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!