William Onyeabor is one of those figures in music that both mystify and amaze with their talent and enigmatic nature.
Most attempts to piece together any notable biography or history about the man have failed, due to his refusal to speak to the media. One thing that’s known is that he was a big businessman, winning “West African Industrialist of the Year” in ’87!
On top of that he has never played live, so the international cult following he has attained is due to the strength of his studio work.
The music itself is pretty distinctive as well. Although it fits into the early Nigerian electronic music scene to an extent, he was doing some unusual things.
Like a lot of songs by him, “Fantastic Man” is a funky electronic odyssey, with sparse lyrics and an array of rich synthesizer jamming.
The squelches and buzzes of his equipment play over a solid foundation of disco-ey drums and a nice rhythmic bassline. There’s a range of guitar riffs interplaying with the synths that create an impressive sonic painting, with more than enough action to sustain and justify the 7 minute length.
The song was released on the 1979 LP Tomorrow in Nigeria, but has since been included on various compilations. The original LP has been released as well.
What a guy!