Reviewed by Nathan P. Keene
Sunday, September 19 1999, 11:42 PM
What if the Boredoms and the Butthole Surfers both studied tantric audial destruction at the same heretical Tibetan monastery? Well, they don't need to now, because now we've got Fantomas. Think, "The absurdity and horror of technologized existence -- in handy sound-bite format!"
As when you think Boredoms, Space Streakings, K.K. Null, the Butthole Surfers, and others in the universe of really agressively uncomforting sounds, think diamond-hard, loud, high precision, stop-start assaults of carefully-devised noise covering the gamut from goth/industrial-style, pseudo-sampled, repeatable bass riffs to backdrops extracted from B-grade horror-movie dialogue, interspersed with barrages of bizarre digital delay loops, nameless simulated machinery effects, and guttural sprays of random phonetic units. Ouch! This disk would set a great ambience for an evening of hanging your friends from the ceiling and flaying them alive. Yeehaw!
The copy of Fantomas's nameless debut (either that or Tracks 1-30 is the title of this collection) that I have is unaccompanied by such frills of music ownership as song lists, member names, and all that other fan-club fluff, so I have no idea what the deal is with them except that it sounds like one of them may be Japanese. A lot of it does smack of Yamatsuka Eye, so I wouldn't be surprised.
However, to avoid giving them a clonish cast, note that in the sound collage/performances recorded on the album, Fantomas does cover a bigger dynamic range and a bigger variety of, yes, musical themes than do most of the people listed at the beginning, except maybe the Butthole Surfers. If you're like me and believe that good noise creates its own signal, this is just the cacophony for you. Tracks 5 and 29 are particularly the shit to hear.
Fantomas' debut recording is an Ipecac release