The Number Nine Song in Heaven (Notice a Pattern yet?)
Mr Bungle - California (Slash Records, 1999)
Mr Bungle - The Air Conditioned Nightmare
Yes, I know that following the 'Girls of Porn' Mr Bungle are all going to hell. Competitions to put the most disgusting swear songs in a song as possible will do that to you. For that matter, if that whole coveting and worshipping of false idols part of the Commandments is true then I'll probably be joining them in the administration of nipple tweaking and Chinese burns. However, with this whole exercise I believe that it would be best to exercise wishful thinking.
So why Mr Bungle? Well, 'California' was probably the first record that I ever really loved when I was first getting into music six years ago and as such can be seen as catalyst for my "eclectic" modern tastes. All the songs on this album can be found on old mix tapes in some form or another due to their sheer adaptability. I'd later go on to get their all too bizarre eponymous debut and hate the thing (mainly due to the breaks between songs consisting of four minutes of Metal Machine Music feedback) but I'll always be able to come back to this Zappa-lite confection. It's truly impossible to describe how Mike Patton (lead singer of Fantomas, Tomahawk, and, of course, Faith No More) and his cohorts manage to control such a melange of styles into such a smooth set. Songs canter from loungecore through heavy metal to torch songs in under four minutes without taking a breath or missing a step.
My favourite of these exhaustive explorations of the musical psyche is 'The Air Conditioned Nightmare', a monastic journey out of Bavarian forests into the teenage wilderness of Jan & Dean's Surf City before finally riding against a silhouetted Boston skyline. There's machine gun riffs, a soft coda of native percussion and animal clucks whilst Patton croons, and an ultimate overwhelming feeling of catharsis. It's so pure in its sheer likeability with none of the instrumental quirks played for laughs or to show off a uniform studio prowess. Every touch and every note is required for the song structure creating a four minute rock operetta as far detached from the fatty excess of Queen or the coyness of early Bowie as possible. I adore it and can't imagine life without it.
Tomorrow: Amazing solo Feats as our man George finds out that his new job as a handyman ain't all that it's cracked up to be. See you then!
NB: I forgot to upload the mp3! Apologies but you must allow for the occasional screw up by yours truly. I am only flesh, blood, bile, water, and other organic matter. On a happier and less disgusting note, my sister found this delightful page of Elliott Smith Either/Or demos.
Buy - Mr Bungle - California
Visit - The Musical World of Mike Patton