John Erik Kaada and Mike Patton. Two great tastes that taste great together. It's been twelve long years since the pair released Romances - a sometimes lush sometimes harsh always beautiful collection of soundscapes.
Bacteria Cult is the sum total of two artists that have grown into their own and are completely at ease with what they each can bring to the table. Both are now coming into the collaboration with much more soundtrack experience and it shows in the cinematic scope of the album.
Whereas Romances consisted of ambient ideas, Bacteria Cult has more defined themes with each song painting their own crystal-clear visage.
Rarely quotes in promo materials are accurate, but Kaada has described the album as residing "in the twilight zone where spooky and seductive meet". This serves as a much better accurate descriptive than this addled mind could come up with.
As with much of Kaada's solo work and even his work with Cloroform, there's a playfulness to his compositions that fit well with Patton's aesthetic, bringing to mind his work with Fantômas. Though lighter in tone than Director's Cut and not as manic as Suspended Animation.
For Patton, using his voice as an instrument was once a new and experimental thing in 1999 with the release of the first Fantômas album, but now, like any true artist - he has mastered how and when to restrain his vocals or release them.
With Romances, Kaada and Patton used more electronic means to produce their music but Bacteria Cult finds them using Norway's Stavanger Symphony Orchestra with the electronic factor used sparingly but to no lesser effect.
There's a Morricone-like atmosphere throughout Bacteria Cult - particularly on staccato-led compositions like "Papillon" and the sweeping majesty of "Black Albino". In the hands of lesser artists, this would be a cheap attempt at mimicry rather than the artfully tasteful homage that it is.
I truly hope that Kaada and Patton continue to collaborate on future works - there's such a progression between this album and their previous that by the time the next album comes around we'll all be running to catch up.
8.3 / 10
Has it really been three, almost four, years now since Mike Patton and John Kaada released Romances? Apparently so! Live chronicles the first and only live performance of Patton and ...
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