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Mr. Bungle - Disco Volante CD (album) cover

DISCO VOLANTE

Mr. Bungle

RIO/Avant-Prog


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billyshears'67
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Mr. Bungle, for me, one of the most important bands ever. This album, ABSOLUTELY GREAT, with the exception of "The Bends", which doesn't warrant anything intersting and is basically annoying. The rest of the songs: all great. I would've loved to have given this 5 stars, but blame it on "the Bends".

This album came so unexpectedly. Their self-titled debut was somewhat commercially acceptable, this album is one of the most anti-commercial albums in recorded history. Completely bizaare sounds cascade from crag-jagged towering monoliths of insanity. The musical styles range from tango, jazz, techno, death metal, surf rock, and sounds probably undiscernible from the creators themselves. "Everyone I Went to High School with is Dead" contains morbid lyrics and the vocals sound like they're done by the dead classmates. "Carry Stress in the Jaw" is perhaps the heavist track, going in and out of speed and death metal bursts colliding into vocal excursions that resound as if they were sung in the deeps of a cave. The time signatures are astonishing on the album throughout. "Violenza Domestica" is an italian song about domestic violence with great vocals by Mike Patton. The talent of the musician's is incredible, all exemplifying great range. "Ma Meeshka Mow Skowz" is in a language all their own (I hope). "The Bends" is the most astonishingly topsy-turvy "song" I've ever heard. "Platypus" is a very humrous and immensely technical song about, you guessed it the platypus. The album ends with "Merry Go Bye Bye" which begins as surf-rock normality (excluding the lyrical subject matter which is about suicide) and then descends into feral madness (the vocal abilities resemble a plane taking off, repeatedly). The song then goes in roller coaster mode for the remainder having a very gentle and poignant moment before being raped by the cacophony of musical din. The hidden stuff at the very end of the album is very loud and frightening if your trying to listen to the album before going to bed (not recommended; it will wake you right up, violently). Highly recommended album for fans of original musicians with integrity and skill.

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Posted Monday, May 31, 2004 | Review Permalink
progmonster
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars The masterpiece of the nineties ! Their three albums defies any human preconception of what can be considered as perfect. But their second, "Disco Volante", stands out as the "Trout Mask Replica" of my generation ; an unindentified flying object that will change the life of anyone with enough guts to risk a listen. Forever !

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Posted Tuesday, June 29, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars After months of listening to this album, along with all the other Mr. Bungle albums. I have been able to soak much of it in (there's still some left I'm sture). While I don't know that I would classify this as prog, I would say that it is one of the most unique albums I own. From the Elementary school ballad of "After School Special" to the happily twisted "Merry Go Bye Bye" this album has so much to offer. If there is one Mr. Bungle album to own, this is it.

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Posted Sunday, December 12, 2004 | Review Permalink
gvillegas@hot
4 stars When I first got this album I was hoping to listen something like "My Ass is on Fire" or "Squeeze me Macaroni". But When I listened to it I knew I had another thing coming! This album is great and sounds nothing like their debut. I can tell you, coming from my experience, that you might be considered a "weirdo" when you introduce this music to your friends cause nobody will understand it after a first listening, even I had to struggle with that. But after listening to it for a while I got to appreciate it as it is and I love it. This album is filled with experimental music and many incongruent passages. "Carry Stress in the Jaw" is one of my favorite songs of all time, combining death metal with jazz and some other stuff its a quite interesting mix. It's hard to try to put this music into a category. But if you think you've heard it all after listening to this guys, listen to John Zorn's Naked City.

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Posted Tuesday, January 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
mondaymetalst
4 stars This album has everything on it! I love to bring this album out and show people who make the claim they like everything and watch them gasp in amazment at this truely original peice of work. A definit must have for anyone interested in doing music composition. Although the album has times when the music can be a bit missunderstood at first listen, I would recomend anyone wanting to make a mark in the music industry to learn this album. Think of this album like a Tholonious Monk recording, it may sound like a lot of random parts and wrong notes but in reality there is a great deal of struckture and timeing. The only reason I can't give this an essential rating would be this is such a hard album to listen to for a lay person or someone just getting into progressive music.

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Posted Sunday, April 03, 2005 | Review Permalink
danielcoddair
5 stars As a teenager who did copious amounts of hallucinagenic drugs, listening to this masterpiece was a staple in my "trips". Not that I needed to be in any drug-induced state to feel like I had experienced a more-than-unique and intense musical production; Disco Volante takes you to wherever you want to go, to places you don't want to go, and to places you didn't even know existed. At the opening track "Everyone I Went to High School with is Dead" you are plummeted into an unpleasant sonic barrage of mayhem, disonnance, and undiscernable noise. But this track is a mere "hazing", a rite of passage into the world of Bungle. Like Alice stepping through the looking glass, you are soon free to explore the sonic landscape laid before you. Every song is different; every song offers a different theme, a different vision of some twisted planet that Patton and Co. have created. "Desert Search for Techno Allah" whisks the listener away to some forgotten Arabic land wrought with techno beats and rhythms, while "Ma Meeshka Mow Skwoz" is a bizarre, ska and jazz-esque mixed with death metal song sung entirely of some jibberish language Patton made up. And the only way I can describe the 10 minute plus "The Bends" is the soundtrack to what it must feel like drowning in an ocean and having your life flashing before your eyes. By far the best of Mr. Bungles 3 full lengths, this is not for the casual listener. There's a great chance this album could either change your life, or leaved you scarred for the rest of it. But if you are willing to take the plunge, Disco Volante will ultimately leave you breathless and in awe. Enjoy!

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Posted Tuesday, April 19, 2005 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
2 stars Disco Volante must be one of the most unsettling record listed in our beloved Archives. Every proghead knows that the prog spectrum of the 90's is quite wide, ranging from the slightly regressive néo to the most adventurous RIO passing thru some approximate ( and stale) symphonically pretentious retro prog. However little were we expecting such a savage album by the mid-decade. And it came from the leader of one the noisiest and most uncompromising group around: Faith No More. Not only Patton either, as the others are quite dexterous at their respective instruments also.

However, as most progheads claim this album to be the pinnacle of the decade as far as adventurous prog/RIO is concerned, I was always one to wonder how this album, could be carried so high on the altar of music lovers. I mean by this that the musical qualities found on the album are so very impressive , but again the lack of direction seems to be its biggest weakness: they even venture for a few minutes in techno , but for no good apparent reason except maybe to show us that they can also do that style of music. Relatively pointless you'll agree...In between early Guapo, RHCP, RATM and a few more hard driving bands.

Again this album , although quite impressive musically speaking, it was a real disappointment for me , when I discovered this a couple of years after it came out as some of my buddies were making this album the Everest of prog. Mostly because it lacks aim.

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Posted Tuesday, April 19, 2005 | Review Permalink
paul@compress
5 stars The little pop up box that comes up when you press 1 star or 5 stars(to warn that they are ratings that should be reserved) made me stop for a minute. Is this a 5 star CD? Yes,it will scare off the layman and the newbie to prog,but(big BUT),this rating is about the experience I had with it. It might not be for everybody but if prog was for EVERYBODY, no band could get a 5 star rating. That is why prog is not mainstream...it's not for everybody. THIS ALBUM RULES!!!! I was a huge fan of the 1st CD and was indeed shocked the first time I heard it. I was lucky enough to see them 3 times on the first tour and had already heard "Everyone I went to Highschool is dead"...they annouced it. When I heard it live in '91 it left an impression on me that will go to my grave.So when I saw it listed as the 1st track I flipped out in the record store. I ran to my friend at the counter and told him the story of this song live. SO HEAVY,SO DISSONANT,SO GODDAMN CRAZY... Anyway, This album is like hot sauce. Some can't handle any,some like it,and some seek the hottest. This is for lovers of jalapenos and habeneros. I was so blown away from this album(saw them twice on this tour...the DC show was a benchmark for me) that is changed the way I enjoyed and approaced(I play)music forever.

This album was a straight middle finger to Warner Brothers,Jocks,Posers,Wannabes,MTV,and even it's rightful fans. "WHAT YOU LIKE CRAZY MUSIC?! THOUGHT" EPIC"(Faith no More) WAS COOL AND OUR FUNKY BREAKS ARE GOOD TO MOSH TOO,PATTON IS A HOTTIE,YOU LIKE THE SONG ABOUT PORN?!?!?! WELL... [%*!#] YOU! Try this album out... If you are really down."

Downright HEROIC.

and this album shows up...

I could go on about each song and describe them and celebrate them...but what is the point. They are songs that you have to hear for yourself. Buzz desrciptions like avant garde,jazzmetal,circus,post- whatever have no meaning. Just be prepared for an assault of sounds. And some of the creepiest themes of the 20th century. Buckle up or Shut up! Enjoy! P.S. I promise only to go over 50 words for this review.

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Posted Wednesday, April 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
con safo
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Excellent album. A major departure from their first record, and their most original work to date. This album is not for everyone, but those who can understand it and appreciate it are in for one of the most insane musical journeys of your life. "Carry Stress In The Jaw" is a jazzy, death metal tune which is utterly unpredictable. There are little to no immmediately catchy hooks in this album, minus the first minute of "Merry Go Bye Bye," before it delves into complete madness. If you have an open mind for experimental music, or you want to hear something like you've never heard before, pick up this album. 4.5/5 - con safo

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Posted Friday, May 27, 2005 | Review Permalink
slack4justice
5 stars Mr. Bungle are truly a legendary group. Their impact and influence is usually more than one realizes. Their sound is often duplicated, you can hear it in The Mars Volta, Primus and Incubus among other bands.

