New Music


Five years ago, this Japanese DJ (known to his grandma as Keigo Oyamada) released the phenomenal album Fantasmaand then lived up to its name by dropping out of sight. His follow-up, Point, lives up to its name as well. Cornelius' debut was a wonderfully schizophrenic collage of Beck, Stereolab, Pizzicato Five, Brian Wilson and carnival mayhem, but Point converges on one style and circles it for the better part of an hour. The synthetic blips and acoustic tweaks of one track turn themselves inside-out and appear on another track. Like the Buddhist's "flowing river" or a handful of Julia Roberts' roles, the songs are different yet the same (compare "Tone Twilight Zone" and "Brazil," or "Another View Point" and "Fly"). As minimalist as Fantasma was bombastic, Point often subsists on mere twitters of guitar, looped synths, sparse taps of percussion and a backdrop of noises nabbed from the Discovery Channel: birds, waves, wolves and more birds. The likely single, "Bird Watching at Inner Forest," is both a highlight and a typical example of Oyamada's "anything is an instrument" approach, using a loop of perfectly on-key bird calls as the song's main hook. It also builds its tempo and instruments slowly, taking a full minute to reach top speed, as many of the tracks do. Only one song has traditional vocals and lyrics, and those are digitized and romantically cornball to the point of near incomprehensibility. All of this considered, Point is definitely best when spun as a whole—something you'll want to do repeatedly.

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