Japanese Avant Pop Maestro Cornelius Returns With 'Sketch for Spring' Lead Single

The new LP 'Ethereal Essence' is out June 26.

By: Apr. 25, 2024
Japanese Avant Pop Maestro Cornelius Returns With 'Sketch for Spring' Lead Single
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Japanese avant pop maestro Cornelius celebrates 30 years as one of music’s most compelling songwriters, producers, and performers wit for Spring.

The lead single from his magical new LP, Ethereal Essence, is the latest turning point in an already celebrated and iconoclastic career.

Of the single, Cornelius says, “This song was written for the background music in the tube of PARCO, a cultural complex in Shibuya. The title is a tribute to my favorite guitarist Vini Reilly.

A shift in direction from his famed alternative pop style to a more ambient and abstract approach, Ethereal Essence marks Cornelius’ first full-length album since the critically acclaimed Dream in Dream (2023), and Mellow Waves (2017). Dream in Dream’s singles and videos –  "Change and Vanish”, “Sparks” and "All Things Must Pass" – were received adoringly throughout 2023. Reflecting on the evolution of his sound, Cornelius explains, “I gathered songs that have an ethereal feel from the various purposes for which they have been produced over the past few years and I decided to make one album. With the current strange situation in the world and the stressful social life, I feel comfortable with something that fits into the introspection and spiritual world. Last year, I exhibited my work at Ambient Kyoto in Kyoto with Ryuichi Sakamoto and others.” In addition to Sakamoto and Cornelius (whose collaboration was enthusiastically received), the prestigious festival also included Shiro Takatani, Buffalo Daughter, and Seiichi Yamamoto, a noteworthy lineup overflowing with genius highlighting Kyoto’s significance in the world of music and art. 

His current focus is nothing new. Cornelius has been a fan of ambient music his whole life and includes Raymond Scott’s Soothing Sounds for Baby, Hiroshi Yoshimura’s Music for Nine Postcards, Jonny Nash’s Exit Strategies, The Sweet Enough’s Marshmallow, and Steve Hiett’s Down on the Road by the Beach among his favorite ambient albums of all time. 

The upcoming tour in support of Dream in Dream in Dream features Cornelius 20-year compatriots Hirohisa Horie on keyboards (also a support member for Yukihiro Takahashi’s Yellow Magic Orchestra) and Yuko Araki on drums (also a member of Yoko Ono Plastic Ono Band along with Cornelius); and Buffalo Daughter’s Yumiko Ohno on Moog and bass, who joined Cornelius in 2016 on his indelible Fantasma World Tour. Cornelius and his band will be playing songs from his five previous albums since 1992, beginning with the landmark LP Fantasma. Cornelius encourages old fans and new to experience this next wave in sound in person. “We are grateful to everyone who has supported our activities. Please come and see us.”

Tour Dates

8/29-9/1 - End of the Road Festival - Salisbury, UK

9/3/24 - Paridiso - Amsterdam, NL

9/6/24 - Barbican - London, UK

9/21/24 - Music Box - San Diego, CA

9/22/24 - Pappy & Harriets - Pioneertown, CA

9/24/24 - Fonda Theatre - Los Angeles, CA

9/25/24 - UC Theatre - Berkeley, CA

9/27/24 - Crystal Ballroom - Portland, OR

9/29/24 - Neptune Theatre - Seattle, WA

As a commercially popular yet experimental pop auteur, Cornelius has built a reputation for smashing musical boundaries, opening sonic playing fields for musicians and music lovers of all kinds around the world. From his earlier work on the breakthrough album Fantasma (1997) which blended motorik rhythms, French pop melodies, Beach Boys harmonies and glitched electronics; to Cornelius’ dramatic shift in tones, forms, and spaces in Point (2001); and his live music contributions to the Yellow Magic Orchestra and Yoko Ono’s Plastic Ono Band, Cornelius' unique blend of daring and sophisticated but accessible art-pop has earned him legions of discerning fans worldwide.

Ethereal Essence Track List

1. Quantum Ghost

2. Sketch For Spring

3. Heaven Is Waiting

4. Too Much Love For Sauna (Falling Deep)

5. Xanadu

6. Koko

7. Step Into Exovera

8. Forbidden Apple

9. Melting Moment

10. Mind Matrix

11. Windmills Of My Mind

12. Thatness and Thereness - Cornelius Remodel (Ryuichi Sakamoto 2023 tribute cover)

About Cornelius 

Cornelius is the brainchild of Japanese multi-instrumentalist Keigo Oyamada. He made his name in the 90s with the cult album Fantasma (1997) released on Matador Records which mixed the 60s harmonies of The Beach Boys with krautrock and French pop, and a late-90’s sample heavy production reminiscent of Paul’s Boutique. He has since released Point (2002), Sensuous (2008), Mellow Waves (2017) and most recently Dream in Dream (2023).  Being called a "modern day Brian Wilson" for his orchestral-style arrangements and production techniques, Cornelius subsequently became one of the most sought after producer/remixers in the world, working with artists ranging from Blur, Beck Bloc Party, and MGMT, Sting to James Brown as well as playing guitar in a re-formed Yellow Magic Orchestra, and recording and performing as a member of Yoko Ono's Plastic Ono Band,  more. His release Sensurround + B Sides was nominated for the 2009 Grammy Award for “Best Surround Sound Album".


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