Irregular Dope Mash from Romania. Working with elements from folk, 8bit, 90ies electronic and field recordings, Makunouchi Bento style a drawer of their own.
Some years ago, our former cover designer and “store” project initiator Brendan Cook tried to define “IDM” as one of the first supranational musics, talking about Guineos “Tosstones” EP that came out that time on chocolate industries. The sound of IDM – a classification that emancipated long ago from the “Intelligent Dance Music” labeling it formerly abbreviated – was the very first flavor of music that came up in a globally networked, subcultural community and profited from the beginning from the rich influences of all contributors that took part in this movement. IDM had just as much unique elements as it needed to establish a trademark and left the rest to a wide open space of possibilities and ingredients from all over the world without becoming discreditted as “world music”. Therefore a door was opened to artists from all kind of cultural circles, and for the first time a musical languange was created that was globally and democratically accessible to everyone who owned a computer, no matter if he lived in Brazil, or – like Felix Petrescu and Valentin Toma from Makunouchi Bento – in Romania.
Both artists are doing this for years now. They learned their language well and expanded its vocabulary continuously. When you first hear their music and catch memories of early 90ies Warp artists B12 and Black Dog Productions you may certainly be on the right track, but be sure you don’t miss the next exit, because Makunouchi Bento are no epigons of anyone, they are just themselves. Mixing harsh industrialesque tones into their songs or cutting up children’s songs is just as good as doing some field recordings and taking them as the basic track for a new song and doing this, they pick up other “homeless” (in a positive sense of outernationalism) genres that developed over the last few years. In this sense, it may be more than just a lucky decision to even pick their name from a as “foreign” language as Japanese (Makunouchi Bento is a subdivided lunchbox for all the different parts of a “real” japanese meal). Nevertheless, despite of all the different materials they work with, their sound remain remarkably tight and recognizable.
Cutting a long story short: we’re very glad to have them on board. After a nice contribution to the Retinascan compilation “Fishing for Complements” their first full length on Retinascan is their 2000 debut re-release “Himette”, that earlier only has been released as edition for friends and now is available here with new artwork (by the very talented Razvan Jigorea) and mastering. For more information on Makunouchi Bento visit http://makunouchibento.inpuj.net or listen to more of their material at ogredung.org. And come back here, cause this hopefully won’t be their last shot!!
RIP Răzvan Jigorea.
Himette 1.0 is an unmastered version of the album, printed as a demo CD. Most songs were available for free (MP3) on the Makunouchi Bento Besonic.com profile.
In 2001, there was a CD-R available for purchase on Besonic.com (13.92€), titled Himette, with a default cover and the following tracklist:
01 Makunouchi Bento – Bouche du metro
02 Makunouchi Bento – Kunitoki
03 Makunouchi Bento feat. Tao – Living in Movie Screens
04 Makunouchi Bento feat. Antti Korpela – Gen16
05 Makunouchi Bento – Milipong
06 Makunouchi Bento – Sub sol
07 Makunouchi Bento – Computer Boy Machine
08 Makunouchi Bento – Mikrotori
09 Makunouchi Bento – Patchouliforme
10 Makunouchi Bento – Soare cu dinţi
11 Makunouchi Bento – Pink Ninja 5
12 Adapt – Crisp (MaBento Vacuum Mix)
Mail us if you have it, we’d like to buy a copy!
All tracks written, produced, mixed and mastered by Felix Petrescu and Valentin Toma (Makunouchi Bento), except:
Track 10 written and performed by Felix Petrescu (Makunouchi Bento, Urban Experience) and Cristian Savii aka G-Man (Urban Experience)
Artwork by Felix Petrescu (Makunouchi Bento)
Photography by Răzvan Jigorea 
Himette 1.0 artwork by Felix Petrescu (Makunouchi Bento)
[...] the album includes fascinating emotive narratives and joyous reverberations or used to get involved in more experimental exercises (with shuffling drums and abrasive guitar riffs or built on voices which are reversed and treated) or exploring atmospherical realms with the help of rhythmic structures and spoken word parts. Read more...
It would be impossible to classify this album as any particular style of music, since the songs are all so different. There is everything from bizarre electronic rhythms, to haunting soundscapes, to uplifting melodies, to songs that are just downright cute and instantly memorable. [...] Great stuff! Never predictable, never generic, always innovative and distinctive. If only major record labels promoted this kind of creativity in their artists, just think how more interesting the music industry would be! Read more...
"Snow me" eröffnet mit einer melodramatischen Akkordeonmelodie wie aus einem Soundtrack um dann später Schachtelbeats der guten alten Warpschule reinzudrehen. Das klingt jetzt vielleicht etwas altbacken, aber es funktioniert besser als es auf dem Papier klingt. Read more...