An amalgamation of sounds and styles, Disco Volante is treated more as an experience than a chunk of songs. Mr. Bungle is simply playing out what they've heard throughout their lives and transmitting it through their instruments the way they felt about it. That's the essence of Disco Volante. Mr. Bungle is presenting with extreme instrumental dexterity, how to create challenging yet interestingly accessible music.

Twisted techno, gritty surf, poetry, and pure noise bliss are among the themes of Disco Volante. Mike Patton's chameleon-like throat can compliment just about anything that Mr. Bungle pulls off, and very well, and Mr. Bungle touches a LOT of sounds. Desert Search For Techno Allah is a dirty funky mixture remeniscent of Eastern music and Herbie Hancock funk breakdancing music. Chemical Marriage where each member of the band in the same key plays the words of an Edgar Allen Poe poem. Then comes Carry Stress in the jaw, which features virtuoso playing all over with great melody, and then seguing into "The Secret Song" where are a throaty sounding character remeniscent of Buckethead's Bucketheadland gravekeeper (it might be Patton!) gets kicked out of the band. All of this is pulled off with flying colors!

The middle section of the album kicks off with Violenza Domestica, replete with eating utensils scraping against eachother, jittering, Black Sabbath doom chords, and horror polka. "Pasta pasta!" the unnamed character of this mini-story exclaims as doomy Italian restaurant music blasts throughout the background. After School Special is definitely hilarious, serious music combined with the most random theme, a teenager bragging about his parents (is it that?) Those two combined make a pleasantly uneasy song. Now we're led to Phlegmatics, a thrash metal extravaganza, but only for a few seconds of course due to Mr. Bungle's bipolar nature, then slightly touching on free jazz before jumping back to thrash. Ma Meeshka Mow Skwoz features more avant-garde vocals from Patton combined with bubbly high-octane funk with instruments you have never heard before traveling upstream in a fast funky melody, remeniscent of the first Bungle album.

The final section of the album starts with a sea-themed genre-jumping mood-inducing ten-part monster called The Bends, the psychedelic part of the album, it's pulled off well because of the overall sound is consistent and each part represents something different and it doesn't get old due to the cool effects and ideas within, some of it sounds like The Residents! It eventually reaches an intense climax and drops into Backstrokin', which is thematically the second part here of The Bends. It's effective as it blasts into Platypus which off the start Clinton the drummer is tearing it up. It's mostly a fusiony piece with lots of Weather Reporty improvisation and structure. Merry Go Bye Bye is so distinctive to the rest of the album and upbeat, that it leaves the album on a cool note. Or does it? The experimentation in Merry Go Bye Bye is among the most intense on the whole album, it's a let-loose freakout, being a culmination of almost the entire album before it turns into a live studio mess, reminding me of The Return of the Son of Monster Magnet from Freak Out! by the Mothers of Invention.

Thank God for whoever let Mr. Bungle have a studio and a record deal, because maybe nothing else in the '90's showed musicians how to progress music as we know it, and as players. A complete freakout with as much substance as you can imagine. A masterpiece, Mr. Bungle is undoubtedly a freaky continuation of where a lot of old fusion and symphonic bands left off progressively.

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Posted Saturday, June 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
funkerousmeta
5 stars Mr. Bungle is a bit of an enigma. They walk the line between freak-out-fans-only and mass-accessability, all the while doing it successfully. Their music is unpredictable, strange, and, in my opinion, brilliant.

Anyways, now onto the album. The first track is entitled "Everyone I Went to High School with is Dead", and it's can only be described as "freak-out metal". It begins with a riff and a chant and before soon, moves into "What the hell?" It's a surprising piece, and very much sets the mood for the entire album. You can really tell from the first track that this will be a rather crazy trip.

Onward to "Chemical Marriage". This track is without any real vocals, instead making the way for some vocal harmonizing mixed in with some keyboard playing that makes me feel a bit jazzy. The imagery I get during this song is that I'm in an elevator descending into a very psychedelic and strange place.

The next song, "Carry Stress in the Jaw", is somewhat unsettling and moody. A few shuffles with some very emotion-inducing bass behind Mike Patton's drawn-out and somewhat-high vocals don't prepare you for the metaljazz freakout that's about to come on. After this unholy shindig, comes to first part to make you feel strange again, then the song descends into the abyss again. This song both manages to set moods working inside of you and rock out at the same time. Very good.

The secret track in "Carry" is basically a hilarity piece with some old man getting booted out of the band. There's some wonderful vocal-harmonizing in this track and also some reminiscence of surf-music. This track shows Mike Patton's vocal talent pretty well, in that he can portray a silly character while just before this track, he was stretching his voice to create dark, unsettling moods.

"Desert Search for Techno Allah" definitely has some interesting stuff going on. Like every song on this album, this song shifts swiftly and smoothly, and elevates itself into one of the more unpredictable tracks on the album. That's the true greatness of this track: you don't know where it's going, but you're bound to love it anyway. Wonderful guitar and keyboard work are abound in this track. Perhaps the best parts are the subtle Eastern undertones, for those of us who can notice behind all the sinister and strange instrumental stuff going on. Again, another mostly vocal-less track, aside from chanting and harmonics.

"Violenza Domestica" begins with what sounds like two knifes scratching together, and then in comes a few subtle chords. The song blends into several chaotic things, inserting pianos, "at-the-opera" music, grinding metal-guitars, and whistling. You guessed it, this is another one of those unpredictable tracks. Among the chaos, Mike Patton sings in foreign tongues, and soon you're bound to ask yourself, "What am I listening to?" This song manages to be an aural assault and a pleasure at the same time. Best way to describe this track: organized, tamed chaos.

"After School Special" is very much a contradictory track. The music sets a serious tone, while Mike Patton sings about his mom being better than your mom (and your dad, too). It messes with your mind because you expect to hear about somebody dying but when the track ends, you don't know what to think. The best part is, that's surely what Mr. Bungle intended. Near the end, the song turns into a weird monologue, with Patton speaking through a vocal alteration device, sounding like an estranged kid, and asking a bunch of questions to an unheard entity. Weird, but fitting.

The next track, "Phlegmatics", starts out metally. The next parts aren't as chaotic or strange as the previous tracks, but they certainly have an awkward feel to them, combining slow guitar playing with speedy drumming and drawn-out vocals. The song does feel a little bit like "Carry", but it is also different in that it doesn't quite freak-out, as much as it creates a tone. Just when you think the song is over, it kicks back in, ascending back to where it started, and then stops.

"Ma Meeshka Mow Skwoz" reminds me of music you'd hear in Looney Tunes, except it's more unpredictable and Mike Patton sings in foreign tongues, once more. The song creates vivid imagery through the instruments. Another one of those up-down-up-down songs. By now, you can tell Mr. Bungle is trying to keep you on your toes. The highlights of this track are the bizarre xylophonery and the metallic sinister segments, almost descending to doom metal proportions at some parts.

"The Bends" starts off with some music you'd expect to hear an old sci-fi film about going to Mars. Patton soon enters with some harmonization, and then the music fades at 1:35. You think, is that it? And then, the music starts up again with a jazzy shuffle on the ride, and some subtle keyboarding. Then the bass comes in and the keyboard comes in, full force, and you feel all jazzy again, somewhat like "Chemical Marriage", but this segment actually is jazz. Once again, Patton harmonizes. The track then goes into a segment where it fades in and out, with most of it being subtleties and mood-setting. Some parts sound like you're hearing them through a wall, very muffled and such. The whole ten minutes is all about setting moods. The song feels very much like it is attempting to tell a story without words, but instead steadfast instrumentality. I feel like this song could be a soundtrack for a silent movie, albeit a very strange one.

The next song is entitled "Backstrokin'", and is an easy-flowing song compared to its predecessors. The song is predictable, and probably the most normal on this album. That doesn't make it any less enjoyable, though, as it makes a point of being easy-listening. It slowly feels like it's tearing at the seams, especially towards the end.

The song blends quickly into "Platypus", another one that starts off metally and then moves into some other things. There are some subtly-inserted funkstuff that occurs as well, with some jazz clarinet too. The song works both on subtleties and extremes, but it flows together especially well. "Platypus" shows best the talents of the makers of this album, since it flows so well while at the same time covering so much ground.

Finally, the last track, "Merry Go Bye-Bye" starts out pretty poppy, and feels very surfy. The song seems to put Patton in front, with him singing more than any song on the album. Before soon, the song descends (like a few others) into a doom-metal-esque track, but before long this fades into a techno-y beat. And then, a keyboard freak-out. And that creates a large segment, working between those messy styles to create gold from chaos. This song highlights largely Bungle's method of moving amongst styles, fluidly capturing the concepts of the entire album in one piece. The song fades and then about a minute of silence ensues before a secret track.

The secret track is more concentrated chaos, with what sounds like a child playing on some drums moving in and out of prerecorded mess. The secret track isn't very vital to the album. To me, it simply sounds like the band's having fun and messing around. It doesn't do any damage since a lot probably won't hear it anyway. It's still fun to listen to once, though.

Well, that's it. Disco Volante. Prime music, in my mind, and essential to prog-enthusiasts. This album earns five stars for being a prime example of modern prog rock, if not all of prog rock itself.

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Posted Sunday, June 19, 2005 | Review Permalink
penguindf12
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Brilliant. This is exactly the album I would make, but these guys beat me to it. Each track is something, horrendously combined with something else. Jazz-metal-surf rock? Italian-avant-opera? Middle Eastern Techno? It's all here.

