Cornelius! At the Walt Disney Concert Hall!!

Erica and I met Jon and Joan down in L.A. last night for the one-night-only appearance of Cornelius at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. For Jon and myself this was our first time seeing Cornelius since the Fantasma Tour in 1998. For the ladies, it was their first time ever. (CORRECTION: Jon reminds me he saw the band in 2002.) Keigo Oyamada and his band (which includes their smokin’ ace drummer Yuko Araki) dress sharp and produce a tight post-rock that breaks rock and and electronica into small parts and reassembles them into fascinating sculptures. There’s no other artist quite like it, though I would suggest The Books for the cut-up aesthetic and Yo La Tengo for the ability to play in different genres without sounding like parody. Accompanying the group was a video display which was synchronized to the music (or rather, the other way around)–and here I can use the powers of YouTube to present some of my favorites from the night. These aren’t just abstract vids, but crazy animations whose domestic backgrounds mirror Cornelius’ own bedroom aesthetic of music creation. “Fit Song” was incredible on the big screen, especially.
Opening for Cornelius was the two-man DJ operation called Plaid. I don’t know how to categorize their sometimes pounding electronica, as it verged often into the abstract. You wouldn’t be dancing to them. It’s too rhythmically complex to be ambient. It’s Plaid. Their video work behind them was a relief compared to watching two guys at laptops.
Finally, being my first visit to the space, the Walt Disney Concert Hall, designed by Frank Gehry, is a truly beautiful thing to be inside. I may have problems with a lot of Gehry’s work, but inside the Hall it feels like being inside a giant wooden cup, vertiginous, and despite our balcony seats, we had a great view of the entire event and felt on top of everything. The acoustics are fabulous, especially for Plaid, as the various frequencies seem to come from different areas of the Hall. The bass was remarkable. The only trouble with Cornelius was moments were so frikkin’ loud that the very high frequencies rose to the top of the hall (wood, you know) and assaulted us. But I think that was the point. Oyamada plays his trusty Theremin and one of his bandmates was sawing away at some unidentified electronic instrument with a bow, producing some otherworldly screeches. And did I mention that the drummer is amazing?
So here’s some video. Fit Song:

Like a Rolling Stone (YouTube can’t do this justice):

Point of View Point:

Drop (Do It Again):


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