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MY PLAYLIST: Cornelius

by David Hickey

Keigo Oyamada stopped writing hits a long time ago. Not playing the pop star suits him just fine. It gives Oyamada — formerly of Flipper’s Guitar but better known since 1993 as avant-pop boffin Cornelius — more time to indulge his multimedia fantasies to the full, as captured on two new DVDs released on Wednesday.

“Sensurround” collects the 12 perfectly synced (and highly varied) videos to the tracks that made up Cornelius’ 2006 album “Sensuous,” which was some five years in the making. “From Nakameguro to Everywhere ’02-’04,” meanwhile, is a collection of live performances from around the world, with the 39-year-old syncing visuals to his revved-up rock show, too. It’s a pity there are no performances from his current “Sensuous Synchronized” tour, which has seen Cornelius perform in Europe, the United States and Australia over the last 18 months and which he will bring to a close with three dates in March and April in Japan. Look forward to that on the next DVD — here’s hoping it doesn’t take five years to materialize.

First single I ever bought “Inazuman Action,” Ichiro Mizuki (1974)

This was the theme song to the tokusatsu (special effects) live-action television drama “Inazuman F.” In the 1970s, there were lots of these superhero dramas, and Inazuman was a butterfly mutant superhero who transformed himself from Sanagiman (sanagi means chrysalis) into Inazuman. Sanagiman was a bit weak; but his body became perfect when he transformed into Inazuman. Ichiro Mizuki, who sang the theme song, was a neighbor of ours. He came round to our house once. He was the first pop star I liked because he sang most of the theme songs to the superhero shows I used to watch.

Last track I downloaded “Kikuchiyo to Moshimasu,” Pink Martini (2004)

This is a cover of a song by my father’s band (Hiroshi Wada and his Mahina Stars). The American lounge act Pink Martini covered it, so I just went ahead and bought it.

Track that makes me think of Naka-Meguro “Kling Klang,” Cornelius (2006)

On this track I used a glass wind chime that I have in my studio (in Tokyo’s Naka-Meguro district). I can’t think of any other songs that remind me of Naka-Meguro!

Music that inspired my “Sensuous Synchronized” live show “Fantasia” movie, Bach, Tchaikovsky et al (1940)

Two come to mind. First, the Disney movie “Fantasia,” which I saw a long time ago. I think the way that Disney synchronized the images and sounds had an influence on me.

Secondly, I’d pick Kraftwerk. There’s no particular track, but it’s the way these four guys stand next to each other while playing live with these images in the background . . .

First track that comes on when I set my MP3 player on shuffle “Motorhead,” Motorhead (1977)

I liked Motorhead at junior high school, since I heard “Ace of Spades.” We both played at Summer Sonic last year, but I missed them, which was a bummer. Lemmy’s 62 and he’s still going strong, so I’m happy to cheer him on.

The Cornelius Group perform the “Ultimate Sensuous Synchronized Show” at Tokyo International Forum Hall A on March 30; Aichi-ken Kinro Kaikan, Nagoya, April 5; Grand Cube Osaka, April 12. All shows start at 6 p.m. Tickets are on sale now, priced ¥6,000. For information, call (03) 5575-2502.