|Mike Patton was probably one of the most influential rock vocalists of the 1990s, his turn as frontman of Faith No More and Mr Bungle has spawned many an imitator.|
Since leaving both bands behind there's little he hasn't turned his hand to. He's formed a label (Ipecac, which this DVD is released on), formed several bands, appeared as a guest on umpteen recordings, and has even had a go at being an actor. His role in Firecracker was probably best forgotten - hardcore Patton fans may fawn over it but it would appear that acting is really not his forté. He can, however, turn out some simply stunning vocal performances. Those in possession of Adult Themes For Voice or any of his more unusual releases can testify to that.
This release sees the coming together of Patton and John Kaada, a Norwegian particularly gifted at writing soundtracks. Shot live at the Roskilde in 2005, it showcases their collaborative album Romances which as you might expect has something of a soundtrack feel to it.
Not only does it sound like a film score (although any film with a score like this would undoubtedly be fairly incomprehensible), but the whole thing is shot in black and white, lending the film a distinct art house quality.
One of the most telling features on the DVD is not the performance itself but the rehearsal footage that is included. It sees the band (featuring many of Kaada's cohorts from his band Chloroform) trying to piece together an albums worth of seemingly random themes and ideas with varying degrees of success. It is quite an insight to see how a band manages to create such glorious pieces of music when clearly it must be almost impossible to recreate live.
When watching the concert footage it becomes clear how incredible the band is. They mix samples and live instrumentation with such natural aplomb you struggle to find fault with any of it. Sound wise, you couldn't ask for a better mix, everything is in its rightful place. Switch the TV off and listen through the speakers and you could well be listening to a studio album it's that good.
If you are not familiar with Romances then you may be wondering just what you're letting yourselves in for. The majority of the material has a lilting edge to it, opening track Invocation sounds not unlike Patton's Fantomas project in their more gentle moments.
Elsewhere you'll find glimpses of 1940s musicals, vast soundscapes (Aubade), elements of folk, funk and metal are all here to greater or lesser degrees. At the heart of it all is Patton and Kaada, evidently relishing the opportunity to bring their music to life, we can't help but relish in it too.