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Harpy — Do Not Eat
(Stupeur & Trompette! ST 1010, 1997, CD)

by Mike Ezzo, Published 1998-02-01

Do Not Eat Cover art

Like Saga Yuki, this group saw first CD exposure on the Maboroshi No Sekai Samples as a duo (they also have cassette releases). They have now sprouted two extra members. But wait a minute, the credits list the drummer as playing bass, guitar, etc. (There is also a Chapman Stick in there as well — I would know that sound anywhere), another member on vocals, and the newcomer keyboardist and sax. Since this work is based on duets between Chapman Stick and drums, plus vocal, are we to assume that the poor drummer is overdubbing all those multitudinous parts? If so the singer is getting away with murder! God knows who's playing what, but in any case this potent little combo can amble its way effortlessly through songs bearing a stamp of Art Bears, Etron Fou, and the ghost of Fred Frith. Bizarre jump-cut montages are their stock in trade. Nice chromatic and dissonant harmonies do not escape consideration on the 31 (!) mini-songs. The album is dotted by zany avant-garde intermissions courtesy of added sax or accordion, highlighting the silliness that After Dinner graduated cum laude in, as if assuming that an album of two instruments wouldn't sustain interest. I think it would have, since the abrasive tones are well obviated by a refreshing knack for brevity. Vocalist, Kyoko, assumes a number of strange personas, marked by a toughness that is not so precious as much female-led Japanese outside music. This is the best example of RIO-invades-Japan that I have ever heard.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 14, 1997 releases

Related artist(s): Itoken (Kenji Ito), Harpy


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