“I’m sticking to analogue because I am not a slave of technology!” declares the Japanese singer. Her European tour starts this month
Japanese singer Phew returns to Europe in her present guise as analogue electronics soloist this month for three performances in France and Switzerland. She plays at Paris Théâtre De Vanves as part of the Sonic Protest festival on 14 March, followed by appearances at Nantes Lieu Unique (16) and Geneva Cave12 (19). And in April Phew makes her US East Coast solo debut at Brooklyn’s 116 Pierrepont St, an event organised by Blank Forms. The dates coincide with the mid-March release of a new LP by the US label Mesh-Key. Called Light Sleep, it’s comprised of six tracks selected from the three CD-Rs of Phew’s recent analogue electronic and vocal experiments, which she’d hitherto mainly sold at her concerts. “When playing, the most important thing is the physical sensation,” declares Phew. “In my case, electronic equipment can be used as an extension of my body – and I’m sticking to analogue because I am not a slave of technology!”
One of her key inspirations is the late Chrislo Haas, formerly of DAF and founder of Liaisons Dangereuses, with whom she worked alongside Jaki Liebezeit and Einstürzende Neubauten’s Alexander Hacke on her 1992 album Our Likeness, recorded at Conny’s Studio, Germany (as was her 1981 solo debut Phew).
“Because they get too engrossed in the performance, players tend to lose the overall picture of music,” remarks Phew. “They often get too excessive about music structure – especially in electronic music, the playing sometimes becomes flat and boring. But Chrislo composed while he was playing. His sound was very physical. This kind of physical sensitivity is very important for me,” she concludes, “I always wish I could sing like dance and use electronics like singing.”