Mr. Bungle: “Chemical Marriage”
From the album Disco Volante (1995)
Formed in Northern California in the mid-1980s, Mr. Bungle was one of premiere experimental rock outfits of the late 20th century. The groups’s three studio albums— Mr. Bungle (1991), Disco Volante (1995), and California (1999)— stand as a monumental fin de millennium statement on the death and possible afterlife of rock music.
Their debut album is the most stylistically coherent of the three, perhaps describable as a sort of carnivalesque funk-metal. The band’s swan song, California, has much of their trademark schizoid charm, but with a dominant exotica vibe and an unexpected tunefulness to many of the songs.
Disco Volante is to my mind the band’s magnum opus. It is an album without a center, a crucible in which the detritus of a half-century of popular recorded music is amalgamated and transfigured into a fractured masterpiece of ear-melting beauty.
From the epic, multi-part “Carry Stress in the Jaw” (on a text by Edgar Allan Poe), to the (previously featured) pseudo-Arabic electronica of "Desert Search for Techno Allah," to the cheesy surf-rock turned thrash metal of “Merry Go Bye-Bye,” Disco Volante is a bottomless vessel of auditory delight. ”Chemical Marriage,” whose title invokes the alchemical fusion of male and female elements (coincidentia oppositorum), is an organ-driven number featuring the virtuosic wordless vocalizations of singer Mike Patton.