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Music / Cibo Matto

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Cibo Matto was a Trip Hop band from New York City. Founded in 1994 by Yuka Honda and Miho Hatori, Cibo Matto have released 3 albums: 1996's Viva! La Woman, 1999's Stereo ☆ Type A, and 2014's Hotel Valentine. They were on hiatus from 2002 to 2011, and formally broke up in 2017.

The band is known for their many references to food. Their song "Birthday Cake" was featured in Jet Set Radio, and they appeared in an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.



  • Miho Hatori, lead vocalist, acoustic guitarist, and percussionist. Member from 1994 until 2002, when the band went on hiatus, and from the band's reunion in 2011 until their breakup in 2017.
  • Yuka Honda, backing vocalist, sampler, sequencer, keyboardist, pianist, organist, harpsichordist, and synthesizer player. Member from 1994 until 2002, when the band went on hiatus, and from the band's reunion in 2011 until their breakup in 2017.
  • Sean Lennon, percussionist, acoustic and electric guitarist, bassist, and backing vocalist. Member from 1997 until 2002, when the band went on hiatus.
  • Timo Ellis, percussionist, acoustic and electric guitarist, bassist, and backing vocalist. Member from 1997 until 2002, when the band went on hiatus.
  • Duma Love, percussionist, beatboxer, turntable, and vocals. Member from 1997 until 2002, when the band went on hiatus.
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  • Yuko Araki, drummer. Member from the band's reunion in 2011 until their breakup in 2017.

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I know my tropes, now you've got to know your tropes:

  • Album Title Drop: Twice on Stereo ☆ Type A:
    • From "Sci-Fi Wasabi": "Our name is stereotype with an A"
    • The final track, "Mortming", repeats the album title many, many times at the end.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: the two chicks in "Know Your Chicken" are magenta and blue. Later, the two babies the couple has are also magenta and blue, though this may simply signify Pink Girl, Blue Boy.
  • Big Applesauce: "Sci-Fi Wasabi" is about New York City.
  • Big Eater: The narrator of "Beef Jerky".
  • Break Up Song: "Lint of Love" is about getting over a breakup.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: "MFN" from Hotel Valentine. Not only is the title an initialism for 'mother fucking nature,' the bridge repeats:
    • Don't tell me "what the hell?" I'm a ghost/Don't throw the fucking oyster shell at me
  • Concept Album: Viva! La Woman's song all concern food. Hotel Valentine is also an example, but with a stronger narrative.
  • Cover Version: They covered "Black Hole Sun" in French.
    • They covered "The Candy Man" on Viva! La Woman.
  • Epic Rocking: "Theme" is over ten minutes long.
    • "Lint of Love" is six minutes long.
  • Food Songs Are Funny: Justified Trope, since the band's name is Gratuitous Italian for "Crazy Food".
    • Viva! La Woman was almost entirely made up of songs which referenced food, and most were named after food as well.
    • Stereo ☆ Type A had less food-related songs, but still featured the songs "Sci-Fi Wasabi" and "Spoon".
    • Hotel Valentine has a few passing food references in "Lobby" and "Housekeeping". "Emerald Tuesday" is about a cocktail served at Hotel Valentine, according to Word of God.
  • Fun with Acronyms: "MFN" (motherfucking nature).
  • Genre Roulette: Though Cibo Matto's music tends towards trip-hop, they often experiment with other genres.
    • "Blue Train" has metal influences.
    • "Sci-Fi Wasabi" is straight-up Hip-Hop, featuring some rap vocals from Duma Love.
  • Gratuitous Foreign Language: Several examples.
    • Gratuitous French: "Le Pain Perdu," the title of a song from their first album, means French toast. Some parts of "Theme" are sung in French. Their cover of Soundgarden's Black Hole Sun is in French as well.
    • Gratuitous Italian: "Cibo Matto" means "crazy food" in Italian. "Theme" also contains a few lines in Italian.
    • Gratuitous Japanese: Both Yuka Honda and Miho Hatori are Japanese, so naturally, many of their songs include Japanese lyrics.
  • Hidden Track: "Jive" from Viva! La Woman. It's 19 seconds of Miho Hatori slapping her thighs rhythmically.
  • Kitschy Local Commercial: one scene in the video for "Know Your Chicken" is modeled after this. The ad is for a restaurant where customers can slaughter their own chicken.
  • Lethal Chef: "Birthday Cake" is about a mother who cooks a cake for her son and his wife on this 30th birthday. The ingredients include two month old milk, extra salt, and pot.
  • Love Nostalgia Song: "Spoon".
  • Love Will Lead You Back: "Flowers".
  • Lucky Charms Title: Stereo ☆ Type A.
  • New Sound Album: Stereo ☆ Type A was more serious and complex than their first album.
  • Ode to Intoxication: "Emerald Tuesday" is about a cocktail served at Hotel Valentine.
  • Pink Girl, Blue Boy: Possibly the two chicks in Know Your Chicken. The magenta one is female, but the blue chick's gender is unknown. Also implied with the two babies later in the song (one is magenta, the other is blue.)
  • Singer Namedrop: Sci-Fi Wasabi namechecks both founding members and the band itself:
    • Yuka Honda knows her water - "Pass the Volvic"/No wonder her fingers are smooth like butter/It's specific. No mind traffic/CIBO MATTO 1999!/I'm Miho Hatori, straight outta purgatory!
  • Spoken Word in Music: "White Pepper Ice Cream" is spoken.
  • The Stoner: In Hotel Valentine, two characters:
    • The Ghost Girl. From "MFN": "Yo, I'm a ghost, I'm stuck in this place/Don't chase me, I blazed a joint while you were deep with sleep!" Later, in "Lobby", she remarks that life as a ghost is more civilized because marijuana is not illegal anymore.
    • The maid in "Housekeeping" takes weed from the guest's room.
  • Stylistic Suck: the distorted, shouting vocals of "Birthday Cake".
  • Surreal Music Video: All their music videos.
    • "Know Your Chicken" is set up like a cheesy 1999's Sitcom, with a young couple arguing over dinner, but soon introduces a chick who grows up into a giant red hen who moves in with the couple, flirts with the woman, and is later cooked and eaten. In addition, one scene involves Yuka and Miho dancing in sparkly dresses in a Kitschy Local Commercial for a (fictional) restaurant where customers can apparently choose and slaughter their own chicken.
    • "Sugar Water" is the same footage shown in split-screen. Until the middle of the video, the right side is played backwards. At the middle, this switches: the left side is in reverse, and the right side is not. It's a visual palindrome.
    • "MFN" is impossible to explain, but the visual is an absolutely seizure inducing mix of PONPONPON and The Problem Solverz.
    • "Déjá Vu" features Yuka and Miho dancing in various outfits in a vaporwave style hotel room.
  • Title Track: "Hotel Valentine" from their third album.
  • Train Song: "Blue Train", which even starts with a train whistle.
  • Word Salad Lyrics: Many of their songs, especially "Know Your Chicken" and "Beef Jerky".
  • You Are Not Alone: "King Of Silence" and "Stone" both have overtones of this.

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