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Fantômas - Suspended Animation CD (album) cover





3.65 | 103 ratings

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4 stars How could you expect anything but craziness from a band that incorporates Mike Patton (one of the most talented and versatile singers ever from Faith No More, Mr. Bungle, and the John Zorn driven Moonchild), Buzz Osborne (The Misfits), Trevor Dunn (Mr. Bungle), and Dave Lombardo (Slayer). Fantomas has always created quirky music, many times derived from cinematic influences.

"Suspended Animation" is probably the quirkiest of all of Fantomas music, seemingly composed and played by musicians with ADD. The musical ideas come and go so quickly that it is almost impossible to grasp everything that is going on here. The album is based around cartoon-sounding music with a lot of samples and sound effects, plus complex music based on every day of the month of April and the holidays celebrated on a daily basis, which range from the popular April Fool's Day to the more obscure Plan You Epitaph Day or National Scoop the Poop Day. The 30 track titles are named mostly after the holiday names, and the average track length is 90 seconds long. However, when you listen to this album, it is impossible to distinguish one song from the other as they are all connected without hardly a pause and each track can have several different thematic elements, melodies and styles, never resting too long on any single idea. It's quite a mish mash of sounds, even more complex than some of Zappa's most complex music. But, as crazy and haphazard as it may seem, it is all composed and structured, flawlessly played by the amazing musicians involved. Much of this will probably go over the average listener's head.

Yes you get everything you expect. Loud, heavy passages, kooky sound effects, amazing musicianship, Patton's maniacal vocals, and a hell of a lot of unpredictability. It may be too much to take for many listeners, and I find that I have to be in the right mood to handle it. But, how do you take something so complex and just minimize it to being a chaotic jumble of musical ideas? The first time I heard this several years ago, I was speechless and not quite sure what to think of it all. But as my tastes have become more eclectic, I find this more and more enjoyable. I still consider it one of the most quirky and chaotic albums out there, but it makes more sense now than it used to. Just don't expect to be whistling it any time soon, and you'll be okay.

Because of it's extreme complexity, the thing that should make it a masterpiece is the thing that keeps it from being one. But, I can't deny the fact that the music is extraordinary and fun, amazing yet a bit frustrating to listen to. You'll find yourself laughing at times because of the humor, and laughing at other times because you have been pushed over the brink of insanity. 4 stars.

TCat | 4/5 |


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