subota, 19. siječnja 2013.

After Dinner- Paradise of Replica (1989)

Nije naravno točno da je povijest najbolji sudac.
Japanska pjevačica Haco i njezin bend After Dinner ni u svoje vrijeme ni poslije nisu bili osobito zapaženi. To je s jedne strane dobra vijest, izvrsne će stvari usprkos svemu ostajati skrivene.

Avant-komorni pop za one koji su zalutali na krovovima kuća.

After Dinner was an '80s Japanese art rock band that featured delicate and beautiful vocals of Haco (she of but one name). This 1989 album of theirs (originally a RecRec label LP) sees cd reissue in remastered form, and it is a true delight. Haco's vocals are matched by After Dinner's lovely music, avant chamber pop that is somewhat theatrical but always restrained (perhaps surprising given the thoughts of prog-rock overkill evoked by a list of the instrumentation used: harp, cello, flute, clarinet, glockenspiel, tung-saio, hichirki, oboe, piano, keys, tapes, bird sounds -- Haco herself is even credited with "volleyball" on one track!) The welcome reissue of this material (welcome especially to those of us who didn't discover it the first time around) is augmented by four additional tracks provided by an interesting international cast of remixers: Terre Thaemlitz, Ata Tak's Pascal Plantinga, Skist (Samm Bennett and Ito Haruna), and Joshua McKay of indie-ethno rockers Macha. This "Paradise of Remixes" can be considered bonus tracks in the best sense of the term: the original album stands fine without them, but they don't detract. All maintain continuity with what has gone before while updating AD's sound to the contemporary cutting edge of glitches and digital processing (for instance, the timestretching technique used by Thaemlitz to draw out one of Haco's utterances into a *timestopping* moment of vocal perfection), electronic approaches that bring to mind Haco's current work with Sachiko M and Michiyo Yagi avant-electronica trio Hoahio as well as Haco's recent solo disc "Happiness Proof". Well done! - Aquarius Records

Great avant-prog with female vocals from Japan.
This is actually not an easy review for me since I am not an expert on the avant side of prog, nor Japanese one, and also because this would be the first review of this album, but anyway I'll try to write my thoughts in an understandable way.
After Dinner came to be after a friend's recommendation, I remember I got interested because of the fact they had a female singer inside an avant-garde band, so I accepted the recommendation immediately.
As far as I know, they only released a couple of studio albums in the 80s and then sadly disbanded, their second effort which is the one that occupies me now, was named "Paradise of Repllica" and contains 9 tracks and a total time of 30 minutes, as you can see it is a pretty short album. Their musical inclination goes from chamber rock, to avant-garde with some electronic instruments.
The first song, the title track, kicks off with Haco's vocals, so since the first moment you will be captivated by her beautiful voice, and then there is a splendid background, made by the synthesizer and in moments with some wind instruments (I presume), the mood is relaxing and beautiful, there are some strange noises as if the musicians were playing with their instruments and exploring which sounds can they produce.
"A Walnut" starts with some chord instrument which I don't name since I don't want to be wrong, so along with that instrument the vocals enter, and some moments later there is a piano and an oboe (hope I am correct). Seconds after the song changes with the entrance of percussion and some other wind instruments, the mood is like being in a forest or trying to unwind something, could be used in a movie.
"Kitchen Life I" in some moments reminds me to Gatto Marte or even Art Bears, I love their use of diverse instruments, and the melodramatic vocals that all of a sudden appear. This may actually be used in a theatrical play, really enjoyable music.
"Motorcycle", a short piece that only shows Haco's beautiful voice and a piano for some seconds. "Kitchen Life II" is another short composition that complements the first with that name, that artistic and theatrical mood prevails.
"Ironclad Mermaid" sound alike to the previous song, though this time they make some other noises that are worth creating to a better and delightful playground, they perfectly combine their string, with the wind instruments, without forgetting the electric ones, so the music composed here is in my opinion outstanding, no matter if it is a short piece.
Then we have another short passage with "Dancing Twins" that sounds like a traditional Japanese song to my ears, though as I state in my first paragraph, I am not an expert on this subject.
"KA-NO-PU-SU-NO-HA-KO" is a long composition reaching more than 7 minutes, starting with again, some Japanese traditional sounds, composed by several instruments, wind, string and percussion ones, then you will listen only to the vocals, it is like a stop and go, then the music starts to build up something new, odd, calm and then nervous and fast, so the mood here can change depending on the context, at minute 5 the vocals return in a slight way, the sounds and noises are also delicately played and all of a sudden it makes an explosion, just in order to return to that calm sound that the song features.
The last song is "I'll just go birdwatching" which starts with some strange sound that could be made by Haco or by another strange instrument, then we will listen only to her voice accompanied by some other instruments, making a weird but awesome atmosphere.
This is a short indeed, but extraordinary album which should be carefully listened, once you dig it, you'll love it, and you will probably play it frequently. For that, Paradise of Replica deserves 4 stars.
Enjoy it! -  memowakeman
Another one of those obscure 80's Avant-prog groups that went mostly unnoticed back then, and have generally remained just as obscure in the following decades. Fronted by the babelicious Haco singer on that orange artwork, After Dinner is a large formation that went to record two albums in that dreadful 80's decade. This one is rather short (<30 a="a" almost="almost" bonus="bonus" but="but" even="even" gives="gives" half-hour="half-hour" heard="heard" i="i" if="if" mins="mins" most="most" not="not" p="p" recent="recent" reissue="reissue" the="the" them.="them." track="track" ve="ve" you="you">Musically, we hovering around an Art Bears meets Von Zamla, but with a heavy Jap twist, so if you can imagine that, than it should definitely intrigue you enough to check it out. However, if you can't imagine this, you'd probably best look elsewhere, because this is as whacky as Wha-Ha-Ha or Slapp Happy. I'll give another angle to figure out this music: imagine an electronic Bi Kyo Ran on acid and experimenting Avant-prog stuff. Outside one track at almost 8 mins, most of the tracks are well below 5 mins duration.
Another one of these "must-be-heard to be believed-in" albums, but I'm not sure most would like to take it home for good. This is typically the kind of album I love to know will be available at my library system whenever I feel like listening to it, but I'm glad I didn't have to pay for it (other than renting it) and having it taking shelf space. Not my cup of tea, but the discovery was quite interesting and someday, in a decade or so, I know I'll rent it again. - Sean Trane