The madness opens with "Everyone I went to High School with is Dead", a track likely placed first just to confuse, annoy, and make you write bad reviews. Essentially a slocore death metal track, the deep, growling fuzz bass and messy drums seem to flow like sludge through your speakers. All the agony and insanity, and a chorus of damned souls in a forced rendition of Hell's Alma Mater. Even so, it's probably one of the weaker tracks on here. I enjoy it, but if it's not your thing, don't judge the album by it.

"Chemical Marriage" reassures you that you didn't waste your money on some noise-obsessed metal band when it's hockey rink organs start up. One of three "instrumentals" on this CD, it is the shortest and most easily digestible. It has a great atmosphere, and kind of gives you some down time to prepare for the next track.

Mr. Bungle's true genius shines for the first time in "Carry Stress in the Jaw", where saxes and standup bass battle against shred metal guitars and Edgar Allen Poe references, making this one hell of a ride. Simply amazing. It ends with a hidden track tacked on to it, the so-called "Secret Song", which features a ranting old man's narrative and odd-meter surf rock.

The next track is "Desert Search for Techno Allah", which I really cannot describe well. I guess it's Daft Punk meets...someone...and someone else...and a whole lot of weirdness...with a highly danceable beat...and freaky sound effects partway through and a mideastern motif. Anyway, it's another highlight.

Then they top their own weirdness with "Violenza Domestica", the first song to really focus on lyrics. In Italian. Tons of sound effects here, accordians, and ominous guitars. The story seems to be a narrative on an abusive father who...steals his child's tounge... Anyway, it gets really creepy towards the end, with whispering really close to the mike and what sounds like an icy bowling alley in the background.

"After School Special" is definitely the weakest track, about a kid's mom and how great she is. They're quite a bit of cynical and eerie undertones here, including mentions of an abusive father. It's fairly short, with a freakish sampled section tacked on the end. The music still manages to encompass at least two genres, this time cliched pop organ rock and a brief latin-tinged instrumental.

Some hyperactive punk metal drumming kicks off "Phlegmatics", part III of "Sleep" (parts II and I being "Carry Stress in the Jaw" and "Slowly Growing Deaf", respectively). This song brings to mind KING CRIMSON, because of their use of "Epitaph"-like clarinets and quasi-metal dissonance and free meter. The guitar and vocals are kept almost totally separate from the bass chords and speed metal drumming, soaring in free time and echoing each other. Eventually it collapses into the clarient section I mentioned before.

Mike PATTON's nonsense vocal experimentations are showcased in the otherwise instrumental "Ma Meeshka Mow Skoz", as well as the band's best ZAPPA imitation. Bouncy, dark, noisy, and jazzy. Another winner.

"The Bends" is the weirdest multisectional I've ever heard. The sections fade in and out, drifiting eerily like a spotlight deep in the ocean. The highlights are "The Drowning Flute", "Aqua Swing" (a brilliant deepsea jazz session with some excellent upright bass), "Panic in Blue", and the song-like "Love on the Event Horizon", which features some acoustic guitar and electronically enhanced sax. It all ends with "Re- entry", an extremely loud rush of noise. Turn your speakers down. Waaaay down.

"Backstokin" is, as many people have already noted, like the epilogue to "The Bends". Some bouncy and doo-woppy quasi-surf in a psychadelic format, a nice break from the extreme weirdness of "The Bends".

Mr. Bungle live up to their RIO name in "Platypus". It starts with some cliched metal guitar riffing, but soon drops into some seriously complex meters and time shifts. Don't blink your ears for this one. Towards the end they even throw in some musique concrete and subliminal musings on the scientific nature of the platypus.

The most deceptive song is "Merry Go Bye-Bye". It leads you into a super-cliched pop chorus, but something's fishy. The lyrics don't fit at all. What's this about suicide? But before you can catch on, they hurl you into some seriously nosiy death metal and electronic washing. But then even that subsides and leaves you with a sad, somewhat hopeful message. It also kind of hints at the nature of their next album, telling you what to expect, kind of a send-off into the more deceptive world of "California". But we'll get to that later. The album ends with an unnamed hidden track, lots of noise and trumpet honks.

It make take a couple of listens, but there is something here for everyone. No prejudice allowed.

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Posted Saturday, October 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
lm_vazewald@h
5 stars I haven't listened to this one in quite some time, and was wondering how it held up. I remember loving it, but some albums just don't age well. No such problem here!

This is more experimental than their self-titled album or California, but if you can get into it, the rewards are many. There's not much you can compare this to -- it is about as unique as music gets without getting too noisy. Highly recommended for fellow prog-heads with short attention spans... there's a LOT going on here.

While very tough to describe, the best I can sum it up is "a circus of the insane". Standout tracks: "Carry Stress In the Jaw" (the middle part is close to thrash metal but eventually turns into a great tune with hilarious "vocals", i.e. "g** dammit it I'm pissed off / WAA WAA WAAAAA". "Desert Search for Techno Allah" was titled perfectly, and the build up/climax just rocks. "Merry Go Bye Bye" is about as bipolar as it gets, from crooning to death metal. Like nothing else! 5 stars easy.

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Posted Friday, December 02, 2005 | Review Permalink
Man With Hat
COLLABORATOR
Jazz-Rock/Fusion Team
5 stars What a strange and wild ride this is! In this one bizarre album, you can hear many different genres of music including death metal, jazz, surf rock, techno, eastern music, and just flat out noise (rock). The beautiful thing is the band switches between them flawlessly and performs each with an amazing dexterity. Even if there music doesn't appeal to you (which is very understandable) you have to admit there is alot of talent on this record. With that said on to the music.

The madness begins with "Everyone I Went To High School With Is Dead", a pure death metal track, showing off the metal roots of the band members. Next up is the average Chemical Marriage. Nothing overly special here, but some nice playing by all involved. Now this is where we really start to pick up steam. Carry Stress In The Jaw leads off an awe inspirering stretch of the album. Great sax, great bass, even great shred guitar. At the end the mood shifts drastically to a semi-demented surf rock song with a narration to remember. Great stuff! Next comes my favorite Desert Search For The Techno Allah. There is not a bad moment in the song (although that could be said for many of them). A middle eastern techno club comes to mind when i hear this. Very bizarre! Something everyone (every prog fan that is) should at least hear (IMO at least). Following this masterpiece is Volenza Domestica (sp??). A spooky song with interesting lyrics (which are in Italian I believe). In addtion, this is one of the few songs to give me chills! Very well done. Next up is After School Special. An eeriely "comfortable" feeling track with good vocals, but overall nothting "over-the-top". Phlegmatics is a good song with excellent playing and a punkish begining. Again, good but not stellar. However the same can not be said about Ma Meeshka Mow Skowz, a fantastic song with a great feel, melody, sax, and playing. A jazz feel is present throughout and pattons "vocals" are interesting if nothing eles. Great song. The "epic", The Bends, contains alot of noise. However, it really doesn't boring anywhere in the song (not that its all too exciting to begin with, but it does have its moments). My favorite part is the end with one of the strangest things i've heard in my life. Backstrokin' is a nice short song with nice melody, piano, and playing. The shortest highlight of the album for me. Platypus is perhaps the strangest song on the ablum. Very RIO/avant gurde at times, other times a bit more accessable. All the musicans are spot on throughout (and you would have to be to keep up with the "furiousness" of this song). Another highlight. The final song is Merry go bye bye. I find this to be a sour note to end on. Again the music/lyrics are good but it just doesn't hit me. At the end there is a "bonus track" which is basically them screwing around in the studio. Not bad but could become annoying.

All in all this is quite a musical advanture. There are very few flaws on this album and none of them come from the musicans themselves. Everything is played to perfection (even the lesser songs). Certainly not for everyone, but i believe that everyone should at least sample this album. Also, with the diversification on here, there should be a section that appeals to everyone. If you dont you are certainly missing out on a great prog album. Highly recommended!

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Send comments to Man With Hat (BETA) | Report this review (#73715)
Posted Friday, March 31, 2006 | Review Permalink
Bj-1
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This is Mr Bungle at their creative peak, at 68 minutes you'll get through a labyrinth of different genres, cultures and general weirdness. Although constantely playful it's simultaneously uneasy and completely original in it's different concepts, highlights being the amazingly creepy "Violenze Domestica" and the claustrophobic underwater journey "The Bends", the latter being a series of eerie experimental interludes and sounds dealing with different themes and is always a pleasure to listen to at night by yourself. The musicianship is as impressive as the unique compositions featured here displaying a wider spectre of creativity than most other records I know of and genuinely surpassing even the best of players. As with other Bungle albums it's a real mixed bag but still maintaining high quality on every minute of it even on the strangest and most outrageous parts of the music. Like the debut album this is one of the best examples of a "rollercoaster" album, rarely staying in one place for long but always with great focus and of course fantastic music. This album needs some time on you but it's hugely rewarding in the end though it's not easy listening by any means, it's recorded madness plain and simple.

I still consider Mr Bungle to be one of the bands that needs a place in any record collection alongside giants like Led Zeppelin, Hendrix and Pink Floyd as they really are one of the best there is, and especially in the experimental field. It's odd but highly professional throughout and worth of hundreds of listens further on.

