Improvised Music from Japan / Hoahio

Liner Notes for the CD Happy Mail

by haruna ito

Haco + Sachiko M + Michiyo Yagi. I have been following the three of them with interest for some time now. That these three women, who have been active in various musical areas, came together to create such delicious pop music is something I find completely natural. Of the three, Haco has been active longest. As you may know, she has had a following of die-hard fans all over the globe since the days of After Dinner. I am not surprised that, following the conclusion of the band and the release of her uniquely beautiful solo record HACO (Excellent Waves), she decided once again to apply her songwriting gifts and production sensibilities to a band format. Michiyo Yagi is one of the brightest new young improvisers to emerge from Japan and become active internationally in the past three or four years, as well as being a talented performer of traditional Japanese music (hogaku). Her presence will doubtlessly be of increasing importance in both the "serious" field of contem porary music and the future of Japanese hogaku, and now also in the eccentric Japanese avant-pop scene that has recently been garnering so much attention abroad. Until now Sachiko M has been best known for her plunderphonics in the group ex-Ground Zero. She has not followed the established road that most "real musicians" follow. This fact, combined with her in-born ability to absorb anything new and interesting, against which she also turns a critical eye, makes her a truly anarchic force in music.

In listening to the CD, you will hear, juxtaposed against the overall lo-tech feel of the work, their keen sense of fun and adventure in pursuing sound and constructing musical ideas. The same can be said of their live performances. Laughingly referring to themselves as "muscle-bound sound-constructivists," the practically audacious manner in which they embrace elements they find interesting without any hint of hesitation is certainly refreshing. The lo-techness is just one such element. Their next work is bound to be something completely different.

Translated by haruna ito

Last updated: April 26, 1999