Necroscape is the 2nd album from Mike Patton and Anthony Pateras’ modernist electro-acoustic rock outfit tētēma. Joined by violinist Erkki Veltheim and drummer Will Guthrie in quartet formation, 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 it’s multi-coloured twists and turns in hallucinatory lyricism.
Where Geocidal was loosely based on futuristic post-colonial dystopias, its even cheerier successor is sculpted around isolation in the surveillance age; and although lofty/high-concept sounding, this is still an intensely fun and heavy listen. Necroscape synthesizes a lot of territory: odd-time rock, musique concrète, otherworld grooves, soul, industrial noise, microtonal psychoacoustics….seemingly strange bedfellows on paper, yet in the ears they surprisingly coalesce into 13 songs which playfully challenge our notions of sonic logic and make you move at the same time. In a nutshell, listening to Necroscape creates the weird sensation of exclaiming “of course!” and “wtf?” simultaneously.
5 years in the making, Necroscape mushroomed organically from Pateras’ production based on tape loops, analogue synthesis and rarified keyboard instruments in combination with Patton’s dense vocal arrangements, Veltheim’s exploratory violins and Guthrie’s unique percussive strategies. The result is a handmade, kaleidoscopic tour-de-force which re-imagines songwriting as something other. Artwork features beautiful leather sculptures by Talitha Kennedy, tiled lyric sheet and limited edition white vinyl.