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Send comments to Bj-1 (BETA) | Report this review (#82969)
Posted Thursday, July 06, 2006 | Review Permalink
Australian
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars "Disco Volante" is one very odd number indeed.its just very strange, Zappa to the max plus a hell of a lot more. Mr.Bungle, under the lead of Mike Patton seems to have crammed as many genres as they can find into this album. The genres range from avant-garde -Esq music to techno and more, all in the course of one song! The album would have been bloody complicated to record and would be very, very difficult to play live, if it can be played live. The album is amazingly cheesy, every song is just so weird and spooky this feeling in brought upon mainly by Mike Patton's strange nonsense vocals or just general strange vocal sounds. Just take a listen to "Cary Stress in the Jaw" and try to disagree with me. Some of the album can be very entertaining, in an odd way particularly "Desert Search for Techno Allah" which is the highlight of the album for me. I think the swearing in a couple of songs, although brief really gets on my nerves sorry to say, especially at the end of Backstrokin'. It's just damn unnecessary.

1.Everyone I Went to High School With Is Dead (2.5/5) 2.Chemical Marriage (2.5/5) 3.Carry Stress in the Jaw (3/5) 4.Desert Search for Techno Allah (4/5) 5.Violenza Domestica (2/5) 6.After School Special (2/5) 7.Phlegmatics (2/5) 8.Ma Meeshka Mow Skwoz (2.5/5) 9.The Bends- [Man Overboard-The Drowning Flute-Aqua Swing-Follow the Bubbles] (2/5) 10.Backstrokin' (1.5/5) 11.Platypus (2/5) 12.Merry Go Bye Bye-Nothing (2.5/5) Total = 28.5 divided by = 2.375 = 2 stars Collectors/fans only

In summary, it's not that bad an album when looking from a musician's perspective, but in all honesty I really dislike it. I'd recommend this album to anyone who is looking for something really out of the norm. It earns two stars from me by being a pioneering work, I respect that but I'll leave the praise for others.

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Send comments to Australian (BETA) | Report this review (#95891)
Posted Friday, October 27, 2006 | Review Permalink
Cygnus X-2
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Another excellent release from Mr. Bungle. Disco Volante expands upon the more hectic and insane sections of the first album, almost to the point of being too intense. However, it's when you look past all the changes in style and you look at what's really going on you can appreciate this album immensely. It's definitely one of the harder albums to listen to, but it's probably the most representative of what Mr. Bungle was about and what they could bring to the table (which was nearly everything).

If you listened to the first album and loved how the group could coherently change styles many times within one song, then you'll probably love this album. Nearly every piece explores so many different styles of music, from middle-eastern inspired rhythms. to death metal, to cheesy lounge jazz and even quasi-opera music. My favorite pieces on this album are the two 10+ minute pieces, The Bends and Merry Go Bye-Bye. The Bends is a twisting and turning piece that may seem boring at first, but is a perfect expression of avant-garde insanity that can grip the listener and take them on a brooding journey that will leave you gasping for breath. Merry Go Bye-Bye shows shades of what California would be like in the intro. Bubble-Gum pop meets crushing death metal never sounded so well conceived and well executed.

In the end, although being the most representative of what Mr. Bungle was, Disco Volante gets a lot of flak by purists for being a bit "too" out there. For me, though, I love this album, it's filled with great ideas, smooth (and rough) transitions from drastically different styles, and an overall consistent idea of what they wanted to achieve. I rank it equally with the debut. You can't really go wrong with Disco Volante (the title of this album was taken from a John Zorn song on his album Locus Solus for those who didn't know, by the way). Highly recommended.

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Send comments to Cygnus X-2 (BETA) | Report this review (#110574)
Posted Saturday, February 03, 2007 | Review Permalink
The T
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I'm completely new for this kind of music. When I decided to get this, I was looking for something to introduce me to the RIO/Avant Garde genre that's part of the Archives. Recently I've been pointed out that this is not RIO but indeed just Avant/Garde Prog. Well, I really don't put that much attention into what music fits what genre-description exactly, but as I am new-comer to this style of music, I guess I have to accept the definition set by individuals that have listened to more examples of the genre. But I have to make myself clear: I'm writing a review from the perspective of a person who has never heard this kind of stuff before, so probably there will be "genre-calling" mistakes. Again, other people who have no idea what this band sounds like may find this review useful, but people with knowledge might find it as just a repetition of what they already know.

What you get in Mr. Bungle's DISCO VOLANTE is the weirdest music ever to grace my ears. I said grace, because, as I will point out later, it's ultimately fantastic. Consider this idea: picture a group of over-talented musicians who gathered together to record an album; picture them as absolute masters of their instruments and of the art of music; now picture them a little bit crazy. Now you have what Mr. Bungle is like: bizarre, weird, brilliant, inspired, rebellious. Yes, I think that word fits perfectly: they can't abide by the "rules" of music, they don't want their music to "fit" into any "genre". It's rebellious music. It's music that says "we, the band, don't give a [%*!#] about what you think music should be; THIS is what we like to do. The music also shows confidence, a little bit of arrogance and "pretentiousness" (such a maligned word), because a musician has to be a little bit arrogant and pretentious to record such a law-breaking disc and actually believe is worth of attention or even further, of critical acclaim. And this one is. In DISCO VOLANTE you'll hear not only the sound of instruments being played but the sounds of glasses being broken, of things being "musicalized. You can't expect some regular songs with verse-chorus-verse-chorus structures, for here there are hardly any that have any resemblance of a blueprint or structural map. Also, please: if you start listening to a song in this cd, don't take for granted that the mood or style you're hearing in the first seconds will be the dominant in the song, because mostly every song contains at least 2, 3 or 4 different styles of music within its borders. So, when you have finished listening to DISCO VOLANTE, you will have traveled one of the most absurd, inspired paths in prog music.

Of course, a band of lesser musicians wouldn't be able to deliver a piece like this. If a group of mediocre-talented musicians were to record an album like this, it would just sound like chaos, anarchy, an insulting joke. But here we have some excellent ones: I don't know many of them, but Ill just say a word about each instrument: the bass player and the piano player are both masters of their domains; the organs and keys shown a skillful hand behind them; the drums let us know the man sitting at the throne know how to extract rhythm and groove of the woodset; and finally, Mike Patton, a master of the vocals, one of the best singers in all of rock, with his very deep yet elegant tone of voice, with his ability to switch from classy-arrogant-prick to young- chaotic-punk in the blink of an eye, he's really in another level.

A VERY brief word about the songs:

Everyone I Went To High School With Is Dead (6+/10), an ultra slow, sludging, distorted death-metal bore-fest, with fuzzy voices and exaggerated bass. But you know what? It's so obvious this track is like this on purpose that we are left wondering what lies ahead. We are not afraid, because it's not an atrocious song, but a deliberatedly atrocious song.

Chemical Marriage (9/10) From the start, when I heard this I remember I said out loud: "what the [%*!#] is this marvel?" Some elegant-yet-ridiculous organ-keys play over groovy rhythms with such a sense of ingenuity. It sounds old, 70's like, but it also sound extremely modern. Fantastic.

Sleep (Part II): Carry Stress In The Jaw (9.5/10) This is incredible. A fast drum ride- cymbal rhythm in almost jazz style leads the way for some atmospheric keys in the background and Patton singing just a few words with incredible precision. Suddenly we are into full-fledged jazz territory with brass included, and then... grindcore!!! The song is an anthem for chaos and anarchy, an hymn to what could be accomplished when rules are cautiously broken and anarchy becomes order.There are even more sections, even a ridicule one in the middle with almost cuban-sounding percussion. And the vocals? Just noises here and there, accents here, ghost-like whispers there, Patton singing like an old man, the song going the 60's rock way. What is this, beach-band rock? The riffs are grungy, yet the atmosphere is light. I can't put this into words. Desert Search For Techno Allah (7/10) electronica-meets-nuthouse-meets-ambience- meets-arabic-music-and-whatever-else-you-can-think-of. Just picture the title of the track in your head, and you got the idea: lost in the desert, you decide to look for a TECHNO DEITY!! Incoherent. Entertaining. Not brilliant.

Violenza Domestica (10/10) descriptive yet comedic music. A parody of life. A joke about tragedy set to music. Patton "sings" in italian. Just some guitar noises, some effects, some actual noise of things getting broke, suddenly a piano and accordeon in almost tango style. Patton furiously mimicking a couple. Mimicking is the word, for this is, as absurd as it may sound, "visual singing". The mood gets darker, sludgier, then the accordion returns, and we are suddenly in the midst of a TANGO! The song ends. We stand up and applaud... but we don't applaud at a band of musicians, but a group of puppet masters from a small village in Italy. That's what this song sounds like.

After School Special (8/10) The song where Patton sings the most "normal". A sad tune about a child and his mother. It's depressing, ironic, twisted. And it WORKS. At the end the baby-noise are too much.

Sleep (Part III): Phlegmatics (8/10), a near-punk rhythm and heavy distorted vocals. But soon enough we're in a fume-filled atmosphere, a room full of smoke and crazy images, crazyness.

Ma Meeshka Mow Skowz (7/10), a weird song (- ?- among all this weirdness, really, what's the surprise?), a little jazzy, a little retro, almost urban at times, metallic at others. this is too weird even for this album. But it's not weird-bad. It's just weird. The Bends (10/10) Really, if I were to name a "song" in the album the absolute highlight, this would be it. It's just noise, effects, distorsion, pedals, feedback, all of them together used to illustrate a story, a scene that takes place in the water. Descriptive music, completely modern music, this guys learned a few lessons from masters of the 20th century. It's a testament to the real significance of "avant". 10 minutes of quiet whispers and soft piano notes and guitar strings plucked lightly. Art.

Backstrokin' (8/10) a psychodelic-retro number with cool organ and a section of almost elevator-music mundanity. After "the Bends", it works admirably.

