General Patton Vs The X-ecutioners
General Patton Vs The X-ecutioners
atton’s releases on his own Ipecac label are coming at such a furious pace these days that his discography is starting to look like random entries from a schizoid’s diary. What makes Patton different than most, however, is that each project is radically different from the last and, instead of dipping his toe into genres, Patton ends up making them all his own.
Patton’s latest genre of choice? Hip-hop. And those lucky enough to catch the live improvisational shows (or the bootlegs) with Mista Sinista or the full X-ecutioners line-up will be aware that there was an obvious chemistry from these dates which was hopefully leading to something solid on tape. The Vs element of the title gives a clue as to the culture clash of styles that the LP provides, pitting Patton’s lounge / noise style against the cut and paste ethic of the X-ecutioners. Whilst the sound quality (for those that care) is professional, the structure and stop/start pace evokes a garage style sellotape and string mixtape production ethic.
Allegedly, the X-ecutioners created the foundations of the music with choice cuts from the vocal terrorist’s musical vault before he squelched it all down into (a sort of) coherent structure. His improvised vocals and shrieking are ripped and squeaked across beds of awkward samples, strange sounds ripped from stylus’ and rudimentary musical beds.
Considering Patton’s overall control of the end product, it’s not a huge surprise that there are still many tracks that sound like the product of one mind (be it his or theirs) as opposed to two different minds working in harmony. Several of the X tracks (for example the miniscule “Improvised Explosive Device 0300 Hrs” and second track “General P. Counterintelligence: Target=37:47:36n, 122:33:17w”) sound like virgin X-ecutioners material untouched by the hands of the General, even the subtle addition of spooky carnival keys and Argento organs add nothing more than a little unsettling vibery to the mix. Alongside some of the more conventionally structured 'songs' like "!Kamikaze! 0500hrs. ("Take A Piece Of Me")", "!Fire In The Hole! 0400hrs. (Joint Special Operations Task Force)" and "!Get Up, Punk! 0200 Hrs. (Joint Special Operations Task Force)" these shorter DJ led pieces are relegated to little more than mildly involving skits.
The best of these efforts is the last track “Battle Damage Assessment and Repair/White Flag Surrender/’Wake Me up in Heaven’” which manages to sound like both parties had equally valuable input. It even manages to include the lamest sample of all time, the infamous “this is a journey into sound,” and still comes out smelling of futurism. The only unbearable moment on the whole record is “Duelling Banjo Marching Drill,” which sees a laugh track nailed to marching feet rhythm over which General P begins a thankfully-cut-short old school Hammer style rap. This kind of short-sighted last minute piece pulls the record away from the roots of soundclash and experimentalism which birthed the collaboration in the first place.
The material that makes checking this LP out compulsory is the music that combines the abilities and open minds of both parties creating something that neither would by themselves. “Precision Guided Needle-Dropping and Larynx Munitions (Pgndlm)” and "Modified Combined Obstacle Overlay (Mcoo)...Or...'How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love the Turntables)" feature prominent experimental scratching and moods with sung melodies hovering between lounge and noisescapes.
As ever, Patton hasn’t sat still long enough for listeners to get comfortable or bored by recording and releasing remarkable (or at the very least noteworthy) musical experiments that cover the same ground as any decent audiophile’s record collection.
Reviewed by: Scott McKeating
Reviewed on: 2005-02-23