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Mr. Bungle - California CD (album) cover


Mr. Bungle



4.11 | 213 ratings

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4 stars The first Mr. Bungle song ever permitted to infect my frontal lobes was Ars Moriendi. From the first hearing, I was both shocked and overjoyed that any band could be so irreverent towards the conventions of contemporary music and, at the same time, demonstrate such panache. No-one since Zappa, had managed to pull off a stunt like this and, in the great tradition of the "Mothers", employ a veritable roll-call of personnel to fully realise the madness. To say that California stinks of "cheese" is at once a fair observation and a compliment for it is a fine, fine cheese; mature and robust. This is an album which can be listened to incessantly without fear of the material ever becoming sterile. From the darkly orchestrated Holy Filament to the wind-up-toy intro of Golem II, California is a sometime rollercoaster/sometime ghost-train, psycho-jouney into musical symbolism. Patton is an outstanding vocalist possessing both range and power but even this understates his contribution. A friend once commented that "he uses his voice simply as an additional instrument" and examples of his highly textural approach to vocal parts are scattered all over the album; Goodbye Sober Day being a particularly good example. The production is a thick collage of conventional rock and ethnic instrumentation, diverse samples and super- phat effecting. It is a testament to the album's brilliance that the most aromatic blue-vein on the album, Pink Cigarette, is also my pick for best track. California comes as close to a Heironymus Bosch painting as is musically possible. Music for the asylum of the primative in all of us.
| 4/5 |


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