Showing posts with label ryuichi sakamoto. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ryuichi sakamoto. Show all posts

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)