Sure he’ hinted at it with Fantomas’ Directors Suite, yet nothing can prepare you for the bombast that greets the main title theme to the Mike Patton score for A Perfect Place. It’s a blast of brass from which your stereo may never recover. Welcome to Mancini, Barry, Morricone heaven. The reverence with which he holds these masters is something to behold. These names littered the Directors Cut, and though he then forcibly mangled them with a certain malicious glee, here he’ gone straight for a classy classical score. A sort of homage if you will to the masters. The languid strumming on the second theme, A Perfect Place, is very reminiscent of Mancini’ opening scene in Experiment In Terror, in fact there are Mancini moments spread throughout the 15 cues featured here, cheekily tipping his hat to the Pink Panther theme in the Main Title Reprise. Though cues may be too harsh a term, as many are fully formed musical pieces, songs even. And despite the obvious debt to the masters, Patton’ work here is revelatory. He’ been credited as a composer since the Bungle days, yet the music written performed, produced and mixed by himself here is mind boggling – particularly if you’re a film lover. Unfortunately the film, a 25 minute black and white Jim Jarmuschesque attempt at indie cool fails to offer much we haven’ seen before, and can’ live up to the inventiveness of Patton’ score. At times the music elevates the onscreen banality into the moody slacker noir farce it sets out to be, and the filmmakers do use Patton’ score wisely, not afraid to pump it up in the mix and let it work its magic. In particular the old time swing transistor music in the elderly neighbours apartment is great, as is the distorted vocals and searing electrics of the disturbing stomp of A Little Poker Tomorrow Night? Despite the limitations of the film you can see why Patton jumped at the chance to score it. It’s not too often you get the chance to dip into the urban noir, into bombastic brass, smooth jazzy bass, and create a suite of music that can sit alongside the old masters. This is a two disc set, one the score, the other a DVD of the film, and it’s fascinating to see how the filmmakers chose to use the music. Lets hope this is just the first of many film compositions that the ever eclectic and hyper energetic Patton.
Bob Baker Fish