John Carroll Kirby reimagining something from Cornelius, the Japanese master of collage. The smooth West Coast sweetness mixed with the endless Eastern imagination. It could only happen in our naughtiest dreams.
But as of now their sonic wizardry is fused to last for an eternity and beyond. And John Carroll wouldn’t be Kirby, if he hadn’t flipped the mysterious, almost ghost-like synth-ballad into a lovey little tune coming straight from a seventies yacht.
Cornelius’ 変わる消える (or Change And Vanish), with wonderful vocals by Mei Ehara, comes after a dark period of complete silence for the Japanese producer. Allegations arose about, about having bullied when he went to high school. Cornelius has denied everything, but felt obligated to take a step back and reflect. This meant that he also resigned from the major job of composing for the Tokyo Olympics. This new single is meant to be a thank you to everyone who sent him encouraging messages and wanted to hear and believe his side of the story.
It also might explain that the original Japanese composition feels subdued, mournful and mysterious – as if he still feels heartbroken and anxious to fill up public space with his music. Kirby’s interpretation couldn’t be more different. Does he look for a deliberate juxtaposition of more uplifting sounds to match the intimate narrative?
What we do know, is that Brian Wilson and Todd Rundgren would be proud of his choice of piano chords. As would the Mizell brothers if they’d heard those lush ARP String Ensemble and fat funky bass grooves. Guess Californian cosmetics can even cover up a dark Japanese yūrei.
Please check out the Japanese OG and the John Carroll Kirby reimagination below.
John Carroll Kirby plays our festival on Saturday 19 November. Get your tickets here!