Okay, let me start this with an explanation. I’m really sorry about not posting this past week – the evil entity known as finals overtook me. While it is currently my official Finals Week, I have gotten through the prep work and the end of the semester drudgery that typically happens during the week and I plan to post this entire week without incident.
Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming!
Cibo Matto, which means “Crazy Food” in Italian (and many of their songs, like Sci-Fi Wasabi, Birthday Cake and Know Your Chicken mention food explicitly), was a relatively little-known band formed by two Japanese women who settled in New York. Critics have described Cibo Matto as a combination of “Jazz, Hip-Hop, Brazilian music, African Drumming, Japanese Rock, Disco samples, and the cheap, under-funded, un-talented but, nevertheless, creative and genius of the spirit of the underbelly of the city.”
Cibo Matto was led by instrumentalist Yuka Honda and vocalist Miho Hatori, and were eventually joined by Sean Lennon (yes…John’s son), Timo Ellis and Duma Love.
Can I say that this is one of my favorite songs EVER? The soothing trance-like rhythm has always appealed to me in this song – in fact, it is the ringtone for my cellphone’s alarm. I prefer the soothing vocals of Yuka Honda and Miho Hatori to the annoying default alarm anyway; it makes me look forward to my wake-up call instead of dreading it. Plus I love the effect of the video – one side is moving backwards while the other moves forward, leading them to meet in the middle.
To be completely honest, that era in Cibo Matto’s discography is more “normal” (or as normal as they can manage). Here’s another great song by them, “Know Your Chicken”, which comes from their first album, Viva! La Woman:
A commenter on Youtube summarized the song thusly:
It’s a story about a guy buying a pair of baby chicks (one is magenta and one is blue). The blue one runs away, but he keeps the magenta one, which grows up, but always bites him. He gets a girlfriend, but his chicken disappears. His girlfriend cooks him dinner one night, and he wonders where she got the chicken to make it. Then later on he and his girlfriend have a pair of baby twins, and one is magenta and the other is blue.
Now if that isn’t delightfully cracktastic, I don’t know what is! I fully admit that Cibo Matto isn’t for everyone, and they are definitely an acquired taste. They tend to have a strange sound (especially on their first album) but I find that they have a unique, distinctive sound and lyrical style that you didn’t hear as much then. (Or now, even)
I’m not sure when I got into Cibo Matto, but I strongly believe it was hearing their song Birthday Cake for the first time on the Jet Set Radio Future soundtrack and being completely weirded out. A bit of warning, while Know Your Chicken is kind of weird, Birthday Cake is just…odd. It was grating the first time I listened and I had no idea what to do with it. It took a look of growing for me to get used to it, but it was over after that and I was a huge fan, although I will admit that it is a strange song and probably better listened to in context, as you play Jet Set Radio Future.
I would mention what their upcoming projects are, but unfortunately, Cibo Matto disbanded in 2001. According to Honda:
Cibo Matto broke up, because it was time. We felt the need to move to the next step. It was a healthy decision, though it was sad at the same time. Things just need to grow out of things sometimes.
All of the members have gone on to do solo material, although from time to time they have collaborated with one another. You can buy their two albums Viva! La Woman and Stereo ★ Type A (one of my favorite albums, highly recommended) on Amazon (or wherever else you buy music) or if you want, just purchase their Greatest Hits collection!
Until next time,
What are you listening to this Monday? Let me know in the comments.