Mike Patton & Ictus Ensemble
By Ron Hart August 02, 2012
Mike Patton's reverie for Italian music throughout his storied career is well-known amongst his loyal fan base. You can hear gratuitous elements of it throughout his 19-year tenure as the leader of the beloved avant-rock absurdists Mr. Bungle, especially on their 1995 experimental masterpiece Disco Volante
(Italian for "flying saucer"), particularly . His 1997 solo album Pranzo Oltranzista
for pal John Zorn's Tzadik imprint was based on some obscure anarchist-style Italian cookbook from the 1920s. His label, Ipecac Recordings, released an outstanding 2005 compilation of legendary film composer Ennio Morricone's freakiest cinematic scores from the 1970s. In 2006, he sang opera at the Teatro di Modena. He once owned a house in Bologna and was married to an Italian artist named Titi Zuccatosta. And in 2007, he performed a cluster of concerts doing renditions of old 50s and 60s Italian pop songs on the Boot with a 40-piece orchestra and 15-piece backing band he christened Mondo Cane, cumulating in a 2010 studio effort with the massive ensemble.
And the funny thing is, its not even clear if this fucking guy is actually Italian.Laborintus II
is the Faith No More frontman's latest swan dive into the Marinara. It is an homage to the groundbreaking Italian composer Luciano Berio, hailed as the Mediterranean John Cage for his fearless ability to bring together jazz, classical and early electronic music in unconventional and experimental ways. The title refers to the maestro's 1965 piece based on novelist Edoardo Sanguineti's poem Laborintus, created to mark the 700th anniversary of the birth of "the Father of Italian language" Dante Alighieri. Meanwhile, this recording stems from a 2010 performance of the piece by Patton, Belgian avant-garde orchestra Ictus Ensemble and the Netherlands Chamber Choir at the Holland Festival, the very place where Berio himself performed it in its original form back 38 years earlier. Serving as the narrator, Patton utilizes his superhuman throat to interweave with the vocals of the choir and Ictus's inferno of free jazz fire and impassioned improvisation, bringing a new manic energy to this challenging and complex work of genius.
More conventional fans of Mike Patton might want to wait until January of 2013 when the long-awaited new Tomahawk LP, Oddfellows
, comes out, which the singer has described as "really heavy Beach Boys". But for those hardcore followers open to every twist and turn that churns in the mind of this master of metal mimicry, adding Laborintus II
to your collection is a no-brainer.