My only experience of Cornelius’s musical style prior to this was through exposure to some of his remixes for the likes of Bloc Party and Unkle. Listening to him in this context of course does pose limits because no matter how wild the remix there is always a hint of limitation and restraint when you are working with someone else’s music. Thus it was an unexpected pleasure when I received a copy of his new collection Sensuous that is out on April 2nd on Korova Records.
Sensuous is a contrasting piece that loiters on the border of beautiful and erratic. With its newborn stumble to find its feet it alternates in shades of light and dark often leaving the listener wondering where the track will take them next.
The erratic stabs and tumble of Fit Song come next, sounding like a combination of Talking Heads after losing a fight and any number of funk workouts. Brief moments of pristine clarity interspersed with guitar stabbed confusion and a rolling jazzy percussive drum track. The theme continues through Breezin’ with its seventies style synths and percussive rolls warm in sound but in many equally unsettling. This is not a collection that allows the listener to relax because after three tracks in the constant motion in sound leaves you sat bolt upright.
The warm playful piano on Toner interspersed with the sound of office printers sounds like a quirky concept and it is. Like something that would accompany a silent film while Wataridori moves into slightly more organic territory with its ice laden guitar work.
Gum meanwhile sounds like something Byrne & Eno might have accidentally left down the back of their sofa in the early eighties before launching into a looped rock workout. The nearest the album drifts towards convention is the beautiful almost windswept Omstart (a collaboration with Kings Of Convenience) while the slightly Michael Jacksonesque Beep It (check the bassline) drifts out of the warm soundscape territories into a hybridised form of synth pop/funk. Like A Rolling Stone meanwhile is nothing to do with the Dylan number, rather a cast adrift suite of synth washes mixed with the sound of something bad happening. Lovely though. The closer to the album is a quirky blissed out cover of an old Dean Martin song Sleep Warm, totally unexpected of course and with that in mind a totally fitting end to an unusual but rewarding musical experience.
If you are looking to step beyond the boundaries of traditional musical convention for a short while then may I recommend this as your exit from this world to the next.