Before Heavenly Peace, there was…Neo Matisse. While completely unknown in the West, C. Memi + Neo Matisse was well-regarded within the original Kansai punk scene. At its infancy, this scene boasted a wide variety of bands, ranging from The Stalin to noise pioneers Hijokaidan, both of which Chopsuei Memi and her band played with at the historic Answer ’81 Part Two event at Kyoto University in April 1981. Neo Matisse even counted the likes of Michiro Endo of the Stalin and Yuzuru Agi of Rock Magazine amongst their fans, the latter of which had asked the band to release a record on his legendary Vanity Records. The band would ultimately reject Yuzuru’s offer in favor of self-releasing their now-classic No Chocolate b/w Dream’s Dream 7″ in a small run of just 500 hand-numbered copies, all of which sold out rather quickly.
“No Chocolate” boasts the band’s most definitive punk moment. Recorded live at a long-forgotten gig, this raucous declaration of anti-consumerism could be said to be the band’s most crazed Talking Heads impersonation. Memi alternates between bloodcurdling ululations and deadpan, disaffected talk-singing backed with stabbing pianos, NYC art rock guitar worship, Hidekazu Ishii’s robotic bass lines, and Jun Iwasaki’s tantrumming drums. Just as captivating is the flip side, the home-recorded “Dream’s Dream,” a beautiful song featuring Memi’s hypnotic vocals dancing with Tohru Saitoh’s oscillating, flanking synths.
This punk/new wave cult classic has continued to grow in stature with each passing year, both as a staple of the 1980s Japanese Underground and as a highly collectable record. We here at Bitter Lake Recordings are honored to present to you this crucial reissue of yet another piece of the C. Memi Story.