Electronics artist Phew continues her experimental journey


We are not blessed with all that much interesting Japanese experimental electronic music, but occasinally they do show up. Some time ago we reported on Kyoka but today we will listen in on singer and improviser Phew who is out with new material.

Phew, a Japanese singer and analogue electronics improviser working in the areas of experimental and avant-garde music, has announced details of a new album – her first for Mute since 1992’s “Our Likeness”. A first track is available now, “Into the Stream”. “New Decade” is out on Mute on 22 October 2021.

The video acts as a sequel to the closing track on her recent compilation for Disciples and was directed by Lisa Aoki. Below is the video for “Into the Stream”.

Inspired by seeing the Sex Pistols she first fronted Osaka art-punk band Aunt Sally, releasing one coveted album on Vanity in 1979. Ryuichi Sakamoto then produced her debut single as a solo artist and her subsequent classic self-titled LP features the propulsive backbone of CAN’s Jaki Liebezeit and Holger Czukay. The next three decades took her from post-punk with members of Einstürzende Neubaten and DAF to experimental pop with Jim O’Rourke , her stoic voice remaining unmistakably Phew throughout. In recent years she has come full circle as a solo musician, a scrupulous obsession with vintage hardware lending her new minimal synth work a metronomic aura reminiscent of the early Phew material, but now fully under her control.

After Aunt Sally broke up after releasing one LP she has mostly worked solo with musicians such as Ryuichi Sakamoto, Holger Czukay, Jaki Liebezeit, Chrislo Haas, Alexander Hacke, Yuji Takahashi, Seiichi Yamamoto, Hiroyuki Nagashima, Otomo Yoshihide in the group Novo Tono, Dieter Moebius on Phew’s Project Undark Radium Girls project, Jim O’Rourke and Ana da Silva.