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Sensuous

Keigo Oyamada, or Cornelius to us, has been conspicuous in his absence since 2001’s deliriously good Point, which was just the kind of visionary post-pop album you imagined would emerge from his native Japan.

Rating: 8 ½ / 10

Mark Keane, 30 Apr 2007



Keigo Oyamada, or Cornelius to us, has been conspicuous in his absence since 2001’s deliriously good Point, which was just the kind of visionary post-pop album you imagined would emerge from his native Japan. Those who feared that this hiatus signalled a drying up of inspiration will be quickly re-assured by his fifth and latest album Sensuous.

It’s an apt title, because Cornelius’s music has a gloriously tangible quality – its rich, layered textures and vibrant, skittish arrangements will almost have you grasping at individual notes. The fractured rhythms, singular keys and mellifluous harmonies on the opening title-track combine in a woozy cadence; the distilled funk and bare bones beats of ‘Breezin’’ offer seductive pleasures; the taut, vigorous electro bassline on ‘Beep It’ is lo-fi dancefloor hedonism.

Sensuous showcases a more playful Cornelius than we’ve seen before. The summery, shimmering acoustic-tinged ‘Music’ is a companion piece to his previous hit ‘Drop’, albeit less frenetic. A typically offbeat cover of Dean Martin’s ‘Sleep Warm’, with echoes of Stevie Wonder’s slow-burning soul, closes the album.

The one concession to harum-scarum post-rock is the pneumatic ‘Gum’, which is a blinding reminder of his former pell-mell sound. Elsewhere the focus is on more muted ambiance, such as the languid vocal beauty of ‘Omstart’, with guests the Kings Of Convenience, and the hypnotic, Vangelis-like synths of ‘Wataridori’. No one does Cornelius quite like Cornelius.
Rating: 8 ½ / 10

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