After Dinner re-mixed by Terre Thaemlitz, Joshua McKay, Skist and Pascal Plantinger
Led by charismatic singer/performer Haco, After Dinner are a sublime incarnation of surreal, direct, and offbeat Japanese/European pop. The main body of this CD is a re-issue of the LP released by the Swiss label RecRec in 1989. It features astonishing swathes of ambient sound, over which Haco’s voice soars, before undertaking daring sonic manoeuvres; surround sound, backwards/sped up/reversed tape techniques. A large cast of pivotal Japanese musicians feature in the complex but charming classically driven arrangements, which are reminiscent of the Penguin Café Orchestra. Other influences abound; Erik Satie, The Beatles, John Cage, nursery rhymes, cabaret, free jazz, traditional Japanese folk music. These are all mixed and stirred into a series of whimsical songs, almost miniatures, before being honed into searing gestures of post-ambient pop. The idea of the Haiku permeates the enterprise, with sparse lucid texts. Haco appears as the kitsch princess/poetess/pop star, acting out the role of minstrel and entertainer, as if before some ancient, but technology-obsessed, court.
The CD is completed by four essential new re-mixes, which grab, rotate and oscillate bits of the album proper. The best known of the re-mixers, Terre Thaemlitz, has won the Ars Electronica Prize for electro acoustic music, and is an astonishing character in his own right. His ten minute re-composition is a stunning hypnotic reflection on key moments of the album. Joshua McKay details another more abstract, but deeply romantic, re-vision.
After Dinner were formed in 1981, and burned brightly throughout the decade, becoming one of the most important bands on the Japanese pop underground. They toured Europe to tremendous press acclaim, and released the After Dinner LP on ReR in 1984 (re-released on CD in 1991). They disbanded in 1990. As a solo artist Haco has performed and recorded with numerous artists, from John Zorn and Fred Frith to Acid Mothers Temple. She has just participated in the sell-out Japanorama tour of the UK, which brought nine musicians from the Japanese underground to a wide public. Her hand and foot operated toys, gadgets, feedback teapots and anarchic performance brought the house down. She is represented on ReR by two solo CDs: Haco (ReR HacoCD) released in 1996 and Happiness Proof (ReR Haco2) released in 2000.
"Björk has often been credited with bringing the voice to the fore of pop music as a musical instrument; Haco, however, beat her to it by a decade" THE TIMES OF JAPAN
"After Dinner fuse traditional Japanese musical roots with Western pop and art music- immediately accessible and deeply weird" MUSICIAN
"Imagine a band whose stated influences run from John Cage to Japanese nursery jingles, and from No New York to Slapp Happy" NME
source: RéR Megacorp Catalog Listing December 2001