Cornelius

Waves

Rostrum

Jul 20, 2017 Issue #60 - Father John Misty Bookmark and Share


Find It At: AMAZON

The master of headphone symphonies returns with his best album since 1997's Fantasma. Keigo Oyamada's Cornelius continues the Shibuya-Kei ethos of pastiche mundi on Waves. Odd time signatures, jazz motifs, and well-tempered slow jams permeate through the 10-track album. Twenty years removed from Cornelius' masterpiece, what it lacks in frenetic playfulness it makes up in melody and orchestration. 

At barely 50 beats-per-minute, "If You're Here" lounges lazily for the song's entire duration, interweaving hushed vocals over delicate, glistening R&B keyboards. Disruptive guitar fills accent Oyamada's ruminative delivery until the outro guitar riff and Parliament-styled keyboard duel for attention.

Time did little to diminish Cornelius' experimental tendencies; those tendencies only became more refined by time. Lush synth strings, sampled crowd conversations, field recordings, and random electronic blips create an otherworldly landscape on "Surfing on a Mind Wave pt 2." "Helix / Spiral" exemplifies Oyamada's mischievous merrymaking, toying with the repetition of the song's title in vocoded harmonized bliss. Likewise, acoustic balladry accompanied by a demurely vocoded melody demonstrates a turning point for Cornelius where chaos no longer takes precedence. Here, chaos is tamed and used only as a sonic mean to a compositional end.

Another charmed moment on Waves occurs when Miki Berenyi of Lush-Oyamada's second cousin-lends her gentle voice in a subdued duet ("The Spell of a Vanishing Loveliness") that fills the empty space surrounded by sparse instrumentation. It is one of the most tender-and possibly best-songs Oyamada has written to date. Encouraged by the album's patience with time, it is easier to appreciate the lapse between albums when art of the highest quality such as Waves is created. (www.cornelius-sound.com)

Author rating: 8/10

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