'Delìrium Còrdia' by FANTÔMAS was released 15 years ago!
"To me, this is an easy-listening record. It's not horrifying; it's beautiful. That's just the way I hear it. But I'm obviously in the minority. What the hell do I know?" - Patton 2004After Faith No More met an untimely end Mike Patton continually astounded and confused fans with eccentric and exciting new records. With more conventional music from Tomahawk and Fantômas' second album The Director's Cut he seemed to have made a return to writing more accessible songs. In 2004 however the third album from Fantômas saw him push the boundaries of music making to the extreme. Delìrium Còrdia (Latin for irregular heartbeat) is an operatic nightmare, one continuous 74 minute track which plays like horror movie soundtrack or eerie progressive sound scape.
“It’s my version of ambient music. It’s dealing with larger blocks of sound and putting them together. Mood music, I like to call it. Obviously we still get around to making a lot of jarring
sounds — there’s a lot of nasty stuff on there but it’s not like the band is attacking you with a chainsaw. It’s more seductive.” [full interview]
“It’s demanding, difficult, abstract music. It definitely tests the patience, your ears and everything else but I think music shouldn’t always be some sort of pleasure ride or a condescending pat on the back for the listener. Sometimes it should really poke you in the wrong way. If we’re doing that, we feel like we’re doing our job.”
As always with this project the music was solely written by Patton, however this time around he considered his band mates (Trevor Dunn, Dave Lombardo and Buzz Osborne) whilst putting together the ideas, "Well, now Fantomas is a band, so I feel like I'm writing for them. I give them rough sketches with fake drums and bad guitar. A lot of the stuff ends up making it. A lot of the stuff I re sample and play along with Buzz." [full interview]
"When I wrote the first record, I was just hoping I'd find four guys insane enough to even try this ridiculous music. Once I watched them devour it, I knew that a monster was being born and I realized these guys could do anything! I would have never attempted a record like this new one if I didn't know that. And the more that I can stretch what these guys do, the better it's gonna be for the band, the more interesting music we can make." [full interview]
Patton also benefited from now having his own home studio, "On the Delirium record, most of the stuff I did at home, and had the guys overdub on that. Putting a studio in my pad was one of the best things I ever did. I can't believe I didn't do it sooner."
The theme of the record is Surgical Sound Specimens from the Museum of Skin or surgery without anaesthesia. All the images used to comprise the cover are photographs taken from Max Aguilera-Hellweg's book The Sacred Heart: An Atlas of the Body Seen Through Invasive Surgery, published in 1997.
"A few years ago I stumbled upon a book of his and it fucking blew my head off. I never forgot it. Much, much later--when it came to the point where I realized I needed some strong imagery to make this piece work--I wrote [Helwig] a letter."
The actual design of the album sleeve by Patton and regular artistic collaborator Martin Kvamme, which is particularly wonderful, was somewhat a struggle to finalise and caused the album to be postponed as Patton told Kerrang! in 2004, “The artwork is slightly complicated, it’s not your everyday four colour, three page booklet so they had a little more attention to pay to detail and they just couldn’t fucking handle it! It took over a month of collections, nagging, threatening – you name it, finally I was able to get it close enough. You’ll like it even more when you see the artwork; it’s fucking gorgeous.”