Sean Lennon was at our neighbors Fast Ashleys yesterday assisting his girlfriend, Charlotte Kemp Muhl, during her photo shoot. We got to talking during a cigarette break and when he heard about The Creators Project, Sean told us we absolutely HAD to check out Cornelius — a project from one of his buddies in Japan who is apparently blurring the lines between video art and experimental rock. We looked him up on YouTube as soon as we got back to our desk and man was Sean ever right.
Turns out Cornelius, the brainchild of Keigo Oyamada, is one of Japan’s foremost contemporary musicians. His innovative compositions range from deconstructing and remixing fragmented pop songs to concocting lush ambient soundscapes drawn from nature. As such, Oyamada’s sound resists categorization — its an amalgamation of influences as diverse as post-electro, New Wave, and Japanese pop — though comparisons have been made to the likes of Beck and The Beach Boys.
But what we discovered from the YouTube videos is that Oyamada produces equally as impressive (if not more) multimedia performances and music videos to accompany his songs. In “Toner” (above), Oyamada riffs on the sound and visual process of an ordinary desktop printer — melding a series of bleeps and mechanical grunts over a piano riff to create a surprisingly charming musical number and an Abstract Expressionist-like video painting. His performances likewise incorporate monolith light displays, videos and kitsch gimmicks like karate spacemen and fantasy apes. Check out the video of a live performance of “Gum” below for just a little taste.
Thanks for the tip, Sean! We owe you one.