By: Eric Greenwood
Cornelius" follow up to his dizzyingly schizophrenic breakout, Fantasma, is a more cohesive but less spontaneous collection of clean samples, calculated rock, and fusion noise. Cornelius is a meticulous producer. Every single sound is deliberate and precise, and he builds each song into a symphonic climax, using wholly unorthodox means. Organic percussion mingles with dreamy, harmonized vocals and repetitive samples while Cornelius overlays breezy guitars and bright, energetic riffs. The sonic consistency may bore fans thirsting for more of Cornelius" spastic and unpredictable eclecticism, but the ensuing stereophonic experience is second to none.
"Point Of View" rocks in a passively restrained, repetitive way. Staggering beats circle around sunny voices passing in and out of each ear while multiple acoustic guitars fill in the gaps with chiming melodies and stagnant rhythms. Each layer raises the tension slightly, but the culmination is never cluttered or noisy, as Cornelius keeps each track distinct and purposeful. "Smoke" is much funkier. Keeping the rhythms tight, Cornelius pursues more vocal harmonies. The multiple guitar tracks jerk and slide in between the beats, and Cornelius lets loose with some carefully placed feedback and noise.
The incessant light water splashing in "Drop" may make you have to run to bathroom, but you"ll be humming a cheery tune while you"re in there. The chorus of voices drones above another acoustic-based funk riff. More rumbling, funky slap-bass straight out of Duran Duran"s playbook adds a danceable, almost pop feel to the infectious rhythms of "Another View Point." Cornelius picks up the aggression a bit here with a propulsive backbeat and some sharp guitar squawks. "Tone Twilight Zone" is a gorgeous mix of guitar harmonics and outdoor sound effects that casts a mysterious calm over the entire album.
The loopy, lazy vocals on "Bird Watching At Inner Fore" recall Stereolab on half as many Quaaludes. As the acoustic guitars grow more intense, the beats sputter frenetically in the background. More nature noises infiltrate the mix as well, but they aren"t as calming amidst such nervous strumming. The door to sonic chaos finally opens on "I Hate Hate", where Cornelius unleashes a speed-metal guitar lesson worthy of Slayer or even Melt Banana. The bossa nova-inflected remake of "Brazil" features a computerized voice, which carries the dramatic melody. The result is sad and surreal and plaintively retro-futuristic- like watching 2001: A Space Odyssey in 2002.
Although, Point may be comprised of a narrower set of references than its predecessor was, Cornelius seems to be able to channel his genius through an impressive array of styles and moods. His skills are more focused and, thusly, the songs are more memorable. Where Fantasma shot randomly in every direction, Point sticks to a predetermined set of styles that showcases his stellar musicianship. Depending on your mood, this can be a dance record or an headphones record or even a driving record. The depth is there and repeated listens unveil new interpretations every single time.