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Mike Patton and John Kaada: Romances

Mike Patton and John Kaada: Romances

Release Date:2005

By Seb Roberts | Posted 1/19/2005

For years, Mike Patton has been covering Italian film composers Ennio Morricone and Nino Rota live and on record. He may not have his own Fellini film to score, but that hasnít stopped Patton from writing an homage to his heroes. Created with Norwegian laptop retrovisionist John Kaada, Romances sounds much like the score to Il Casanovaóspooky strings, primitive percussion, chromatic melodies, and wailing choruses refracted through Pattonís cracked lens.

The albumís soundscapes and shape-shifting arrangements recall earlier Patton works, specifically Mr. Bungleís Disco Volante and Fantomasí The Directorís Cut. But Romances avoids such polarizing Patton trademarks as schizoid genre-jumping, jackhammered bursts of hardcore, and blitzkriegs of vocal pyrotechnics. For fans of his ADHD composition, this will be disappointing. For those who find Patton a reckless vocal grandstander, itís a huge relief. Like the jellyfish adorning the artwork, the songs swell and fall, drift and sting, glow and fade. Though the music swoons with melodrama, it never boils over into the horror-film theatrics with which Patton often bludgeons his listeners.

While itís hard to discern how much Kaada contributed as a composer, his fingerprints are all over the lush, continental instrumentation. Even more impressive is Kaadaís work behind the board, creating an ear-candied mix of such depth, nuance, and clarity. Without visuals to match the sonic scenes Kaada and Patton conjure, precious little of the album clings long to memory. But when the impression left is so boozily seductive and enchantingly exotic, itís a mood well worth getting into.

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