JANUARY OF 2005 WAS A STRANGE time. It was abnormally warm and sunny in Seattle that month, but nevertheless I felt awash in a kind of loneliness. I had just gotten back stateside from South Korea; in stuttered, jetlagged dreams I saw the streets and friends I’d left behind. Moreover, my girlfriend was on the other side of the ocean. I spent a lot of time cruising the streets on my skateboard, kept company by my headphones.
It was in this period that I discovered (rather behind the curve) the work of Cornelius, aka Keigo Oyamada. A Japanese musician who uses a mash up of sampled beats and instrumentals along with his own organic riffs, Cornelius creates waves of sound that are at once lush, enlightening and playful. The first track I heard of his was a beautiful remix of “When I left You,” by the Avalanches; the song took me on a 5 minute and 38 second flight through the most poignant memories of my time in Seoul, and then dropped me through the clouds, leaving me in love.
Most music that we listen to has the ability to connect us to a place and time – usually to where we first listened to it, or to that time when we first really heard it. But Cornelius’ music thrusts you into a nebula of emotions and memories, magically and without effort; Oyamada’s occasional vocals gently reverberate within you, and your thoughts are swept off into the distance.
Cornelius plays in Chicago tonight at the Metro. More info at The Chicago Reader
Photo: translation, by puja. seattle.