Kaada and Patton - _Romances_
(Ipecac, 2004)
by: James Slone (7.5 out of 10)
Norwegian pop and film composer John Kaada and US resident madman Mike Patton join forces to bring us a little slice of the life aquatic. _Romances_ is a playfully dark work of murky dissonance and space age lounge suite ambiance, bouncing somewhere between evocative film score composition and luridly sad pop ballads. The music is not rock in any shape or form, but imaginatively textured exotica peppered with the occasional percussive beat and strategic insertions of distortion and noise. For his part, Patton alternates between his two favorite roles: "crooning pop maestro" and "precocious child savant with mixing gear". He employs a whole slew of voices, from a high falsetto to a low rumble, animal noises to courtly elegance, in a single song.

But all this is expected -- the novelty of the album is his voice's place within the larger compositions, which range from outer space eeriness to deep sea darkness, almost reasonably terrestrial and grounded in parts. Patton's voice is well suited to the music, and this might be the first truly avant garde work he appears on in years that works convincingly through its duration. The music suggests space stations, sprawling subterranean caverns, and strange life at the bottom of the ocean. The beautiful Ipecac gate-fold features imagery of jellyfish rising from the shadowy depths of the deep sea, an image at once beautifully striking and insidiously creepy. That cover really is the best possible description of the music.

Contact: http://www.ipecac.com

(article published 8/3/2005)

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