Cosmo Vitelli


Cosmo Vitelli, aka 29-year-old French producer Benjamin Boguet, takes his pseudonym from a nightclub owner in John Cassavetes' 1976 film The Killing of a Chinese Bookie -- a fact that's nearly the only serious thing about his project. Although his songs are most often aligned with those of Air, Vitelli is more of a class clown than that group's studious nerd. (For evidence, see Vitelli's debut single, "Don't Eat Animals Anymore, Eat Children.")

Clean, the producer's first full-length after a clutch of EPs, is as blithe as his namesake was stoic. The album begins with "Listen to Images," a 47-second instrumental that conjures up the cartoonish image of an amorous cat stuck in a tangle of symphonic strings. In "Be Kind to the Machines," Vitelli takes a piano line reminiscent of the The Young and the Restless theme and adds quirky sound effects and a snappy drum 'n' bass beat; for "Come On, Generation Clone," a subtle stab at topical humor, he utilizes twinkling toy-box melodies.

Vitelli is obviously a child of the electro-pop '80s, as he sonically tips his hat to the likes of Human League and New Order. Twenty years ago, "Party Day" (with honeyed vocals from Chicago house producer Harrison Crump) and "Robot Soul" (where singer Joe Eppard purrs the great hook, "Realize/ I am anesthetized") could have battled those earlier bands for chart success. In these highly cynical times, though, Vitelli may only reach the dance-music faithful. Still, for those willing to trade a bit of substance for some carefree moments, it may be time to come Clean.

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