Showing posts with label Cornelius. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cornelius. Show all posts

Monday, 2 May 2011

Beastie Boys - 'Make Some Noise' (Cornelius Remix, 2011)

All I can say is, they have all made me a very happy man today. Given the influence the middle-period Beasties had on Cornelius's middle-period 69/96 album, this is a more natural pairing than one may initially be led to assume

Maestro? Some noise, please:

Friday, 8 April 2011

MGMT - 'Brian Eno' (Cornelius Remix, 2010)

   An unexpected delight tonight was discovering that one of my dearest musical icons had taken on this "vampire punk rock song" by the well-known, noisily tuneful combo last year, for if there's one thing that Keigo Oyamada does peerlessly, it's recombinant mutant pop music that makes hipsters say "Oh!", bloggers say "Wow!" and cats say "Meow!"

   Who knows what invigorating effect a little MGMT has had on Cornelius, but this is his most offbeat remix in quite some time; the sort of à rebours slip into hummable oddity that was last embraced on his remake of Bloc Party's 'Banquet' (and interesting how this paean to the pioneer that has doubtlessly influenced Cornelius and MGMT sounds not entirely dissimilar to the (paid for) paean to Oyamada himself written by Japanophile sonic oddity Momus). In a funny way, this might almost sum up his career, for as a man of consummate kitsch and a connoisseur/player of practically every musical genre created, it is both old  and new for him to embrace that favoured instrument of Dracula's most entrenched pop cultural representation, the harpsichord. A cheeky reading of MGMT's bloodsucker intentions, perhaps, but whatever brings out Oyamada's intrinsic whimsy is good for us all, much like Emma Stone is. Were I angling for a role in music PR, I might describe its frenetically beatless qualities as akin to "skipping on air," but I am seeking to engage, not to scar my semi-regular readers for life; I can do that with my outfit photographs on any other day

   I was in need indeed of a new song with which to see in this season's sunsets; not only do I have that now, but it even doubles as a happy little ditty to imagine playing Transylvanian Families to. That Cornelius: always thoughtful, forever delivering

Friday, 11 June 2010

Cornelius (コーネリアス) - 'Ball In-Kick Off' (1998, Live)

And it's a fair haired, slight balding Charlton to Kick Off, Ball In - Kick Off

   In recognition of what day it is, Let The Games Begin

   Five years ago, my ILM friends and I once cultivated our own themed compilations. I forget the reasons for it, but we sought to acquaint each other with the sound recordings that, to us, aligned with the premise of each collection

   Geeks make the best musical archivists, after all

   The title of the collection that I submitted this for might be obvious. You've perhaps seen the way that I dress - what other subject could I have a particular musical view on than Maximalism?

   My review drips with dork cachet, but then I was almost satirically effusive in my writing during those days, usually because my fellows were genuinely so in theirs

   Of course, this artist is one of my inspirations. With him, my effervescence tends to be warranted

Friday, 21 May 2010

Kahimi Karie - 'A Fantastic Moment' (1995)

   The charm of following a polymathic musician is in the phases they experience, always casting off their previous manifestations as definitive statements on their transitory fancies

   In 1995, Mari 'Kahimi Karie (カヒミ・カリィ)' Hiki and Keigo 'Cornelius (コーネリアス)' Oyamada were in something of a shared romantique nostalgia, or a relationship, to you and I. The Girlfriend was something of a sylph with a singing voice more incisively described as an airless, tranquil whisper, whose luminescent face, stoic demeanour and protean imagery that included Rococo opulence, French Mod Sex Kitten and Tokyo demureness made her a star; The Woman of a Thousand Fantasies, if you will

   The Boyfriend was running one of the trendiest yet most substantive record labels in the world - Trattoria Records - touring, remixing, producing and playing when he could and collaborating on portable record players, G-Shock models and other playthings that bore his brand. His latest incarnation at that time was an idiosyncratic bouillabaisse of 1960s psychedelia, 1970s heavy metal (he was a self-taught guitarist who developed through playing Kiss records), 1980s hip hop and 1990s electronic noise; at once the classic Japanese refiner of Western developments and the alien refractor of cultural traditions that he interacted with from afar

   Today's selection shows them in a very deliberate Gainsbourg and Birkin-like reverie; aside from their romantic status at the time, Karie can also speak French and English, and the 1960s and 1970s were rather a la mode in the Shibuya-Kei landscape of foreign musical history made modern day blended pop. Oyamada has long been an arbiter at home; his diverse musical knowledge threaded itself through every record he was involved in, no matter what year it was

   In either flavour, 'A Fantastic Moment' is probably one of the most beautiful pieces of music either has released. You barely even notice the Lou Reed sample

   A translation:

We run, cutting straight through the wind
Nothing can stop us as we head straight for hope
We might find it over on that hill maybe, I hope...

La la la when you gently take my hand
Everything around us changes to perfection
All of the world's sunlight shining just for me and you

...And the bugs, they laugh...
...Melting into the ground...

The two of us can do anything. Right?
See, we can even jump over that rainbow.

...And the time stands still...
...The flowers are waving...

The two of us are laughing high above the clouds
Our laughter leaking down as sun beams in the forest
Just now the rain of sadness is turning into a rainbow

Away with the gloom
The grass gently waves
And the birds peacefully fall to sleep

One day...everything...I hope...

