tētēma – Geocidal

Rating: 3.5/5
Distributor/Label: Ipecac
Released: 2014

Tetema_cover_hires Band Lineup:

Mike Patton: Voices
, Anthony Pateras: Synths/Pianos/Machines + Production

SPECIAL GUEST: Will Guthrie: Drums (1-7, 9)

ADDITIONAL MUSICIANS:
Natasha Anderson: Bass and Contrabass Recorder (7)
Jessica Aszodi: Soprano Voice (3)
Anthony Burr: Clarinet (1), Bass Clarinet (2, 10), Pedal Steel (3)
Axel Dörner: Trumpet (5)
Samuel Dunscombe: Bass Clarinet (2, 10), Clarinet (9)
Alexander Garsden: Guitar (7)
Judith Hamann: Cello (3,6)
Matthias Schack-Arnott: Percussion/Vibraphone (4), Marimba (3,7) Glockenspiel (7)
Valerio Tricoli: Revox B77 (1,2,4)
Erkki Veltheim: Violin (1), Viola (4), Prepared Violin (11)
Els Viaene: Field Recordings (1)

Track Listing:

1. INVOCATION OF THE SWARM
2. PURE WAR
3. IRUNDI
4. THE HELL OF NOW
5. TEN YEARS TRICKED
6. 3-2-1 CIVILIZATION
7. TENZ
8. SUiSHAMAN
9. KID HAS GOT THE BOMB
10. EMPTINESS OF ECSTACY
11. DEATH IN TANGIERS

Review:

tētēma are a new duo featuring Australian composer/pianist Anthony Pateras and vocalist/composer Mike Patton, set to release their debut album, Geocidal, on December 8th via Ipecac Recordings.

For those unfamiliar with the two musicians, allow me to inform you: Anthony Pateras is a composer/pianist who has released eighteen albums over the last decade under a variety of monikers including bands Thymolphthalein and Pivixki, a pair of solo albums on Tzadik, a film soundtrack on Editions Mego, and a 5-CD box set detailing his work for keyboards, orchestra and percussion.

Mike Patton needs no introduction, the vocalist of pioneering alternative rock/metal outfit Faith No More, Fantômas, Tomahawk and a multitude of collaborations, solo albums and creative works. He is one of the few people on this earth I could truly classify as a “vocalist” in every sense of the word, the manipulation of his vocal quality, his pitch and his experimentation, his voice is an incredibly versatile instrument.

So now, down to the review. Geocidal is avant-garde, in every sense of the word, it is unclassifiable, in that the combinations of genres are forever melding, evolving, changing and growing. There is a strong sense of atmosphere to this record, and connections to very tribal sounding arrangements. With the vast list of guest musicians contributing to the aural soundscape of this record.

In one song I can hear musical passages that remind me of squarepusher, Aphex Twin, the avant-garde works of John Zorn, Sonic Youth esc noise, dark ambient vibes, tribal drums and a multitude of others.  Patton delivers a diverse mixture of vocal performances that you would expect, ranging from shrill high screams, long gregorian like chants and low guttural gurgles.

The stand out tracks for me are the ones that incorporate a lot of Patton’s lush vocal harmonies, “The Hell of Now,” “Ten Years Tricked,” and “Kid Has Got The Bomb” being the best examples. However this album is definitely something to be appreciated in its entirety, due to it’s transitions, atmospheric builds and links between tracks. Definitely something I’d enjoy experiencing on vinyl.

Pateras and Patton have created a record that is a seamless transitional experimentation in aural science, a soundtrack to an eerie experimental film that never came to be. It is definitely not an album one could appreciate as a first time listener to avant-garde music, it is incredibly dense with continuous musical transitions and soundscapes.

Reviewed By Danny Page
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