Yes folks, it’s ‘Ken gushes about Mike Patton’ time again. I can’t be bothered to explain why Mike Patton is a genius, and why not having a significant segment of your music collection occupied by his work makes you culturally incomplete. Instead, just click here, and read the multitude of reviews, praise, and tracks in BCD episodes on this very site instead,…go on…it’s ok, I’ll wait…
Ok, you’re back, did you have fun? Of course you did, then I shall proceed:
Patton has made a few forays into the world of movie soundtracks in the past. His first proper effort, A Perfect Place, showed signs of exotica, and jazz found in his works with John Zorn, but essentially, felt more like a solo album, than a film score proper. He then re-engaged with the medium to score the excellent Jason Statham exploitation sequel, Crank: High Voltage (which we were promised a copy of for review, but never received). This felt far more ‘soundtracky’ in parts than A Perfect Place, with elements of Fantomas, John Barry, and early Ennio Morricone thrown into a hyper-caffeinated melting pot, perfectly suiting the trashy vibe of the film. We last saw Patton’s soundtrack work with The Solitude of Prime Numbers, a sparse affair, which – again – perfectly complimented Saverio Costanzo‘s excellent film La solitudine dei numeri primi, based on the best-selling novel by Paolo Giordano.
We now find him again scoring a soundtrack, this time for this months new release The Place Beyond The Pines (which I reviewed on our sister site here). I actually had no idea Patton was involved with this film, until I was sat in the theatre, and saw his name appear on-screen. So it was a nice surprise, as it was both an excellent film, and a brilliant soundtrack to boot.
Patton seems to be approaching this work in a far more traditional way. It actually feels like a soundtrack to a film that you would go and see in a multiplex theatre…don’t worry, it’s not actually as bad as it sounds, the brilliant Ennio Morricone, Angelo Badalamenti, and John Barry are/were often found there as well, it’s just the way it is I’m afraid. I bring up those names for a reason, however, as their fingerprints can be found all over Patton’s score, literally in the case of Morricone, who’s brilliant Ninna nanna per adulteri is recycled from the excellent Italian comedy drama Cuore Di Mamma. All allusions to traditional film soundtracks aside, this is, at large, still a Mike Patton record. Dark plodding bass meets down-tuned distorted guitars, adding menace when menace is needed, and beautiful shimmering arcs, and operatic choirs meet stabs of Lalo Schifrin, it really is great. At times, this album could be mistaken for the work of Angelo Badalamenti, especially in the brilliantly atmospheric Eclipse of the Sun, that melds dark synths with a tremolo ridden guitar, epitomised by Badalamenti in his work with director David Lynch (Twin Peaks/Lost Highway).
It amazes me that more directors aren’t employing Patton for their projects. It is clear that he thrives in this musical environment, and is clearly well versed in the medium. This core is both dark, brooding, and beautifully alive, and well worth more than a few listens. Get it now.