Music News

Flat Earth Society

Since deciding that he didn't want to be a rock star, Mike Patton, of Faith No More fame, has turned his record label, Ipecac, into a shelter for some of the world's oddest and most interesting music, made by acts as varied as Fantmas and Kid 606. Flat Earth Society, a bizarre big band from Belgium, sounds nothing like either of these groups, which makes it perfect for Ipecac.

The songs on Isms, a collection of the best Society offerings to date, feature wonderfully twisted stylistic collisions. "Pune" pours Asian and African allusions into a free-jazz setting, while "(Little) King Ink" puts a hipster gloss on exotica, via chants, heavy percussion and woozy trombone. Clarinetist/group leader Peter Vermeersch deserves most of the credit for this bracing blend, but don't forget Patton, who compiled the songs himself and is paying to distribute them because he thinks there are other people out there as bored with the status quo as he is. Prove him right.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts