Limited clear vinyl edition. No matter how long it's been since Phew's debut solo album, made with CAN's Holger Schukay and Jaki Liebezeit in the studio of art punk band Arndt Sally and Connie Plank, he's not about to let us down.
New Decade," her first album on MUTE in almost 30 years, is a resolute rebuttal to the world's self-absorbed phonies, "I wanted to get rid of sentimentality. I guess I'm lucky," she says, "considering my current situation. Last year, I was especially lucky to be alive in a way. As a musician and an artist, it's a privilege to be able to speak your mind openly and honestly under such circumstances, and I felt that I shouldn't abuse it.
This has been a guiding principle for Phew in recent years, as he has created a number of solo works that combine his distinctive vocals with feverish drone synthesizers and brittle drum machines. Long before the pandemic, she was accustomed to working on her productions in the isolation of her home, even keeping her voice down so as not to disturb her neighbors. In "New Decade," the atmosphere is more and more intense, which she attributes to her absence from touring for the past 18 months. The bleak, haunting album is composed of empty words, unspoken screams and moans chanted in English and Japanese against a backdrop of cracked, dubby electronics.
The title "New Decade" used to mean hope and dynamism, but many of the newspaper and magazine articles published at the dawn of the 2020s predicted how much worse things would get in the future. "Thirty years ago, the word 'new' was synonymous with progress and things getting better," says Phew, recalling the expansionism that fueled Japan's bubble economy in the 1980s. "And there's a loose concept of time perception that runs through the album. "In the 80's and up until the 90's, things were moving from the past to the present to the future, but I feel that this has changed, especially since the beginning of the 21st century. Personally, I don't see a future that is connected to the present anymore." This is reflected in the disorienting nature of her current work. Phew is not deliberately retro like many analog synth revivalists, nor does he waste time trying to keep up with the latest trends. Phew's music is timeless, resonating in its own frequency.