Platypus (8/10) heavy guitar riffs, and suddenly an almost funky bass line (?!). Master Patton swings around the rhythm with style and arrogance. He doesn't have to sing neither loudly nor constantly. He just makes his presence felt, he leaves his mark. He conquers. Absurdly weird. Absurdly, it works.

Merry Go Bye Bye (12:58), the song starts in a totally ridicule beach-pop mode. We are in California in the 70's, but we're talking about suicide! (so long for the "pop" song). Abruptly, we hear distorsion. Then...near-grindcore-heavy death metal! Sludiging riffs, growling, "cookie-monster" noises, incredibly heavy riffs, we're in Dismember realm, in Entombed realm. The death fades away and we're in a dreamy landscape, some beautiful lines by Patton who demonstrates the meaning of the "best singer" definition in the dictionary (if there was one). The track goes on and on until it.. finishes. Not a better way of saying that. Just... ends.

My rating? Well, I'll be clear. This is not music I could be found listening to on a daily basis. We have to say that. This is not about beauty. Not about trying to give the listener a moment of pleasure. So, according to my usual set of parameters, this should get a low score. BUT... this is not any of those things because IT SHOULDN'T nor it seeks to. This is about impact. About shock. About dazzling with virtuosity and immediately dissapointing with insanity; this is about making you scream "they're masters!" and immediately yell "this bastards!"; this is about playing with your intellect, playing with YOU.

Maybe these songs couldn't stand a chance by themselves, alone. But together within this album, they amount, they add to the definition of a very good album. You have to have this.

So, just in the same mood of weirdness and absurdity, in this bizarro-world Mr. Bungle drove us into, we can do the unthinkable, and give this album 4 stars.

And remember: it's not about beauty. But, as all things are weird here, you will have a chance to find some beauty in here!. So masterful this guys are.

Recommended for: Fans of music that want to listen to an original, absurd, esplendid piece of awkward art. You want a shock? Come here please!

Not recommended for: People that only want to play it safe. People that can't stand comedic, erratic music. And, mostly, people with some wires ready to break within their heads....

... after this, you'll be taken promptly to the nuthouse.

Mr Bungle, rock from the sanitarium.

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Send comments to The T (BETA) | Report this review (#111588)
Posted Saturday, February 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
1800iareyay
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Following the demise of Faith No More, the genius frontman Mike Patton returned to his original band Mr. Bungle. The issued an eponymous debut that was weird enough to faze even fans of FNM. Then, he crafted Disco Volante. Patton forged a commercial bomb with this daunting, impenetrable, and unsettling album, and he knew it. For him, it was all part of the fun. The sheer number of musical genres crammed into each second of space is mind- boggling; death metal combines with jazz, but not in the way fans of Atheist and Cynic are used to. Techno, Eastern music, 50s R&B, and grindcore also enter the fray. For anyone with the resolve to give this repeated listens, a treasure trove of musical ingenuity awaits.

"Everyone I Went to High School Is Dead" upends the preconception of what death metal can be. It processes the prog-death of Death and Cynic through the vintage speakers of a stoner metal band like Kyuss, producing a sludgy, mid-paced song that contains the fury of death without the speed. The eerie vocals only add to the sense of dread that has by now entered your veins.

"Chemical Marriage" is a bit of a bland follow-up, though its abrupt switch of style grabs attention. "Carry Stress in the Jaw" is where the band truly lets loose, with morbid lyrics recalling Angel Dust era Faith No More, though the lyrics aren't Patton's. The song goes from a creepy atmosphere that erupts into a furious jazz number before transforming once more into Napalm Death-style grindcore, then ending in a bizarre Beach Boys surf-rock style with Patton's narration. Patton once again proves himself to be the most versatile singer ever as he goes from whispers to shrieks without pause.

"Desert Search For Techno Allah" completely abandons comprehension with a bizarre tale over electronic arabic music. "Violenza Domestica" features Patton warbling in Italian. Dex F. says the lyrics involve a father who takes out his child's tongue. So...there you have it...

"After School Special" deceives the listener as the narrator lists all the kind things his mother said to and did for him. Suddenly, he yells "You lied to me!" and the song gives way to a beyond-creepy baby voice that makes the hairs on your neck stand up. "Phlegmatics" sounds like King Crimson on some serious narcotics, with its dissonance and tone.

" Ma Meeshka Mow Skowz" showcases Patton's method of making noise with his throat over singing. "The Bends" is the highlight of the album, with its underwater journey complete with truly avant-garde arrangements. "Backstrokin' " helps to ease off The Bends with psychedelic organ. "Platypus" is yet another song that displays why Patton is the genius that he his. Funky bass under a crushing riff, with Patton using his voice like an instrument that would only be played in Mr. Bungle. As The T says, he leaves his mark.

"Merry Go Bye" closes the album with Beach Boys vibes that belie the suicidal lyrics. Suddenly, we are treated to more grind-death which eventually gives way to some truly graceful lines from Mike. An incredible way to close the album.

Disco Volante is not for the faint of heart. Mike Patton's mission statement is to unsettle his audience; while in FNM he deliberately tried to alienate his MTV fans. The record challenged the norm in a time where rock had finally been conquered by the industry, where grunge had given way to an immense void filled by bands designed to make corporations money. Patton, the man who, along with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rage Against the Machine, and his mates in Faith No More, helped to pioneer rap metal, firmly thrusts his middle finger in the direction of the host of second rate imitators rising up to cash in on his legacy. Disco Volante is possibly the most defiant record of the 90s, and it brings a much needed rebellious attitude to prog. Highly recommended.

Grade: A-

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Send comments to 1800iareyay (BETA) | Report this review (#116764)
Posted Thursday, March 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
Prog-jester
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Good...actually, very good. But not for everyone's taste.

The main strong (or weak - it depends on your point of view) feature here is the lack of straight-forward direction BUNGLE would choose. That's great, because album sounds very varied, but from the other side, it's hard to understand and love at once. Don't push it down the throat, get use to it. I began my listenings few weeks ago with "OK, at least I can bear it" attitude, but now I can say that I really LIKE some tracks ("The Bends", "Merry Go Bye Bye", "Viloenza Domestica", "Sleep II" etc). At least, this album carries positive emotions (even in darkest moments) and you won't feel yourself isolated from the sacred world of RIO-lovers when you be listening to this CD. Recommended - at least, as an experiment.

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Send comments to Prog-jester (BETA) | Report this review (#117825)
Posted Tuesday, April 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Disco Volante is probably one of the best of the Mr. Bungle albums IMO. There isnt a track i dislike. Even the Bends from which people say is anoyying...i personally love the track. Mr. Bungle "Mr. Bungle" was their first and it had started them off with the weird Avant Gardeness. Their album California had more of a surf rock mellow feel. And Disco Volante just goes off the charts with its strange, virtuoso music. Mr. Bungle Disco Volante is definetly a must get. This is probably THE best Avant Garde album out there IMO.

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Send comments to fungusucantkill (BETA) | Report this review (#129168)
Posted Wednesday, July 18, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars The second string of songs officially released by the commercial terrorists that are Mr. Bungle was their most sophisticated, yet the most obtuse, and simultaneously the most outrageously experimental. Not only was is their most experimental - but likely the most experimental of the 90s, and to take that fact further, it is also a promising nominee in the most experimental album to ever pass through the consumer's market (that is to say, of all time). Picture an album full of modern-day Moonchild songs, - except the first two minutes are not soft and serenely mood-setting, but equally outrageous and constantly evolving. That would clearly not suffice as an faithful description of the music. Indeed, it is terribly difficult to describe an album so diverse and varied, and yet so filthy and crude, and yet so unpredictable and zealous, unless the description itself was worded in a fashion equal to the craziness and absurdness of the music: in which case, the very best description of this music is simply "the sounds one would imagine a squashed turnip would make". Or would "the music of new-born apes" fit better? Perhaps the most fitting depiction is "the sounds silence hums" - because indeed the music is truly so bizarre as that.

The first few songs are mundane experimental music, but soon they travel to the uncharted lands of sound in search of new manners to pleasure the tissue within the ear. In their searching, they cross genres such as death metal, ambient, techno, swingy western, surfer rock, and even the most absurd of all: the genre known as "nothing".

Again, Mr. Bungle are not a showy band as to play face-melting, gut-busting solos, but to firstly compose music extraordinary, and secondly to further their research with trials of new sounds: that second being the key focus of this album. Unfortunately, at times, they go overboard with their ramblings, and things like The Bends occur, which is a trip best heard while heavily under the influence of narcotics of any type (pain medication for wisdom teeth removal will even suffice) while half asleep. In that state of stupor and skepticism, the trance is gripping beyond belief, and the mindless stupidity of the track is turned into poetic atmospheric pictures. Unfortunately, if you are not in a state vaguely similar to the aforementioned, then you will likely see the mindless stupidity of the track plainly and skip that track. I personally find it rather interesting (though I could not listen to it regularly), but it is not guaranteed that everyone feels the same way, and, in fact, I believe I am in the vast minority.

In the end, if you think music is something you can hum out, something that can ultimately be written on a sheet, then this cannot be music to your ears. If you cherish the mindless experiments of young musicians with modern technology, then I bid you find this album, and be entranced in the absurd world made by Mr. Bungle. Even veteran fans of Frank Zappa, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, and whatever other experimental group, this particular album may seem too much, and does indeed go way overboard with this release.

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Send comments to Shakespeare (BETA) | Report this review (#132115)
Posted Monday, August 06, 2007 | Review Permalink
FruMp
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Bungle's most eclectic album.

