Album Remarks & Appraisals:
Anthony Pateras is a composer/performer based in Melbourne who is as comfortable writing for full orchestra as he is performing in intimate improvisational groupings. Pateras represents the best in the new generation of musicians combining the spontaneity of improvisation with the formal logic of composition and for his second Tzadik CD he has chosen an eclectic mix of ensemble pieces that blend instrumental virtuosity and electro acoustic sonorities in startling new ways. Sound, texture and surprise from this marvelous new voice from Australia.
Personnel: Anthony Pateras (vocals, prepared piano, synthesizer, electronics, computer); Natasha Anderson (vocals, contrabass recorder); Paul Zabrowarny (cello); Robin Fox (programming).
Audio Mixers: Chris Lawson; James Wilkinson.
Recording information: ABC Southbank, Melbourne, Australia; Australian National Academy of Music, Melbourne, Austra; City Recital Hall, Sydney, Australia; Gold Tony Love's Audio Hell, Melbourne, Australia; Power Sound Studio, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Much like Mutant Theatre, his previous album for Tzadik, Chromatophore provides an overview of Anthony Pateras' activities (mostly) as a composer. There is no real theme, genre, form, or instrumentation running through the six works selected for this CD, except Pateras' creativity and broad palette. The key works here are the ones book-ending the collection: the title track and "Autophagy." "Chromatophore" for amplified string octet (featuring the Ensemble of the Australian National Academy of Music) is a dramatic, contrast-heavy piece that makes great use of the textural possibilities (and historical connotations) of a mid-size string ensemble. "Autophagy" for amplified string quintet, prepared piano, and electronics displays a gripping sense of urgency and offers a synthesis of sorts of Pateras' various approaches: music for acoustic ensembles, the prepared piano (his main instrument as a musician), the electro-acoustic aspect of his work, etc. These two pieces are action-packed and full of ideas, enough to justify this release on their own. The other four compositions are slightly weaker, although "76755" for percussion quartet (performed by the Ear Massage Percussion Quartet) has its strong moments. "Automatons" for ten voices (all Natasha Anderson's), three violas (all Erikki Veltheim's) and electronics (Pateras) becomes wandering at times, while staying mostly on course through its ten-minute duration, making it an average piece. With its quiet approach and short, disjointed bursts of sonic gestures, "When Objects Dream" for contrabass recorder (Anderson), prepared piano (Pateras) and viola (Veltheim) falls flat. That said, the two pieces for larger ensemble are worth the price of admission, and Chromatophore as a whole is stronger than Mutant Theatre, showing Pateras' growth as a composer since 2004. ~ François Couture