Brian's Kids

With vocal lines that weave along inside the recording, Stereotype A mixes human and machine to create music that has the punch of techno and the subtle emotional nuances of acoustic music.

"There are always groups of people who hate new machines and new equipment, but I think they're great," she says. "I kind of imagine how it would be to live in a world without electric instruments, and then one day you discover electric guitar. New technology can let you think of music in a completely different way."

One aspect of Cibo Matto's sound that stands out, especially on Stereotype A, is the band's ability to jump between genres. The album pulls the music along through a maze of R&B, hip-hop, heavy metal, and nearly every other style of music. On songs like "Lint of Love," retro-funk grooves cozy up with hardcore riffs while Hatori's singing sweeps above it all in a classic diva style. And "Stone" modernizes bossa nova immediately after the punkish metal of "Blue Train" subsides. To some listeners Stereotype A might sound a bit erratic. But Honda insists all these types of music come naturally to her.

"I've tried to analyze why it's so normal of me [to jump genres] and why it isn't so normal for other people here in the States," she says. "I grew up in Japan and I was listening to a lot of American music, but I didn't really understand the words. The vocals were just another instrument. I didn't really distinguish between punk rock, hip-hop, and New Wave; they were basically all the same to me. It wasn't until I came here that I really understood the social background of hip-hop, for instance, and why some people don't want others to make that kind of music. Once you build a fence around you, though, you have nowhere to grow. It's a shame there are all these divisions. The beauty of music is how free it can make you feel.

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