Pateras, Baxter & Brown – Gauticle (Synaesthesia)

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Separately they are three of the best improvising musicians Melbourne has to offer. Together they’re a force to be reckoned with as whilst they each develop their already experimental techniques on their weapons of choice (Pateras prepared piano/Baxter percussion/ Brown prepared guitar), they’re simultaneously doing the same with the trio relationship. They’re operating in a more textural realm here, where the materiality of the instrument is increasingly important. Where instead of notes, chords and melodies they’re working with shadows and tones, with nervous shifts and rising swells of density, delighting in a nervy cluttered funk of purposely disjointed, atonal and unnerved sound. At times it feels like a field recording, as the disparate parts almost meld into the one organism or imaginary sound source, other times they’re like a low rent scratchy Gamelan orchestra, and others they’re like exactly what they are – an improvising trio. And this slippage is very prevalent on Gauticle. Working with sounds this unusual (and over the length of time they have been playing together live) they have become increasingly adept at constructing their own unique world, where they are the only ones privy to its nuances and internal logic. Yet strangely enough this is not alienating to the casual listener, but it does require an element of trust. At times things happen suddenly and are rarely telegraphed, where you get the sense that all it took in the studio was a vague nod or a meeting of the eyes for the trio to choose their direction. This kind of unpredictability is refreshing on Gauticle provided you’re willing to sit back and allow them to dictate. The good news is that this keeps contemporary structures at bay, including the unimaginative plinks and plonks that improvised music often finds itself submerged in. Recorded in London (in a studio Napalm Death recorded in no less) and Vienna, Gauticle feels like it possesses more space than its predecessor 2003′ Ataxia, allowing more sparse moments of near silence or minimal activity to exist alongside the chaos and bluster.

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Bob is the features editor of Cyclic Defrost. He is also evil. You should not trust the opinions of evil people.

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