MIKE PATTON – Adult Themes For Voice (1996 Tzadik)
I’m a huge Faith No More fan; I think they’re easily one of the most brilliant bands of any genre to grace the stage. I collect their stuff, and occasionally Mike Patton’s solo projects as well. Numerous as they are, I tend to pick and choose today. Back in 1996, that wasn’t the case.
One night, out with T-Rev record shopping, we visited Encore Records in downtown Kitchener. On their shelves, for $24.99, was a Mike Patton solo album called Adult Themes for Voice. I asked the lady at the counter, “Is this any good?” She responded cryptically, “Well, nobody’s ever returned one.”
I did buy it, not only because I’m a completist, but because the text on the obi strip made it sound so fucking cool:
The debut solo album from a performer/composer who has worked with Mr. Bungle, Kronos Quartet, Faith No More, Bob Ostertag and many others. Experimental sounds never imagined from just a voice and microphone. An absolute classic.
Shit, how could I possibly say no after reading that? I’d have to be a dick not to buy the CD.
Then, we went to go visit Tom at his store, and he put the disc on. In-store.
First came the wide open eyes, then the chuckles, then the “I can’t believe you spent $25 on this”.
Sorry folks, it’s just not for me. I know there are people out there who can appreciate this. I’m not one of them. It’s true that Mike Patton can do just about anything with his voice, and here he does just about anything with his voice, except singing. Different screams and guttural sounds are spliced together into brief compositions. Tape editing is just as important as the vocals, in terms of the final compositions. At times his voice is percussive, at other times whimpering. At all times, assaulting the ear. It rarely sounds human at all. It’s interesting, with the recent release of the new Faith No More album Sol Invictus, how Mike Patton has integrated some of these techniques with their sound.
Being a collector, and being a long-time Faith No More fan, I did keep this album in my library. I found a good use for it: the shorter tracks make for awesome transitions on mix CDs!
But 5/5 stars if you can listen to something like this regularly; there’s no denying the creativity involved!