Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Mr. Bungle’ Category

[ATTENDED: September 10, 2017] Dead Cross

I had heard that Mike Patton (Faith No More, Mr. Bungle and a million other projects) and Dave Lombardo (Slayer and other things) had formed a band and were touring.  I have wanted to see Slayer forever but never have.  I almost saw them last year but it sold out.  So, I kind of lost interest in seeing them.

And of course, Mike Patton is legendary and I’ve liked so much of what he’s done, but I’ve never seen him either.

I was curious what the album would be like and wasn’t entirely surprised to hear that it was basically a hardcore/speed metal album (10 songs in like 25 minutes).  Despite the two of them, I wasn’t really sure if I wanted to go to a show like that (I don’t really relish getting in a full-sized mosh pit).  But the more I thought about it (and after reading about the opening band) I decided it would be worth going to.

I checked out their setlists online and saw that they basically played the whole album and a couple extra songs.  Which, by my calculation, would be about 40 minutes. (more…)

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

[ATTENDED: September 10, 2017] Secret Chiefs 3

When I considered going to see Dead Cross, I wanted to know who was opening.  It was a band I’d never heard of: Secret Chiefs 3.  Turns out that the band was created by Trey Spruance, one of the founders of Mr. Bungle (and played with Faith No More).  And the description of the band sounded wonderfully unusual.  I listened to some stuff online, and that made me decide to check this show out.

Their music is a little hard to describe because there’s so much behind it, so I’m quoting from two sources here:

Jonathan Zwickel in 2004:

Spruance, Secret Chiefs 3’s chief composer and a former guitarist for Mr. Bungle, is a visionary madman capable of instilling both fear and respect in his listeners. Secret Chiefs 3 have existed in various incarnations over the course of the past eight years, and have served as the funnel for Spruance’s remarkably far-flung studies of the hermetic mysteries and musical traditions of unknown and underappreciated subgenres. Album titles like Grand Constitution and Bylaws and Book M hint at the music’s vaguely metaphysical bent. [The music is] an alchemical fusion of Morricone-esque cinematic grandeur, midnight surf guitar, traditional Middle Eastern rhythms and time signatures, demonic death metal, and electronic deviance that yields a work of undeniable force.

Whether or not Spruance and his Secret Chiefs 3 are the intermediaries between heaven and earth is, um, hard to say, but with Book of Horizons it seems they’re certainly communing with a power beyond the merely human. Virtuosity, paired with a fearless love of divergent styles and the humor and talent to skillfully, unmercifully mash them up, pushes [the music] into rarified heights.

And this fascinating bit of information from Wikipedia:

In 2007, it was announced Secret Chiefs 3 has always been a general name for seven different bands, each representing a different aspect of Spruance’s musical and philosophical interests. The seven bands are Electromagnetic Azoth, UR, Ishraqiyun, Traditionalists, Holy Vehm, FORMS, and NT Fan. Spruance has stated that the sound collages of Electromagnetic Azoth serve as the center of Secret Chiefs 3.

Right.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

[ATTENDED: May 5, 2016] The Dillinger Escape Plan

2016-05-05 19.48.27I bought The Dillinger Escape Plan’s first album way back in 1999.  It is an abrasive, unpleasant, noisy, harsh record.  The band is known for playing “mathcore” which means their songs have lots of stops and starts and weird rhythms.  They are also really fast and the chords are more like screeches than actual guitar chords.

I didn’t listen to that album very much and I pretty much forgot about the band, but I saw their name pop up here and there.  And now, here they were opening for Mastodon.

I didn’t know that they had been making records for all this time–with many, many line up changes, including a new singer since that first album.  As I looked through their discography, I found out that Mike Patton, singer for Faith No More, Mr. Bungle and a dozen other even weirder bands, sang for them on an EP.

And then their new (and current singer) Greg Puciato took over.  On the songs that I’ve listened to from their later albums, Puciato sings in many styles.  There’s a lot of screaming, but there’s also some crooning and vocals that sound an awful lot like Patton’s (no mean feat).

Reviews said their newer albums were more melodic, so I was interested to hear what they’d do. (more…)

Read Full Post »

momentSOUNDTRACK: NICK BUZZ-Circo (1996).

nickbuzzNick Buzz is a side project of Rheostatics singer/lead guitarist Martin Tielli.  This album was reissued in 2002, when I bought it  But it came out in 1996, right around the time of the concerts I’ve been posting about.  Martin says that this album is pure pop, and that he is genuinely surprised that people don’t see this.  Of course, when your album has screeching monkeys, cars honking and circus music, pop is not the first thing that comes to mind.  There are certainly pretty songs on here, but it is an album that resists easy entrance.  There are short manic pieces, slow, languorous, almost lounge music pieces, and an improved cover of Joni Mitchell’s “River.” And then there’s the instrumentation: piano, violin, guitar, voice (no drums, although there is percussion on some tracks) and other weird sound effects.

