Velvet Sheep fanzine’s label of the year for 2019 is Phantom Limb from Brighton. Formed by ex Fat Cat Records (home of Sigur Rós, Animal Collective, Max Richter, Jóhann Jóhannsson, Frightened Rabbit) A&R James Vella and former programmer of contemporary music at the Albert Hall, Mark Pearse and with a team that also features former Fat Cat alumnus Daniel Falvey and Thrill Jockey plugger Ken Li, they’ve been a classy operation from the get-go. Unassuming, understated but not to be underestimated, they’ve got eclectic, esoteric tastes that have been hitting the spot for us at VS for a couple of years, including the wonk hip hop of Miho Hatori (ex Cibo Matto) as New Optimism, the Icelandic mysticism of theremin virtuoso Hekla, the strikingly cinematic Laura León but this last year only got better. There were a couple of absolute corkers from Zoe Reddy, with skittering beat technique and the technicolour barf rug cutting sea sick trickery of WaqWaq Kingdom (alter ego of Peel fav DJ Scotch Egg & Kiki Hitomi).
This year promises more intrigue, with a current slate featuring Venezuelan ambient electronic musician Miguel Noya and a new soundtrack imprint continuing (on from Bryan Senti) with the release of Austrian composer Bernhard Schimpelsberger’s yearning score to Swedish ballet production Glansvit. That is of course not to forget other 2019 releases from NY fingerstyle guitarist J.R. Bohannon and soundworld explorer Dylan Henner.
More deets here:
In order to celebrate the dubious honour of being VS’s label of the year (following on from 2018’s champs ever green Tiny Global Productions), we’ve decided it’s a great excuse for a compilation/playlist of the various “songs for ewe” chosen by the illustrious Phantom Limb roster…(all the full articles at the bottom for completists)
Kizaki Ondo Preservation Society – Kizaki Ondo (1980)
An original Minyo called “Kizaki Ondo”, it was recorded in 1980 (EM Records). The clear pink vinyl comes with English & Japanese liner notes, rare photos about the Japanese Minyo culture and history. It hypnotised me and gives me the feeling of a slow trance state of mind. The very warm recording captures a Japanese Matsuri (festival) vibe and uplifting melody. However, the lyrics was originally created and sang by the girls who got sold by poor families and worked in the kitchens or red-light districts to work at the new thriving post town on the Nikko Reiheishi Kaito Highway. They were so lonely and longing to be back home, so sang this song thinking about their families and home.
Shigeru Ishihara/DJ Scotch Egg:
Nihiloxica – Endongo
An amazing live band from Uganda, formed by Jacob Maskell-Key and Peter Jones alongside Nilotica Cultural Ensemble. It’s a perfect mix of experimental electric music and Ugandan traditional percussion sound, making new and interesting, not so obvious African music.
Track: Dubstepping Progression Fast
Compilation album: Happy New Year! We Wish You Happiness!
Record label: трип (pronounced ‘trip’)
Released: December 2018
I have a hard time sitting still. So to combat that I run and I have been listening to this song every time I go for a run for the past few weeks.
I like its incessantness and if I am really honest I often like tracks that have a kind of irritating quality to them.
This track was released on a compilation brought out by Nina Kravis’s трип (pronounced ‘trip’) and all of the songs have this kind of tongue in cheek humour to them and I really appreciate the humour in music. This track is almost seven minutes of a constant, relatively high pitched, beat and sporadic metallic acid sounds. It’s quite minimal, it’s kind of weird. I say, listen to it and run!”
“Wait the Ships Come Back by Migala (Así duele un verano, 1998)
Migala was an experimental Spanish band, they were active since the mid-90’s until 2005. They used to built cinematic sound designs as they played conventional instruments and sang. I find very attractive this connection that can be seen in the full discography of the band, they use continuous references to cinema and literature.
Curiously and being Spanish like me I discovered the band thanks to an interview I read a long ago where they talk about their connection with Explosions in the Sky. Now their members have developed successful solo careers in the Spanish indie scene, but the band is still one of the hidden promises of experimental music in Spain.”
Mariya Takeuchi – Plastic Love
“I think this song is so hip and one of the best soul funk song of Japan. I really love this era of Japanese pop music before the word, J-pop was born. This song is perfect for summer and driving in the island or by the beach!”
“Sigríður Níelsdóttir started making music at 70 and made 59 albums in 6 years, making her one of the most productive musicians in Iceland. In 2011 a documentary about her was made called Amma Lo-Fi or Grandma Lo-Fi. You can check it out through Vimeo!”
THANKS TO JAMES VELLA AND KEN LI
Full articles below: