Romances – CANADIAN (Review)




If you’re in the mood for a unique musical experience, picking up the latest collaborative effort between John Erik Kaada and Mike Patton is probably going to be very satisfactory. Romances offers a retro sensibility similar to listening to old vinyl records. The style of the music is very hard to classify, as it normally is with Mike Patton projects. While never full out rocking, the vocal stylings and harmonies are a heavy assault in itself.


Mike Patton has always been involved with great music projects, from Mr. Bungle/Faith No More to Fantomas/Tomahawk, and Romances fits perfectly into his catalogue. John Erik Kaada, an artist on Pattonís record label Ipecac, is extremely gifted in instrumentation and gives Romances the otherworldly texture that helps identify itís sound. Kaada has an amazing talent of mixing production work and playing with samples and his work with Patton is well worth checking out. Romances is the best of both worlds as Pattonís vocal ability and Kaadaís production work is in top form.


The album isn’t quit as romantic as Patton’s other group Lovage, but more or less harkens back to the martini swilling days of yesteryear. Romances would make the perfect soundtrack to anyoneís bachelor pad. Aside from Pattonís trademarked singing, one of the greatest attributes of Romances is the musical range. The opening track, ìInvocationì, sounds like it belongs on a soundtrack to a foreign movie or old science fiction movie, and thatís only the beginning. Inspired by the works of classical composers, Romances travels to new areas that are rarely explored in modern music with fantastic tracks like ìCrepuscleî, the eleven minute opus ìAubadeî, and ìSeuleî.


Romances is one of the better recent album releases and itís style is really different and sets it apart from anything else. With sounds both organic and sampled coming from a theramin, keyboards/organs, and Pattonís voice, the drumming and the use of bass mixed in with the orchestration is impressive. Whoever listens to Romances is in for a musical assault on the senses with an odd yet more than satisfying results. Patton and Kaada are talented enough to walk the line between avant-garde without seeming to go above their audiences heads. They truly love what they are doing, which is evident in the music, and I strongly recommend the music lover to check out Romances, then go out and check out other Patton and Kaada projects.


– Rod Eckrich