For those unfamiliar with MR. BUNGLE's they are an extremely eccentric outfit with a great sense of humour who weave just about every genre under the sun into the rich tapestry they call songs. Headed by musical chameleon Mike Patton the group deliver some of their most polished material in Disco Volante yet at times they go overboard and take things a bit too far.

The first part of the album is exceptional, starting off with the disjointed 'can't be bothered' feel of 'Everyone I went to highschool with is dead' moving into slick jazzy territory with 'chemical marraige' with some of the best melodies on the album and some slick vocal work from Patton. 'Carry Stress in the Jaw' starts off with some frenetic jazzy drumming and a very fast paced yet quiet feel before erupting into a thrash metal beast complete with the spastic saxophone that was so prominent on their debut album. 'Carry Stress in the Jaw' also contains the 'secret song' a great little surf-rock/60's halloween number with a little inside joke pertaining to guitarist Trey Spruance. 'Desert Search for Techno Allah' is one of the clear highlights of the album, fusing MR BUNGLE's eclectic trademark sound with middle eastern influences and techno - you really need to hear it to understand.

Things calm down a bit after the 4th track and the highlights are a bit more sparse and 'The Bends' is a terrible waste of time that shouldn't even be on the album. 'Merry Go Bye-Bye' ends the album strongly though with some intense metallic music and a nice little poppy outro (Bungle style of course) to ease us out of it, (we wont really count the last 6 minutes of that track which is basically general studio tomfoolery).

Disco Volante is a hectic album full of crazy music, it doesn't contain as many solid songs as the previous effort and one or two are a bit of a waste (notably 'the bends') but it's still a fantastic album, highly recommended to fans of avant-garde music.

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Send comments to FruMp (BETA) | Report this review (#146554)
Posted Tuesday, October 23, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars This is the 1st in a series of stream of consciousness style reviews. My idea is that I will listen to an album I have never heard before and say what I'm thinking as I listen to it. I'm not yet sure of how informative it is, even though insightful things are occasionally revealed, but I'm sure it'll be entertaining at least.

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Everyone i went to high school with is dead - kind of throwaway. random smatterings of sound and death metal Chemical marriage - infinitly better. funny but also legitimate musically. rhythem is good...random sounds at end...needed? Sleep (Part II): carry stress in the jaw - sounds proggy, really takes influences from everywhere, first listen seems drawn out and random, but so intense regardless. oh~ spanish sounding...so ridiculus when he's old man like...not off beat but kindof obnoxious, but musically so agressive and satisfying Desert search for techno allah - sounds so electronic...actually sounds like one of those IDM songs especially at first, does however a huge amount of influences make the album an accomplishment or just diverse? experimental for sure, but is it fully realized songs...doesn't really seem like it, maybe I don't get it. Violenza domestica - hmm....idk after school special - so funny first line, its like gothic pop song. then it tappers off like wtf Sleep (Part III): phlegmatics - random jazz [&*!#] at the end...but rest of song wasn't that amazing Ma Meeshka Mow Skowz - fantomas-esque...like the bongos though...quirky and theatrical too...god that end acutally kind of scared me, how can he do that without laughing? The Bends - the parts in the middle are so short its not that memorable, and its put together like a mini epic, but its really nothing. ...1) Man Overboard - kind of seemed like the start of something beautiful. would've been nice to have the idea develop rather than just be 40 seconds, sounded exactly like Acid Mothers Temple ...2) The Drowning Flute - sounds like what its about, in fact whole song is pretty muddled and water like ...3) Aqua Swing - straight jazz with dissonant piano and vocals from hell...of course. it should have been a song on its own and developed more ...4) Follow The Bubbles - really, like a two second bit... ...5) Duet For Guitar and Oxygen Tank - breathing ...6) Nerve Damage - highly dissonant and beeping ...7) Screaming Bends - screaming, then confused sounding harmonics ...8) Panic - piano and da da do ...9) Love On The Event Horizon - most song like thing here, and its really pretty ...10) Re-Entry - spacy...but then wow so intense if it was loud Backstroking - It has a decent beat, but nothing different than what we already heard. What really it gets cut off just as it gets interesting??? Yeah [%*!#] you stop stroking yourself and play something. Platypus - I like it, picture a platypus when the song's playing. Its just fiddling about swimming and walking around all happy with Patton ruining its day with dumb vocals. aw, it was nice for the first two minutes, then it just gets odd....perhaps i should listen to it again. Merry go bye-bye - Hey its like constant for more than 20 seconds....and then random noises. dumb parody like metal? The thing about this parody metal is that it would be good otherwise if you didn't listen to it from the perspective that it's not to be taken seriously, but since its not its just a sonic experiment that's not worth your time....so actually listen to it as if its serious straight death metal its better that way. next part is pretty cool and porcupine tree like...then its over half way through yes! I was getting so tired of this, perhaps not fully the best way to take the album to listen to it that way that is but oh [&*!#] the eye just blinked at me. oh, random [&*!#] at the end, well its like an epilogue to the whole thing at least its jazzy....and oh...okay so they basically admit that they're just [%*!#]ing and [&*!#]ting around...it sounded interesting until that point too...even though thank GOD they didn't let any of the interesting parts play for more than a half second before cutting them out. sarcasm, i'm not even listening anymore

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Send comments to DJPuffyLemon (BETA) | Report this review (#196626)
Posted Wednesday, December 31, 2008 | Review Permalink
Negoba
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars The Sub-Basement of the Funhouse

When my group of metalhead friends discovered Mr. Bungle's first album in the early 90's, we were flabbergasted. The CD completely redefined what could be done by a metal band (the massive number of sub-genres in metal had yet to evolve at that point). When _Disco Volante_ came out in 1995, I enthusiastically snatched it up, expecting more circus music and pottymouth. Well, Mr. Patton and the boys had no such intentions. Instead, I got what at the time was the most challenging record I'd ever heard, and even after 13 more years of very wide musical exploration, it may still hold that title.

Even on the first listen, I think any serious musician is going to realize that they are listening to something truly remarkable. The most accessible song on the album, Desert Search for the Techno Allah, is incredibly catchy, to the point that I find myself humming Qiyamat, Qiyamat a Tawil not that infrequently. Along with his own self-created jibberish language (Ma Meeska Mow Skwoz), Patton sings, warbles, recites, regurgitates, and moans in Arabic, Italian, possessed baby, and who knows how many other languages and characters. A master of considerable range already, this is his signature album, the one that makes the imitators just hang it up. As a fun highlight on the disc, bassist Trevor Dunn adds a little bit of Grampa Simpson on Secret Song just for good measure.

The instrumentation, though not as virtuosic individually, is a piece of genius in terms of composition, especially considering this was done in the pre-Pro Tools world. Along with their trademark genre- flopping, the band incorporate massive amounts of dissonance, jazz sensibility, experimentation, samples, and at times just noise. Carry Stress in the Jaw is the highlight in this regard, spanning massive musical territory and still holding together remarkably well.

The album starts quite strong, but by the time we get to the much-maligned The Bends, things become a more free form, chaotic, and lose their interest a little for me. The final track, Merry Go Bye Bye, has some brilliant sections, but is overlong by several minutes, even before considering the random sound effects at the end. Of course, the listener (maybe just this listener) may be suffering from mental fatigue, because making sense of this music can be exhausting.

There is no doubt that this is a monumental album. Like most masterpieces, it has highs and lows, but this stands as one of the most ambitious, experimental, skilled, and insane albums of the 1990's. This is album #1 in the Avant-Metal sub-category, and still essential for followers of all related genres.

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Send comments to Negoba (BETA) | Report this review (#209633)
Posted Wednesday, April 01, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars After becoming a firm FNM fan in early 1996, when I found out about Mike Patton's other project, 'Mr. Bungle' I raced out to buy their records. This was the first I listened to, and I found it's thrashy, screechy opening track quite a turn-off. So I vouched to listen to the songs with interesting names - and so began a love for a band that I never thought would ever come about. The band works together brilliantly and combines hard metal with rhythmic jazz in unexpected places all over the record. The range is genuinely astonishing - from the creepy 'After School Special' (the ending to which is the most surreal thing I have ever heard) to the near-pleasant 'Merry Go Bye Bye' a song with melody and happy beats cut short by a bridge of some fantastic death metal riffs. This record either has the listener unable to resist shifting about in its excellent rhthym (quiyamat insan al kahmil) or dumbfounded by it's beauty (dotted about in places like 'Violenza Domestica). Personally, my favourite is the second (uncredited) song on track 3 - 'Secret Song'. In short this album rocks. But, as this point has been made before, it won't hurt to stress that you really do have to be tremendously open-minded about it...

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Send comments to fant0mas (BETA) | Report this review (#241040)
Posted Wednesday, September 23, 2009 | Review Permalink
JLocke
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars ''Goddammit, I'm pissed off! I didn't get to play on it at all!''

Okay, so I realize there is a lack of RIO/Avant-Prog reviews from me on this site, so I've been recently trying to remedy that. And in my opinion, one cannot claim to be a fan of this type of music and not mention Mr. Bungle at some point. This band did so much to push this style of music forward in the 90s, and many people still claim that this is their favorite band. The music from Mr. Bungle, especially on this album, is not for the feint of heart. Nothing on this release is even remotely easy to digest, but once you allow yourself to escape into the brilliant, otherworldly goofiness that is Disco Volante, there is plenty to enjoy.

