By Kelly Dearmore
By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
On this album, Cornelius—Japan's one-man band Keigo Oyamada—could have listened to just as much Herbie Hancock and Dream Theater as anything from his home country. The songs use every trick in the weird-rock book: all-over-the-place live drums, odd time signatures, delay pedals, ridiculous synths, electronic beats and even fucking slap bass. It's a classic recipe for the most self-indulgent sort of prog record.
Yet at only one point does it actually get that bad: the plodding "Wataridori" ("Migrating bird," apparently. Fine.), which gives listeners seven minutes to eventually tune out. But that makes the next track—the cut-and-pasted/metallic "Gum"—all the more welcome.
In fact, Sensuous works a lot better than I could have imagined—it's an ambitious conglomerate of glitch, jazz, noise and pop that could easily border on frustrating but never does. For that reason, it's a shame—an expensive one—that since he left Matador, Cornelius hasn't found a U.S. label to release it.
The album traverses a challenging spectrum (the magic ambiance in "Like a Rolling Stone" to "Beep It" and its trance-inducing synth-pop and beyond), and this way it won't disappoint longtime fans. And maybe, as a bonus, the new "Rock It"-meets-Portnoy direction could help bring in more fans: burnt-out prog bassists and Guitar Center employees.