“SONG FOR EWE”
with SIMA CUNNINGHAM & MACIE STEWART of
“SONG FOR EWE” is the feature where artists & music people beloved by VELVET SHEEP choose an obscure song they’ve been listening to that day. Starting 2019 with a bang, today’s guest is a two for the price of one offer from a Chicago based instrumentalist noise / improv duo called Ohmme who have a debut album called “Parts” out now on Joyful Noise Recordings (Half Japanese, Deerhof etc) and are heading this way for a February tour.
Sima Cunningham and Macie Stewart are classically trained pianists and students of sonic architecture, but instead of tinkling the ivories they have decided to artfully mangle guitars and jump into the murky yet equally beautiful abyss, with heavy sounds like Earth meets The Slits splintering against prettier That Dog, Malkmus & The Jicks style wonky hypnotic arrythmia. Powerful and yet poised, they’ve chosen a tune that typefies their nascent musical nous and iridescent intelligence. Welcome to VS, Sima & Macie of Ohmme…
Belying the fact that both Sima and Macie are still only in their 20s they’ve been orbiting the Chicago scene for a while now, playing with a veritable pot pourri of luminary artists ranging from Tweedy, Whitney, Chance The Rapper and Twin Peak and for “Parts” have enlisted fellow Chicago scenesters Doug McCombs (Tortoise, Eleventh Dream Day, Brokeback), jazz composer & player Ken Vandermark and cellist Tomeka Reid. That plus the time signature hopping drum patterns of Matt Carroll makes Ohmme more than the sum of their ahem “Parts”.
Check out this dark yet polished, beauteous but desolate video for “Water”, directed by Anahid Yahjian whose collage includes Sima in Yerevan (Armenia)’s iconic Kond pedestrian tunnel (Sima met Anahid in the Armenian art scene). It’s as if a post apocalyptic world was hand painted by Studio Ghibli.
What studious and esoteric choice did Sima and Macie go for? Without any further ado, this is their intriguing “song for ewe”…or should I say composition for you?
Song: Solo Violin Improvisations (1979)
Artist: Polly Bradfield
Polly Bradfield is an experimental violinist who was primarily active in New York in the mid-70s to mid-80s.
We were introduced to Bradfield by our friend Darin Gray, a great musician in his own right whose encyclopaedic knowledge of improvised and noise music we get to indulge in when we stay with him on tour. He put this LP on last time we were in his town and we all sat around drinking tea and listening.
Her idiosyncratic way of playing makes it a different experience every time you listen- every harmonic, every bow stroke; it all gets recast into a new context depending on your mindset.
Music like this recording can be so liberating because you can really use it how you want— it’s so intimate and gives no direction but just invites you to follow it as long as you can manage. It’s been exciting for us to listen to and experience more solo, improvised music— especially when it is recorded. It’s the working of the inner mind exposed outwards and then captured for us to meditate upon.”
OHMME PLAY IN EUROPE/UK IN FEBRUARY…
Tuesday 12th February – Botanique Witloofbar, Brussels, Belgium (Tickets)
Wednesday 13th February – Cinetol, Amsterdam, Netherlands (Tickets)
Friday 15th February – Hyde Park Book Club, Leeds (Tickets)
Saturday 16th February – Hug & Pint, Glasgow (Tickets)
Monday 18th February – Hare and Hounds, Birmingham (Tickets)
Tuesday 19th February – The Shacklewell Arms, London (Tickets)
Wednesday 20th February – The Louisiana, Bristol (Tickets)
Saturday 23rd February – Mutations Festival, Brighton (Tickets)
THANKS TO OHMME & TO LIV WILLARS AT ONE BEAT PR
If you like Doug McCombs check out his “song for ewe” choice here…