[a.k.a. #4 of However Many I Care to List, in No Particular Order: Albums That I Have Listened To Both Intermittently And Incessantly, That I Imagine I Will Continue To Listen To Periodically For The Remainder Of My Life, Which I Consider To Be The Seminal Works Of (Or Most Accessible Entry Points To) Musical Artists Whom I Believe Have Been Woefully Underrated And Criminally Underrepresented In The Modern Music Canon At Large, And Which Also At Some Point While Playing I Have Very Likely Been Asked To Turn Down or Turn Off]
Though their food-obsessed, largely ambient 1996 debut Viva! La Woman will probably always be what Cibo Matto are best-remembered for, Yuka Honda and Miho Hatori would go on to prove they had plenty more tricks up their sleeves, even if fewer folks seemed to be paying attention the 2nd time around.
For the non-remix tracks on their subsequent 1997 EP Super Relax, Yuka and Miho recruited Sean Lennon and Timo Ellis, and by the time they were working on their sophomore album, Duma Love had also joined the ranks to round out their now-much-fuller band. The end result, to my ears, has just about everything an alternative music fan could ask for: crazily catchy hooks and choruses galore, sweet multi-layered vocal harmonies, surprisingly funky basslines, occasionally tropical arrangements, smatterings of hip-hop (featuring a rap that references Star Wars on “Sci-Fi Wasabi”)…,
…generous use of a vocoder, and random detours into sludge metal (including channelling early Black Sabbath on the chugging “Blue Train”). In other words, a jello-wrestling battle royale between Pizzicato Five, Stereolab, Beck, and Earth, Wind & Fire, and definitely one of the few selections on my list that could be described overall as light, poppy, and/or party-friendly (my predilection for generally picking the moodiest of available tunes is well-documented).
Probably the best side effect of finally forcing myself to make a list like this and revisiting past faves is the discovery of yet more music created by the same bands: Before I started writing this blurb, I’d completely forgotten that Cibo Matto reformed in 2011, did some touring, and released a third and final album, Hotel Valentine, in 2014.