Luna Kafé e-zine  Luna Kafé record review
coverpic flag Norway - Full Moon 241 - 04/22/16

Bacteria Cult
Ipecac Recordings

Oslo, some years ago. Mike Patton and hard rocking Tomahawk are in town. It's a fantastic concert. But then something very disturbing happens. The music stops. Patton, with a diabolic grin addresses the audience. Is there, he asks, a Viking here tonight who wants to puke on me? To my surprise there are quite a few who want to do exactly that. Pick me! Pick me! They scream, they jump up and down, waving with long, hairy Viking arms. Patton makes his choice. That one! The ugliest Viking comes to the stage, smiling like he just won the million dollar lottery. Patton instructs him. I can't hear what he is saying, but the plan becomes obvious when Patton goes down on his knees and opens his mouth - wide open, like a hungry little bird in its nest. Then the ugly Viking opens his mouth and inserts a long, dirty finger. And then the puke comes. Lots of it. Gallons of it. Most of it disappears into Patton's mouth and down his throat. The rest covers his face and his shirt. I can't remember more of the music that evening. All I remember is Patton singing, covered in another man's puke.

Since then it's been a very different experience for me to listen to music by Patton. But please don't let my little story distract you while listening to Bacteria Cult by Patton and Kaada, a record which is a very different... meal.

Even more cinematic than the duo's first record, Romances (Ipecac, 2004), without a trace of Tomahawk or any other rock band Patton has played with. Hell, there are not even any rock instruments on this record. No drums, no bass, no fuzz guitar. Almost no Patton, come to think of it. Here he's the man in the chorus, the background singer, the man with no words, just oooooohs and aaaaaahs. Nothing of his usual bravado, no screams and yells or evil crooning. Bacteria Cult is not that kind of music. Bacteria Cult is film music. And the film music composer is the Norwegian Kaada, he's done a lot of it in the past. In "Red Rainbow", the opening track, a young woman is lying dead in the shadows of a dirty backstreet at night. "Black Albino", the following track, is pure Ennio Morricone, including the sad trumpet. Which gunfighter will reach for his gun first?

Bacteria Cult never rushes along. Kaada and Patton take their time. No need to run through the graveyard. Violinists, amusement park musicians with their old, rotten organs and oboe players follow along. On one or two tracks Kaada and Patton meet Tyondai Braxton, still proud of his album Central Market (Warp, 2009), a couple of times you'll swear you just heard a few seconds of Norwegian folk music, and then we're attending a funeral.

Don't expect to stomp your feet. Don't expect to hum along, although this is really melodic stuff at times. But do expect to see a fine midnight movie.

[PS! Check out Kaada's solo recordings, such as his solo debut Thank You For Giving Me Your Valuable Time, or his band Clorform's Do the Crawl. The noisy avant-rock band Cloroform has just released a new record, Grrr (Kaada Records) - their first album in 9 years! Kaada has also scored numerous soundtracks to Norwegian feature films over the years - editor's note.]

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