The Washington Post Issue November 24, 1995

The Washington Post Issue November 24, 1995

Bungle's Jumble Of Sounds

Imagine Frank Zappa composing the soundtrack for Ed Wood's "Plan Nine From Outer Space". Imagine the Residents releasing a techno-dance project. That should give you some idea of Mr.Bungle's "Disco Volante", an album of cheesy synthesizers, mangled disco beats, virtuositc playing and juvenile noises. Like the Residents, Mr.Bungle is a northern California band which obscures itstrue idendity (it shares members with Faith No More) by prohibiting photos of its members and using such funny names as I Quit (the drummer) and Uncooked Meat Prior To State Vendor Collapse (the keyboardist). Like Zappa, the Mr.Bungle musicians like to show off their classical, jazz difficult passages which are rrechnically impressive but never seem to go anywhere.

All but three of the album's dozen pieces feature lyrics, but the vocals are so deeply buried in the mix that the words are virtually indecipherable. It's just as well, for the CD booklet reveals that the lyrics consist of such schoolboy doggerel as,

I awake covered in snot
Dreamt I swallowed my teeth
And tried to cough them up
Pulmonate gastropod
Oh, for insomnia!

the music is equally self-indulgent. The pieces are more accurately described as aural montages than songs, for short sections erupt and suddenly disappear, replaced by another passage just as well-played and just as clever but with little connections to what preceded it. For listeners who enjoy the constant surprise of such arbitrary musical detours, Mr.Bungle provides much better musicianship than the Residents but less coherence than Zappa.

by Geoffrey Himes

Thanks to Eric Hatch.
Source: Eric Hatch
© 1995-2001,2011-2012 Stefan Negele