Romances – ATLANTA (Review)




Ipecac John Kaada and Mike Patton’s Romances is a spooky and thrilling collaboration that possesses all the qualities of a deranged and fantastic foreign film. Patton, the former Faith No More vocalist and Ipecac label owner, is no stranger to film music. His ’01 offering with Fantomas, The Director’s Cut, was a wicked romp through the soundtracks of some of the grizzliest horror films on the market. When teamed up with Norwegian film score composer Kaada, the two unleash a sonic panorama that brings to mind a twinkling and surreal snow-dusted landscape.


There’s an ebb and flow to Romances that builds around variations of fugue-like rhythms and textures. Accordion drones, booming voices, washes of organs and looming, operatic crescendos plod along, punctuated by whispers and some legitimately heartrending crooning. “Pitie Pour Mes Larmes” and “Seule” illustrate that Patton does indeed know the rules before he breaks them. And this juxtaposed with Kaada’s vivid and conceptual leanings produces an unsettling effect that doesn’t let up until the credits roll.


One of the best cuts, “Crépuscule,” takes shape as an undulating and machine-age masterpiece with a crystalline glaze and mechanical voodoo beats. It’s like watching the cast of A Nightmare Before Christmas trapped in the gears of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis with no hope or desire for insurrection. Patton sinks continually into his role as the working man’s avant-gardian, and just as birds of a feather flock together, Kaada and Patton’s are complimentary characters in this eerie journey in cinematic sound.


– Chad Radford