Today is of course the birthday of a true genius, Happy Birthday Mike Patton born 27th January 1968.

We considered how to celebrate this prestigious event here on FNMFollowers, a biography of the master, a selection of photos or maybe a mere dedication?

This date however also happens to be the eleventh anniversary of the release of Fantomas'
 third album Delirium Cordia. Not as auspicious an occasion as last year's tenth but we weren't posting then! So we thought why not dedicate this day to one of Mr Patton's more eccentric compositions.

The Music

 "Like the surgeon, the composer slashes open the body of his fellow man, removes his eyes, empties his abdomen of organs, hangs him up on a hook holding up to the light all of the body's palpitating treasures sending a burst of light into its innermost depths."

This quote from author and surgeon Richard Selzer MD (who's sampled voice features on the album) describes the album's landscape perfectly.

'The music, which was composed solely by Patton, could be described as the score to a horror movie and/or concept album centering on the theme of surgery without anesthesia. The album consists of a single track that runs for 74 minutes and 17 seconds

 Several music genres and styles are covered over the course of the album, including easy listening, chanting, drone, noise and metal, generally being separated by ambience and sounds and voices in a surgical setting. There are no lyrics or song structures as such as one would traditionally expect; the band instead focuses on atmosphere and the creation of suspense through the use of eerie noises, wordless vocals, and sudden, jarring changes in volume and intensity. Approximately the last 20 minutes of the track consist of the sound of a turntable stylus stuck in the runout groove of a record. The track then ends abruptly, with the sound of someone counting in a fast tempo, followed immediately by the stylus sliding across a record's surface.

Some listeners have reported that when played at high speed, such as by holding down the fast-forward button, the record reveals still intelligible sounds including the sound of running water.' 

Thanks for doing my job for me Wikipedia, but you don't come here to simply read their description of the record. Here we compiled various rather descriptive and well composed reviews.

 'The record is always haunting; giving one a sense of the grizzly images of the insert booklet -- photos of surgeries in action. The music has film score qualities, a feeling of being lost in a hospital at night, a hospital much like that of Lars Von Trier's The Kingdom, while Hellraiser demons watch and wait from afar.'allmusic

'This album is their own score for something more powerful than a scary movie: the sick, twisted dreams that emerge from your own subconscious when you’re asleep.'PopMatters

'Imagine being in hospital. Imagine going through major surgery while being awake; feeling surgeons dig into your body, scraping away impediments, while all the while you're lying helplessly awake, screaming inwardly for some sort of release from emotions of pain, fear, and abject terror. Now, imagine this idea set to music.'Sputnik

 'Delirium Cordia is the perfect amalgamation of a soundtrack to a suspense-thriller and a surgical procedure gone horrifically wrong. The world of a surgeon with dementia has never been expressed so simply'Screen Point Blank

 The artwork

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. The actual design of the album sleeve by Patton and regular artistic collaborator Martin Kvamme.

'An accident cost professional photographer Max Aguilera-Hellweg the use of his right arm for a year. Forced to work with a tripod and the larger format of 4-by-5-inch film, he was providentially assigned to photograph a neurosurgeon as she worked. This ultimately gave birth to The Sacred Heart, a magnificent and utterly disturbing collection of photographs of the human body seen through invasive surgery.
There is nothing like this collection either in the annals of medical photography or the arts. Almost 50 surgical procedures--a liver transplant, a mastectomy, the harvesting of organs after death, a cesarean birth, and others--cause us to look away and immediately look back. Surgeons' hands hover gracefully over gaping wounds, and lighting on gloves, instruments, and bare flesh is both theatrical and holy.

'Aguilera-Hellweg's essay integrates the photographs and historic information about early surgical procedures with his own philosophic musings. The Sacred Heart inspires terror, pity, and awe as our gaze lingers on these horrific images.'
- Editorial Review


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