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.

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.

 
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