Yep, I checked my index and I couldn’t find a blog dedicated to Keigo Oyamada aka Cornelius.

I first heard his handiwork as a producer on Pizzicato Five “Bossa Nova 2001”, a superlative 1993 J-pop album (on CD) – it had been sent to me from Japan by my friend Ken Heaton.  In ’94, I started going to Japan with Ken-san, so I got up to speed with Cornelius as a solo artist.  Only later did I learn about his previous band, Flipper’s Guitar.  Cornelius got his own record company, Trattoria Records, via Polystar – the company that held the Japanese license for Island Records.

The debut solo album by Cornelius was called “The First Question Award”.  For this title, I have both vinyl and CD

CD TRATTORIA JPN                PSCR-5080         1994 11 TRKS; Menu 29

LP TRATTORIA JPN                PSJR-9102          1994 11 TRKS red vinyl, Menu 46

On my first visit to Japan, I remember seeing the vinyl go for a lot of money in specialty shops.  When I got to meet Oyamada-san in ’95 or so, at Trattopria Records – he gave me a copy of this LP.

The follow-up for “First Question Award” was “69 – 96” and it’s remix, “96 – 69”, both of which are highly amusing albums:

LPx2 69/96   TRATTORIA JPN                    PSJR-9112/3    1995 15 TRKS; Menu 80

CD 69/96   TRATTORIA JPN                    PSCR-5420      1995 96 TRKS; Menu 69

CD 96/69   TRATTORIA JPN                    PSCR-5480      1996 69 TRKS; Menu 96

LPx2 96/69   TRATTORIA JPN                    PSJR-9114/5    1996 10 TRKS; Menu 97; autographed

At the time, I was writing English-language articles about Japanese pop music, so it was easy to set up an interview with Cornelius – Hiroko Wayama at Trattoria spoke English well, and I brought a friend to translate (my departed friend Naoko-san).

The masterpiece came a short while later in 1997: “Fantasma”.  I remember that Cornelius’ manager, Iichiro Oka sent me a cassette of it to listen to – that’s how long ago this was!  If you are familiar with this work, you already know that it drove us all nuts!

CD FANTASMA  TRATTORIA JP                   PSCR-5623 1997 17 TRKS 2nd edition; Menu 138

CD FANTASMA  TRATTORIA JP                   PSCR-9107 1997 14 TRKS Ltd. edition; Menu 133; w / headphones

LP FANTASMA  TRATTORIA JP                   PSJR-9121  1997 13 TRKS orange vinyl; Menu 133

Two different versions on CD – yikes!  Trattoria ended as a label in 2002, and Cornelius signed to Warner Japan, after a final album for Trattoria Records, “Point” (2001).  But the above albums were why we got excited about Cornelius!

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