After Dinner was formed in 1981 by Haco, a vocalist who wrote both the lyrics and music. The group had a fluid line-up with members from many varied musical backgrounds brought together according to each recording or live performance project. Their collective backgrounds encompass new wave, Japanese traditional, contemporary music, and avant-garde rock.
In 1982, German national radio selected the band's first single (EP), After Dinner / Cymbals at Dawn (Kagero Records, Japan) and placed it on their permanent playlist. In 1983, The album (LP), Glass Tube (Kang-Gang, Japan), was released domestically, and distributed abroad where it received much attention in the European and American "free music" scenes. Sounds, the British music paper, described the record as a unique fusion of Japanese traditional music and electronics "with the delicious voice of Haco holding things together." In 1984, the band made their foreign debut with the album (LP), After Dinner (Recommended Records, UK). In 1987, the group was invited to perform at France's Mimi Festival, and did their first European tour. The band's concert at ICA (Institute of Contemporary Art) received the unanimous praise of music publications such as NME, LAM, and Melody Maker, which commented that After Dinner was helping to "reverse Japan's massive importation of Western mega-pop." In 1988, Souvenir Cassette (Recommended Records, UK / Zero Records, Japan), which was tape-edited by Haco from After Dinner's concerts in Europe and Japan, was released.
In 1989, the album Paradise of Replica (RecRec Music, Switzerland / Zero Records, Japan) was released. The album was described as "a stimulating voyage into a landscape of feelings, sometimes cheerful, bouncing about to change into a reflective melancholic mood." The group successfully undertook a tour of 19 cities in Europe. In 1990, the band also took part in five international music festivals, achieving even greater popularity in Europe. In the same year Haco appeared in the film Step Across the Border, a documentary on Fred Frith, and one of After Dinner's songs, which she played on piano, was included in the soundtrack CD.
In 1991, the band performed at Canada's Victoriaville Festival. ReR Megacorp (UK) released the CD, After Dinner / Live Editions, which re-releaseed After Dinner's 1st album (LP, 1984) and 5 songs from Souvenir Cassette (1988), and 4 additional live tracks (1986-1990). This marked the end of After Dinner.
After Dinner's works were included in Welcome to Dreamland (Celluloid Records, US,1985), and a number of other compilations. The band's records have been acclaimed by foreign musicians in a variety of fields, and continues to attract countless new listeners.
In 2001, After Dinner's 2nd album Paradise of Replica (remastered) with four new remix tracks by Terre Thaemlitz, Pascal Plantinga, Skist, and Joshua Mckay (from Macha), Paradise of Replica / Paradise of Remixes was co-released by Detector (US) and ReR Megacorp (UK), and a domestic version was released by Bad News Records.
In April 2005, the CD + miniCD set Glass Tube + Single" was digitally-remastered from After Dinner's 1982 debut single and 1984 mini-album, and reissued as exquisite replicas of the original jackets and booklet, and released by the Disk Union label Arcangelo in Japan. -

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