking Heads, Units, The Human League or Chris & Cosey. Patrick forges a unique electronic sound from his collection of synthesizers, modified guitars, and self-constructed equipment while Jorge’s vocals go from hypnotic to camp, singing about gay love juju and tackling classics by Donovan and Stoller & Leiber. Featuring over 80 minutes of music never before released on vinyl, this compilation contains two bonus tracks not featured on the CD release. The tapes were meticulously restored by mastering guru RASHAD BECKER at D+M in Berlin, then remastered for vinyl by GEORGE HORN at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley, CA. The vinyl comes housed in a glossy dual pocket gatefold featuring the intended album cover from the original Catholic photo shoot in 1979, and the original hand-lettering by Arch Connelly aka A. Style intended for the first 45rpm single. Inside the gatefold sleeve contains lyrics and an essay from Jorge Socarras. For the 32nd anniversary of Patrick’s death, Dark Entries and Honey Soundsystem present a glimpse into the minds of these two geniuses. These recordings shine a new light on the experimental side of a disco legend who was taken too soon.

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Patrick Cowley “School Daze” 2xLP (Dark Entries)

2020-03-07T06:05:08+00:00August 30th, 2014|

Dark Entries and Honey Soundsystem have teamed up to release the gay porn soundtrack work of San Francisco-based musician and producer, Patrick Cowley. Perhaps one of the most revolutionary and influential people in the cannon of disco music, Cowley created his own brand of Hi-NRG dance music coined “The San Francisco Sound.” Born in Buffalo, NY on October 19, 1950, Patrick moved to San Francisco at the age of 21. He studied at the City College of San Francisco where he founded the Electronic Music Lab. During this time Patrick would create radio jingles and electronic pieces using the school’s equipment, first a Putney, then an E-MU System and finally a Serge synthesizer. He would make experimental instrumental songs by blending various types of music and adapting them to the synthesizer.

By the mid-70′s, Patrick’s synthesizer skills landed him a job composing and producing songs for disco superstar Sylvester such as “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)”, “Dance Disco Heat” and “Stars.” This helped Patrick obtain more work as a remixer and producer. Of particular note was his 18-minute long remix of Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love” and production work with edgy New Wave band Indoor Life. By 1981 Patrick released a string of dance 12″ singles, like “Menergy” and “Megatron Man”, creating the soundtrack for a generation. Also that year, he founded Megatone Records and released his debut album. Around this time Patrick was hospitalized and diagnosed with a then-unknown illness: that would later be called AIDS. Prior to his passing on November 12, 1982, he recorded two more Hi-NRG hits, “Do You Wanna Funk” for Sylvester and “Right On Target” for Paul Parker.

In 1981 Patrick was contacted by John Coletti, owner of famed gay porn company Fox Studio in Los Angeles. John had heard about Patrick’s music from the legendary Sylvester and proposed he write music for his films. Patrick jumped on this offer and sent reels of his college compositions from the 70s to John in LA. Coletti then used a variable speed oscillator to adjust the pitch and speed of Patrick’s songs in-sync with the film scene. “School Daze” is a collection of Cowley’s instrumental songs recorded between 1973 and 1981 found in the Fox Studio vaults. Influenced by Tomita, Wendy Carlos and Giorgio Moroder, Patrick forged an electronic sound from his collection of synthesizers, modified guitars and self-constructed equipment. The listener enters a world of dark forbidden vices, introspective and reflective of Patrick’s time spent in the bathhouses of San Francisco. The songs on “School Daze” range from sparse proto-techno to high octane funk to somber post-punk to musique concrete, revealing the depth of Cowley’s unique talent.

Featuring over 80 minutes of music, this compilation contains soundtrack music from two Fox Studio films, “Muscle Up” and “School Daze”, never before released on vinyl. The tapes were restored and transferred using the same speed and pitch settings, then remastered for vinyl by George Horn at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley, CA. The vinyl comes housed in a glossy dual pocket gatefold featuring classic gay porn imagery from the Fox Studio vaults plus an essay from Indoor Life vocalist, Jorge Soccarras. For Patrick’s 63rd birthday, Dark Entries and Honey Soundsystem present a glimpse into the instrumental world of a young genius. These recordings shine a new light on the experimental side of a disco legend who was taken too soon.
–Dark Entries

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