Mike Patton and Jean-Claude Vannier Corpse Flower
Published Sep 12, 2019There really is no musician with as vast of a range of skills and styles as Mike Patton, and his latest collaborative album with French musician and composer Jean-Claude Vannier is a perfect example of how eclectic he is. The album dives into western-styled lounge music with a wide range of instruments and weirdness to keep listeners on their toes for each and every track.
With a vocalist as diverse as Patton, the album pulls very few tricks out of him early on, and instead focuses on his low drawl. Songs like "Camion" or "Chansons D'Amour" have a very calming lounge vibe while using vocals as a means to push the instruments along. That approach takes a drastic shift on "Cold Sun Warm Beer," which starts to see some of the vocalist's wackier tones coupled with more jarring and unnerving instrumentals.
As the record carries on, the intensity of the songs seemingly increases with every passing track. Even after the odd sounds of "Cold Sun Warm Beer," "Browning" seems like a sonic push into dense tones with a western-meets-disco feel showing yet another shift in stylistic approach.
Another interesting strategy the musicians employ is placing a select instrument or section of instruments at the forefront of each song. Where "Hungry Ghost" boosts organs as its focal point, "Corpse Flower" builds an incredible string section into one of the creepiest, but best songs. This take seems to help the album as a whole, since the songs don't necessarily work as singles, but rather a whole composition, yet each song has memorable aspects.
While the record probably is best suited for listening in its entirety and isn't exactly geared towards a specific type of music fan, Corpse Flower has a dynamic sound that is interesting for anyone. The record is another example of the masterful musicianship of Patton and showcases Vannier's capabilities in crafting perfectly balanced pieces of music. (Ipecac)