28 Oct Episode 43 – Cut It! Cut It! Dissecting Mr. Bungle’s ‘California’
After recording two mind-bending and defiant albums — pieced together, ever so precariously, with the bacterial molecules of metal, ska, contemporary music, free jazz, musique concrete, tango, imaginary soundtracks, and the music of the Middle East — Mr. Bungle returned to the table in 1999 with their fin de siecle masterpiece, California. Breaking from the hysterical invention of the previous albums, California works within a more stable reservoir of sounds, resulting in a luxurious set of songs that presses into service the band’s highly-evolved compositional prowess and nimble musicianship. Over the course of 44 minutes, Mr. Bungle works through the swing-metal of “None of them Knew They Were Robots,” the torch-song noir of “Pink Cigarette,” and the cyborg future-funk of “Golem II: The Bionic Vapor Boy” and addresses such zesty topics as The Hidden God, ritual castration, and the nausea that underpins West Coast “fun in the sun.” One of the last grand analog production feats, we here at Radical Research feel it’s high time this record gets the laboratory treatment. Join us as we dive deeply into the air-conditioned nightmare.
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Music cited, in order of appearance:
[all from California, 1999]
“None of Them Knew They Were Robots”
“The Air-Conditioned Nightmare”
“Golem II: The Bionic Vapour Boy”
“The Holy Filament”
“Goodbye Sober Day”
episode 44 preview: Xysma, “On the Hill of Desecration” (Yeah, 1991)
Radical Research is a conversation about the inner- and outer-reaches of rock and metal music. This podcast is conceived and conducted by Jeff Wagner and Hunter Ginn. Though we consume music in a variety of ways, we give particular privilege to the immersive, full-album listening experience. Likewise, we believe that tangible music formats help provide the richest, most rewarding immersions and that music, artwork, and song titles cooperate to produce a singular effect on the listener. Great music is worth more than we ever pay for it.
This is Radical Research Podcast episode 43.