NYC’s rare and inimitable talent Miho Hatori (aka co-founder of the beloved Cibo Matto and a collaborative partner of Gorillaz, The Beastie Boys, John Zorn etc.) released her New Optimism EP via Phantom Limb in July, a collaborative tape with Dave Harrington on RVNG sidekick label Commend under her Mondialitè moniker, and looks forward to another release on Pioneer Works as Miss Information. Miho’s multifaceted, vivid, unpredictable and technicolour sonic palette shapeshifts mercurially around grooving basslines, subtle electronica, leftfield sound explorations and playful experimental and ambient pop.
New Optimismcan be seen as a natural landing point for Miho’s past musical journeys – strange and wonderful, encompassing pop, experimental, hip-hop and dance music: her work with Beck’s backing musicians may have contributed to the brightly-coloured avant-soul of Amazon To LeFrak; her time as a Gorillaz member (Miho was the voice of cartoon band-member Noodles) offers a window into the intelligent, mischievous pop songwriting heard in New Optimism’s structure-toying and Miho’s infectious singing voice. The strains of Caribbean/Brasilo-beat littered through the record are evidence of Miho’s fascination with Latin music and follow her curveball 2003 bossanova duet album with Smokey Hormel. The additional production credits of ex-Vampire Weekend member Rostam [Batmanglij] enter the mix as noise-driven synth lines and bubbling percussion.
Live, Miho is prone to mix it up between projects, encompassing experimental and constant revealing of new material that can be sourced to any of her three distinct voices / identities. Each has its own clear message and context; philosophy and motive.
THE VANITY PROJECT
The Vanity Project sit somewhere between pop clowns and cabaret cult leaders. Using a loop pedal and far more instruments than it’s wise for two people to play, the duo incorporate monologues, costumes and the occasional dance routine into their live show. Their songs weave strange worlds of despicable dilettantes, hallucinogenic soft drinks and fascistic seaside towns. Though surreal and twitchy, their sound is laced with irresistible grooves, infectious hooks and satiric wit. Winners of the 2016 national iSessions contest, they’ve been written about in the Independent, played on Radio 6 and garnered praise from the likes of Marc Riley and Everything Everything frontman Jonathan Higgs.