Fingertips Explores the Archives: Miho Hatori - Barracuda
Jeremy from Fingertips joins us each month as he scours the betterPropaganda archives, highlighting gems buried a few years back in our database.
This week we bring you "Barracuda" from Miho Hatori.
Born in Tokyo, transplanted to Manhattan in the '90s, Miho Hatori became known later in the decade as the singer in the experimental duo Cibo Matto, which combined facets of trip-hop, rock, and Latin music in a vibrant multicultural mélange. On her first (and, so far, only) solo CD, Ecdysis, she emerged as a frisky-quirky eccentrically accented 21st-century musician with maybe even more trans-global chops than the reigning queen of frisky-quirky eccentrically accented 21st-century musicianhood (who remains, of course, Björk). While happy enough around beats and programming, Hatori likewise employs on her CD a globetrotting battery of esoteric organic instruments--repique, zabumba, timbau, and Indian ankle bells among them--that lend an earthy sincerity to the sound. "Barracuda" in particular is propelled by an exotic drumbeat, a slinky, Latin-esque keyboard riff, and a stuttery monkey-call-like counter rhythm. Head full of transcultural metaphysics (she counts Joseph Campbell as a major influence), Hatori writes both concretely and obliquely, which is a fetching combination: I sense the real world very much around her, even as I can't make heads or tails of what she's talking about most of the time. The culminating section in which she sings multilayered Portuguese (I think?) lyrics against that jungly backbeat, plus some sort of accordion, (starting around 2:20) is exuberant fun. Ecdysis was released in Japan in 2005 and in the U.S. in 2006.
- Jeremy Schlosberg