Japan - Luna Kafé - Full Moon 23 - 09/06/98
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
Copyright © 1998 Håvard Oppøyen