Brought to you by HAVE YOU HEARD? One of the most influential figures in electro-pop music, Cornelius, returned to Thailand with his bandmates on Wednesday night, November 7 at Voice Space. The collective, indeed, gave the audiences one of a kind live performance bringing the crowd beyond all expectations with an exquisite surreal show.
Cornelius aka Keigo Omayada is a Japanese artist whose name has been appeared in the music industry worldwide for over 30 years as an innovative musician and producer. He’s the artist whose creations are to be always ahead of their time.
Originally, before debuting as Cornelius, the maestro started out his musical path with a pop-rock band— Flipper Guitar, that, indeed, had a big influence on Shibuya-kei music scene its unique sounds elements from synthesizer and drums machine. Despite the success, int he 90s, Omayada decided to left the band and embarked on his own journey as Cornelius.
Meanwhile, circa the 2000s where technology especially computers started to emerge into the music scene, the maestro has earned international recognition through his own innovative Japanese pop sounds. Cornelius amazes the audiences through the cut and paste style, the use of sounds in daily-life as well as the visual arts and lightings on stage.
And here, on this Wednesday night, Cornelius was ready to set a new standard for Bangkok live nights…
As the clock hit 8pm, people gathered inside this medium-sized live venue, Voice Space. And to keep the crowd in a good mood, the concert hall welcomed its audiences with a DJ set from Thailand’s very own famous music figure; the frontman of an alternative rock band— Pod Moderndog. Next to Pod’s desk was this big cloth hanging as a barricade between the crowd and the stage.
By the last half an hour of the set, the crowd had their eyes wide open when the visual graphic of an eclipse appeared on the cloth. The movement of the eclipse evidently excited the whole hall as everyone seemed to keep their eyes locked on the stage.
Suddenly, as the DJ bowed to the crowd, signing his duty now was finished, the first “bang” from the drums triggers coming from behind the cloth froze the whole hall. Few seconds later, the hall was awakened by the sounds of the rim shot and keyboards.
Meanwhile, lightings together with visual arts and the band’s live remix set of their current album Mellow Waves started to play their magic upon us. And this was only for the band’s introduction part. Screams filled the hall when the cloth dropped. Standing before my eyes were Cornelius and his bandmates— Hiroshisa Horie (guitar, keyboards), Yuko Araki (drums) and Yumiko Matsumura (synthesizer).
Throughout the concert, the four-piece band heated the atmosphere with their exceptional performance where visual arts married to music happily and resulted with a birth of a live concert that became more of an art exhibition rather than just a concert.
Fans hearts were pounding as the band played the well-known songs from their previous albums like “Count Me Five” from Fantasma, “Point of View”, “I Hate Hate”, “Drop”, “Another Viewpoint” from Point. Also, some nostalgic hits from Sensuous like “Fit Song”, “Beep It”, “Breezing” and “Gum” were not left out from the setlist as well.
For the highlights of the night, “Another Viewpoint” seemed to be one of the wildest acts with the cut-and-paste style video presentation featuring news and TV commercials ranging from politics to game shows that played along and was also parts of the music.
Meanwhile, “Drop” earned audiences attention with the visual arts of the drops of water that moved interactively along the rhythm of the song. For the song itself, even though it sounds like one of the simplest song ever produced by Cornelius, however, if you really listen closely, you’ll find the complications and details hidden in each sound from each instrument. And this kind of production makes this song easy to listen yet profound to follow.
Added to the highlights was the show of “Audio Architecture”. The song introduced the actual audio architecture to the audiences through the use of visual arts and sounds that interacted with the words from the lyrics like “Surface”, “Material”, “Space”, “Loud” and “Quiet”. Like when Cornelius sang “Loud”, the volume of the song would increase and when he said “Quiet”, the sound would just go silent.
Moreover, another standout element of “Audio Architecture” was the complex rhythm of drums sounds from Yuko Araki that exhilarate the craziness of the show.
Ambient music was part of the night as well. “Surfing On Mind Pt2” was on to relax people’s excitement and to keep our minds sane for a bit before the encore show begun.
Cornelius and his bandmates spared us no mercy as they slammed the stage with aggressive instrumental roars that would not allow us to breathe peacefully as we all got our heads nodded along the show crazily. And before leaving the stage with such an overwhelming impression from Thai fans, the band let the audience be part of their last show by turning their microphones to the crowd and letting us count the numbers for the rhythm they’d play. However, it was too hard for normal people like us to actually got it right. All in all, it was such an honour that these musical geniuses gave us a try, anyway.
The night was then handed to Maftsai, the disk-jockey who is known for his traditional Isaan-inspired beats. The crowd stayed for the set joyfully as the set tonight representing the blends of the modern and the traditional Thai cultures.
Tonight has proved why Cornelius is regarded as one of the influential artists in the music industry and how he’s known as a wizard of electro-pop music. It’s not just about the music but it’s also the experience like none other that he gives to his audience. Like if this were food, it’d be like that kind of dish that represents not only the identity of the nation’s finest cuisine but also its modernity and creative progression. It’s one of the rarest dishes that you’d die for just to get a slight bite of it.