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 [English Translation]

Cibo Matto’s Hotel Valentine
Interviewed and written by Masaki Kubo

A full-course meal on one ‘disch’ – Cibo Matto's first full-length album in 15 years!

They are back. Cibo Matto was formed in 1995 by Miho Hatori and Yuka Honda who met in New York. Amidst rumors of rumors, the duo has left glittering gems in the history of alternative pop, such as their 1st album, Viva! La Woman (’96) welcoming Mitchell Froom & Tchad Blake as producers, or 2nd album Stereotype A (’99) with participation by Sean Lennon, Mark Ribot and John Medeski. Resuming their activities as Cibo Matto in 2011, they have finally brought their first album after 15 years to completion.

CHIBO MATTO Hotel Valentine Chimera Music/commmons(2014)

“Both Yuka and I worked on this album with mindsets afresh. Though, there are still some sound approaches that only Yuka can make. That rediscovery brought back fond memories of our older days” says Hatori.

They put in a good 2 years for the production of the album. “Cibo Matto is a mysterious and magical thing even to us. Totally unpredictable things pop up from the chemistry between the two of us. You listen to the end-result and get knocked out thinking ‘Wow, didn’t see that coming!’ So in that sense, it’s like having our own ‘child’.”

The latest album is based on a theme derived from their imagination ‘the lore of the corridor-skulking ghosts of the hotel’, putting together a collage of their own memories and experiences at hotels. The whole story that starts with “Check In” and ends with “Check Out”welcomes distinguished guests such as Reggie Watts, Nels Cline, Glenn Kotche or Mauro Refosco, adding glitz and glamour to the story. “Reggie was great fun to work with. We would give him a tune, and he would ‘Like!’ and get started immediately, and then give us a thumbs-up in just one take! It was a thrill to see a person with such a fast-acting mind!”

Reggie takes part in the song “MFN”, a track that fully brings out the wonderful new Cibo-Matto-ness perfectly and colorfully blending the unusually fat and strange beats with the exotic and charming vocals of the two. Meanwhile, shady surreal songs such as “Empty Pool” or “Lobby” are the actual vectors defining the moods of the entire album. Energetic, but yet elegant. Avant-garde, but yet pop. The exquisite balance not only bears testimony to their mature perfection, but actually confirms their mounting adventurous spirit. “We do aim to be pop. If Cibo Matto’s energy wasn’t fun, then it won't be Cibo Matto anymore.”

Finally, here’s what they have to say about the 'highlights' of their album. “Well actually, we’d rather you listen to the whole album as one piece. It’s supposed to be a ‘full-course’, that’s how we feel about this album.” Just like them, reference to food and meals has always been their thing. 

And even though “Check Out” time has arrived, perhaps I should extend my ‘stay’ to meet the dancing ghost girls on the 10th floor dance floor. Yes, time to check in again to Hotel Valentine