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Cornelius - Topic

Sensuous

Even sleeker and more stylized than Point, Sensuous lives up to its title, with intricate textures and lush atmospheres that are almost tangible, and melodies that evoke visions of lines stretching off into the horizon or tunneling into infinite spirals. However, this is also Keigo Oyamada's most thematic and conceptual Cornelius album, concentrating on just a few well-chosen elements -- wind chimes, delicate acoustic guitars, precise electric ones, fuzzy '80s synths, and layers of vocals -- and either elongating them to the point of no return or chopping them into pointillistic pieces. With all of its lines, loops, and fragments, at times Sensuous feels more like an ever-changing sonic painting than an album of individual songs, a concept brilliantly illustrated by the flowing paint on the album's cover. But no matter how abstractly Oyamada splashes these sounds from track to track, they always stay accessible, and the inherent tension in how he turns poppy sounds into high-concept compositions makes them even more fascinating. Songs like "Breezin'" -- which floats by on aptly airy synths and wind chimes -- and "Wataridori," an addictive exploration of call-and-response with rubbery basslines and loping guitars, take Point's forays into this approach to its logical yet loopy end. "Gum," the album's lone rocker, is honed to super-saturated essence; its chugging guitars sound like a motor turning over, punctuated by bashing drums and bits and pieces of vocal debris. And while repetition is one of Sensuous' major themes, Oyamada never applies it the quite the same way twice. "Beep It" is downright danceable, with a rolling synth bassline overlapped with slapped electric bass and cymbals that sound like they're being tossed down a bottomless pit; the robo-folk of "Omstart" and the title track give gentle acoustic sounds mechanical precision. Cornelius' wonderful sense of whimsy is a vital part of Sensuous as well, especially on "Toner," a witty piece for piano, keyboards, photocopier, and dot matrix printer, and the final track, "Sleep Warm," an interpretation of the standard that's part "When You Wish Upon a Star" and part HAL's version of "Daisy, Daisy" in 2001: A Space Odyssey. When the song fades out on the wind chimes that opened the album, Sensuous becomes one giant, dazzling loop, and quite likely, the finest expression of Cornelius' inimitable, playfully sophisticated musical language yet. ~ Heather Phares, Rovi
Even sleeker and more stylized than Point, Sensuous lives up to its title, with intricate textures and lush atmospheres that are almost tangible, and melodies that evoke visions of lines stretching off into the horizon or tunneling into infinite s...
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