Australian composer and musician Anthony Pateras scrambles your sense of place and time | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

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Australian composer and musician Anthony Pateras scrambles your sense of place and time

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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

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