If you don’t know Cornelius, you should. He (along with Kenji Ozawa) basically kickstarted the whole Shibuya-kei movement back in the 90s with their band Flipper’s Guitar, and made it big worldwide solo with the album Fantasma. Now, Mellow Waves is far from the French-pop-surf-rock-club-beat-cut-n-paste style of his earlier stuff, but I think that’s only right – Shibuya-kei is really best left in its own time.
Shibuya-kei or not, Mellow Waves is a natural progression from Cornelius’ earlier work, with each track a polished, melancholy pop soundscape rife with beautiful imaging, singing, and even a few gnarly guitar solos. This album is complex, but you almost wouldn’t know it with how restrained Cornelius is in his production. These are the types of songs that you can listen to a hundred times and still find something new in their layers. This is the pop music of a man that lived through a somber 90s and an uncertain present, recalling his past while looking far, far into the future.