Mike Patton – Adult Themes For Voice
Mike Patton has a large cult following for his versatility & diversity. He’s contributed guest vocals to dozens of bands such as The Dillinger Escape Plan, The X-ecutioners, Bjork & massive attack whilst leading his own bands & projects such as Tomahawk, Fantomas, Lovage, Mondo Cane and maintaining a solo career, composing scores for film as well as lending his vocal talents for Transformers 2 & I am Legend. He has very close ties with Avant Garde/Jazz saxophone player John Zorn & collaborates frequently with high school friend & bass player Trevor Dunn.
His high school band Mr Bungle, who were a group of high school friends, gained him notoriety amongst musicians, their fusion of genres such as surf, funk & metal made them certainly unique and inspired many bands of the nineties such as Korn & Incubus to blend multiple genres with metal. But it was when Faith No More member Jim Martin wanted to Patton to their replace current vocalist Chuck Mosley that Patton would achieve huge commercial success. This could be seen as a stigma to people not familiar with his other/more frequent others works.
The album under review is possibly the most risky début I have ever head. Fortunately being a fan of his for a while cushioned the blow of how much of an abstract approach he took to recording it. The album just comprises of vocal tracks and has various themes in which he creates noise and sounds with his vocals reflecting the themes. When listening to this, it can help to acknowledge the title and you may see what the vocals are trying to replicate. The tracks & theme themselves are very dark & sometimes deranged with many of the titles involving death & sex such as titles called “”I Killed Him Like a Dog…And He Still Laughed”” & “Red Mouth, Black Orgasm”.
His approach is very similar to his work John Zorn with the Moonchild trio where lyricless vocals & sounds are performed over experimental/Avant Garde music, this certainly shares the same category but minus the instruments your left with 43 minutes of noise vocals. When the concept of an Avant Garde is clear you can begin to try & understand what’s really trying to happen. Sometimes I think the idea & release of the album is more a statement then the music itself. I really love the idea of this album, Patton’s vocals are spine chilling & performed impressively, he creates sounds which sound impossible to replicate or for that matter even sound like they were created from a human beings mouth (again possibly the point album). The album can grow tiring three quarters of the way through, the beginning feels exciting & unique because it’s certain you’ve never heard anything like this before but once those feelings diminish it can feel like a novelty and there are moments where there are genuinely hilarious moments such as “Inconsolable Widows in Search of Distraction”.
An Avant Garde album with one of the most unique vocalists ever and despite whether you like the album or not, you have to appreciate the effort & creativity. It’s not one I play regularly but am glad to listen to once in a while.
Don’t expect Faith No More or even anything Patton has done before.
You can listen to the whole album here