It's well established by now that Mike Patton is restlessly creative and adventurous so by this stage, 14 years after Faith No More, it's of no surprise that his latest appearance is as the Italian speaking narrator on The Ictus Ensemble's Laborintus II, the Belgians' take on composer Luciano Berio's 1965 interpretation of the poetry of Dante scholar Edoardo Sanguineti.
To recap, Laborintus II is a record in a language you can't understand, using abstracted jazz and classical forms to accompany a piece of theatre you're not watching. So, why bother? Well, because if everything needed to be simple and easy we'd all listen to Blink 182 and we can't have that can we? Importantly the record is expressive and playful with moments of beauty and dread and is sufficiently removed from the hum-drum to draw you in.
Laborintus II's short length (half an hour or so) and, at times, gently sparse orchestration engender repeated listens to catch that droning bass, this demented jazz trumpet or the swirling female choral singing. I cannot pretend this is for everyone; hell, it gets a little theatrical for me at times especially on closing number Part 2 but it is worth a try for those seeking something outside their normal rock confines. That's what Patton really does on these releases (beyond his performance, obviously) he's a way in. Laborintus II isn't always easy but nor is it always demanding, why not bother?