A good remix uncovers an element of the song that was already there so the listener perceives it in a whole new way. A bad remix often ends up as a vehicle for someone else’s ego, with the original becoming so contorted and manipulated that it is unrecognizable in the final product.

A pair of new albums from Keigo Oyamada (better known as Cornelius) explore both possibilities. On the first, “CM2” he is the remixer. On the second, “PM,” he is remixed, but not by famous DJs or musicians, but by fans, who downloaded short samples of his last album, “Point,” from his Web site.

“What intrigued me about this project is that generally when you want to get some remixes done, you ask somebody that you know to do it,” says Oyamada, at his office in Nakameguro. “But at the very moment that you ask, you know what to expect because you know that person, and their style and you can predict what they might do.

“With this, I was asking people whom I’ve never met, never seen, to remix something, with no preconception about any of these people and no idea what was going to come back.”

It took Oyamada a week to listen to the nearly 400 entries. The winning tracks run the gamut from experimental electronica to house and drum ‘n’ bass styles.

One track, the last, is a strange melange of electronic surges and Brian Wilson-style piano. It seems to bear no relation to the original at all.

“It’s just this huge question mark,” says Oyamada, wondering if the submission by Kota Nakamura was a demo, a joke or maybe even a mistake. “On the strength of that it made it on the record. [The remixer] called it “Point of View Point” which is funny because it it doesn’t present any viewpoint at all. . . . He is either a madman or a genius.”

The press-kit photo reveals nothing about Nakamura either; he looks like a nondescript college student, the sort you might find buying dinner at a convenience store at midnight. There is also a somewhat poignant handwritten note that describes his love of Nine Inch Nails. Though “PM” was ostensibly an Internet project, the guy lacked both a computer and an e-mail account.

The other remixers are a motley group of would-be DJs, salarymen, students and even a vintage-clothing shop owner from Minnesota. Submitted under the name Animal Family, his remix incorporates hip-hop beats and a white-trash rant and is one of the funniest tracks on the album.

“There are a lot of people out there making music who are not necessarily part of the music business,” says Oyamada. “And in contrast to much of the music that is a part of the music business, [their music] is in a way a lot more pure . . . and more interesting.”

Though one person had the chutzpah to show up at Oyamada’s studio for an impromptu jam session, for the most part communication with the remixers on “PM” has been limited to e-mail.

“[It’s strange because] you can have a relationship with people that you don’t know, but it’s a rather intimate relationship because people can take your music, your sound somewhere else.”

Oyamada has the same experience when he is remixing tracks himself.

“You could call what I do ‘reproducing’ the original track,” he says. “My personal feeling is that although I may never meet the people who made the original, I am working with them and making a track together with them.”

Oyamada’s growing popularity as a remixer isn’t so surprising when one considers his own music. Since his debut as Cornelius in 1994, reviews have consistently touted the 34-year-old musician as the ultimate postmodern pop star, acclaimed for slicing and dicing genres and styles. “Fantasma” his first international release in 1997, blending everything from Bach to Black Sabbath, was often called a remix of pop-music history.

Still, some of the artists on “CM2” prompt a double-take. Yes, there are the expected cuts from like-minded musicians such as Beck and Blur and old Tokyo pals such as Denki Groove. But Sting? Or k.d. lang?

“You can understand immediately my remixing people like Beck and Blur,” Oyamada says, “since [they] might have an approach that is a little more similar to mine, but remixing people that are completely different is . . . more interesting.”

“With Sting, I was surprised [to be asked to remix him] but actually pretty happy, because although I hadn’t listened to Sting, I really liked The Police,” says Oyamada. “When I listened to the track, I found the vocal to be very good, and also Stevie Wonder’s harmonica part, so I played with that.”

For an artist who has progressively fewer and fewer vocals in his own music, Oyamada tends toward vocal tracks in his remixing. His smoky remix of lang’s “Curiosity” is based almost entirely on her vocals.

His remix of Beck’s “Mixed Bizness,” easily the most impressive track on the album, also starts with the vocal. Oyamada takes the original’s funky James Brown vibe, strips away the horns and the frenetic beat and reveals the soulful sexuality underneath the track. The effect is a bittersweet memory of the original, a rehearing of the original in an entirely new way.

“I want the final product to be on par with the original, musically,” says Oyamada, “not something that is obviously remixed, but something that could have been the original. I want to take all the essential elements, or at least what I think they are, and re-create that track as one possible version of the original elements, one possible manifestation of this that stands on its own.”

Oyamada’s remixing tendencies aren’t limited to the sound. Recently he has been dabbling in film and a DVD of videos for “Point” is being released at the same time as “CM2” and “PM.” He has even thought about making a DVD of new images and songs together, instead of a regular album, for his next undertaking.

But not quite yet, he says with a smile. “I have more remixing to do.”

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