Eclectic Curiosity

Posted on July 5th, 2003, by Steve Hardy in Archives, Uncategorized. No Comments

Smokey Hormel and Miho Hatori come from very different worlds. Hormel sowed his oats playing all-American roots rock with the Blasters and X in the mid-80s LA music scene and has recorded with Beck and Tom Waits, as well as scored for films by David Lynch (The Straight Story) and Miguel Arteta (Chuck & Buck). The Japanese-born Hatori hip-hopped in ’90s NYC as one half of the critically revered, Beastie Boys-endorsed duo Cibo Matto and more recently her vocals have graced tracks by the Baldwin Brothers, Handsome Boy Modeling School and Gorillaz. What they both share is a love of music of all twangs and beats, and together make beautiful sounds as Smokey & Miho.

Hormel and Hatori met during the Beck/Cibo Matto tour in 1996 and bonded over their mutual passion for music, specifically ’60s Brazilian samba and bossa nova; from there began a friendship that launched into an ongoing and delightful experiment. “After playing a lot of loud shows on tour with different bands, this music was soothing to my nervous system,” explains Hormel. “I found myself listening to it as a refuge and it felt like the right thing to do at the time. After 9/11, these songs were what I needed. The soft guitar. The drum like a heartbeat. This music is sensual…like a warm summer rain.” In 2002, Smokey & Miho released the stunning, eponymous EP that featured mostly originals and one Angolan cover, and included “Ocean in Your Eyes” which appeared on the soundtrack to Y Tu Mam? También. Hatori makes an impeccable sambista, singing in three languages – Japanese, English and Portuguese — and in a voice that’s lovely and emotional, so contrary to the rap-style performances for which she’s best known. As Smokey & Miho, they both shine, and their love of the music is undeniable.

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