“Step Inside” opens the disc.  It seems like a normal, mellow song (with slightly falsettoed vocals).  But 34 seconds in the circus music starts—a deviant and unsettling circus that pushes its way into the song briefly then vacating and allowing the pretty melody to return.  It’s like a mild form of Mr Bungle (with more actual circus).  It’s unsettling at first but then strangely catchy after a few listens.  There is fanfare as the song ends, interrupted by the sound of a tape speeding up (or going backwards) until song two bursts in.

“That’s What You et for having Fun” is less than three minutes and while weird, it is certainly accessible and funny.  The guitar sounds like he is slapping the strings rather than strumming them.  The refrain of “there’s a monkey in my underwear” gives a sense of the absurdity (especially when the President of Canada (sic) says he has one too).  “Just Because” mellows things out a lot—simple guitar with a kind of lullaby feel (it’s a bout wishing on stars).  It’s so slow after the craziness of the first two songs.  After  3 minutes of a lounge type song, it ends with a distant radio sound of an even more loungey song which melds into the live version of “River.”

The mellow “River” is followed by a raucous bass clarinet solo and wild guitar solo that is interrupted by the long (nearly 6 minutes) “Sane, So Sane.”  This is the most conventional song on the record—a simple piano melody with repeated lyrics (conventional aside from the weird distant music in the background of course).  Although it does gone on a bit long.  “A Hymn to the Situation” is an eerie two-minute wobbly song.

“Fornica Tango” is indeed a tango presumably sung in Italian. This song features a crying baby, an interesting sounding “Italian” chorus and the screeching monkey at the end.  “Love Streams” is a pretty, slow ballad.  “Aliens Break a Heart” is another pretty song.  Although this is the song that ends with traffic sounds.  “The Italian Singer/Just Because I’m Nick the Buzz” has a kind of Kurt Weill atmosphere to it with spoken words and falsettos.

It took me several listens before I could really find purchase with these songs.  I find that I really enjoy most of them now–some of those slow ones are a little too meandering for my liking.  But it seems like a fun outlet for Tielli’s songcraft.

[READ: October & November 2013] A Moment in the Sun

I read this book last year…finished it just before Thanksgiving, in fact (I was proud of my pacing).  But it was so huge that I didn’t want to write about it until I had a good amount of time.  And now here it is four months later and I probably have forgotten more details than I should have and the post will be nowhere near as in depth as I was saving time for in the first place.  Bah.

When people see this book, they say, “That’s a big book.”  And it is a big book.  It’s 955 pages (and they are thick pages, so the book itself is nearly three inches thick–see the bottom of this post for an “actual size” photo); it’s got three “books” and dozens of characters whose stories we read about in full.  It is about the United States, racism, The Gold Rush, the assassination of a President, the Spanish American War, a World’s Fair and even the exploration of moving pictures.  This is a fairly comprehensive look at the Unites States from the 1890s to the early 1900s.  And, man was it good.

John Sayles is known more for his movies than his books (18 films directed, nearly as many different ones written and only 4 novels), but the cinematic quality that is clearly in his blood comes through in this book as well. (more…)

Read Full Post »

bartelbySOUNDTRACKOS MUTANTES-” Picadilly Willie” (2013).

Iosmut enjoyed this album so much (thanks NPR for the stream) that I had to talk about this song and how radically different it was from yesterday’s track.  “Picadilly Willie” is this wonderful old-sounding rock song.  It’s got a very classic rock riff, but there’s something slightly off-kilter which makes it sounds more like Frank Zappa classic than radio classic.  And when the vocals come in (with a sinister laugh) it sounds more like Mr Bungle than anything else (I wouldn’t be surprised if Mike Patton was a fan of Os Mutantes).

The song ends with what sounds to me like Middle Eastern sitar music and echoed chants of “Bra-zil!”

And these are just two of the styles of music on this wonderfully wild and diverse CD.  I can’t wait for its release.

[READ: April 22, 2013] Bartelby & Co.

I read about this book in the Bolaño interview book.  Vila-Matas was one of many authors that Bolaño highly recommended–this book ion particular.  And, it was one of the few books on that extensive list that has been translated into English.

This book follows in the rich tradition of books that are more or less lists about people and not really novels at all. (This seems like a peculiarly Latin American pastime, at least in my experience, as there are nearly a half dozen books that seem to do this, including several by Bolaño).

The key to this book is in the title: Bartelby.  The narrator is a hunchbacked loner, and he decides to catalog all of the instances of writers who have in the grand tradition of Herman Melville’s Bartelby the Scrivener said “no, I would prefer not to” write anymore.  And so this book becomes a series of notes without a text.  The glorious list includes many famous and not so famous writers (the most famous being Salinger) who whether famous or not, decided to write no more.  And thus we have 86 “sections” in which the narrator writes about writers who stopped writing.  For most of the he gives their reason for no longer writing, for others he simply likes talking about how they stopped writing or what their circumstances were before they stopped. (more…)

Read Full Post »

wild thingsSOUNDTRACK: FANTÔMAS-Suspended Animation (2005).

fantomasIf you know Fantômas, then you know what you’re in for.  If you don’t, well, it’s a surprise!

