Yoshimi and Yuka

She can battle MY "Pink Robot" anytime!!!!

Not really. But somebody had to say it.

Flower With No Color - Ipecac 2003
Rating = 4

Man A: "At what time every day do the members of Herman's Hermits whip out their dicks?

Man B: "PETER NOON!(e)"

Ipecac Records was founded by famed funk metal singer Mike Patton (Faith No More, Mr. Bungle, Tomahawk, Peeping Tom, Fantomas, Lovage) as an outlet for experimental musicians both old and new whose visions don't quite fit into most people's conception of 'normal music.' Since its 1999 inception, the label has supported idiosyncratic artists as diverse as the Melvins (metal), Neil Hamburger (humor), The Tango Saloon (tango), Trevor Dunn's Trio Convulsant (free-form jazz), The Locust (spazcore), Ennio Morricone (soundtrack music), Queens of the Stone Age (stoner rock), Kaada (electronics), Sensational (rap), DJ Eddie Def (turntablism), The Lucky Stars (country/western), The Young Gods (industrial) and The Kids of Widney High (retarded), among dozens of others. Unfortunately, as with any label, some of Ipecac's releases don't quite rise to the top of the cream in their crop. But don't worry your pretty little head; as somewhat of an Ipecac completist, I'm happy to sort out your high points from your low points, Ipecac-wise. For our current purposes, let's begin by understanding that Yoshimi & Yuka's Flower With No Color, though not a patently shitty album, is nevertheless quite erratic and a fairly low point for the label.

Released on April 8th, 2003 (I remember clearly because it was a week after April Fools' Day and my balls were almost back to their normal color), Flower With No Color instantly caught the eye of Japangirlophiles excited by the thought of Boredoms drummer Yoshimi Yokota getting together for a Naked Jam Session with Cibo Matto keyboardist/sampler Yuka Honda. Unfortunately, even if nudity did take place, you can't hear any boobs on the CD. No ass, no hole, no nothing. Thanks for nothing, producer. You couldn't have put a mic in their belly button to catch some ambient hole noise? Christ, Phil Spector would have a field day with you. Ever heard the phrase "Gun"? At least a couple "fwap-fwap-fwap"s of some tits flying around the room or something. Thanks for failing everybody, and letting them down. Try listening to Joni Mitchell's For The Roses next time - there are tits all over that thing. You know that song "Woman Of Heart And Mind"? That's her tit.

On a less gross and sexist note, this disc features 7 oriental-toned, fractured, nature-oriented (and none-too-melodic) ambient background pieces that generally begin with a light keyboard synthesizer melody before giving way to abstract improvisation and bird sounds. Only one track features guitar, bass, trumpet and electric piano like most of today's hottest hits, but the others find Yo and Yu accompanying each other on such long-forgotten acoustic instruments as the whistle, the bamboo flute, the piano and something called a 'grang tang' that sounds like a melodic talking drum but doesn't appear to exist outside of this album (check Yahoo! for proof). The vocals are mostly wordless 'aaaaa-aaaa-aaaa"s or little shouts, with additional vocal credits awarded in the liner notes to 'elegant birds,' 'temple dogs' and 'insects.' In an unexpected twist, the album doesn't kick a whole lot of ass.

Here are a few specific track comments for all the needlepickers out there:

-- "UMEgination" comes across as a sort of Japanese take on Exotica, but deconstructed, with its flow and sensible beat removed. Listen and see if you agree.

-- "SPY said ONE" is not only one hotcha piece of ORIENTAL JAZZ(!), but after it devolves into incoherent fucking around, a dog comes in to say a few words!!! This part literally made Henry The Dog laugh out loud. He stood up, looked at the speaker, looked at me, and just started cracking up in his inimitable doggy way. Play it for your little fuzzy pal! (and if your hippy midget friend enjoys it, play it for your pet dog too)

-- "La Donna Ni Demo Des Kinna" is just a bunch of dumb blooping synth noises and unlistenable shitfucking for seven and a half minutes. If you disagree, get some new ears!

-- "Mow Deck In Eye" is 27 minutes long, and features a "mini track drive". Yeah, it'll make MANY (mini) listeners want to jump in a TRACK car and DRIVE away!!!

-- "Elegant Bird" is a warm, slow, peaceful, reverbed piano melody -- and the only song on the disc that stays on topic all the way through. It is very good.

One last note: According to Ipecac's web site, Yoshimi & Yuka recorded the basic tracks for this release as they rode in a pickup truck up the side of Osaka's Mt. Ikoma. So keep this in mind as a possible fun activity for if you're ever kidnapped.

Oh! Also, make your songs better. I know it's stressful being kidnapped, but nobody wants to sit through a bunch of percussive crap you just made up on the spot. Even if you're being raped every couple of hours, that's no excuse for not coming up with a few catchy hooks.

And by "raped," I of course mean "smeared with the refuse of grapes left after the extraction of the juice in winemaking." But you know me, I'm always using like the sixth or seventh definition of things. Heck, I still call my mother "a stringy slime composed of yeast cells and bacteria that forms on the surface of fermenting liquids and is added to wine or cider to start the production of vinegar"!

Granted she hasn't spoken to me since I started calling her that 14 years ago, but hey! I GOTTA BE ME!

And by "ME," I of course mean "Myalgic Encephalomyelitis"! (*falls asleep*)

Reader Comments

I respect this review and think that this CD is just music for a Chinese buffet restauraunt... HOWEVER, people should check out Yoshimi's work with OOIOO and Boredoms, and shame on you Mark for not having a Boredoms page up yet! I gotta see a review of Vision Creation Newsun from you before I die. Peace.

Peter Noon sounds like "Pee till noon" but said by a Chinese guy. So it is possible that Herman's Hermits actually pee all day up until noon.

Hey, I just thought I'd second the thing about not having a Boredoms page up yet. And the only reason I'm not screaming at the top of my lungs about it is because I know that their discography is pretty extensive and hard to come by. : )

Also, about the artists on Ipecac, you forgot to mention eX-Girl!!!!

Yeah, reviewing this album before reviewing The Boredoms is kinda like reviewing The Wedding Album before you review The White Album. This town Osaka has the most far-out, freaked out music scene on planet earth, but sometimes the musicians just fuck around a bit too much, especially on these kind of collaborative side projects. You can get a lot of Boredoms albums for real cheap on Emusic if you want to hear the good stuff.

Add your thoughts?

Oh, buy it anyway. What the hell.

Back to Mark Prindleís Record Review Guide, Where He Goes Through the Guinness Book Of World Records Page By Page, Rating Each Record On A Scale From One to Ten (The Two Fat Guys On The Motorcycles Totally Get An Eight, But That Guy With The Long Twisty Fingernails? Mmm, I Donít Know About That Guy)