The thing I’ve been enjoying about these series of collaborations with Australian composer Anthony Pateras, all released on cd on his own Immediata label, is that he wears his brain on his sleeve. This occurs via the liner notes in which he interviews his collaborator in a wide ranging intelligent discussion that always gets to the heart of their musical and philosophical predilications. Whilst at times it can veer into ‘old man shakes fist at clouds’ territory, it does provide a fascinating description of the trials and tribulations of an experimental artist in this day and age.
This album is a duo with violinist Erkki Veltheim, who I haven’t seen since he was performing in a John Zorn ensemble in Adelaide a few years back. The two have regularly collaborated in a live setting, and this recording was made in their home town of Melbourne in 2016.
It’s a single 50 minute piece, in which the pipe organ (Pateras) and electric violin (Veltheim) merge into one textural entity. This is durational music, designed for the hypnotism, where the gestures are gradual and the ear tunes in to the subtle changes in the drone. It’s music about tones and overtones, about frequencies and density. Like the title suggests it does creep, building almost imperceptibly into a dense piercing drone. From warm to atonal from large to shrill, the piece evolves – almost in spite of itself.
It’s fascinating, in a sense it feels like the duo are running so far away from everything, from virtuosity, from ego, from machismo, from composition, that all we’re left with is a dense slab of sustained notes. Their desire not to reference, or fall back on any easy approaches or known gestures makes this piece feel somewhat reactive. Are they attempting to hide themselves in this music? To devolve?
This is the second collaboration the duo have released on Immediata, the previous being 2016’s cheerfully titled Entertainment = Control – a similarly longform piece. You can read our review of it here.