New re­leases from Cor­nelius, Paul McLaney, The Black Seeds, Ciaran McMeeken and Blessed Re­lief.

Ten­der and slightly bereft, a Ja­panese genius’s new al­bum hints at long­ing for lost love, as he ex­plores the mu­si­cal ter­ri­tory he’s made his own.

Metro Magazine NZ - - Contents - RE­VIEWS — GARY STEEL

COR­NELIUS MEL­LOW WAVES (Spunk)

Orig­i­nally pegged by Western me­dia as the Ja­panese Beck, Keigo Oya­mada’s early work as Cor­nelius was all out­ra­geous cut-ups. Then, in 2002, he made one of the most per­fect al­bums ever: Point.

A true work of in­tro­verted genius, this in­de­scrib­able land­mark used ex­per­i­men­tal tech­niques, and tak­ing a fine sur­geon’s knife to de­con­struct and cre­ate anew, it drew on or­ganic sam­ples, zen-like rep­e­ti­tion, brief ir­rup­tions of metal thrash and Brazil­ian ca­dences to forge a unique type of pop mu­sic.

Then in 2006 came its an­tic­i­pated se­quel, Sen­su­ous, which turned out to be es­sen­tially a more high-fidelity re­ca­pit­u­la­tion of the same con­cept. It’s only taken an­other 11 years to pro­duce a third work, and some are con­demn­ing it as more of the same.

What the crit­ics for­get, how­ever, is that this is a mu­si­cal uni­verse that Cor­nelius him­self has cre­ated. Why wouldn’t he want to stay there, ex­plor­ing the ter­ri­tory that he de­fined?

Al­though many of the words are Ja­panese, I would guess by the ten­der, slightly bereft, al­most frag­ile feel­ing on many of its songs that Mel­low Waves is a break-upand-move-on suite of songs. Cer­tainly, there’s a sense of long­ing run­ning through them, from Oya­mada’s sweet vo­cals to the del­i­cate lay­er­ing of in­stru­men­ta­tion.

Yes, he’s us­ing many of the same tricks — the fin­ger- picked, pleas­ingly cor­us­cat­ing gui­tar lines, the mod­u­lar key­board sound — but the skill with which he in­ter­locks the var­i­ous parts is what makes it special. With Mel­low Waves, the devil is in the de­tail, and what might at first seem like a sim­ple, spritely piece of MOR pop can sur­prise with a mid-sec­tion that jumps right out and forces a ma­jor re­think.

IF COR­NELIUS SPINS A MU­SI­CAL WEB THAT AP­PEALS, THEN CHECK OUT RYUICHI SAKAMOTO’S EQUALLY ZEN-LIKE 1985 AL­BUM, ESPERANTO.

ABOVE— Cor­nelius em­ploys many of his past tricks on Mel­low Waves.

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