It’s been said about many artists, but the one case in which people actually “love” or “hate” an artist is Mike Patton. One the one hand there are devoted fans, Mr. Bungle devotees, Faith No More faithfuls, Fantomas fans and Tomahawk, uh, hawks? But on the other side of the fence are those that just don’t get him. To those on this side, Patton is pretentious and unlistenable, more likely to create something that would annoy people than would actually please the eardrums. And I suppose I can sympathize with both sides, which might make my argument weak, but it’s not so much that I love everything that Patton releases. In fact, I don’t own much of his stuff at all. But I respect that he’s doing what he wants to do. He runs his own label. He’ll put out electronic music one day, heavy metal the next, pure noise after that and hip-hop on the weekend. That’s just how Patton is and there ain’t nothin’ that’s going to change that.
Now, those that are still reading will most likely take interest in the latest of Patton’s projects, General Patton vs. The X-ecutioners. Where some might be turned off by the likes of Mr. Bungle and Fantomas, this project finds Patton taking on hip-hop beat scientists the X-ecutioners in a sampladelic tug-of-war. The result, is, of course, a tad on the weird side. But regardless, it’s something that many of Patton’s projects are not: accessible.
Titling himself General (well we moved our way up through military ranks rather quickly, didn’t we?), Patton does vocal battle with his turntablist collaborators, often resulting in something unique and surprisingly catchy. The first immediate standout is “Get Up, Punk!”, a track that sees Patton singing over an RJD2-worthy backing track. Should these cats decide to release a single, this would be an obvious choice. But other tracks, like “Vaqueros y Indios” show off Patton’s beastly vocal dynamics, the likes of which have been stolen from nü-metal singers like Jonathan Davis of Korn and that dipshit from Godsmack. All the while, a strange military theme runs through the length of the album, like on “Dueling Banjo Marching Drill,” which finds Patton imitating a drill sergeant between banjo samples.
The X-ecutioners’ choice of samples are consistently amusing, whether it’s the Latin guitar on “Precision-Guided Needle Dropping and Larynx Mutilations” or the jazzy sounds of “Surprise Swing Insurgency.” But paired with Patton, obviously, things are much more colorful, if a bit abrasive.
It’s unclear whether Patton will amass more fans on this record, but it’s a worthy listen, regardless. It certainly doesn’t take the tolerance that Delerium Cordia does, though few things do. But between this and Patton’s collaboration with Kid 606, the man might have a successful career in mashups ahead of him.
The Avalanches – Since I Met You
RJD2 – Deadringer
Mr. Bungle – California
Jeff Terich is the founder and editor of Treble. He's been writing about music for 20 years and has been published at American Songwriter, Bandcamp Daily, Reverb, Spin, Stereogum, uDiscoverMusic, VinylMePlease and some others that he's forgetting right now. He's still not tired of it.