By now you must have heard the news of the official break-up of Bay Area metal legends Mr. Bungle. More than a few of you may be crying yourselves to sleep at night clutching your faithful copies of “Disco Volante,” cursing Mike Patton for dissolving the band who brought you the soundtrack to your wicked youth.


But fear not boys and girls, for the intrepid leader of the Ipecac crew has compacted the work of the sextet of musicians who comprised the Bungle sound into a handy dandy collaboration between himself and Norwegian sonic collagist John Kaada.


On “Romances,” this newly baptized duo gives Patton’s long-delayed Peeping Tom project with Dan the Automator a good run for its money by manifesting a collusion of samples and voice that utilizes everything from Esquivel to Phil Spector to Chopin to 19th century French pop. Kaada, still burning hot off the critical acclaim awarded his 2003 debut album, “Thank You for Giving Me Your Valuable Time,” astounds here, pushing his art beyond the SP1200 to incorporate a bevy of live instruments (steel guitar, drums and bass clarinet) into his already dense groove theory.


Meanwhile Patton, last heard in a dream alliance with Bjork on her new “Medulla” album, hasn’t sounded this smooth since Lovage, proving once again why he is one of the most crucial crooners in modern music. The end result comes off like the proper follow-up to Mr. Bungle’s 1999 swan song, “California,” in terms of its pure intricacy and measure, and that should give grieving fans something to smile about once again.


– Ron Hart