Anthony Pateras Credit: Afarina

On two recent multidisc sets, Australian composer, improviser, and electroacoustic musician Anthony Pateras chronicles his compulsive drive to try new things and move on. In the booklet that accompanies Bern • Melbourne • Milan, a release by his trio with drummer Sean Baxter and guitarist David Brown, Baxter recalls that Pateras wowed him and Brown with a solo piano performance that combined classical and jazz gestures with grindcore intensity. When the two of them approached Pateras about forming a collaborative project in 2002, he agreed, but he told them that he was about to stop playing classical music entirely. The two-CD set covers the trio’s 16-year existence, and though at times Pateras sounds like a man rummaging through crushed cans or summoning a rainfall of disembodied notes, he never settles into a genre. Pateras’s five-disc Collected Works Vol. II (2005-2018) has more variety in its personnel—it includes orchestral compositions, group improvisations, and pieces for other musicians—and each recording investigates a different effect or concern. On “A Reality in Which Everything Is Substitution” (2012), a flute phrase reminiscent of birdsong resolutely goes nowhere; “Prayer for Nil” bombards the supple voice of soprano Jessica Aszodi with electronically crumpled versions of itself; and “Ontetradecagon” (2010) spreads an ensemble of veteran improvisers around a concert hall to thwart their habit of working as a collective. The last time nonprofit arts organization Lampo hosted Pateras, the pianist frantically pummeled the keys of a grand piano to summon paradoxically slow-moving clouds of sound. This time, he’ll use a quadraphonic speaker system to layer static tones from synthesizers and tape delays into a vertigo-inducing maelstrom.   v