Is it possible to have too much of a good thing? Not when it comes music, no. Geocidal (Ipecac Recordings) is the debut release of the experimental juggernaut tētēma; the lovechild of Mike Patton composer Anthony Pateras. If Patton’s previous track record of the weird and wonderful was anything to go off of, things were about to get interesting. This album did not disappoint.
Geocidal begins with the percussion filled ‘Invocation of the Swarm’ that could almost be compared to a mix between Tomahawk and Fantômas. Patton’s vocals aren’t the focal point of the track and this trend continues with each subsequent song. ‘Pure War’ is an excellent example of this. His voice stands out at some points but not during others. It is an additional instrument complimenting Pateras’ work.
‘Irundi’ breaks away to a lighter almost tribal sound invoking nature and rain. I love this song, everything about it perfect and I just want to keep it on repeat. It is clean and precise in the beginning and slowly becomes corrupted as bits and pieces of more electronic sounds are introduced into the mix before it dissolves into distorted vocals and cuts out.
‘Ten Years Tricked’ may just be the highlight of the album for me. A few notes on a piano here and there, vocals scattered throughout, the occasional brass and woodwind that take things from cold and uncomfortable to almost sensual. It may appear to be one of the more simple tracks on the album but it’s arranged extremely well and just works. Even the moments of silence only add to the song.
Overall, I am very pleased with this album. It makes you think and it makes you wonder what exactly Patton and Pateras were thinking when putting it together. You can interpret these pieces in so many ways and that’s what makes it all so interesting. Every new listen reveals something new; a note that had previously gone unnoticed, vocals snaking their way through the music with more force or a different intent. Each and every song brings something different to the table and pulls you in multiple directions. At times haunting and frightening, while soft and soothing at others, tētēma’s Geocidal is a living, breathing creature that is well worth your time and energy. It’s a little scary, in a very good way.
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