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192 customer reviews

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Total price: CDN$ 92.87
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 20 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Warner Bros
  • ASIN: B00000JG41
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  LP Record
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (192 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #31,195 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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1. Sweet Charity
2. None Of Them Knew They Were Robots
3. Retrovertigo
4. The Air-Conditioned Nightmare
5. Ars Moriendi
6. Pink Cigarette
7. Golem II: The Bionic Vapour Boy
8. The Holy Filament
9. Vanity Fair
10. Goodby Sober Day

Product Description

Product Description

Wildly warped and ingeniously intriguing, Mr. Bungle's third album is evidence of a rock band pretendiing to have roots in rock music. California explores an ambiance new to Mr. Bungle, conjuring up the sultry dance moves of Cyd Charisse and Fred Astaire; digging through the graveyard of riffs to find English Pop, Elvis, Neil Diamond and Michael Jackson. More meticulously orchestrated, more guided by mistake than their previous releases, California proves that Mr. Bungle cannot escape it's twisted past or twisted future.

Nobody ever accused Mr. Bungle of being suckers for a good melody. The syncopated blasts of cartoonish noise that fill 1991's Mr. Bungle and 1995's Disco Volante are one part speed metal and one part Speedy Gonzalez. Initially, the band served as a more aggressive outlet for singer Mike Patton, widely known for his work in Faith No More. But with Faith No More no more, Patton and Mr. Bungle decided to sweeten the Bungle batter with a little songcraft. California boasts harmonies (yes, harmonies!) that would make the Brothers Wilson proud. Opening with a chorus of seagulls and crashing waves that gives way to slide guitar, strings, and Patton singing (not screaming), the poppy yet symphonic "Sweet Charity" announces that this is not your bike messenger's Mr. Bungle album. Songs like the easy strummin' "Retrovertigo," the sultry Scott Walker-esque "Pink Cigarette," and the orchestral "Vanity Fair" make California 1999's golden-hair surprise. --Bill Crandall

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

By Devin on April 4 2006
Format: Audio CD
Mr Bungle has made yet another album that is captivating and gripping. This time, you can truly notice and appreciate that they are down to business. With the abundance of guest musicians on the album, comes meticulously crafted songs. You can begin to notice, after listening to the first few songs on the cd, that this is an album that Mike Patton hasn't just "proof red" per say, once. He and the band have nailed the album so incredibly well, that the theme "California" just seems to associate nearly perfectly with the music. You ever get an album where almost every song you listen to sounds exactly the same? Well California, not surprisingly, renders the exact opposite. You can tell the band and especially Mike Patton (the fuel and main ingredient of everything) have grown up listening to many different kinds of music. Where some parts are questionable to such artists as Frank Zappa, Mr Bungle never slow down or conform; they only build onto inspirations. Bottom line is, what is fused together on this cd flows so well and is undoubtedly some of the most bizzarre, effective musicianship and song structure I have come across. This album will not dissapoint. This cd is the framework of music to come. Go and buy it. You will not be dissapointed.
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Format: Audio CD
at this point in their career, bungle have become masters of pulling the rug out from under everyone. this is a glowing example. the strange thing is, I've owned this cd for a good 3 years, and I always enjoyed it, but it wasnt until a few nights ago that I devoted the proper attention to its genius. listening at night through headphones proved a revelatory experience.
In the great tradition of frank zappa, bungle has proved itself as master of parody, in the best way. this album perfectly distills the california landscape. it's a brilliantly dark and sinister parody of both western and eastern music, achieving a level of unparalleled terror through bizarre and often comical soundscapes. dark lyrical content mixed with earnest and sometimes wacked out takes on differnt genres create a sense of maniacal forboding.
the album tackles all sorts of out-of character styles, ranging from doowop, surf, klezmer, polka, rat-pack swing, lounge and tons of others. the arrangements are remarkably mature and involved. but the unique thing about California is not only the superb songcraft, but the way the songs are attacked.
the thing that struck me most was how western and eastern music were mixed. both styles of music are fused expertly in songs like the air-conditioned nightmare, playing a middle eastern melody over a surf rock beat, and ars moriendi, blending european klezmer with middle eastern sound. its mind boggling.
the general parody of surf rock pops up on the first track and also on the air conditioned nightmare, fitting all manner of surf, from dick dale to beach boys to the surfaris, all in one song. howver, it transforms into a paranoid portrait of insanity, surrounded by pop culture, a mind going insane with the tv on.
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By A Customer on May 14 2004
Format: Audio CD
Probably the best album ever made and I say that without a hint of hyperbole. It's range is such that from beginning to end you can enjoy any and all types of music that you could care to listen to (within reason). But the originality of the record adds to it the mantle of great, especially in the context of most modern regurgitated pop-rock (strokes-iggy pop, muse-radiohead and other rip offs). Great art is never appreciated in it's time and that's what gives me great hope for the legacy of Mr. Bungle; when future generations are congealed with stagnant sound, people will rediscover California and bask in it's triumphal resonance.
The album begins with "Sweet Charity" - a sound so unfashionable it is painfully refreshing - and then suddenly delves into "None of Them Knew They Were Robots", which is so varying it balks discription. Following is easily the most mainstream song Mr. Bungle (McKinnock) ever produced, it has shades of Karma Police but probably more enterprise, going from a soft lilt to fulfilling rock before reaching it's crecendo and failing beautyfully. All the while though, it never loses it's agonising poignancy. Truely a masterpiece of construction accentuated by Patton's powerfull vocal timbre.
From there it's a wave of differing sounds, some that are Rorschach like in their individual appreciation. Rather than go on describing them, you can only understand by hearing them. I'm going to be blunt: buy the album if you love music and want refresment from the dull monotony of other bands. It defies regret, except through the lack of a follow up.
Mike, please make another!!
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Format: Audio CD
Do not let the boring package fool you: these songs will one day be recognized as true classics. Every one of them is a masterful blend of music and witty, often deep lyrics. You can dance to this music, or you can hit play and sit back to be lulled(assaulted) by the myriad tones and smart riff games.
For those who dislike gangsta rap and repetitive pop music, Mr. Bungle present "California", a most accomplished and consistently satisfying listen. A true classic in terms of the scope of the songs; complimentary STYLES of music are worked into the arrangements. The lounge beach feeling of 'Sweet Charity' recedes and an elevator music interlude is launched via bass into a hawaiian chill-out moment that segues back into the verse; the next track 'None Of Them Knew...' is an epic swingin' big band number that explodes into thrash passages and quiets into brooding jazzy exchanges- all accompanied by amusing sound effects. There's even a rockabilly guitar solo!
These are just the first two songs. Everything here shines briefly before being shoved aside by the next idea. There is no other record like this anywhere. Flawless and underrated at five stars. I will now only offer the cliched 'bravo'.
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