Mike Patton the person is a hard one to figure out. He acts at times like he is a genuinely nice guy, while at other times seems to be a huge jerk. Perhaps this dichotomy of a personality is part of what makes Mike Patton the musician so damned brilliant! He's been involved in so many musical projects over the years, and yet this particular musical act, that has of now only released three full-length albums, still stays with people much more than some of Patton's more publicly-accepted works. I think that says quite a lot about the power behind the content, here. It won't be for everybody, but the few who do enjoy it, for whatever reason we do, it's quite worth listening to.

Some people say this stuff is excruciating to listen to. Well, in some ways, it is. But let us not forget that this type of music is not meant to sound like the way music is typically viewed. Instead, this approach to music-making evokes a much more primal, personal side to our emotions. Visual thinking is much more present than audible thinking. Instant shifts in mood, sudden jolts of noise from the side of you (most effective when experienced through headphones!), disturbing, unsettling moments paired with some of the funniest, goofiest stuff I've ever heard on record. It just has to be heard to be believed. None of this should be a problem for you if you understand what this style of music is all about. Don't go into a record like this expecting anything conventional or initially pleasing to the ear, because chances are, in this sub-genre, that won't happen very often. And on a Mr. Bungle record in particular, you can bet that a slightly unsettling listen is in store.

Now please don't read up to this point and assume that Disco Volante is nothing but noise, random silliness and jump- scares. That stuff IS present, as already mentioned, however along with it are some truly strong orchestrations. Yes, they do actually play musical instruments on this album, as well. Not all the time, but when a more 'traditional' song does show up, it's almost always an absolute joy to hear. Much of these more recognizable musical movements are heavily rooted in extreme Metal territory, and probably won't appeal to you unless you already have an affection for that style. Having said all of this, I do think the mixture of doom-ridden, massive soundscapes and the more straightforward moments of music creates a comforting balance between the darkness and light; the sane and insane; the pleasant and the unpleasant; the content and the disturbed. Again, you cannot expect to get into this without completely setting aside anything you previously conceived as acceptable music. You just have to go witht he flow and allow it to take you into the dark, often unsettling territory. The experience of emerging unscathed on the other side once the album is finished is one of the most rewarding feelings I've ever had in my music-listening life.

My favorite songs on the whole things are ''Carry Stress in the Jaw'', ''The Bends'', ''Backstrokin''', ''Platypus'' and ''Merry Go Bye Bye''. While I did mention earlier the significant Metal influences, aside from that there are also some heavy traces of Avant-Garde Jazz and old school Doo Wop. The combination is strange indeed, and when all of these seemingly unrelated genres are integrated into all the noise and random, nonsensical dialogue present on Disco Volante, it certainly makes for one of the more difficult listens you may ever experience. At least first. But as I say, as long as you push yourself to enter the grimy darkness (which is quite heavily present, here), coming out clean on the other side makes it all worth it, and you then realize what an incredible album this truly is.

Patton's vocal abilities make this album what it is,without a doubt. He spastically jumps in-and-out of character, portraying an entire cast of unrelated, incredibly diverse characters. In addition to those moments, when the music valls for it, his singing style adapts to every single genre present on the album at one point or another. One minute he's smoothly carrying on like a 50s lounge singer, and the next he's showing the listener's ears with some truly brutal and effect death growls for the Metal movements. He can do it all, it seems, and on a record like this, the singer being as diverse as this is really the only way vocals could have been pulled off, at all. Some would say this type of music would be impossible to align with vocals, but Mike Patton proves that it can indeed be done, at least as long as he is involved.

Once the whole experience is over, as shaken and unsure of what you just heard you may be, there is a very high chance you're going to want to dive back into that mystery world once again, and that is absolutely saying something. You might think yourself mad for liking this stuff at first, but you can also be proud for sticking it out and aligning yourself to this album's mindset (if an album even has one of those). If you don't dig this type of stuff, you're going to absolutely hate it, but if you are willing to look at music from a completely different perspective and expect different things from it, you're going to appreciate Disco Volante so much more. It's certainly not an album I would recommend to everyone, but at the same time . . . it's got to be listened to. Either way you feel about this, you'll be breathing a heavy sigh of relief once it's over. For some of us, however, at that point, the fun has only just begun.

Long live Mr. Bungle.

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Send comments to JLocke (BETA) | Report this review (#270934)
Posted Tuesday, March 09, 2010 | Review Permalink
Sinusoid
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars This album is a circus of musical genres that encompass everything from noise metal to jangly surf pop to ambient electronic music. Mr. Bungle certainly likes to put a whole bunch of styles into their songwriting, but therein lies the problem. There's simply too many genre jumps for me to really latch onto this one.

The whole point of DISCO VOLANTE is to throw a whole bunch of styles at you without caring too much about flow, continuity or reason. It's nice that we get chamber music with weird vocalisations and we're treated to the creation of a freaky new style of techno, but very little of the songs strike me as interesting. Only ''Desert Search for Techno Allah'' and ''Backstrokin'' kept me interested the whole time; everything else ran over me as ''okay, but what's the point?'' I'm not a fan of overly serious music, but much of the album sounds like juvenille goofing off.

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Send comments to Sinusoid (BETA) | Report this review (#276331)
Posted Sunday, April 04, 2010 | Review Permalink
EatThatPhonebook
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars 8/10

"Disco Volante" is the best early Avant-Garde Metal album.

Pure genius. An unforgettable album, with such a huge sense of originality and bizarre that it will really impress you, in the inside. Mike Patton's best album, only second to Faith No More's "The Real Thing", the alt metal masterpiece. But this is one of my very favorite Avant Prog albums.

The style is something that really makes you think that this band is completely nuts: the songwriting s complex, full of weird moments and sounds, played with various instruments. Many influences are present here: from heavy, death (in the last epic track), thrash metal, to jazz, to techno, to avant garde,to progressive, to classical influences. A kaleidoscope of diverse soundscapes, all very innovative and alien sounding, even though it is conceptually a very down-to-earth work.

"Everyone I went..." is probably my least favorite, but it is a very interesting intro for a RIO album. Very weird indeed."Chemical Marriage" is mellow, but a masterpiece. Three minutes where the keyboards, very oriental sounding, are mixed with a tense and at the same time calm atmosphere that really catches your attention. It's an instrumental piece that should not be underrated. "Carry Stress In The Jaw" is a fabulous nine minute song, where for the first time we can hear Mike Patton (although he was present in the first track) sing, especially in the calmer and more mysterious part, that reprises every once in a while, where we can also admire the singer's emotional voice. The rest is trumpet and sax driven, creating a sort of contrast to the just mentioned mood."Desert Search For Techno Allah" is another masterpiece. An intelligent and unorthodox mix between techno and arabic music, like the title suggests. A genius piece, where there is always room for other instruments and atmospheres, that contrast the main theme."Violenza Domestica" is another masterpiece. It's not music, it's more like kitchen and domestic sounds, mixed with some scary threats whispered by Mike Patton, in Italian. As usual, there is some space for some other jazzy elements, more John Zorn like. Another genius track. "After School Special" is a fun interlude, very pleasant and melodic. "Ma Meeshka" is another oriental driven song, but with more synths and keyboards. Very interesting. "The Bends" is a ten minute long song. Again, a great song. Very minimalistic, the tones have all a lower volume, and everything is more tense and it seems like the song could explode in any moment. The innovating thing about this is that it is composed only of brief crazy pieces, that are not connected to each other except by a few seconds of silence. "Backstrucking" is an interesting interlude, good for connecting a long track with medium length one. "Platypus" is very heavy metal driven at times, while in others its pure avant garde rock. Didn't enjoy it as much as the other songs, but you should still check it out. The final track is the thirteen minute epic masterpiece of the album. It starts off with a victorious and cheerful melody, also sung by Patton. But then it explodes unexpectedly in a fierce thrashy tune, the most violent moment of the album. Also Patton features here some growls, the only song that has this kind of singing. After seven minutes the music stops, and you can listen to the hidden track, where apparently the drummer and somebody else, probably Patton, are fooling around with their instruments, accompanied by some laughs.

A genius album, like I said a few times, definitely listen to it f you're an avant prog or avant metal fan.

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Send comments to EatThatPhonebook (BETA) | Report this review (#283843)
Posted Friday, May 28, 2010 | Review Permalink
zravkapt
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Post Rock Team
4 stars You would be hard-pressed to find more experimental and unaccessible music in the mid-90s than this. Of course, would you expect anything less coming from a band signed to Warner Bros.? Actually the reason Bungle got a major label deal was because when Mike Patton agreed to join Faith No More it was under one condition: that his band Bungle would get a record deal. Odd because FNM themselves were not even signed to Warner Bros. This CD sounds terrific and I find myself having to turn up the volume a lil bit because I'm so used to louder CDs. I have no idea if this has been re-released and remastered, but I hope not; it sounds great the way it is...LEAVE THIS ALONE! Unlike the self-titled previous album, which featured songs that had been around for years already, this has all new music.

Clearly these guys owe a lot to people like Zappa and Zorn, but you also get some death metal and techno influences here. The circus music and ska influences of the last album seem to have disappeared for the most part. In their place you have a stronger jazz feel and some various ethnic influences(Arabic, Italian, etc.) I always thought that "Ma Meeshka Mow Skwaz" was Polish but apparentally it isn't. They use a lot of different instruments on here, many of which I probably don't even know the proper names for. Some of the stuff here may not be for the faint of heart. "After School Special" is about child abuse and at the end you can hear what sounds like a child saying "Why are you touching me?" Of course it's really a sped-up adult voice but the effect is creepy as hell. Parts of "The Bends" can be an aquired taste to say the least; the "Re-Entry" part at the end sounds scary on headphones. It literally sounds like you fell out of the International Space Station and are crashing towards Earth.

