You never know what to expect when you see the name Mike Patton on a record. Well, at least you know to expect something interesting and experimental. The Tetema project finds Patton teaming up with celebrated Australian pianist Anthony Pateras. The pianist apparently locked "himself in a French ex-convent for ten days to think about rhythm and sound" and the album was pieced together over the following two years. Different elements were recorded in cities throughout the world and the resulting album is as varied as the concept may indicate. The songs are heavy on rhythm and atmospherics, with Patton's voice providing some sort of guiding light through all of the cacophony. "Irundi" brings to mind the work of Geinoh Yamashirogumi, the group responsible for the Akira soundtrack. Layers of syncopated percussion give way to choruses of Patton's vocals, composing an vast landscape that seems to grow with every second. Elsewhere the staccato rhythms bring to mind Cut Hands, if only momentarily. There are more intense moments to be found as well. The noise and chaos of "Pure War" will please any Merzbow fanatic, but may be too much to endure for some. Have patience though, as there are more sublime experiments to be found throughout the album. The duo makes heavy use of drones, both from the human voice and synthesized, and the tracks that employ them could be thought of as antidotes to the more rhythm heavy moments. Geocidal is an album that may pose a challenge for some, but it is well worth listen as Pateras and Patton will take you to places unexplored and unexpected.
- music label: Ipecac Recordings 2014
reviewed by Hank Ohs 01/2015