Fantômas are the brain child of Mike Patton (Mr Bungle-era more than Faith No More with help from Buzz Osborne from The Melvins and Dave Lombardo from Slayer).  Suspended Animation is designed as a soundtrack to April, 2005.  There are thirty tracks, and each one corresponds to a calendar page.  The limited edition (which is apparently still in print as I got one last month) is a calendar with art by Yoshitomo Nara.  Nara’s work combines cuteness and menace, just like the CD.

A piece by Nara

A piece by Nara

Although, really the CD is more menace than cute.

This disc seems to combine Patton’s favorite things: cartoon music (many ‘toons are sampled here), death metal, short sharp blasts of noise and his fascinating vocal deliveries.

This write-up makes the disc sound very intriguing, but before you rush out to check it out, do know what you’re in for: short, noisy blasts of utter chaos.  It is not for the weak of heart or the queasy of stomach (or for the lover of melody).  It’s not even a case of , oh the songs are short, the next one will come along soon.  While there is diversity, it’s diverse within it’s own little world.  Of noise!

Be afraid.  But if you’re still interested after that caveat, then by all means check it out, if only for the calendar!

[READ: August 23, 2009] Where the Wild Things Are/”Max at Sea”

Because of Dave Egger’s story “Max at Sea” (which is basically a retelling of Where the Wild Things Are I felt I needed to re-read the original.  So thank you Dave Eggers for that.

The original is a fun story which seems to be more visually based than word based.  The drawings are sublime and indeed there are several pgaes with no words at all.  And, so, the filmmakers’ question remains: how to you make a film out of a 48-page book, many of which don’t even have words?  Stills from the movie do look pretty awesome.

And thus, Dave Eggers’ story was born.

I’m not actually going to reveiw Where the Wild Things Are, because, well, it’s a classic, and it’s  awesome.  What more can I say about it?  But I did want to reevaluate Egger’s piece having re-read Sendak’s.

It is quite clear that Eggers is in no way trying to re-write the story.  He has fleshed out a lot of details that are absent from the original (which the original in now way needs, but again, if you’re going to make a film, you need some kind of backstory). (more…)

Read Full Post »


Gsimon
SOUNDTRACK
: PEEPING TOM-Peeping Tom (2006).

peepingPeeping Tom is one of the many side projects that Mike Patton (known mostly as the vocalist for Faith No More) has created in the last few years.

As Faith No More moved past “Epic” into their later releases, it became increasingly clear that Mike Patton was one wacky little monkey.  And as he moved into projects like Mr. Bungle and his solo releases, he really let his freak flag fly.

Peeping Tom has Patton collaborating with all kinds of people.  And it is a surprisingly accessible record (even though it is still pretty unusual).  The album has a sort of hip hop feel to it with loud pulsing drums on most of the tracks as well as collaborators like: Kool Keith, Amon Tobin, Doseone, Kid Koala, and uh, Norah Jones.

“Five Seconds” starts as a pretty straightforward song, but the chorus of him counting/shouting 1 second, 2 seconds… faster and faster, takes on a new meaning of sinister.  “Mojo” has fun with Britney Spears, although the fun is in lyrics only, as the song is a heavy blast of illicit substance references.  The third track “Don’t Even Trip” continues this carnival of dementia with the wonderful lyrics, “I know that assholes grow on trees, but I’m here to trim the leaves.”

The middle of the album is less manic, it slips into some really catchy trip hop moments with the guests taking some control of the songs.  Kool Keith raps on “Getaway” allowing Patton to take charge on the choruses, while “Caipirinha” sounds very smooth and jazzy, as any song with Bebel Gilberto should.  “Celebrity Death Match” has a very funny vibe to it, not unlike Kid Koala’s tracks. The final track “We’re Not Alone” says it’s a remix, although it’s not a remix of any tracks on the disc.  It returns to the heaviness of earlier in the album.  And near the end it sounds not unlike a Foo Fighters track (despite its slow-paced and falsettoed verses).

But probably the most fun/giddy song on the disc is “Sucker.”  In it, a whispering, sultry, derisive Norah Jones sings the line, “What made you think you were my only…lover?  Truth kinda hurts, don’t it mother…fucker?”

There are many many moments on this record that seem borderline commercial, yet the schizophrenic nature of Patton’s songwriting means that those moments are quickly replaced by something else.  Compared to say Fantomas, this is a very commercial disc, but fear not, Patton fans, there’s enough weirdness on here to keep you coming back.

Plus, the album packaging is really cool. You pull open the tab on the right side and the disc slides out on the left side. There’s a keyhole cutaway that reveals different layers as the package opens, too.  Very cool.

[READ: November 22, 2008] Free Range Chickens

I had forgotten my book for lunch time reading today, and I didn’t want to start anything big, so I was thrilled to see that we had gotten in Free Range Chickens (at my request, of course).  It was the perfect lunchtime book as I finished the whole thing in 40 minutes.  (This may be a warning not to buy it, unless you intend to re-read it). (more…)

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: