Cornelius (musician)

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This article is about the contemporary Japanese musician. For the historical German musician, see Peter Cornelius. For the contemporary Austrian musician, see Peter Cornelius (musician). For other uses, see Cornelius.
Keigo Oyamada and Ryuichi Sakamoto (cropped).jpg
Oyamada in 2007
Background information
Birth name Keigo Oyamada (小山田 圭吾)
Born (1969-01-27) January 27, 1969 (age 48)
Tokyo, Japan
Occupation(s) Musician, producer, vocalist
Instruments Guitar, vocals, multi-instrumentalist
Labels Warner Music Group, Everloving Records, Cherry Red, Trattoria Records (1992–2002), Matador Records (1998–2005)
Associated acts Flipper's Guitar (1989–1991)
Takako Minekawa
Plastic Ono Band
Ryuichi Sakamoto
Yellow Magic Orchestra
Pizzicato Five

Keigo Oyamada (小山田 圭吾, Oyamada Keigo?, born January 27, 1969), better known by his stage name Cornelius (CORNELIUS(コーネリアス), Kōneriasu?), is a Japanese recording artist and producer who co-founded Flipper's Guitar, an influential Shibuya-kei band, and subsequently embarked on a solo career. In 1997, he released the album Fantasma, which landed him praise from American music critics, who called him a "modern day Brian Wilson" or the "Japanese Beck".[2]


Oyamada was born in Setagaya, Tokyo, Japan. His first claim to fame was as a member of the pop duo Flipper's Guitar, one of the key groups of the Tokyo Shibuya-kei scene. Following the disbandment of Flipper's Guitar in 1991, Oyamada donned the "Cornelius" moniker and embarked on a successful solo career. He chose his pseudonym in tribute to the character of the same name from the movie Planet of the Apes. He commissioned a song, about himself, on Momus' 1999 album Stars Forever.

Cornelius, Mœrs festival 2007

In 2005, The Spinto Band referenced him in their song "Japan Is An Island" on their album Nice and Nicely Done.

As of September 2006, he was no longer signed to Matador Records.[3]

In 2006 and 2007 respectively, the song "The Micro Disneycal World Tour" from the Fantasma album, was used for Nick Parks' "Creature Comforts" and Sky television's "See, Surf, Speak" advertisements in the UK. It had also been used several years earlier in an ironic NFL (US football) television commercial in the USA, which juxtaposed the song's relaxing qualities with video clips showing rapid, aggressive football playmaking.

In 2010, he contributed the song "Katayanagi Twins Battle Song" to the film Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.

In 2013, he participated with Taku Satoh and Yugo Nakamura directing the music for the exhibition Design Ah! at 21 21 Design Sight in Tokyo.[4]

Music style[edit]

American music journalists often describe Cornelius's musical style as being similar to Beck's, whom he acknowledges as an influence along with The Beach Boys, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Primal Scream and the Brazilian band Kassin + 2, among others. The music of Cornelius could be described as experimental and exploratory, and often incorporates dissonant elements alongside more familiar harmonically "pleasing" sounds. This tension, plus his practice of bringing in sounds and samples from mass culture, pure electronic tones, and sounds from nature (such as on his Point album), lead him to being sometimes categorized as an "acquired taste."

Personal life[edit]

Oyamada married fellow musician and collaborator Takako Minekawa in 2000 and they have one child, Milo, named after the son of Cornelius in Planet of the Apes. He is a second cousin of Joi Ito.


Cornelius discography
Studio albums 5
Video albums 7
EPs 3
Singles 12
Soundtrack albums 3
Remix albums 8

The discography of Cornelius consists of seven studio albums, three soundtracks, eight remix albums, three extended plays, twelve singles and seven video albums.

Studio albums[edit]

Year Information Chart positions
US Elec.
US Indie
1994 The First Question Award 4
1995 69/96
  • Labels: Trattoria, Polystar
  • Released: 9 June 1995
1997 Fantasma
  • Labels: Trattoria, Polystar, Matador
  • Released: 3 September 1997
2001 Point
  • Labels: Trattoria, Polystar, Matador
  • Released: 24 October 2001
4 124 17 47
2006 Sensuous 8 18


Remix albums[edit]

Year Information JP chart
1996 96/69
  • Labels: Trattoria, Polystar
  • Released: 9 June 1996
  • Remix LP of 69/96
1998 FM - Fantasma Remixes
  • Released: 26 November 1998
  • Labels: Trattoria, Polystar, Matador
  • Various artists' remixes of Fantasma
CM - Cornelius Remixes
  • Labels: Trattoria, Polystar, Matador
  • Released: 26 November 1998
2003 CM2 - Interpretation By Cornelius
  • Labels: Warner Music Japan
  • Released: 25 June 2003
2004 PM By Humans
  • Labels: Matador
  • Released: 20 January 2004
  • Various artists' remixes of Point.
  • Released together with the 5.1 DVD-Audio of Point as Five Point One + PM By Humans
2009 CM3 - Interpretation Remixed By Cornelius
  • Labels: Warner Music Japan
  • Released: 13 May 2009
2012 CM4
  • Labels: Warner Music Japan
  • Released: 5 September 2012
2015 Constellations Of Music
  • Labels: Warner Music Japan
  • Released: 19 August 2015
  • Collaboration and remix album with various artists

Extended plays[edit]

  • Holidays in the Sun EP (10 September 1993) JP #12[5]
  • Cornelius Works 1999 (1999), rare CD-R promo from 3-D Corporation Ltd. (Japan)
  • Gum EP (2008)


Year Title Chart positions Album
1993 "The Sun Is My Enemy" 15 The First Question Award
"Perfect Rainbow" 29
1994 "(You Can't Always Get) What You Want" 27
"Moon Light Story" 40
1995 "Moon Walk" (cassette only) 30 69/96
1997 "Star Fruits Surf Rider" 17 142 Fantasma
"Freefall" (UK only) N/R
"Chapter 8" (UK only) N/R
2001 "Point of View Point" 16 142 Point
"Drop" 12 82
2006 "Music" 17 Sensuous
"Breezin'" 20


  • Promotions! (1994), music videos
  • Love Heavy Metal Style Music Vision (1994) – live performances
  • EUS (2000) – live performances
  • Five Point One (2003) – a DVD package of music videos and PM
  • from Nakameguro to Everywhere tour '02-'04 (2008) – live performances
  • Sensurround (2008) – a DVD version of Sensuous with accompanying videos and 5.1 surround sound
  • Sensuous Synchronized Show (2009) – live performances

Compilation appearances[edit]

Other works[edit]


  1. ^ Fisher, Devon (March 10, 2015). "Momus honors music's eccentrics on 'Turpsycore'". The Japan Times. 
  2. ^ Lindsay, Cam (August 4, 2016). "Return to the Planet of Cornelius". Vice. 
  3. ^ Plastic Bamboo » Matador not releasing new Cornelius album
  4. ^ Design Ah!
  5. ^ a b c d e "Japan: Album positions". Retrieved 2013-04-20. 
  6. ^ a b "UK Chartlog". Retrieved 2013-04-20. 
  7. ^ a b "Cornelius - Awards : Allmusic". Billboard. Retrieved 2013-04-20. 
  8. ^ "Japan: singles positions". Retrieved 2013-04-20. 
  9. ^ Alexander, Patrick (March 14, 2008). "Feature: Kenichi Nishi and Archime-DS Interview (Part One)". Retrieved 2009-09-12. 

External links[edit]