Cornelius is the brainchild and pseudonym of Keigo Oyamada, a studio whiz who often gets lumped in with Japanese sound manipulators from Boredoms to Buffalo Daughter. But aside from their accents and country of origin, Oyamada is on another plain entirely: Where Buffalo Daughter creates restless, danceable, full-band sound collages, and Boredoms' music is deconstructionist to a point that often abandons listenability, Cornelius' new Fantasma is a crisp, dynamic, mostly pleasant construction that sounds like the product of one inventive man whose sounds are created and manipulated strictly within the confines of a studio setting. That is to say, it's never sloppy or aimless: Dense, knotty songs like "Magoo Opening" allow beats, samples, sound bursts, and pop melodies to clash, while others—"Mic Check," "Count Five Or Six"—distort mundane, deadpan line readings into something resembling choruses. The instrumental "2010," meanwhile, is just dizzying. Fantasma is a compelling sound factory that's always whizzing off in new directions, and the whole thing is summed up nicely by "Chapter 8—Seashore And Horizon," which keeps clicking back and forth between two disparate, pleasant, strangely jangly songs (featuring members of The Apples In Stereo). You're not sure what's going to pop up next, but it almost always works.

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