Ready for takeoff

“Ready for takeoff” is a cartoon phrase sampled at the beginning of one of the most mind-blowing albums of the early 21st century: Suspended Animation by Fantômas. Almost anyone who has stumbled upon this record, has done it by already knowing the wonders created by Mike Patton, frontman of incredible, countless projects. Dave Lombardo’s drums blend with Buzz Osbourne’s guitars to begin a journey into a musical place you don’t know until you get to the third second of this album.

Sampling and experimentation are fundamental in this journey, where they give us a lecture on sound design applied to music. “Fasten your seatbelts”, voices and sounds coming from everywhere. We find ourselves surrounded by panned guitars and unpredictable rhythms of agonizing heavy rock. Here, a slow bass string is scraped, followed by whispers and accompanied by a double bass.

Suspended Animation by Fantômas

A stark contrast between 1940s cartoon movie score instruments and megaphone distortions keeps the mind from landing in the commonplace. The change in voice effects is one of Mike Patton’s hallmarks, highlighting a robotic voice augmented with a bit of distortion.

If you use funny sounds in the right gaps, you can make any metal tune sound as the freshest tune you’ve ever heard. Suddenly, the beat seems ephemeral, like it accompanies an old movie dialogue. Breaking into the peace of a decade where ignorance was bliss.

Why not throw in some sounds of broken down toys? Eighties machines combined with incidental sounds of video games. Noise that no longer bores, noise that also becomes an acoustic guitar that sounds as if there were three of them.

The lesson is to play with the element of surprise. Changing from distorted to acoustic from one moment to the next, but just where no one expects thinking a rock beat will follow. You can never miss a clapping session with brass distributed everywhere. Laughter and carousel music get you ready to wake up to clown horns. 

Now mess with the voice of a hacked children’s toy. Getting clear sounds can make all the difference if you record the hack instead of manipulating separate style audios. Sounds of rattles, maracas, laser beams and shitty paraphernalia you saw on TV when you were thinking of anything but paying rent.


That’s what it’s all about. To go far away. To go on a trip. To take off… Not to be afraid of any contrast, of any childish sound. Listening to kids laughing with Pac Man in the background and a surprise joker box that may confuse you, but at least you’ll smile.

Add an epic western moment to clear the noise you made. Another masterclass. Record the garbage can that fell, go to hell via a synthesizer out of a B-movie. Fade in a robotic alarm loop that might as well have come out of the Ninja Turtles.

When cartoon characters sing opera, they do it badly. A valuable opportunity to have a sample out of the ordinary. “Rewinding” an Eastern instrument can also generate something not commonly heard.

For a spiritual, heavy ambience, it never hurts to throw in heavy reverb. Voice as the bed of something dark and monstrous. Cool percussion will sound cooler with samples of kids reciting children’s verses.

Drums that fill, that refill. Scooby walking on his tiny toes is definitely an incidental sound that you want to keep the journey going. Where do you want to take us with those sounds recorded at Warner Brothers, Mike? To loosen up the voice, to take it to the highest pitch without fear of fracturing masculinity.

That high-pitched tone then is transformed into something spooky. A fifties tune of the moment when UFOs are arriving in a town that is about to be destroyed. Take us back in time with the intermittent sound of the cut-off signal of a rotary phone. Awaken from nostalgia with a guitar worthy of being on a Slayer record. 

Sighing towards a journey well into the future, little cartoon voices are heard here and there. It’s time to pour yourself a second mezcal, to join the out-of-tune trumpets. Something from the nineties comes through with a tune you don’t understand but you know it has all the tinge of early Marilyn Manson.

More unpredictable metal grooves, you can do hardcore punk at this stage of the game, why the fuck not? I’d add a donkey jaw combined with jazz… I’m already inspired.

Encourage and shorten the sampe. Use a deep voice at the end of a woman’s phrase. Tricks that can work for you on the way down… are you ready to take off again?

Leave a Reply