Cornelius Glasgow: g2. Sun 6 Sep
’I need to clear this up, my press biog says I’m 27 but I'm actually 29,’ says the wide-eyed and bowl-headed Cornelius (aka Keigo Oyamanda), a Japanese pop kid named after the simian scholar in the Planet Of Apes, and a pop entrepreneur with a high-tech vision of retro- future thrills. He looks nineteen rather than 29 but the decade in-between has been rather well spent: learning, rehearsing, writing and recording everything and anything he can get his hands on.
After the usual stint in nobody indie bands, Cornelius swapped jangling guitars for jangling cash tills via his hyper-hip label, Trattoria, and sold half a million albums in the process. When he’s not assembling fantastic plastic he’s plugging another label — Bathing Ape, a clothing company he sponsors and the preferred choice of one James Lavelle. But above all else, Cornelius is a multi-faceted musician who's a technical whizz with studio and sound, a Phil Spector for the post-rave generation.
’When I started the Cornelius project it was just a name,’ he says. ’But the more I progressed with
Cornelius: Japanese pop wunderkind
recording, the more the name became significant. In the Planet Of The Apes, Cornelius was part of the past as well as the future. I see myself in that context.’
His current album, Fantasma, takes a similar retro- future journey from The Beach to the Beastie Boys and treats them to a break beat scrub down. No matter how hard ’n’ fast the rush and the riddems, no matter how frazzled the occasional guitar (think My Bloody Valentine), Fantasma is light and airborne for sumptuous consumption. It's the sound of ultra-modern Japan re-fracturing Western pop into glass mountains.
’Everytime I record | make sure it’s nothing like the last. Fantasma is my third Cornelius album but it's the one I’m most satisfied with, the one that represents me as a whole,’ explains Cornelius.
In-between his current promotional jaunts Cornelius has sprinkled his magic dust on a number of remixes for Money Mark, Cold Cut and UNKLE. Loops and brrrrrrreak beats are go. In the meantime, a one-off live spectacular is pencilled in that promises to propel the senses to another world. As to the future? ’Everything from the past has been leading to this moment,’ explains Cornelius.
the last album but more intense.
'Experiences in life have moved us on,’ says Mathews of the new album. ’lt’s more optimistic and uplifting. This album is influenced by where we are gomg while the last one was influenced by where we'd been.Things have come around to our sort of musm‘. The climate has changed in our favour; we haven’t changed for the climate'
It was this bull-headed self-belief which sustained the band through the two years between albums. As Mathews points out: ’ We believed in ourselves from day one, when we
Glasgow: King Tut's, Mon 7 Sep; Edinburgh: Venue, Wed 9 Sep.
Way back iii the jolly cockney mists of 1996, Britpop ruled the waves. If you weren’t up for a bit of nudge, nudge, wink, Wink irony With your musical diet then you were likely to starve. So it was somewhat unfortunate for Manchester band Puressence that their eponymous debut album should be
Puressence: outlived Britpop
released then. Epic and angsty rather than pink—cheeked and perky, it went down as well as strippers at a funeral. Which is a shame.
'At the end of the day, I was slightly disappointed with that,’ considers bass player Kevin Mathews. ’But it's still there and when we break it’ll be there to be rediscovered.’
That lucky break might not be all that far off as two years on the band have just released their second album Only Forever. it's in much the same vein as
couldn’t do anything, we couldn’t even play. We just knew that eventually we wanted to do something so we used to rehearse every night and just kept at il.’
The effort has paid off. James Mudriczki’s breath-taking vocals still form the focal point of songs which swoop and soar and roll and tumble. It's music with feeling or, as Mathews puts it with Manc lad understatement: ’We express our emotions more in music. We get rid of all the emotion and passion and that in the music.‘ (Jonathan Trew)
John Mayer's lndo-Jazz Fusions
Glasgow: CCA, Fri 10 Sep
It is now over 30 years since a Calcutta-born, London-domiciled classical composer and violinist named John Mayer first formed a group under the name lndo-Jazz Fusions. At that time in the mid-60$, the aim of exploring a synthesis of Indian classical music and modern jazz was a rather less familiar idea than it became.
’At the first session,‘ Mayer later recalled, ‘we started to play, and after fifteen minutes the whole band packed up. They were not used to hearing these sounds, but I told them that we had to take it step by step, and slowly work it out, and eventually we got the whole thing. It may have been the first time musicians from these cultures had ever sat down and played together from a score.’
Their lndo-Jazz Suite album was a surprise best-seller, and one of three albums which featured the ground- breaking West lndian saxophonist Joe Harriott. Mayer disbanded the group after Harriott's death in 1973, and concentrated for the most part on his related activities as a composer and a distinguished teacher. His work included a Flute Concerto written for James Galway and a Concerto for Orchestra for the Royal Philharmonic, as well as compositions for sitar and string quartet, solo clarinet, choral works, and ballet.
Nonetheless, the concept behind lndo—Jazz Fusions continued to fascinate him, and he has reformed the band more than once. Their last appearance in Scotland was in Aberdeen in 1989, with Steve Williamson on saxophones, but the latest incarnation dates from 1996, and places a greater emphasis on ensemble strengths rather than virtuoso soloists. The mix of Indian instruments — tabla, sitar, flute, tambura — with a jazz quintet remains at the root of the band’s exploration of what Mayer calls 'different dialects but one language'. (Kenny Mathieson)
John Mayer: breaking the musical language barriers
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