Phew – Vertical Jamming (Ltd. to 200 copies)
A scene-setter for a forthcoming LP of unheard material, Vertigo KO, coming soon on Disciples. Vertical Jamming rescues two expansive longform pieces from a tour only CD released in 2016, and adds a previously unreleased track, “Drone”.
The hypnotic sprawl of the music bridges the dystopian sci-fi soundscapes of Edward Artemiv’s Stalker soundtrack and the untethered generative labyrinth of contemporary Autechre productions, whilst still retaining smudges of human warmth that anchor the listening experience: a primitive Suicide-eque drum machine that drives the hums and bleeps of the synth forward, or a drone collapsing into squawks and trills akin to a flock of birds.
Phew is a legendary figure in Japanese underground music. Starting out in 1978 fronting one of Osaka’s earliest punk groups, Aunt Sally, and going on to collaborate with a whole host of notable names as a solo artist in the 80s, including Ryuichi Sakamoto, Conny Plank, Holger Czukay and Jaki Liebezeit of Can, Alex Hacke of Einstürzende Neubauten, and Chrislo Haas of DAF. In recent years she’s made music on record or live with Ana Da Silva of The Raincoats, Jim O’Rourke, Oren Ambarchi, Ikue Mori, and Yoshimi of OOIOO / Boredoms / Saicobab. For Disciples however, the most interesting aspect of Phew’s work is the fact she has made her strongest musical work in the last few years, working entirely on her own. There’s a lot of interest from crate-digger type labels in her early 80s new wave oriented work, and the names she’s worked with are impressive, but there’s no doubt in our minds that her two most recent records, Light Sleep and Voice Hardcore, are modern classics. It’s this period of her work that we were keen to explore with these releases, a contemporary archive of incredible and unique music.