Improvised Music from Japan / After Dinner

Review of the CD
Paradise of Replica/Paradise of Remixes

After Dinner was an '80s Japanese art rock band that featured thedelicate 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!

by Aquarius Records
April 4, 2001

Last updated: May 11, 2001