05 December 2006
Fantômas – Suspended Animation (Ipecac)
Mike Patton’s supergroup returns, with their fourth album since 1999. After the seventy-four minute single track ambient experiment that was Delirium Cordia (2004), the band released the polar opposite – a thirty track ‘calendar’ based on the days in April full of ostensibly kids’ music. What’s more, it was apparently created at the same time as the ambient piece.
From ‘background music’ couldn’t come a more opposite concoction of completely complex composition. Influenced by the scattershot sound of the band’s debut, this offers forth numerous short, dynamic, aggressive pieces based on jazz, Death Metal and cartoons (including sound effects and Bugs Bunny samples).
What seems on the surface to be random noises and riffs has actually been meticulously crafted by Patton himself, then given to the musicians to play as only they know how (Dave Lombardo’s drumming is notable in its quality).
Filled with ideas and brilliance, there are two main issues, one haunting this album and the other, most Patton projects. Due to the intensity and density of this music, it can be a bit much by the end of the album. Fortunately this is somewhat offset by the fact the album is just over half an hour.
Which leads us to the more universal issue I have with the musical output of the great man. While there are myriad great ideas, they very rarely have a chance to flower before they are trampled by more of the same. It would be nice to have a Patton album which let its ideas develop, rather than being discarded like so many kid’s toys.
Wait a minute…