A product of the same Shibuya-kei bubblegum scene that also gave rise to Pizzicato Five, Japanese pop-noise savant Cornelius was born Keigo Oyamada in 1969 in Setagaya, Tokyo. A self-taught guitarist inspired early on by Kiss and Black Sabbath, he was also a member of the band Flipper's Guitar; when the group broke up in 1991, he began working on a solo career, taking the name Cornelius as an homage to the Planet of the Apes film series. Combining punk, pop, shoegaze, Brazilian and electronic music with wide-ranging samples, Cornelius' music epitomized Shibuya-kei's playful postmodernism and also drew comparisons to American artists like Beck and the Beastie Boys.
Cornelius has immense strength in his technicality and compositions; this much has been obvious since 1997’s Fantasma. What makes Mellow Waves particularly special amongst other albums released this year and amongst Cornelius’ discography is how unnerving the lyrics can become, especially so when the instrumentals and melodies are beautiful and rosy. Cornelius proves his wit, humor and poeticism in his ability to incorporate such dissimilar factors into a complex and disorienting sonic mosaic of the ailments of humanity in the modern world.