365 Days of Mike Patton: “Desert Search For Techno Allah,” Mr. Bungle (1995)

One of my favorite songs on Mr. Bungle’s Disco Volante album is the Arabic-tinged, bass-heavy track “Desert Search For echno Allah.” I’m not even a techno fan, but when that bass drops at 59 seconds into the song, it’s hard not to feel your heart in your throat.

Like plenty of Mr. Bungle songs, this has multiple layers. There’s the techno aspect. There’s the almost horror movie type soundtrack at other points in the song. There’s Patton’s spoken word and screaming. There are the lyrics that read “Qiyamat a tawil” and “Qiyamat insan al kamel” (which reportedly roughly translate to “the great resurrection of the beginning” and “the great resurrection of the perfect man”).

It’s a strange song, but the more you listen to it, the more normal it becomes because you come to realize it’s not some gimmick tune. There’s real structure and real thought put behind the song. That’s probably why I love it even though I never enjoyed techno.

Even Urban Dictionary has an entry for “Desert Search” that reads “A very kickass Mr. Bungle song, off their second album Disco Volante. Prince of Persia on acid. Ruined people’s speakers back in the 90s.”

Yep, that rattling I heard in the speakers of my 1993 Saturn I drove in college and into young adulthood? You can probably blame it on Sevendust’s “Rumble Fish” and “Desert Search For a Techno Allah.”

And just for the heck of it, here’s a live version from 2000. Mr. Bungle played this song at the show I attended in 1999 but I don’t really remember it. Which is too bad, because it’s pretty awesome.

 Previously from Disco Volante:

To follow along on the 365 days of Patton, click here for a list of each day’s post.


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