Buffalo Daughter
(Copyright © 1999 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )

Captain Vapour Athletes , 6/10
New Rock , 7/10
I , 6/10
Pshychic (2004), 6.5/10

The Buffalo Daughter are a Japanese band that performs mostly instrumental and collage-style music that harks back to the new wave (but B52's rather than Pere Ubu). Yumiko Ohno on bass, "Sugar" Yoshinaga on guitar and "Mooog" Yamamoto on keyboards, plus a battery of turntables and samplers, play ebullient, quirky synth-rock (or, better, sampling-pop).

The songs on Captain Vapour Athletes (Grand Royal, 1996) suffer from multiple-personalities disorder, shifting as they do from a melodic theme to an instrumental interlude to a guitar riff; and strike a curious balance between a comic (not serious) tone and a respectful approach to musical genres. Whether experimenting new instrumental formats that blend electronica and hard-rock (Dr Mooooog, the eleven-minute U303VE) or indulging in retro vaudeville (Counter Parrott in the style of the pop vocal groups of the 1950s plus twangy guitar, the slow grinding blues of Big Wednesday), the trio always maintains a stately composure despite the childish pretexts.

Socks Drugs And Rock And Roll (Grand Royal, 1997) is a remix mini-album

New Rock (Grand Royal, 1998), possibly their most accomplished work, achieves a good balance of their influences and their innovations. New Rock combines the dirty tribal boogie of the Velvet Underground, the metallic guitar dissonance of early Sonic Youth, the twangy melody of Duan Eddy and the sonic urge of surf music. Armed with pulsing electronic keyboards and silly vocal harmonies, R&B turns 180 degrees towards (loud and fast) techno, like B52's spinning records at an underground disco. A less straightforward rhythm propels the humorous dance of Great Five Lakes, where chirping electronic sounds jam like jazz instruments. The kaleidoscopic Autobacs swings from cacophony to funk with the percussions always loudly in the front. Their futuristic cabaret yields witty sketches such as the robotic rock and roll of Socks Drugs And Rock'n'Roll. Super Blooper (eight minutes) is a serious, avantgarde version of New Rock, whereas Sky High is a breakneck collective sabbat of the same idea.

WXBD (Grand Royal, 1999) is a remix album.

The "retro" ideology of I (Emperor Norton, 2002) may be less adventurous, but it does sound more mature. Ivory, Volcanic Girl and I Know are a tad too derivative, but the catchy 28 Nuts and the elegant madrigal of Mirror Ball crown their post-modernist research. Everything is sprinkled with their Shirelles-like vocal harmonies, be it dance-music (Discotheque du Paradis), hard-rock (Earth Punk Rockers) or kraut-rock (Robot Sings).

The five tracks of Pshychic (V2, 2004) represent the state of the art for their campy discipline. Each of them is a kind of psychological torture, of brainwashing: simple ideas get repeated over and over again, until they acquire transcendental meaning. Cyclic is the more openly trancey/oneiric. The instrumental Chihuahua Punk is its silly alter-ego, a parody of 1970s' disco-music. The 20-minute suite 303 Live turns pointless meandering into a form of art.

(Translation by/ Tradotto da Walter Consonni)

I Buffalo Daughter sono una band giapponese che si esibisce per lo più in brani strumentali e musica stile collage che torna indietro alla new wave (ma ai B52's piuttosto che ai Pere Ubu). New Rock (Grand Royal, 1998) consegue un buon equilibrio tra le loro influenze e le loro innovazioni. New Rock combina lo sporco boogie tribale dei Velvet Underground, la dissonanza chitarristica metallica dei primi Sonic Youth, la melodia pizzicata di Duan Eddy e la spinta sonora della musica surf. Armata di tastiere elettroniche pulsanti e di sciocche armonie vocali, R&B ruota di 180 gradi verso la tecno (forte e veloce), come se i B52's mettessero i dischi in una discoteca underground. Un ritmo meno diretto sospinge la spiritosa dance di Great Five Lakes, dove stridenti elettroniche improvvisano come strumenti jazz. La caleidoscopica Autobacs oscilla dalla cacofonia al funk con le percussion i nettamente in primo piano. Il loro cabaret futuristico frutta arguti bozzetti come il rock and roll da robot di Socks Drugs And Rock'n'Roll. Super Blooper (otto minuti) è una versione seria ed avanguardistica di New Rock, laddove Sky High è è una festa collettiva a rotta di collo della stessa idea.

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