Cornelius
Sensuous


4.0
excellent

Review

by Tyler Fisher EMERITUS
February 25th, 2007 | 8 replies | 11,633 views


Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A Japanese artist called Cornelius releases an album that captures the essence of 50 years of Western music. What?

Who would’ve guessed that an album that summarizes a good 50 years of Western music came from Japan? Yes, Keigo Oyamada, under the pseudonym of Cornelius, put together an album and a sound that draws from The Beatles, Brian Eno, and all the 80s synth the human mind can handle. Still, with all the influence of old, Sensuous sounds like an incredibly modern album; it sounds like something that might come out of Japan. Cornelius’ way of making music combines so much from so many different spectrums that it is unheard of and brand new.

This is good.

Sensuous is Oyamada’s first album in four years. A cultural cornerstone in Japan, his popularity saw no decrease and sold extremely well upon its release. For a while, the album was only available outside of Japan through import, but he released the album elsewhere this year. Still, 2007 seems too early for an album like this. It is partly due to the insanely meticulous production of this album. It is almost too perfect. Any distortion, haziness, or undefined sound would destroy this album. Each sound is audible and it sits in the perfect position in the phrase, even in the jumpy and fast sections. Wataridori, the longest song on the album, shows Oyamada’s production ability to its full extreme. Musically, the song is a bit repetitive and flat, but his ability to mix the busy guitar lines with the overpowering bass underneath is masterful. Not to mention the luscious keyboard chords underneath all of it and the various countermelodies that fade in and out. Plus the drum beat. The song revolves around a simple bass line with a memorable slide down and the guitar basically taking a solo over the chord changes. It stumbles its way through variations and odd meter changes, and by about 5 minutes it simply starts repeating itself. Wataridori is easily the worst full song on the album, even with its brilliant production.

Although Wataridori goes through awkward meter changes, Oyamada generally makes the feels strange but interesting. Fit Song takes a funky guitar tone that expands into a more interesting riff throughout the song, expanding from palm-muted quarter notes. The drums come in and give unpredictable accents as vocal samples, usually the word “fit” fill everywhere else. 80s synth adds more melodic quality to the song and eventually, the guitar that started the song is just a background instrument. The uses of sampled and nonsensical vocals are a typical technique for the album, combining English and Japanese words. Gum uses random syllables for its vocals, but the music is much more listenable and interesting. Gum is a fairly straightforward rock song with pounding drums and powerful guitar, although it strums simple chords, extending the same chord for a long time. The bass adds little inflections in the chord while the vocals add all the melodic intricacy with the precision of a robot.

Each song presents a brand new sound. Like A Rolling Stone is absolutely nothing like the title implies, in fact, it is an ambient track with strange percussion playing rapidly and modulating up and down different scales. Music is a much poppier and accessible song, with a unique blend of Nintendo-esque electronics and acoustic guitar. Cornelius sings in Japanese until he sings “music”, although it isn’t noticeable unless you really pay attention. His singing voice is actually very good and makes the track very calm and laid back. Music and Breezin’ were the two singles from the album, but Breezin’ presents a poppier style of Cornelius’ electronica-based sound. Much like Gum used repetitive chord strikes, Breezin’ uses a synth that becomes more and more complex throughout. Once again, the vocals are in Japanese. Sensuous, even for its many sounds, actually comes together as a cohesive album, starting and ending on a wind chime melody and divided up in the middle with short segue tracks. It is a very fun listen with a lot of different things to present.

Recommended Tracks:
Fit Song
Breezin’
Gum
Like A Rolling Stone
Music



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user ratings (20)
Chart.
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Kaleid
February 25th 2007



711 Comments


Excellent review. I feel like I know the tracks already.
I've always liked Japanese elements in music, and well-produced synthery always appeals

a sound that draws from The Beatles, Brian Eno, and all the 80s synth the human mind can handle

/drools

Serapheus
February 25th 2007



251 Comments


Great review, I can't get enough of this album.

FlawedPerfection
Emeritus
February 25th 2007



2806 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I want to hear Point. It's supposedly better than this.

samthebassman
April 26th 2007



2164 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

A crazy album, hard to listen to in parts, I cant get enough of "Gum", what a bizarre track.

Phil
April 27th 2007



1473 Comments


I like this but its hard to listen to at times.

gunboat
May 10th 2007



1 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

cornelius is an amazing artist with an amazing palette. i just got the album today and will give it a good listen tonight. the only issue i have with this review is that it appears to be a song-by-song description. there is no thematic or overall analysis. the author says "Like A Rolling Stone is absolutely nothing like the title implies" but doesn't delve any deeper than that. What does the title imply? and where is the juxtaposition? Another statement: "Each song presents a brand new sound." What does that mean? Are each of the different sounds "sensuous?" What is the criteria by which the album is judged? i suppose the ranking is simply how-much-i-liked-it as opposed to given-the-artist-and-the-genre-is-it-a-"successful"-album.

Zmev
May 10th 2007



983 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Cornelius is great live.

plane
Staff Reviewer
December 30th 2007



6094 Comments


cool

bupm



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