365 Days of Mike Patton: “Soliloquy,” tētēma (2020)

About a month ago, I had never heard of tētēma. I didn’t know who was in tētēma (nor did I really care). I didn’t know what a tētēma was. And I didn’t know what kind of music I should expect from a band called tētēma.

Turns out it’s a Mike Patton collaboration with Anthony Pateras, an avant-garde musician from Australia, and according to Ipecac, Patton’s record label, it plays “modernist electro-acoustic rock.” Whatever that is. There are actually four people in the band, and its second album will be released in April (the fact Patton had a band I’d never heard of until recently that had already released an album, like, five years ago kind of disappoints me but also doesn’t surprise me).

As for what it sounds like, Ipecac’s press release states, “this record continues to employ the wayward orchestrations and arresting physicality of their 2014 debut Geocidal, yet is renewed by a melodic language which grounds its multi-colored twists and turns in hallucinatory lyricism.”

Okie doke.

Let’s give it a listen, then.

So, that was interesting. Or as Pateras said, “No other band would combine microtonal buchla with hyperactive drumming to serenade Paganini and Leonard Cohen passed out in a hot tub. This track is like pressing fast forward on both a [Giacinto] Sclesi and Yasunao Tone CD on different systems pointed at each other, except it’s performed live. Quite possibly the only track in the world to refer to Deleuze as ‘chichi.’”

I have no idea what any of that means.

But to me, the music sounds like electronica fused with Patton’s screaming and shouting (with maybe hints of a little bit of prog rock?). That’s something I’ve never heard from Patton before. I didn’t love it, and I didn’t hate it. I also probably wouldn’t mind listening to it again.

Previous Patton collaborations:


To follow along on the 365 days of Patton, click here for a list of each day’s post.

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