ILM's 2005 collaborative mix project hoonja-doonja!

April 09, 2005

Cornelius, "Ball In - Kick Off"

When it comes to maximalism, always bet on a guy who's last album made minimalism appear bombastic. The particular gift of Cornelius records in the late 90s was his refinement of the sound chaos he embraced on the final Flipper's Guitar album, Dr Head's World Tower, and his second solo disc, 69/96, so that by Fantasma the meat of the songs and the tiny details were all treated as equal. That you could hear a space transmission almost as clearly as a bludgeoning riff, spazzed-out breakcore, a verse, a hook, several backing harmonies, and half a dozen melodies without feeling like being beaten about your steadily disintegrating ears is a marvel no one else has ever truly approached, though not for lack of trying (hi, Basement Jaxx; yo, The Avalanches; lovely to see you, Plus-Tech Squeeze Box). Perhaps it's the control freak within, being a (mostly) one-man band and all, but his ability to make his music spray large funny sounds from your speakers without spreading samples in every spare place and still sound bigger than anything you've ever heard in any genre ever (again, even in his present "grandfather" stage) is what lets Keigo stand 50 feet above the heads of his peers.

'Ball In-Kick Off' is one of the loud ones, and almost certainly crazier and funkier than anything on Fantasma, save perhaps the toytown Mr Magoo theme and the arcade machine d'n'b Bach cover. Ostensibly about football, it precedes Shaolin Soccer by a few years and was probably all over Japan during the World Cup days of 2002. And it's easily as enjoyable, skipping gaily over musical forms with and without a care for any. He likes to tease, does old Keigo, but when you reach the payoff as he's putting the "multi" in "layered" and "crazy frickin' madman" in "schizophrenic", you know the ride was worth it, and anyway, your ass should have been moving too much to fritter your cares away into three big funk-metal riffs, two football commentators flipping across your speakers - one from Earth, one from the Cylon galaxy - a group of cooing Corneliuses, a tropical backbeat and a breakbeat that may have been inspired by throwing marbles on the ground and watching people lose their balance. Spector...Bomb Squad...Spector...Bomb Squad. He can scare you if he's so inclined. I've seen it happen.

He dares you, too. Dares you to deny its bounceability and its sense of adventure. Dares you to shake your pants, to rock out, to deny it's just a funny little pop song about footie. It's the beautiful game in his head, and it's an interesting trip, so won't you all step inside? Oh, and your headphones? Don't come without them.

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