Review 6: Cibo Matto

Posted on September 15, 2011


Is this the cutest concert ad ever?

Method of choosing: No bright ideas, so just ran my eye down the list until I saw “Cibo (Matto)”. “Cibo” sounds remarkably similar to “vagina” in my language, so of course I had to choose it.

Choice: Cibo Matto

Albums available: Cibo Matto, Stereotype A, Super Relax Ep, VIVA! La Woman


Well I actually know this group! Meaning, I’ve heard of them. I vaguely recall three crazily-dressed Japanese chicks with electric guitars. I think their music will be campy and fun, with lots of hooks in the melodies. Probably some mad-ass lyrics too, but not that I would be able to tell. The song titles already sound wonderfully mad – “Know Your Chicken” in Cibo Matto; “Sci-fi Wasabi” (haha!) in Stereotype A; FOUR songs titled “Sugar Water” in Super Relax Ep and “White Pepper Ice Cream” in VIVA! La Woman. This should be good edible fun.

Actual music:

Fun! A good, easy beat with CRAZY ASS lyrics. “Beef Jerky” goes from, well, “beeeef jerky” to “I’m a vagabond” to “what shiny hair!” and what sounds like “who cares? I don’t care! Whose ass is better than yours!” Umm.

“Yes I’m cooking for my son and his wife. It’s his 30th birthday!… I don’t give a flying fuck…. SHUT UP… BON APPETITE! YOU KNOW MY LOVE IS SWEEEET!” All in a hilarious Japanese I-DON’T-give-a-fuck accent.

OK, music-wise, I really like the layers of sounds they build in their tracks. They sound wonderfully varied; lots of interesting mixed up sounds.

They actually do a haunting, spacey cover of “Black Hole Sun”, all dramatically breathy and echoey, and heavy on the keyboard chords. It ends quite abruptly, which is quite great. As in, it was a nice twist, not that it was a bad rendition.

Another track, “Crumbs”, is amazing. It’s a totally unexpected mix of wind instruments, an alarm clock, tapping sticks, random guitar-strumming and plucking, commonplace everyday noises (coughing, sighing, yawning), keychains rattling, and about a dozen others I couldn’t identify. What a fabulously clever and cleverly-named piece.

Whoever plays the bass is awesome. Especially when the band goes into very heavy metal riffs. I have to restrain myself from mad head-banging. Actually, why am I stopping myself? OH YEAAAAHHH!!!

I’m wondering if I will continue to like their balls-to-the-wall approach ten songs down, though. Will check back in.

Well I don’t actually have to wonder, because the next few tracks melt lusciously into waves of beat-boxing, head-bopping, trippy electronic-tipped jazz, including some chirpy sunny walking-down-the-street-on-Saturday-afternoon pieces. It’s almost… relaxing. Wow, did I just say that about Cibo Matto? My favourite tracks from Stereotype A is “Sunday Part 2”. It’s beautiful, effortlessly floaty, like chiffon in a pool.

Super Relax Ep actually has a remake of “Aguas De Marco”, the Antonio Carlos Jobim staple. This gets me excited. I love good covers, and this is a cute, pretty take on a smooth, masculine classic. The next track, “BBQ”, features samba drums and some awesomely crazy screeching.

Post-post-listen reflection (what they really sound and look like):

Goo on our fingers, part 1

So d'you have that wet wipe, or not, part 2

____ So I was rather mistaken, instead of being 3, Cibo Matto are 2 funky ladies, Yuka Honda and Miko Hatori. Yes they are Japanese but they were not as popular in Japan as they were in America. And, they’ve actually disbanded, although they recently reunited for a benefit concert for the Japanese Earthquake victims. They’ve been on the Yeah Basically Cibo Matto! tour in US since May 2011. Read about their little adventures here. And watch the trippy, cute-as-hell tour vid below.

So – Cibo Matto means “crazy food” in Italian, and apparently their genre of music is also known (apart from acid jazz and triphop) as shibuya-kei 渋谷系, which Wiki describes as a “mixture of jazz, pop and electropop”, originating in the Shibuya district of Tokyo. Pizzicato Five is one other shibuya-kei band, and I love them.

And Ciboz were the ladies behind this awesome mv, which I watched uncomprehendingly a few years ago. It’s gotta be one of the smartest mv ideas I’ve seen. You’ll have to click over to youtube to watch it, cos those Warner Bros scums disabled embedding.

Maybe not, huh? You just had to say, you know. Part 3.


Will I listen to this again, and if so, under what circumstances? Yes yes yes. I actually did not like Cibo Matto when I first heard them many years ago (too noisy) but mine ole ears hath been slaved with the balm of good music the few months past, and I appreciate their experimental sound now.

Will put on music player? Already have! A few tracks, though: “Aguas Da Marco”, “Sunday Part 2”, “Black Hole Sun”.

And here’s something we all need to know:

And here’s “Black Hole Sun”, which I’ve played on my music player about 8 times now.

Posted in: Cibo Matto, Review