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A little back story – Born in Tokyo, Keigo Oyamada is one half of popular Shibuya-kei group Flipper’s Guitar, eventually breaks out on his own as Cornelius (named after a character from Planet of the Apes), puts out a couple amazing albums on Matador, marries fellow musician Takako Minekawa, they have a kid and name him Milo (after the son of Cornelius in Planet of the Apes). How cute is that? He dropped Sensuous last year in the US, a continuation of the style he developed on his last album Point, a collage of electronics, guitars, nature sounds, Japanese and English lyrics, impeccable mastering, aggressive stereo, at one moment soothing and the next tense, and always oozing with creativity.

Cornelius will be at the 9:30 Club tonight, Jan 25th 2008, in one of only 5 US shows. And it sounds pretty amazing:

The Cornelius Group’s Sensuous Synchronized Show is a digital, psychedelic explosion of audio-visual delights, delivered in a tightly orchestrated spectacle of light, color and sound. Each song detonates with the calculated precision of a heat-seeking missile; the visuals projected behind the band bend with the curves of the music and the light show ebbs and flows with each note triggered by the musicians. The intense stage production, with special gear that accompanies the band direct from Japan, takes nearly six hours of setup at each venue. To put it simply, this show will blow your mind.

We got to ask Cornelius a few questions via his liaison/translator (awesome!)

Brightest Young Things: First off, thanks for the Fujiyama record shop recommendation from the Time Out Tokyo book, it was a very cool store! Any other spots our readers should check out next time they are visiting?
Cornelius: The Fujiyama record shop is quite near my house, but the shop is only open depending on the owner’s mood, so it’s good that it was opened when you went. That store is quite unique in Japan. In Tokyo many interesting record shops are closing but there’s another record shop called Omega Point about 15mins by bus from Fujiyama and it’s inside a mansion/apartment. They have Contemporary / Noise / Mail Art and unique selection. I haven’t been there in a while so I don’t know if they are still there.

BYT: Oh, next time I’ll swing by your house and say hello. JK. So, why are you no longer on Matador records in the US? Do they not like you anymore?
C: I hope they don’t hate me, but they did not release my latest album, but Everloving based in the West Coast released it. Everloving have really done a good job and have been supporting me.

BYT: They obviously know what’s up, the new record is fantastic. It feels a bit more mellow and laid back than the last two records – was this a conscious decision or are you just getting more mellow and laid back as you get older?
C: I wonder… but I think both.

Wataridori 2 was released on The Wired CD under the Creative Commons Sampling Plus license which states “People can take and transform pieces of [the] work for any purpose other than advertising, which is prohibited. Noncommercial copying and distribution (like file-sharing) of the entire work are also allowed.” A variation of this song also appears on Sensuous. Download mp3: http://download.yousendit.com/A24AD4033FF597BA

BYT: Is it going to be another 5 years before the next one?
I hope to be able to put the next one out sooner.

BYT: What have you been doing all that time?
I’ve been touring, producing and remixing within the last 5 years, along with touring as a support guitarist for Ryuichi Sakamoto (from YMO) and Sketch Show.

BYT: How does touring in the US differ from playing shows in Japan?
C: The reaction from the audience and the atmosphere is different but the contents are basically the same.

After the release of Point, Cornelius put out a DVD version of the album, with videos for each song in 5.1 surround sound and .  While the videos are your typical crappy indie band animation style, they work shockingly well due to being synced up so perfectly with the tunes.  Seriously one of my top 5 favorite music DVD’s.  

BYT: I loved the 5.1 DVD version of Point, are there any plans to do the same thing with Sensuous?
C: I’m making the DVD release for Sensuous now and hope to be able to release it within this year in the US.

BYT: Groovy, What about a remix album?
C: I don’t have plans for a remix album.

BYT: What is your favorite piece of equipment?
Don’t have just one in particular, but I really like the Chaos Pad by Korg.

BYT: How do you translate your music to a live setting? Do you have a band?
C: For the live performance I have a 4 piece band. The show involves the band, visual images and a lights show. It’s all synchronized just as the title is, “Sensuous Synchronized Show”.

BYT: What were some of your favorite albums from 2007? (feel free to name drop obscure Japanese bands we’ve never heard of over here)
C: Arthur Russell “World Of Echo”, Steve Tivetts “Steve Tivetts”, Yura Yura Teikoku “Kudou-desu”

BYT: Have you ever listened to the British band Fujiya & Miyagi? I think you’d dig them!
I’ve heard of the name but not their music.

BYT: Are you doing any remixes of other peoples work in the near future?
C: Not planned yet in the near future.

BYT: Planning on doing any site seeing in DC?
C: We go to the NY the following day from our show so we won’t have any time.

BYT: Bummer, not much site seeing in NY…

001s.jpg Cornelius
w/ Benevento Russo Duo
9:30 Club
Jan 25th, 9pm Doors.
Online ticket purchasers will be sent unique codes for 3 free downloads.