Anthony Pateras is aware. It is both a blessing a curse. He is aware of what has gone on before him, he is aware of what he has contributed himself, of what this means both in terms challenges, shortcuts taken, and when things work and don’t work and how this fits in the oeuvre of experimental and improvised music. The danger of this self-perception as a free musician, or an improviser is that you can never really trust yourself or what feels good. If you’re searching for the new and it’s cooking why is it cooking? Does it remind you of something that you’re unconsciously replicating? Of something you did before? Or are you touching on some of the gestures from the last time you jammed with these guys in the hope you will strike magic twice – which is surely a failure right? So what do you do? Do things with your instrument that you’ve never done before? Do the opposite of whatever you’ve done previously? Totally ignore the other guys and just jam on your own trip?
You can tie yourself in knots and create unenjoyable unlistenable music because ultimately new free music might actually just be awful, or the pursuit of new music might be impossible because you are, I don’t know, a coward? It’s a lot of pressure.
So why this monologue?
Because one of the most amazing elements of these self released editions from Melbourne born European based composer and pianist Anthony Pateras is the liner notes where he discusses pertinent issues with the participants, in this case trumpeter Scott Tinkler and violinist (and frequent Pateras collaborator) Erkki Veltheim. It makes you realise how inane they must find the questions posed to them by music journalists like yours truly, because the questions and answers provide a truly unique insight into some of the challenges, self doubt, frustrations and joys of creating improvised music in 2016. As I’ve said in reviews of previous editions it should be required reading for anyone interested in creating free music. I hope he compiles all of his liner notes and puts them in a book.
“It doesn’t come from somewhere else. It comes from your fucking brain. Your brain tells you what to do and you fucking do it. If your brains are fucked then the music will be fucked.”
This is what he has written on the inside cover of the cd.
The music from this trio is wild and free, fearsome and difficult. When you’re trying to put piano, trumpet and violin together in strange and interesting ways this far down the track, trying to push the process and technique then you end up in some pretty unique territory. Yet this is definitely music you need to contextualise, and that’s even within its narrow niche, because whilst for me the ideas are actually more interesting than the execution, it’s impossible not to admire the fearlessness and dedication of the players to discover and inhabit new worlds and variously wobble on and take control of the high wire.