Fantastic Film… “Fantastic Man: A Film about William Onyeabor”

Written by

**Editor’s Note:  Tonight at the Hyperion Tavern in Silverlake, the good folks from dublab are presenting a FREE screening of Fantastic Man at 9:00PM! With DJ sets by Dave Muller, Frosty & Slayron.

“A riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma…”, so Churchill described the Russian national interest.

And so might many modern artists describe confounding Nigerian synth-psych-Afro-disco dude William Onyeabor.

For years, DJs, collectors, producers have tried to unravel the mystery of Onyeabor to little avail. Last year, Luaka Bop released an excellent compilation of his work called, “Who is William Onyeabor?” Moog released limited edition custom models of their Little Phatty and Minitaur bearing Onyeabor’s good name. A remix album is forthcoming with reworks by Joakim, JD Twitch of Optimo, Hot Chip, Scientist, Daphni and more. And now there’s a short documentary on the man and the myth that attempts to piece together the story.

Fantastic Man” directed and produced by filmmaker Jake Sumner and Alldayeveryday  frame the mysterious narrative from the perspective of musicians and collectors (including Damon Albarn, Dan Snaith, Strut and Luaka Bop label heads, scholars & music historians) trying to deconstruct the post civil-war climate that gave birth to the Nigerian sound and how Onyeabor’s particularly leftfield take on it came about. The fact that few people knew the guy who supposedly went to Law School at Oxford and/or studied filmmaking in Russia and who also owned his own recording studio and record pressing plant in Enugu. It’s all endlessly fascinating, completely absurd and totally entertaining.

We still don’t really know WHO Onyeabor is…but we do have a fine portrait of a fantastic man.