Cibo Matto and a re-discovery of some retro sounds

Funny how a few seconds of one music track can immediately take you someplace else…

Cibo Matto cover

This random little-known New York-based Japanese two-piece group from the 90’s sprung up in conversation with a friend a couple of days ago, and I thought I’d dig up some of their stuff for a trip down memory lane.

If I pretended for a sec that I was a well-musically-educated cool person with an encyclopedic knowledge of edgy underground oriental pop, I could claim that ‘Sugar Water’, ‘Spoon‘ and other tracks immediately take me back to a live gig in an über cool, dingy club on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

Instead, like the true geek that I am, these guys actually take me back to being 13 and completely hooked on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, where they featured as the backing to a pivotal scene in the Season 2 premiere episode of the hit show that dominated my teens. Remember ‘When She Was Bad’? Where Buffy comes back all bad-ass from summer vacation, determined to banish her demons (including Angel), break some hearts (namely her best bud, Xander’s) and generally kick some ass all over Sunnydale…?

Well, probably not, but if you do, you might also remember the haunting, seductive undertones of Cibo Matto as they crooned on stage at The Bronze whilst Buffy strutted in, ‘made it with’ Xander, pissed off Angel, drove Willow crazy and strutted back out again… all in the first minute of Cibo’s ‘Sugar Water’.

That scene firmly established her as my hero. So naturally, her soundtrack was key.

Buffy does her worst/best on her best bud (with Cibo's backing)
Buffy does her worst/best on her best bud (with Cibo's backing)

Anyway, a brief search for these guys online produced varied results, including some decent tracks on MySpace (definitely worth a listen), a fair description of their music on Wikipedia (if you want to know more) and their very bizarre music video that accompanied ‘Sugar Water’s release (comedy value but not to be used as a basis for judgement – in fact don’t watch, just shut your eyes and listen).

Either which way, Cibo disbanded in 2001, so no new material to dig out I’m afraid. But their chilled blend of Jazz, Hip-hop and Japanese Pop-Rock is certainly worth a trial. Both for the Buffy-obsessed amongst you, and those who actually had lives during the ’90’s…

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