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sound/music CD reviews

 Da Contents H2

May 1 2013
Jon Rose

April 3 2013
zephyr quartet
a rain from the shadows

July 17 2012
the wired lab
wired open day 2009

May 22 2012
ros bandt, johannes s sistermanns

March 20 2012
new weird australia editions: thomas williams vs scissor lock, spartak
jewelz & nippon

October 25 2011
avantwhatever label collection
gulbenkoglu gorfinkel; ben byrne; alex white; ivan lysiak

May 24 2011
disintegration: mutation

May 10 2011
blip (jim denley, mike majkowksi)

listen to the weather

March 22 2011
difference engine

November 22 2010
artefacts of australian experimental music volume II 1974-1983

September 20 2010
clocked out
the wide alley

September 7 2010
clocked out
foreign objects

August 23 2010
matt chaumont

July 26 2010
sky needle
time hammer

May 10 2010
mike majkowski
ink on paper

November 6 2009
new weird australia vols 1 & 2

October 26 2009
clare cooper & chris abrahams
germ studies

July 17 2009
erdem helvacioglu
wounded breath

rice corpse
mrs rice

April 28 2009
james rushford

joel stern
objects, masks, props

January 22 2009
loren chasse
the footpath

mark cauvin

December 12 2007
the splinter orchestra

October 24 2007
artefacts of australian experimental music 1930-1973

August 28 2007
akathistos fragments


various artists produced by le tuan hung; dindy vaughan
on the wings of a butterfly: cross-cultural music by australian composers; up the creek

May 1 2006
ai yamamoto

camilla hannan
more songs about factories

found: quantity of sheep

philip brophy

rod cooper

December 1 2005
anthony pateras
mutant theatre

December 1 2005
charlie charlie & will guthrie
la respiration des saintes & building blocks

dj olive

new belief system

jodi rose & guest artists
singing bridges: vibrations/variations

lawrence english

lawrence english
ghost towns

michael j schumacher
room pieces

robin fox
backscatter dvd


the necks
mosquito/see through

tim o'dwyer
multiple repeat

guns, cars & guitars

warp: various artists
warp vision: the videos 1989-2004

zane trow
for those who hear actual voices


anthony pateras

mutant theatre

Tzadik, 2004, 7095

With 4 CDs currently available relatively young New Music composer Anthony Pateras is on a roll. As well as his work with laptop scrambler Robin Fox (Coagulate, Synaesthesia, 2003), there is his superb collaboration with the onetime Lazy duo–Dave Brown (abused guitar) and Sean Baxter (distressed drums/percussion)–known in this new ensemble as Pateras/Baxter/Brown (Ataxia, Synaesthesia, 2003). Now following on from his first release of compositions (Malfunction Studies, Synaesthesia, 2001) is Mutant Theatre on John Zorn’s Tzadik label. Like Malfunction Studies, Mutant Theatre includes works for percussion and object ensemble, recorded by current and former students of the Victoria College of the Arts under the direction of the incomparable Peter Neville. Mutant Theatre also features a duet with Robin Fox as well as Fox’s electro contributions to a larger ensemble piece.

Pateras’ work is highly performative, featuring mundane sound sources such as vacuum cleaners, squeaky toys, Cage-like snippets of random transistor radio contributions, supermarket plastic bags, toy zap guns and a crushed "sacrificial violin." The sonic contributions of these and other mundane elements adds both texture and an ambience of comic surprise to the proceedings. Therefore listening to recordings of Pateras’ compositions creates a sense that one is at some remove from the performed work. In Malfunction Studies, Pateras tried to address this by using mostly live takes, complete with audience reaction, and a rather flat acoustic space which gave this otherwise excellent CD a rather sonically deadened quality. Mutant Theatre lies at the opposite end of the sono-recording spectrum, with crisp, tightly miked instruments and a precise spatial separation of musical elements and sound sources. This provides a far more satisfying listening experience, though it would still be hard to identify the sound of such elements as a domino sculpture setting off mousetraps baited with ready-to-burst balloons if not for the liner notes.

Pateras’ compositions are also rather less arch here than in Malfunction Studies. The gestural punctums and repeated sonic crescendos of Malfunction Studies have coalesced into an easier to follow, more coherent exploration of texture with sudden strikes of atonal points occuring across discernable, underlying temporal or sonic structures. The selection of tracks on Mutant Theatre also gives a better sense of Pateras’ range and stylistic interests, covering both his wonderfully coordinated prepared piano closely feeding into self-arrested gashes of electronic sound programmed by Fox, as well as a marvelously jumping yet mellifluously flowing solo piano piece. There are also more ambitious percussion ensemble works, and complicated miniaturas played by percussion wizard Vanessa Tomlinson. If Malfunction Studies was the taster, then Mutant Theatre is the banquet payoff, a fantastic selection of hard and soft sounds, crashes and wafts, dispersed explosions and domineering sonic foci, accumulations and decays, chaos and Harry Partch-like coordinations; an endlessly surprising and satisfying New Music selection.

Jonathan Marshall

© Jonathan Marshall; for permission to reproduce apply to [email protected]

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