Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Take this as an informercial or take this as a recommendation. One of the best box sets of recent months - in fact, one of the best of 2012 - is one by my friend Anthony Pateras. Melbourne-born and -bred, just recently he relocated to the, err, sunny climes of Belgium. The set in question is a 5-disc one - that's CDs, thanks - entitled Works 2002-2012, released on Pateras' own Immediata label (check his site out here). There are but 500 in existence. 2002-2012, huh? That puts things in perspective. What the hell happened to the last decade of my life, anyway? At least Anthony can chart his via this ace box. I first came into contact w/ Pateras' music via Mark Harwood @ Synaesthesia, the "experimental" music store/label which is now deceased; I was working at the shop at the time and made it my duty to try to get to know every item of esoterica which came within the four walls of the shop. One CD kept ticking over, and Mark shoved it in my face one day and insisted that I play it. I did. It was Pateras' Malfunction Studies CD, a self-released collection of recordings from 1999-2001 which was handsomely packaged in a deliberately water-damaged wallet casing (you might have to see it to get the idea...). I played it repeatedly, I spruiked it to all and sundry, and then it sold out. And then - now here's the really dumb bit - I actually lent my copy to a friend in Sydney (OK, my boss, if you must know), and I have never gotten it back. I just about never lend out anything to anyone, and that's a textbook example of why that is so. In the years past, Anthony himself has given me a burn of the release, but giving me a burn is a pointless gesture: I will, no matter what it may be, lose it within a week. And that I did. But anyway, Malfunction Studies hit me like a rock: a local performer/composer nominally working within the field of "avant-garde orchestral music" (though his music is most certainly not limited to such things: I released the duo "avant-grind" CD by Anthony's duo, PIVIXKI, on my own label a few years back) whose music sounded like it was actually made for an audience. It had a sense of momentum, of narrative, it sounded like it had a point. Malfunction Studies - and I'm working from memory here - sounded like its inspiration came from both the worlds of orchestral music (Ligeti, Penderecki, etc.) and "rock" (of the Faust/This Heat/Henry Cow school). Was I making a correct assumption? Does it matter? The combination worked for me.
In the meantime, Anthony has released a slew of recordings - even releasing two discs on John Zorn's Tzadik label - and I reviewed his Chasms CD here back in 2007. That, in some way or other, brings us to the box set in question. It's divided into 5 seperate "styles" or genres or what-have-you: Chamber & Orchestral; Prepared Piano (this disc is the now-deleted Chasms disc, plus a bonus track); Pipe Organs & Electronics; Piano; and lastly, Percussion. As if I need to spell it out, it runs a gamut of styles - the pipe organ, percussive and prepared piano pieces are my faves - and it's housed in a beautiful silver-embossed black box w/ a comprehensive booklet. In some minor ways, I helped Anthony out w/ the release of this set, but that's not why I speak of it. If you're smart enough to buy it, you have over 5 hours of beautiful sounds within your grasp. The disparate sounds of the 5 CDs, taken as a whole, paint the picture of 10 years well spent. As the weather has become grim down here the past few weeks, I've been popping on different discs from this each night - minimal pipe organ music, in the form of Pateras' 40-minute "Architexture", in particular, is great musical accompinament throughout the winter - and I hope you will do what you must (and don't lend your copy to anyone).

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