Mike Patton & Ictus Ensemble – Laborintus II

Within the rock and metal community Mike Patton is mostly known for his pioneering vocal antics with Faith No More, The Dillinger Escape Plan and Mr Bungle. The last couple of years he’s active in countless side projects of a more experimental nature, including Mondo Cane, Peeping Tom and many other collaborations with drum n’ bass and jazz artists. His latest musical venture is a tribute to Italian composer Luciano Berio, together with the Dutch Chamber Choir and the Ictus Ensemble from Brussels, Belgium.
First of all, a word of caution, because “Laborintus II” has nothing to do with rock or metal whatsoever. This project is for open-minded music lovers and jazz cats alike. Anyone hoping for mr Patton’s schizophrenic vocal madness will be disappointed as well, because the main focus of this recording is squarely on the jazzy/avant-garde endeavors of the Ictus Ensemble and the wonderfully disturbed vocal interruptions by the Dutch Chamber Choir. Together they really manage to bring forth the anguished atmosphere of Dante’s Inferno.
Mike Patton provides the narrative of this album. His parts are basically the glue that keeps the different musical pieces together. My compliments for his mastery of the Italian language and how he adds a dignified layer to the album.
Musically this projects reminds me a lot of the “Metamenoir” album by Dale Cooper Quartet and the more jazzy explorations of The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble. I feel that “Laborintus” will especially resonate with the jazz cats among us.
“Laborintus II” is a striking tribute to the work of Luciano Berio and it also underscores the incredible versatility of Mike Patton himself. I’m hooked! (9/10) 

Raymond Westland  

Label info: www.ipecac.com