You didn’t tune out at the word “composer,” did you? Assuming I’m going to talk about something that only old people or music-school grad students would like? Maybe it would help if I said that Australian-born, Berlin-based composer Anthony Pateras has collaborated with vocalist Mike Patton of Faith No More and Mr. Bungle, that he’s played in what’s basically a piano-based grindcore duo, or that he’s in the States because he did the music for The Man Who Disappeared, a film on Antonin Artaud by Semiotext(e) founder Sylvere Lotringer that premieres in New York next week.
Pateras’s performance at Constellation on Sunday will be just him and a piano, but don’t expect anything sedate because no amps or drums are involved: my colleague Peter Margasak has written that Pateras’s compositions for solo piano “demand knuckle-bloodying virtuosity, their high-speed two-handed figures dissolving into thunderous waves of broken-glass dissonance.”
For a Lampo show at the Logan Center in January 2014, Pateras premiered the piano piece Blood Stretched Out, whose approach he describes as “acoustical transformations of the instrument through hypnotic repetition, harmonic transformation, rapid velocity and relentless energy.” For much of this gruelingly physical work he creates a shifting halo of clashing overtones by maintaining a rapid barrage of notes with both hands, alternating left and right like a black-metal drummer hammering at a blastbeat. But you don’t have to take my word for it: here’s a video of that performance.
Pateras’s duo with Patton, called Tētēma, released an album last year called Geocidal (Ipecac). The track “Tenz” has a rhythmic density similar to Blood Stretched Out, except with tons of fascinatingly busy interlocking percussion and, well, Mike Patton.
And about that piano grindcore! No, I wasn’t exaggerating. The duo Pivixki, with Pateras and drummer Max Kohane, plays a futuristic, fractalized rendition of the style, a la Gridlink or Atomsmasher. Here’s the song “Flail,” from their 2010 album Gravissima.
If you aren’t convinced yet that Pateras is the kind of genius weirdo you need to be throwing your entertainment dollars at, then I don’t know what more to say.