If the Art of Noise recorded In No Sense? Nonsense! in 2002 instead of 1987, it would probably sound something like Honda Yuka’s solo album, Memories Are My Only Witness.
One half of the now-defunct Cibo Matto, Honda hung out with the likes of John Zorn and Arto Lindsay before teaming up with Hatori Miho to sing about birthday cakes and crazy food.
Now Honda is on her own, making the kind of textured, beat-friendly rock instrumental that made the Art of Noise the godfather of electronica.
To be perfectly honest, the Art of Noise comparrisons are ear-deep. On “You Think You Are So Generous But It’s The Most Conditional ‘Anything’ I’ve Ever Heard — Jumping the Gap Between Me and Myself –” (yes, that’s the full song title), Honda uses the infamous orchestral hit reportedly pioneered by AON’s J.J. Jeczalik.
Other parallels are more spiritual. The 45-second “Driving Down By The Hudson River, We Saw the Blood Red Burning Sky” feels like a lost remix of “Moments of Love”. “Some Days I Stay in Bed for Hours” sounds like the distant cousin of “Robinson Crusoe”.
Aesthetic similarities aside, Honda shares with Anne Dudley a keen musical instinct that turns odd timbres into orchestral fodder.
No, Honda and Dudley don’t share conservatory credentials, but they may as well have. The demented samples that weave in and out of “Schwaltz” could have felt at home on In Visible Silence.
Besides, how can anyone listen to the breakbeats of “Sun Beam — nothing hurts — On a Cold Winter Morning I Walked Back Home on a Street Paved with Pieces of Broken Heart” or “Single Silver Bullet” and not think of “Close (to the Edit)” or “Paranomia”.
Although most of the tracks on the album clock around the four- to five-minute mark, two tracks in particular demonstrate Honda can handle longer compositional forms as well.
“Why Do We Mistrust The Machines We Made?” is a three-part suite that doesn’t feel like it occupies eight minutes. “Night Diving”, on the other hand, is straight-forward jazz piece, complete with muted trumpet and lots of steamy improvisation.
Memories Are My Only Witness is melodic and accessible, but also smart and complex. Honda has crafted a pleasant listening experience, every bit as sweet as her explorations into food-themed music but never laying heavy on the additives and preservatives.