Album Reviews

Music You Don't Know You Like Yet

CIBO MATTO

Hotel Valentine

2014-02-28

Miho Hatori and Yuka C. Honda make up Cibo Matto. The group debuted in 1994 with their album Viva! La Woman and followed their critical acclaim with Stereo ★ Type A. Since 2002 they have been on hiatus, but both remaining very involved in the music industry in separate ventures. In 2011, Hatori and Honda announced the reunion, and, in February 2014, released their first studio album in 14 years, Hotel Valentine. Instead of replicating their past sound, Cibo Matto has built an innovative sound that acknowledges their roots but connects with where club and electronic music have advanced to today. Hotel Valentine is a concept album that checks the listener into fictional "Hotel Valentine." Along with incredibly evocative instrumentation, Hatori and Honda use programming, drum machines, phone apps, and other sound devices to imply windows, doors, walls and corners through sound. The twist to the story is that the hotel is haunted. "Check In" grounds the listener in the location of the album, both musically and narratively, while "10th Floor Ghost Girl" and "MFN" explore the anger of the spirit wandering the hotel halls. The computerized beats add fear to the haunting image of a ghost floating in "Empty Pool." The album closes with "Check Out," which depicts the ghost coaxing the listener to remain at Hotel Valentine eternally.
Richard Martin

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