The Great Battle of Our Time
Another in a long line of superb Mike Patton collaborations comes in this year under the moniker General Patton Vs. The X-Ecutioners. Patton joining with the X-Ecutioners (Roc Raida, Rob Swift, Total Eclipse) has assembled 23 diverse tracks highlighting the broad range of possibilities sampling technology offers. This self-titled album combines pure improvisational fury (“General P. Counterintelligence: Target=37:47:36N 122:33:17W”) along with meticulous futurist hip-hop productions (“Fire In The Hole! 0400Hrs. (Joint Special Operations Task Force)”) to make for an expertly balanced cooperative effort.Besides the curiously long song titles, the whole album is loosely laced with themes of militaristic strategy and world domination. It’s never taken too seriously, which certainly helps in this last year of far too many questionable politically motivated albums. Samples of Dirty Harry and Kung Fu movies keep this affair light and pleasing.
The real victory in this battle, however, is the quality of the various elements. The sinister, sleek and demanding “Get Up, Punk! 0200 Hrs. (Joint Special Operations Task Force)” makes contemplating the precision execution of “Surprise Swing Insurgency/Tabla And Tongue Twist Counterattack/”Dragon Seeks Path”” seem worthy and justified. High spots like “Kamikaze! 0500 Hrs. (“Take A Piece Of Me”)” find Patton singing with confidence catchy hooks over swirling electronics while the frantic time shifts and inventive sampling/mixing of “Eastside Multichannel Tactical Scratch Communications (EMTSC)” is impressive in its technical acumen.
In sloppier hands this album may have been a glorified mixtape but through masterful pacing General Patton Vs. The X-Ecutioners is both exciting and thought provoking. Thus, even more credibility is due to these artists for yet again successfully striving to push beyond their own boundaries.