My favourites here include "Desert Search For Techno Allah" which sounds like a cross between techno, death metal and Arab music. Doesn't look good on paper but it works. Despite the subject matter of "Violenza Domestica"(sung in Italian) there is a nice little melodic part which I always love hearing. About halfway thru "Carry Stress In The Jaw" the song completely changes and goes into a really upbeat and fun part. Trey Spuance(not Patton) does an impression of an old man on the song. I also like the part in "Platypus" where Patton is talking documentary-style: "The Platypus...can be seen driving a forklift in his habitat". Cracks me up every time. The musicians here are top notch and Patton does his usual vocal acrobatics. Deserves nothing less than 4 stars but may not be everyone's cup of tea.

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Send comments to zravkapt (BETA) | Report this review (#304294)
Posted Friday, October 15, 2010 | Review Permalink
2 stars Mr. Bungle's music is, objectively, good and original, but I just become bored while listening to it. I feel like (and this could get me shot) the band just goes through the motions of creating avant-garde music without any really conviction and, as a result, I don't get any impact emotional or otherwise out of it. It seems like the quirky style of the music is largely arbitrary, as if they spun a "what type of music should we play" wheel every 30 seconds. There's a lack of coherence and direction because of this. There are good moments, but they often seem contrived and fail to make the album as a whole worth listening to. I have yet to understand why Mr. Bungle is considered to be one of the top avant-garde bands around.

Rating: 4/10

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Send comments to Earendil (BETA) | Report this review (#317777)
Posted Saturday, November 13, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars I'm not even going to bother trying to list all the styles of music Mr.Bungle covers on this album there is no need to because once this band touches it, it instantly becomes Mr.Bungle. Mike Patton is not really singing in the traditional sense all too much through out, nor is anything presented in any sort of traditional way with Disco Volante. It is totally unique. The musicianship is absolutely top notch, what sounds like a complete mess on first listen is really a tightly constructed act of insanity. The song Platypus might be one of the most needlessly complex songs written in the past 25 years. This album is at times the epitome of avant garde it is beautiful and violent, macabre and maniacal. This album is a challenge but the reward is well worth it.

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Send comments to Glimmung (BETA) | Report this review (#589637)
Posted Saturday, December 17, 2011 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Mr Bungle's debut album was weird, but was mostly rooted in a particular metal subgenre - as a listener you can quickly work out that the band are presenting an avant-garde interpretation of alternative metal, and appreciate it on that basis. Disco Volante, however, is a much trickier proposition; letting their anchor in alt-metal slip, the band deliriously slide between musical genres ranging from death metal to easy listening to free jazz to prog rock polka. This, however, is not random noodling; the compositions here are intricate and reflect the diversifying interests of the band, including the fascination with traditional Arabic music which would go on to become a key ingredient of Secret Chiefs 3.

Whereas the first album presented outrageous vocal gymnastics against a musical backing which usually much more grounded, this time around the musicians are as diverse and versatile in their performances as Mike Patton is with his vocals - and Patton's vocals are even more out of control than they were on the previous album, making full use of the human voice's potential as an instrument. It's easily the most experimental album by Mr Bungle and I'd say it's a key part of their work. That said, unless your tastes in music are incredibly broad you are likely to find some parts of it more compelling than others, so many listeners might find the album uneven.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#623411)
Posted Tuesday, January 31, 2012 | Review Permalink
HolyMoly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl and Canterbury Teams
4 stars Where's the Kitchen Sink?

When Mr. Bungle's debut album came out in 1991, it was a coup of sorts. Thanks to Mike Patton's success in Faith No More, suddenly an avant-garde rock band from the John Zorn school of Blink-and-You'll-Miss-It, released an album on Warner Brothers, about as "major" as labels get. Faith No More were fairly weird for a popular band, but nothing prepared people for this. The debut album wowed me to no end for a year or so, but after a while, the over-the-top carnival atmosphere and pornographic funk metal tracks lost their novelty for me and I put the group away.

When "Disco Volante" came out, I didn't even consider buying it at first, figuring I'd heard all I needed to from the band already. But when I read a review assuring me it was "100% Uncompromising" (I remember that quote), from a prog rock publication no less, I was intrigued and picked up a copy at the next opportunity.

A complete and utter surprise. This is music wherein the band seemingly wrote down every twisted musical idea that came into their head, and all of it somehow worked its way into this unbelievably dense album. Metal music, while present, is no longer the focus of the band's sound; rather, the pieces seem to fall into two groups - a) songs that present whiplash-inducing changes of style, tempo, and volume several times during the song, and b) songs that explore a single style, but executed in a way designed to sound completely different from what you've heard before.

In the former category, a big thumbs up to "Carry Stress in the Jaw" (note: the original LP version had a hidden track within the grooves of this song; for the CD version, this secret song is just tacked on to the end, and comprises the last 3 minutes or so of the track), "Merry Go Bye Bye", and "Platypus", all of which use (death?) metal as a contrasting element to surf rock, jazz, and lounge. In the latter category, we have the utterly incredible "Desert Search for Techno Allah", a previously unheard-of marriage of electro-techno and Middle Eastern music - this concept was later turned into the basis for an entirely new band, Secret Chiefs 3, by Bungle guitarist Trey Spruance (also highly recommended), Equally memorable is the cinematic "Violenza Domestica", which comes across like a radio drama (in Italian) complete with suspense music and breaking glass.

The album's not perfect, though. At the end of the album, there's about 6 minutes of random percussion noises with occasional tuneless noises that are kind of a waste of time (another "hidden track" tacked onto the end of "Merry Go Bye Bye"). "The Bends" is another track that fans seem divided on. While I think the idea of a 10 minute scary ambient track in the middle of all this madness is an inspired one, and its purpose as an audio depiction of someone getting the "bends" is clear (decompression syndrome, often experienced by deep sea divers), it ultimately fails to produce much effect, and just doesn't have that much going on to justify the length.

A solid 4 stars - and one of the strangest albums Warner Brothers has ever released.

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Send comments to HolyMoly (BETA) | Report this review (#747945)
Posted Thursday, May 03, 2012 | Review Permalink
LinusW
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Italian Prog Specialist
3 stars Volatile, aggressive, flighty, energetic, eclectic; like an instrumental Battle Royale in too crowded a studio. Or one of the zanier Canterbury bands joining the dark side on some very, very hard drugs?

A hard-hitting streak of thrashy, harsh and dirty metal might be as close to a common theme you can come on Disco Volante. But why even bother about finding that? So many different bits and pieces of sounds from all over are deconstructed, mangled, turned inside out, regurgitated and haphazardly pieced together that things tend to get a bit blurry after a while. And everything is fused at such a breakneck pace, with a furiously capricious kind of composition. A whirlwind of a vast array of different instruments makes it a fairly colourful and vibrant mess for much of the ride, which only further enhance the brooding menace and underlying dark energy that's always lurking beneath the surface.

While at times commanding, intent and direct in individual bits, the structure is more like a room of countless doors that have their own particular sounds and identity behind them and slam open and shut at irregular intervals. Anarcho-jazz breaks and wild flights of fancy meet diabolic funfair stuff. Sidetracks into warped whimsicality and quirky little melodies abound and a rich array of the most surprising effects and samples is simply everywhere, occasionally breaking down completely in a descent into noise. The genre and ethnic mash-up is further propelled by demented pastiches on as disparate things as lounge/elevator music, "twangy" 50s instrumental rock, old school suspense music and...is it tango? From the utterly goofy to the deeply disturbing, the moods shift quickly and dramatically throughout the album. But there's a sheen of irreverence and dark humour on top of it all, perhaps excluding the more sombre and cerebral musique concrčte excursions.

In agreement with other reviewers, to me there are three compositions that stand out as something extra special:

A darkly melodramatic and visceral soundtrack to a twisted avant soap-opera of horror and violence, with the sampled destruction of a home as a cheery backdrop. Truly sinister and called Violenza Domestica (there's a clue as to why it sounds nothing like a happy show tune).

The erratic and fractured minimalism of the semi-ambient The Bends, where twitching and flickering sound bits shine their subdued and ghostly light in a murky underwater soundscape. But that still leaves enough room for some understated jazz noodling along the way. Just for good measure.

And finally the rollercoaster industro-Krautronica with strong Middle Eastern vibes that is Desert Search For Allah, with perhaps the densest atmosphere on the album, with a mysteriously compelling, mirage-like vibe.

And throughout all of this, the vocals twist and turn in an absurd number of characterful and limitless ways - snarls, hisses, whispers, gargles, howls, "doodling" and a bit of actual singing now and then. Processed, distorted or just unfiltered, straight out of Patton, it's hardly ever what you'd expect a vocalist to do. On top of that, they're often wordless or sung in perfectly fluent gibberish. At times intense and intimate, like they are whispered right into your ears or disturbing voices inside your head, they are nevertheless quite a treat, especially for these ears, which have gotten used to Demetrio Stratos vocal acrobatics and contortionism.

But is it really enjoyable? To be honest, I'm a bit uncertain about how I feel about Disco Volante. It's fascinating, downright enthralling, and a hell of a ride. For all of that, it remains a curiosity. One to cherish from time to time, but hardly the stuff that makes a personal favourite.

But as a jolt of fresh energy into dulled-down and blasé senses, this is the medicine. And oddly charming at that.

3 stars.

//LinusW

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Posted Wednesday, August 28, 2013 | Review Permalink

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