Monday, 4 January 2010

Cornelius - '2010' (1997)

   This bears a warning - it should not be listened to, under circumstances, by those of a nervous, or staunchly classicist, disposition. For it is perhaps the most gleefully childish and senses free cover of Johann Bach's piece that exists. And I say that despite being no authority on Bach covers whatsoever

   Every Cornelius album since 1995 has borne a cover of a reasonably well known song; this rather makes that year's somewhat disquieting fusion of Vivaldi's 'Concerto No. 3 From The Four Seasons' and Black Sabbath's opening riff to 'Iron Man' (complete with bizarre neo-psychedelic electronics and the title 'Pink Bloody Sabbath') seem like relaxation music by comparison. But then how else should a downloaded MIDI over drum'n'bass and wild samples from deep space satellites and the Oscar-winning classic Amadeus make one feel?

   As far as I'm concerned, pretty bloody marvellous; at least where the first few days of this year are concerned. Happy New Decade, and do I wish that I'd been able to post this last Friday

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Cornelius and Ryuichi Sakamoto - 'Turn Turn' (2008)

   'Turn Turn' is one of the songs that I listen to precisely because of how it plays with my head. Most folk unlucky enough to be aware of my aural relaxation proclivities would decry this revelation as just another footnote in my ongoing adoration of Cornelius. They're probably right

   A cover of a song by the Japanese band Sketch Show, it was originally written by electropop legend Haruomi Hosono, who is also a core member of the trailblazing Yellow Magic Orchestra (for the kids - J-Lo sampled 'Firecracker' for 'I'm Real'; the version without Ja Rule, that is) with his Sketch Show partner Yukihiro Takahashi. The cover features on the album Tribute to Haruomi Hosono, which leads to the involvement of Academy Award-winning composer (for The Last Emperor) and third of the YMO trio, Ryuichi Sakamoto, as well as the pictured international EP by Cornelius. Keigo 'Cornelius' Oyamada? He's merely a longtime fan who got to play guitar on 2007/8's live performances by the trio and has maintained a successful, eclectic and evolving musical career since his start in whimsical pop band Flipper's Guitar in the late 1980s that includes international releases for his last 3 albums and headlining sets at The Budokan

   The original 'Turn Turn' is the kind of song one would expect of modern YMO - it's a touch awkward, a little bonkers, lackadaisically funky and it's so synthesised and - in spite of its light melodic touches - oddly atonal that the result is somewhat alien, albeit trippily so. The cover is even odder for managing to achieve what sounds like a meditation on mild insanity. Many of the present Cornelius techniques are in force, including the 3D-like stereo panning of half the instruments per song that makes his music an audiophile's delight in triplicate (God knows how he does it, but it's a technique so subtle - especially compared to his contemporaries and challengers - that it tends to mesmerise the listener without inducing insanity. Unless it's one of the songs where he's actively trying to drive one insane). And the contemplative mantra of the chorus - "You must come full circle to find the truth/We must come full circle to find the truth" - offers an ideal premise for this thoughtful duo, who employ a bare bones approach of bass, guitar, light-but-whipcracking snares, goofy effects and good old Japanese exoticism. These elements then lightly intersect with each other underneath the synchronised vocals of Oyamada and Sakamoto, who sing with a soothing detachment

   The general mood is of calm until somewhere between a DJ cutting on turntables and a spinning top, there's the crazed tape effect in the breakdown as androids chant a synthesised "Turn" with ever increasing urgency until the effect releases itself across the speakers and a long synth note washes over the rest of the song. Chimes tinkle, a gong rings and the music ends in the exact same way it began: a faded note skipping across stereo channels, signaling a mood of reflection, quiet and strange contemplation

   Yes, it has that kind of effect on me

A live performance of this version of 'Turn Turn', also featuring Takahashi (without the crazed breakdown)

Sunday, 31 May 2009

The Sun is My Enemy

   I like the brightness and the length of the days. I just don't deal as well with the heat (more or less what I expressed the last time the weather improved). "Elegance is harder to maintain in the summer" is a truism that someone needs to print onto a t-shirt. Speaking of upper halfwear, I'm wearing the H&M TREND(Y) shirt I wrote of some time ago. It may inspire the shortest 'Customise Me' post ever once I've changed the position of the collar's buttons

   The title of the post was borrowed from a song by my musical idol, Cornelius, who more than likely borrowed it from the book by Henrietta Aladjem. Because of familiarity I can recommend the one, and because it seems fitting somehow, I may as well recommend the other. I hope that whoever's reading enjoyed their weekend

In fairness, the evenings are still cool enough for a little layering. Everyone's a winner, baby

Monday, 27 April 2009

Pop Culture Thumbs-Up - 27/04/09

   So, Esquire's Best Dressed Real Man in America competition (seriously). This little sartorial bloodbath has $10,000 dollars worth of Kenneth Cole up for grabs. Fills you with desire, no? Last time round, it was  almost won by a tiny dancer with an all-consuming penchant for early 20th century outfits despite being in his early 20s. Predictably, this profile is my favourite

   In great Japanese news, Kusanagi Tsuyoshi of clean-cut idol boyband and multimedia phenomenon, SMAP, caused a minor international stir last week by getting on down with his naked self in public, getting arrested and then disowned by every brand he's ever promoted in the process. There was a major stir in the fun parts of his fanbase at the idea of him being on display, though for such a camera-fanatical society, there's a curious paucity of pictorial evidence, which probably caused a major stir of fury in the minds of said fanbase. I remain impressed that at 34, he's still hugely popular with girls, whereas the fanbases of boybands over here steadfastly grow up with their singing eyecandy. But then, my favourite Japanese pop star, Cornelius, is 40 this year and still looks about 19

   Speaking of milestones, the Ninja Turtles are 25 this year, and you'd better believe that I'm going to expand on this presently

   Bling Bikini. I know, right?

   And for him, The World's Most Expensive Suit

   And finally, what carnage will ensue when Robert Rodriguez relaunches the Predator film franchise?