Cibo Matto: Hotel Valentine

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source: Chimera

Text Christopher Ujine Ong

It took 15 whole years before the duo of Miho Hatori and Yuka C. Honda decided to reunite after a breakup-slash-hiatus to release a third album. Their last couple of albums, Viva! La Woman and Stereo Type A, epitomised ’90s boho-eclectic-Japan-by-way-of-NYC music chic (as though that was even a trend), with the two tossing hip hop, trip hop, absurdist humour, jazz, and 31 other musical flavours into a big punch bowl of anything-goes cool.

But do we still need such a ’90s mess in our current bigger mess of trap, Euro house, and folk pop? Yes to this mess, we say. Backed by a hazy concept of a haunted hotel and the thoughts of ghosts, only the lyrics bear some skeletal connection with the afterlife, with the music fleshed out with the duo’s typical kitchen-sink abandon.

‘Déjà Vu’ vacillates between trip hop and jazzy r’n’b, ‘Empty Pool’ is a minimal glitch techno ballad (as close to balladry as it gets in the world of Cibo Matto), and the avant hip hop of ‘Housekeeping’ is kept fresh and floaty with Reggie Watts’ and Hatori’s chop-socky rapping. More than just a crayoned pastiche of past glories, this is an act attempting to reconnect themselves with the world, in their own eccentric, esoteric way.

LISTEN TO: ‘Housekeeping’