“Souvenir Cassette” C30
(Fish Prints Inc)

Only taking a half-decade off between 1981 and right now, Haco has been a pioneering force of outsider "pop", psychedelic rock, ambient*, and electro-acoustic experimentalism, not just in Japan, but worldwide. To peruse her Sound Art theses (click link below) is to wade in wildly oscillating awe through her intimate relationship with the invisible ubiquity of each and every sound and radio wave that engulfs us on the daily. Any avant-garde composer and experimentalist dabbler should know her greatness; both where she is now…and where she started.

Enter Fish Prints Inc, Massachusetts' dedicated, forward-thinking tape label that spends its only time not publishing tomorrow’s sonic adventurers on exploring the enchanted catacombs of criminally underrated visionaries past, digging up (and re-pressing long out of print releases by) bygone composers (often decades ago) who have as much to offer today as anyone working in the current field. After Dinner’s psychedelic whirlwind of a live performance at a French music festival in '87 fits this bill to a T.

On “Souvenir Cassette”, Haco’s commanding vocals range from a rich & sentimental contralto to a bludgeoning mid-upper belting out that could easily carry just about any backing music into greatness…but the five hired guns performing her spellbindingly WEIRD compositions behind her are all absolutely dialed in, lock step, shredding, jauntily chopping, and/or meditatively drawing out, without misstep, each and every single complex set of notes and motions. It’s unbelievably surreal that this performance hasn’t gone down in history.

Maybe it was the tape manipulations of birdsong, crickets, & dogs barking that threw off the psychedelic/hard rock crowd? Or the fusion of mesmerizing tango/military-waltzes and heavy blues riffs that confused the traditional/pop seekers? Perhaps the aleatory noisiness and breakneck transitions peppered throughout confused everyone? Make no mistake, this performance was magical, and is every bit as relevant today for any live performer to take note: you actually CAN throw in the kitchen sink and keep everything cohesive, but you gotta work HARD to do it. Like Haco. Be like Haco.

This pre-order for this release HAS ALREADY SOLD OUT, but a few more copies shall drop on August 30th via Fish Prints Inc. If you’ve lost faith in structured music/songs, this will bring you back around, and if you love it, this’ll deepen that love**. I’m officially a convert, and swooning.


— Jacob An Kittenplan

*you may/should know her brilliant solo work on Room40, for example
**or ruin your favorite bands, by comparison, I suppose. Double-edged sword, here…