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Old 01-24-2011, 08:48 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Phew - S/T (1981) [SAA Album Club discussion thread]

Phew - S/T (1981)



We listened to this album last week as the first choice from the Strategies Against Architecture Album Club.

Here's how Urban Hatemonger introduced it:
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Originally Posted by Urban Hatemonger View Post
I've mentioned this a couple of times in the past and I'm mentioning it again because it's such a great album. Phew is the alias of a Japanese performance artist and former lead singer of Japanese no wave band Aunt Sally Hiromi Moritani. This is her debut album from 1981 which saw her teaming up with Holger Czukay & Jaki Liebezeit of Can & also with legendary Krautrock producer Conny Plank.
Well worth a listen.
So let's dissect it!
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Old 01-24-2011, 09:19 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I thought this was a really interesting album! The most impressive thing about it to me was how out of time it seems. If I didn't already know I doubt I'd be able to guess what year it was released. Though I didn't enjoy every single track (I could do without "Dream" for example) I certainly enjoyed the majority of them. "Signal" and "Mapping" in particular were standout tracks for me. There was also a certain extent to which this album reminded me of Darkest Day's Exterminating Angel. Not sure if any of you are familiar with that one but it's another album I had considered nominating in this thread.
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Old 01-24-2011, 09:28 AM   #3 (permalink)
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This album reminds of Tin Drum by Japan. Here are some parallels:


*They were both released in 1981.

*S/T is sung in Japanese (I speak Japanese, very poorly considering how long I lived there, and could pick some words here and there, my listening comprehension is worse than my speaking) and the other band is named Japan.

* They have a similar quirky sound, imo.

* The author of the great novel, The Tin Drum, Gunter Grass, lived in Germany. Can is obviously Krautrock.


OK enough of that. If you like this, you may go in for another Japanese band, the more guitar driven female psychedelic Angel In Heacy Syrup. I would guess Ange In's vocals were influenced by Phew.

ANGEL IN HEAVY SYRUP on Myspace Music - Free Streaming MP3s, Pictures & Music Downloads

Now about this record specifically, I'm sure this is music that could continue growing on you for years but that's not to say that I don't have a favorable initial impression. I defintely do. My favorite track on the album is Dream with the spare piano and spacey sound effects. This alone probably puts it into a higher leaque than the other stuff I've mentioned. And just by virtue of the fact that the guys from Can are involved demands serious respect, obviously. This music might actually be a little too tonal for me to consider really avant garde, if that matters. As my Japan, comparison suggests, it feels more new age than no wave. But time can be tricky when looking back 30 years. And sorry if my comments are a bit non sequitur, but on to the texture of this music. I love it. The backgrounds are super cool and the weird Japanese vocals on top of it have a cool disconnected ambiance that throws the listener off but intrigues and pleases as well. All in all, I think this was a great recommendation and I am glad I learned about this music.
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Old 01-24-2011, 09:33 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Great write up OccultHawk! It's pretty funny that my least favorite song on the album was your favorite.

How long did you live in Japan?
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Old 01-24-2011, 09:41 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Janszoon View Post
Great write up OccultHawk! It's pretty funny that my least favorite song on the album was your favorite.

How long did you live in Japan?

Thank you.

Yeah, that made me smile, too. I think you may have embraced the more abrasive aspects of the record whereas I went in more for the ethereal side. I taught English in various parts of Japan for almost a decade and never advanced past the very basic with the language. Enough to get drunk and then get home, and occasionally, actually rarely, enough to get a drunk woman to join me.
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Old 01-24-2011, 09:56 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I personally didn't mind the album, but didn't love it. I felt it was a tad bit too poppy for me. Lots of vocals, and it seemed a lot of the instrumental bits faded into the background. I do like the fact that every song seemingly used an entirely new pallete., and there was a lot of experimentation with electronics. That was good. Vocals weren't bad either.

Just, I don't know, doesn't feel all that experimental to me, to be honest. Despite the eclecticism, It's very very tame, and poppy for my tastes, I guess.
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Old 01-24-2011, 10:05 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Janszoon View Post
"Signal" and "Mapping" in particular were standout tracks for me. There was also a certain extent to which this album reminded me of Darkest Day's Exterminating Angel. Not sure if any of you are familiar with that one but it's another album I had considered nominating in this thread.
'Signal' is definitely my favorite too. You mean Dark Day 'Exterminating Angel' - yeah I looove that one. For me, minimal synth doesn't get much better than it is on that album. If you nominate it, it'd be another album connected in some way to No Wave, 'cause the guy is ex-DNA member. Interesting...

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Originally Posted by OccultHawk View Post
OK enough of that. If you like this, you may go in for another Japanese band, the more guitar driven female psychedelic Angel In Heacy Syrup. I would guess Ange In's vocals were influenced by Phew.

ANGEL IN HEAVY SYRUP on Myspace Music - Free Streaming MP3s, Pictures & Music Downloads
Hey, I heard of that band. I have one or two songs on some compilation about Subterranean Records from San Francisco. Hmmm...Anyway, interesting connection to Tin Drum, like six degrees of separation

I'll write about Phew a bit later.
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Old 01-24-2011, 11:32 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by dankrsta View Post
'Signal' is definitely my favorite too. You mean Dark Day 'Exterminating Angel' - yeah I looove that one. For me, minimal synth doesn't get much better than it is on that album. If you nominate it, it'd be another album connected in some way to No Wave, 'cause the guy is ex-DNA member. Interesting...
Oop. Yeah, I meant "Dark Day" not "Darkest Day". Pretty good stuff.
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Originally Posted by P A N View Post
i'm not gonna spend my life on music banter trying to convince people the earth is flat.
A Night in the Life of the Invisible Man

Time & Place

25 Albums You Should Hear Before the Moon Crashes into the Earth and We All Die


last.fm
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Old 01-24-2011, 12:58 PM   #9 (permalink)
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i have to say i absolutely loved this album....every track is as interesting as the next one....i love her voice and the simplistic and often strangely eire electronics....i love both 'Doze' and 'P-Adic'...which i am damn near 98% sure Coil samples on Horse Rotovator
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Old 01-24-2011, 03:48 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I sort of agree with two people. I agree with Janszoon that it's difficult to name the year, but I also agree with Skaligojurah about the album just being okay and sort of poppy. I definitely find the album an interesting listen, but I don't love it. I do, however, think Fragment to be a GREAT track. I love the pulsing percussion (beeping?) in the background mixed with a very oriental-sounding vocals. Not to mention the avant-garde violin towards the middle of the song (but I'm a sucker when it comes to the violin). P-Acid is a neat track, too. It has a very huanting, psychedelic/industrial sound to it.

EDIT: I am also happy that Can helped with this album. Can is a great band (surprised none of their albums were suggested for this club).
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