Oskar Tennis Champion
Oskar Tennis Champion

Sly sophist pirates and disabled epic heroes, 20th century Scottish vaudeville turns, Bauhaus design enthusiasts who fall victim to slapstick pratfalls, victims of bukkake reconstrued as 'controllers of sperm', sentimental Schubert fans and optimistic communists, puppets and pierrots, blind guides who abandon their wards, sexual sewing machines and pretty Japanese girls who wander in Antarctica with tiny frozen lapdogs poking out of their coats. Welcome to the 2003 album from Momus, Oskar Tennis Champion!

In early 2002, fleeing terrorism, recession and the Bush administration, Momus relocated from New York to Tokyo. Oskar Tennis Champion was recorded in the Nakameguro district where artists like Cornelius and Kahimi Karie -- both Momus collaborators -- continue the style formerly known as Shibuya-kei (now dubbed, half-humourously, 'Nakame-kei'). Codenamed in its earliest incarnation The Pirate, the album was planned as a continuation of the radical 'cabaret concrete' experiments Momus had delved into on the album he made with his ex-wife Shazna, Travels With A Donkey by Milky (L'appareil Photo Bis, Japan only, 2002).

Combining musique concrete and the oriental theatre sounds of kabuki and Cantonese opera proved a little schematic, however, and soon, guided by the influence of Jacques Tati's film Playtime, recording went in a different direction, focusing on the clash of early Modernist buzzwords (utopian design, fragmentary form, irrational themes) with slapstick. storytelling, and bathos. This framework allowed Momus to reconcile a love of the fragmented, right-brained sound of new experimental laptop groups like Scratch Pet Land, DAT Politics, Discom and Hypo (today's 'Formalists' and 'Modernists') with his own particular evolution of the traditional song format -- a unique mix of pastiche, unreliable narration, role playing, kulturkritik, and provocative comedy.

Although Momus has guested as a vocalist on the recordings of many artists, he tends to keep the sound of his own recordings very much to himself, self-producing and rarely inviting music guests. Oskar Tennis Champion marks a radical departure from this work habit: the entire album has been tweaked, mangled, glitched up and remixed by a young 'reproducer' based in Bay City, Michigan: 22 year-old John Talaga, who also makes records under the name Fashion Flesh and forms one half of the Super Madrigal Brothers, the American Patchwork signings who dominated the Darla sales chart through 2002. John's work put the album into more radical sonic territory than Momus albums usually inhabit, bringing it closer to the poised 'distortion pop' of artists like Mego's Noriko Tujiko.

So, Oskar Tennis Champion: a record to satisfy your inner Pierre Schaeffer as much as your inner Georges Brassens. A record that takes you from the South China Seas to Scotland and on to 'the house of the dead'. A record of articulacy and melody that seems, nevertheless, strangely attracted to madness and noise.

Go back to the previous album, Folktronic (2001).
Full credits and mp3 bonus track
30 second clips of every track on the album (even the silent track!)

01. Spooky Kabuki (3.05)
02. Is It Because I'm A Pirate? (3.26)
03. Multiplying Love (1.29)
04. Scottish Lips (2.59)
05. My Sperm Is Not Your Enemy (2.23)
06. Oskar Tennis Champion (4.10)
07. A Little Schubert (3.37)
08. The Laird of Inversnecky (3.40)
09. The Last Communist (5.01)
10. Pierrot Lunaire (5.28)
11. Beowulf (I Am Deformed) (4.29)
12. Electrosexual Sewing Machine (3.51)
13. A Lapdog (4.18)
14. Lovely Tree (3.22)
15. Palm Deathtop (3.20)

The Ringtone Cycle (7.32)

(Japanese release only):

18. Beowulf (Digiki Remix) (5.20)
19. Erostratus (2.00)