Romances – MXDWN (Review)




Romances is a slightly deceptive title for this record. John Kaada and Mike Patton have crafted a creepy and atmospheric record together. While not un-romantic (and marginally regressive sound-wise) the album liberally plays with the type of bold experimentation Patton has made famous in his many other bands. Reverb drenched keyboard, squeelish-sqawking vocals and minor key dissonance all abound on this fruitful project.


Kaada has made a name for himself over the years as a composer of film music and Patton’s recent work, The Director’s Cut and Delirum Cordia, contained an obvious appreciation for film scoring. The performer’s talents mingle well here with nothing sounding heavy-handed. Romances is rife with patience, a trait not typically known of Patton’s popular work. On this record the subtlety pays off tremendously in the finer moments such as “L’absent” and “Seule.”


“L’absent” features an electronic beat sounding halfway between tribal percussion and processed dance while a twang-y chord plucks lightly in the background. In the midst of this Patton comes in with a melody sang nearly entirely through sighs. It’s oddly beautiful in its simplicity.


Later “Seule” pours over in sadness while a lone flute-style melody is the sparse accompaniment to Patton crooning, “Today / This ain’t my world / You’re not my girl / I’m asleep / Goodnight world” in a soft fearless voice.


Although composed as a mini-symphony and a bridge between time frames and musical genres, this record might confuse some Patton fans. It may not be as jarring or exciting as his other work but fear not. Kaada draws the best out of him, in the process allowing for a truly challenging and rewarding album.


written by Raymond Flotat