fits right in with the Beastie Boys' Grand Royal aesthetic. He sees no difference between pop and avant-garde, high culture and lowbrow trash -- he throws it all together, coming up with completely unexpected combinations. The thrill of hearing hip-hop loops morph into sheets of My Bloody Valentine
guitar noise, then into sweet Beach Boys
harmonies, is what makes his American debut Fantasma
such a wonder. It's easy to write Cornelius
off as a Japanese Beck
, particularly since his pop songcraft is as impressive as the busy, multi-layered production, but it's a little patronizing. Cornelius
is operating on his own terms, equally influenced by sunny pop ("Chapter 8 -- Seashore and Horizon," boasting harmonies by Apples in Stereo), garagey hard rock, and kitsch (the cartoonish "Magoo Opening"). He assembles the parts in unpredictable ways -- the hard beats of "Mic Check" suddenly give way to floating acoustics; "Chapter 8" literally has a tape recorder stopping and starting the different parts -- which is why Fantasma
is so intoxicating. It is one of those rare records where you can't tell what's going to happen next, and it leaves you hungry for more.