The value of simplicity
In today’s tech-dominated world, musicians have a lot of sounds and samples at their disposal that musicians of previous generations could never even dream of. Tokyo’s Keigo Oyamada, better known by his stage name, Cornelius, prefers, instead, to use the simplest, most elemental sample known to man: water. His song “Drop” is centered entirely around the sound of calmly rippling and splashing water. Starting with nothing but the unmistakable sound of a pool of water being perturbed, the song slowly gathers steam (pun intended) with the addition of kick drums and hi-hat, cheerful acoustic guitar strums, and layers of simple harmonious vocals. At about the midpoint of the track, the sounds become muffled and the music peters out briefly, followed by the sound of a cough and the resurgence of the music; a very interesting and creative way of sonically putting the listener’s head under the water that is ever-present throughout.
When you listen to it for the first time, “Drop” sounds like it has a lot going on – it seems like a very complicated track with lots of moving parts, but after hearing it repeatedly, you are able to notice that it is a combination of several very simple elements. The guitar patterns, percussion rhythms, and vocals are all very straightforward, bare-bones, and repetitive, perhaps another nod to the subject matter of the live-giving liquid that is simple at its core, but serves so many purposes and has innumerable functions. The music video for “Drop,” shown below, will give you an idea of Cornelius’ passion for simplicity and his ability to make something ordinary into something magical and full of wonder.