After Dinner - Paradise of Replica Music Album Reviews

After Dinner - Paradise of Replica Music Album Reviews
The Japanese avant-garde pop band strove to create a “sacred ambiance” on their second album, fusing unconventional arrangements with bouncing volleyballs and an eyes-wide air of wonder.

Born from Kansai’s new-wave scene, After Dinner were an ambitious 1980s art-pop group spearheaded by the singer, composer, and sound artist known simply as Haco. She’d been inspired by a slew of different music growing up: the orchestral arrangements in the children’s book and LP series Doremifa Book, film soundtracks and incidental noises emanating from her father’s television set, and various rock bands from the Doors to Young Marble Giants to Art Bears. She attended an Osakan media-art school to learn musique concrète techniques, which would suffuse the colorful tracks on After Dinner’s 1984 debut LP, Glass Tube; there, she married her avant-garde practices with her affection for pop and rock, with tape loops and found-sound collages sitting alongside prim cabaret songs. In the context of 1980s Japan, they had the theatricality of Jun Togawa and the zany eccentricity of Haniwa-chan or Wha-ha-ha, but the experience was more like being trapped in a haunted toy box.

For their second album, 1989’s Paradise of Replica, After Dinner moved toward pop, but Haco’s avant-garde practices still permeate every song. The title track, for example, opens the album with triumphant synths that are layered with whimsical tape manipulations. The phrase “Paradise of Replica,” which Haco majestically recites throughout the song, came from imagining a bird’s-eye view of an island where everything below was fake. The synths’ approximation of resounding horns is apt, but the song still feels like witnessing something extraordinary—the hammered dulcimer and jaw harp that close out the song are spellbinding in a cozy, childlike way.

The title was also an ironic joke regarding Japan’s proclivity for, in Haco’s words, “cop[ying] from other countries” and blending those influences in a distinctly Japanese fashion. That practice holds true across the record, which pulls from a deep well of influences including John Cage’s prepared piano works, Strawberry Switchblade’s buoyant synth pop, and the hauntingly beautiful Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares. The result isn’t a direct transposition of those inspirations, but they’re there in the details. Haco’s admiration for Captain Beefheart is audible in the frenetic energy and engine-like guitar revving on both “Kitchen Life” pieces. Her fondness for Nino Rota’s soundtracks is obvious throughout centerpiece “Ironclad Mermaid,” whose sweeping strings carry the same dramatic elegance of something from Federico Fellini’s Amarcord.

For all the moving parts that make up any given After Dinner track, their songwriting always feels meticulously organized and purposeful. “Dancing Twins” is only a minute long, but its use of a bouncing volleyball as an instrument is major: It lends its eyes-as-shooting-stars metaphor a jovial schoolyard air, suggesting a child swept in fantastical daydreams. “A Walnut” is just as magical, as Haco’s operatic vocals and gastronomic lyrics soar above an array of woodwinds, percussion, and flickering synths. It recalls what After Dinner told NME in 1987: “We’re trying to create a sacred ambiance.” Such sacrosanct atmospheres, however, always feel everyday and attainable. Even “KA-NO-PU-SU-NO-HA-KO”—an eight-minute epic which finds Haco tracing her thoughts after seeing an Egyptian mummy at a museum—accomplishes the feat with supple percussion and patient drones. It’s rare that art-pop matches its extravagance with such alluring modesty. In doing so, Paradise of Replica feels like encountering cinematic spectacles in miniature.

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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
After Dinner - Paradise of Replica Music Album Reviews After Dinner - Paradise of Replica Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on October 07, 2022 Rating: 5


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