Review Summary: Dark and formless, Mike Patton's latest foray is a fascinating if not unwieldy creation.
Never one to fear wandering into the more experimental realms of music, Mike Patton has based his career off of bending and twisting sounds to fit his bizarre artistic visions. He is no stranger to avant-garde or classical, even paying tribute to Italian composer Ennio Morricone on both Mondo Cane
and The Director’s Cut
. And while Patton’s latest, Laborintus II
, appears to be one of his more overtly ambitious projects, it is clear that he has tangled with very similar beasts.
is a tribute to Luciano Berio, yet another Italian composer whose experimental style suits Patton. Originally written in 1965, Laborintus II
is a dark and meandering three-part epic; a formless collection of unconventional sounds that feels as if they came together seemingly by accident. This fits its inspirations well. Written to commemorate the 700th birthday of Dante Alighieri, it is based off of the Edoardo Sanguineti poem “Laborintus,” highlighting “the timelessness of love and mourning” through three voices.
More impressive than this behemoth of an origin tale is how fascinating it all sounds, despite being somewhat unwelcoming. It’s difficult to describe what Laborintus II
is exactly, as it does not exist within the confines of most recognizable music, instead sharing much with the mid-20th century avant-garde movement and its experimentation with tonality. The vocals range from spoken word, to shrill soprano blasts. Between these two lies some often haunting moments, particularly during the first half of the introductory part. Silence is greatly used here, as it can be used as a wonderful tool to build tension. Added to this, bouts of electronic noises can be heard, peppered in between the flutes, keys, and strings. Together, this cacophony can at times be somber, beautiful, and ominous, but always affecting.
For those familiar with Mike Patton’s more bizarre collaborations, his work with the Ictus Ensemble will feel rather welcoming. Laborintus II
is a strange and unique creation that despite being far from the days of Mr. Bungle and Faith No More, feels completely and totally Mike Patton.