27 November 2006

Forty-eight


General Patton vs. The X-ecutioners - Joint Special Operations Task Force (Ipecac)

Released earlier in the year than Patton’s Fantômas album, this is aurally very much a practice run for what is to follow. The key difference, though, is the method of composition. Whereas the Fantômas was essentially an incredibly complex take on the heavy metal lexicon, this collaboration was obviously less ‘traditional’ for Patton.

The X-ecutioners, being among the world’s most famous purveyors of turntablism (I don’t know how cool they are within the scene, but that Linkin Park collaboration cannot have helped them), made for a different flavour for the Patton oeuvre, but the novelty seems to have ended at the methodology stage.

The turntable work on display is of an absurdly high standard, cutting up and layering to ridiculous levels. However, there is a fine line between great technical arrangements and sheer virtuoso masturbation, and this album is a tightrope walker of quite perilous magnitude.

It soon becomes clear that Joint Special Operations Task Force falls prey to the trap that Fantômas and Bungle occasionally do: while there are plenty of good ideas on show, the problem is that there may actually be too many. The listener hears something cool, be it a sound or a hook, and it is instantly lost, washed off by the high tide, never to be heard again.

Patton projects do sometimes irritate in their habit of not letting ideas breathe, rushing through them like this was the end of the Generation Game. Joint Special Operations Task Force is a ‘good’ album, but an incredibly frustrating one at the same time.

Devoid of any real framework, or grand narrative, this is just a blast of myriad ideas. Some are good, some are amazing; it’s just hard to discern, when you become forcefully desensitised after a few minutes. Perhaps that’s the relevance of the military gimmick.

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