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coverpic flag Japan - Luna Kafé - Full Moon 23 - 09/06/98

Cornelius
Fantasma
Matador / Trattoria

Looking for the soundtrack for the end of the 90's? Something to sum up the history of pop'n'rock'n'roll, as we're heading towards the edge to face another millennium? The answer is given by Keigo Oyamada, a.k.a. Cornelius, and his sparkling album Fantasma. After huge success in his home country, the rest of the world is now finally offered the chance to get to know Cornelius' world of hybrid-pop. The music of Fantasma is like a fountain filling your room with small, many-colored bubbles, as Cornelius surf back and forth on top of the entire history of modern popular music, or; popular culture in general.

When the first track, the somewhat cheesy Mic Check, starts you know there's something special going on. "What's this?", could be a question, but an answer is hard to find. Unless you imagine a young and talented musician and composer, fascinated by pop/rock, classical music (check out the baroque techno track 2010), cartoons, electronics, machines, Planet of The Apes and movies like that. Keigo/Cornelius use cut-and-paste techniques, playing with most genres of music known. 60's, 70's, 80's, 90's in the same bag, or box, or whatever, ending up like a musical freak-show with lethal naive charm. Strange sounds, beautiful harmonies, and rough rhythms side by side, while catchy choruses flare up all over.

New Music Machine is a steaming teaser of guitar-rock as f.i. Yo La Tengo and Sonic Youth could've been up to, while Clash (a tribute to the Clash?) and Star Fruits Surf Rider is bliss-pop, complete with Beach Boys-harmonies and wall-to-wall orchestration. The weird Magoo Opening must be the closest you can get to animated music - the track is a mixture of techno and cartoons; it's almost like you can see eyes popping out of the speakers, followed by serpentine fingers trying to tickle you. Hilarious! The most outstanding track is maybe Thank You For The Music; a country influenced song including a short, perfect-puzzle-potpourri of the entire album.

Cornelius has written, arranged, produced and played almost everything on this album, but he has got some assistance here and there. Among the musical contributors we find Sean O'Hagan (could his fave-track of this album by any chance be The Micro Disneycal World Tour?) of The High Llamas and Stereolab, Robert and Hilarie of The Apples In Stereo (yes, the song Chapter 8 - Seashore and Horizon - sounds very AIS-like), and turntable-spinner Mooog Yamamoto of Buffalo Daughter.

Fantasma is the real "monkey business", as Cornelius has picked an ape-name from Planet of the Apes, calls his musician friends and contributors The Orangu-Tang Clan, and gets himself a good laugh as we - the listeners - are standing outside looking in, mouths wide open. Thank you for the entertainment ROCne-lius-san. A fantasmatic voyage!

Copyright © 1998 Håvard Oppøyen e-mail address

You may also want to check out our Cornelius articles/reviews: Point, Sensuous.

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