The methodology went like this: former Faith No More/Mr. Bungle/Tomahawk frontman Mike Patton sends hip-hopping turntable masters the X-Ecutioners a bunch of oddball records, then the X-Ecutioners create "sound blocks" out of the albums and send them back to Patton for final tweaking and song-building. Two years in the making, the collaboration feels more like a Patton project than an equal-footing outing, but that doesn't narrow the sound down much, does it? On one hand, there's Patton's penchant for the aggressively avant-garde. On the other, there's his not-as-wild-as-you'd-think appearance on Handsome Boy Modeling School's White People. Ridiculously long and cryptic song titles might point to a crazed, "out there" experience, but General Patton vs. the X-Ecutioners is surprisingly crisp and funky over half of the time, and it's a good guess the X-Ecutioners were the ones to bring the noise. Crazed turntable workouts that recall the crew's greatest underground DJ battle tapes appear throughout the album. They sound untouched for the most part, leading the listener to believe it was Patton's choice to make the overall experience smoother. It takes eight tracks to get to anything approaching John Zorn territory, but this hip-hop noir that Patton's pushing is surprisingly fun and filling. Dirty Harry quotes, kung fu sound effects, and that "this is a journey into sound" sample are some of the clichés that appear and make this album more Gorillaz than Boredoms. While the Gorillaz can brush against smugness and cleverness, Patton's passion for this project comes through loud and approachable. Free jazz, glitch, and whooshes of studio trickery are drama-building devices, each leading to the next hook or the next solid beat. There's an antiwar motif that pays off in the end along with a couple drop-dead hilarious moments, one involving some furious scratching and a porno movie. Not the most essential release from either of the parties involved, but these "sending tapes back and forth through the mail"-type projects rarely result in albums that are much more than "interesting." General Patton vs. the X-Ecutioners has enough passion and inspiration behind it to make it an easy recommendation.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by David Jeffries