Mike Patton – The Solitude of Prime Numbers

Mike Patton
The Solitude of Prime Numbers
Ipecac

The ever unpredictable Mike Patton throws yet another curveball at us with the release of ‘The Solitude of Prime Numbers’, a musical score to the film of the same name (2010’s La Solitudine dei Numeri Primi). The film (based on the book of the same name) applied the theory of twin primes – numbers that differ from another prime number by two. Having not seen the film yet, I’m not in a position to judge how well it applies to the silver screen, but Patton makes the theory work well here in a musical sense.

Each musical track is sequenced by Patton according to prime numbers – so therefore, only 2, 3, 5, 7…all the way to 53 feature musical content, the remaining tracks between filled with four seconds of silence or a slight overrun from the previous track. Patton himself is largely absent vocally, only bookending the album with some ‘la la la la’s’ to open and conclude. Instead, its down to the musical arrangement to carry the album’s concept and the lonely listener on a distant journey. The general mood of the songs runs anywhere from ominous and unsettling (’11 – Cicatrix’ being one example) to dream state (’19 – Radius of Convergence’) and simply beautiful (’29 – The Snow Angel’). Ultimately though, the music shouldn’t be dissected – the album must be listened to all the way through as a whole, to ensure you capture every mood and emotion going through the music.

Conventional rock or metal fans probably won’t buy into this due to its abstract nature and admittedly it will appeal more to the art masses. But Patton has scored this film incredibly well, much likes his previous work on ‘A Perfect Place‘ and on ‘Crank 2: High Voltage‘. It’s an excellent slab of modern classical music from the man of many guises. Needless to say, I found this an excellent diversion from the daily shredding, blasting and growling of metal, and indeed of the daily grind, as I made my daily, long commute home. An excellent companion, particularly within the loneliness of nightfall.

Peter Clegg
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