A brazen horn alerts of a charge that stampedes like a Brazilian Carnivale prancing over you, tripping over your head and leaving a cartoonish orbit of stars and tweety-birds around your skull. That's just the first two minutes of "Voodooluba TV Show," the opening track of this second album by Niobe frontwoman Yvonne Cornelius. And before the song is over, she will drift into a somber, folk-acoustic pluck that speaks in tongues and itself gets run over by yet another parade.
One of the boldest statements sampler music has made in recent years, Cornelius mashes and mangle her various song structures in a way that deflects the irreverence of most scattershot electronic musicians (Jason Forrest comes to mind). So despite the mysterion vocals she belts out on "Tengo Yoruba," contrasted against Motown soul-doo wop backing, or even the tap-dance-cum-Toontown clunk of "Zur Wilden Flotte" which unpredictably tunes into a disco station for just a few bars, it all seems, if not natural, than at least not smirking. If one consistency can be found in Cornelius' music, it might be her dedication to making her voice sound like it's straight off an old 78 RPM record, evoking a sepia-toned spirit that permeates this covertly advanced exercise in digital collage. Like The Triplets of Belleville, it is old-timey and animated, but at the same time more complex and elaborate than anything you'll actually find from the proposed era.
Produced by Andi Toma of Mouse on Mars, clearly this release allows him to stretch far and away from the micro-clip and stuttering laptop funk that has seemingly squeezed his group into a corner. Just because you might be familiar with Cornelius' appearances on MoM's releases does not ensure any preparation for this release.