A Japanese-born duo relocated to New York and christened with an Italian band name, Cibo Matto's music mirrored the melting-pot aesthetics of their origins, resulting in a heady brew of funk samples, hip-hop rhythms, tape loops, and fractured pop melodies all topped off by surreal narratives sung in a combination of French and broken English. Cibo Matto comprised vocalist Miho Hatori and keyboardist/sampler Yuka Honda, a pair of expatriate Japanese women who arrived in the U.S. independently. Honda, a onetime member of Brooklyn Funk Essentials, settled in New York in 1987, and Hatori, an alum of the Tokyo rap unit Kimidori and a former club DJ, followed six years later. After meeting in 1994, they first teamed in the Boredoms-inspired noise outfit Leitoh Lychee (translated as "frozen lychee nut"); after that band's breakup, the duo formed Cibo Matto, Italian for "food madness" (their love of culinary delights quickly becoming the stuff of legend).
Also during this hiatus, between 2002 and 2011 Honda notched up four solo albums; while in late 2009 she joined a revamped lineup of Plastic Ono Band before going onto produce Martha Wainwright's 2012 release Come Home to Mama. In 2011, Honda and Hatori began to write material together once again, and after a few delays, Hotel Valentine — Cibo Matto's first album in 15 years — was appropriately released during Valentine's week in 2014. ~ Jason Ankeny