Anthony Pateras

Flux Compendium

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Released three years after Anthony Pateras and Robin Fox's collaborative debut, Flux Compendium unveils a seasoned duo, more tempered and detail-oriented than before. Coagulate was a one-two punch: well composed and entertaining, but raw and in your face. For this second outing, the two electronicians toned down the harsh noise in favor of a more discreet -- and intriguing -- sound palette. It seems these two can build impromptu compositions out of any type of sound: breath, belches, coins, laughs, doors, and yes, even pure electronic tones. The album was clearly sequenced with entertainment value in mind, and it works. First off are five short pieces (two and a half to four minutes) showcasing the duo's punkish attitude and creative conciseness, in a field where the nonstop 70-minute set is the norm. Then comes "Perilymph," 13 minutes of finely chiseled tones choreographed into a strong -- if somewhat more conventional -- electronic composition. After this more serious interlude, listeners are back to lighter material with "Olfactophobia," a piece of musique concrète for the mouth and nose, replete with breathing sounds and fat belches -- a 21st century version of Ron Geesin and Roger Waters' Music from The Body, perhaps. The album concludes with a noisier piece that moves closer to the duo's first CD. The balance between playfulness (or pranksterism) and so-called seriousness makes Flux Compendium surprisingly easy to listen to, especially for a release on Mego, a label noted for its challenging offerings. One of the really good experimental electronica albums of 2006.

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