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music reviewmusic reviewmusic review  out of 4 Music Review: Fantasma

Artist: Cornelius
Genre: Rock/Pop
Release Date: March 1998

Review by DjBatman
3½ stars out of 4

"Warning! There's an escape from the Planet of the Apes!"  I remember someone saying that in dance music (or was it "in today's music"?) you have mostly two kinds of producers. The "onebloke", i.e. a guy (dj and/or musician) who does it all, using samplers, keyboards, instruments, computers etc.; he can have collaborators but he is the main man behind the production. Norman Cook aka Fatboy Slim aka Freak Power aka Beats International etc. is probably the best example of onebloke. Then you have the "two-dj", which is a couple of dj/producers acting like one single entity. Coldcut are maybe the greatest two-dj ensemble I've ever heard.  Some inspired (?) folks in music journalism have defined Cornelius' music as some kind of modern "lounge" music... an electrified, sample-driven version of instrumentals from the 60's or something like that. This is only partially true. This "onebloke" (who, actually, has several collaborators  grouped under the name Orangu-Tang Clan) whose real name is Keigo Oyamada, from Japan,  in this album shows a really eclectic musical background.  Apparently obsessed with Italian words ("Fantasma" means "Ghost" in Italian... and his japanese label is called "Trattoria", which is a name for those small Italian restaurants where you can eat good old-styled "slow food").  Cornelius steals his name from one of the main characters in the movie "Planet of the Apes" and takes the listener into one of the weirdest musical journeys.  Guitar riffs, melody, britpop vs. japanese pop ("Star Fruits Surf Rider"), mic checks (?), burps (!) and bleeps, cartoon music and breakbeats (at the top of his delirium, Keigo performs a reworking of a theme from Mr.Magoo's classic cartoons, sampling the original version by Dennis Farnon and His Orchestra, adding frantic jungle breaks). A breakbeat on "The Micro Disneycal World Tour" seems to have been evolved from a classic Malcolm McLaren break; I think I have already heard somewhere else a couple of the samples contained in the album, but they're well manipulated. The guy's a genius, 'nuff said.

Here's what others reviewers have to say:

" exuberant kaleidoscope of hip-hop, noisecore, film soundtracks, cheesy listening, indie rock, even Sesame endearing music-obsessive-comes-of-age tale--from Saturday morning TV to arena rock to bootleg Jean-Jacques Perrey reissues..." 6 (out of 10) Spin 5/98, p.134

"...FANTASMA is brilliant. Cornelius's innovations will definitely excite futuristic B-boys and rockers alike..." Vibe 5/98, p.144



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