“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. Today’s guest is Whitney Johnson aka Matchess, who has an aptly slow-burning, fully enveloping album called “Sonescent” out on the always awesome Drag City 25th Feb. Also a part of the band Winged Wheel (whose new one “No Island” is out on 12XU later in the spring), for Matchess, Whitney’s MO is fascinating in its transparency and yet mystical in its result.

“Sonescent” is minimal in execution yet maximal in effect. It’s the ideal sonic salve to cleanse the palate and spirit in a new year of further uncertainty. With two songs/movements clocking in at 18′ exactly each in neat symbiosis, it’s the definition of ear phones (or perhaps flotation tank) music, slowly building, wave upon wave, building up to a pleasing throb.

And Whitney’s picked a “song for ewe” which is equally transcendental and meditative. Welcome to these pages the brigh spark and matchless artist that is Matchess.

here’s an excerpt of the second track (and my slight favourite): “Through The Wall”.

Helpfully and interestingly Whitney has publically described the process of building “Sonescent” in a demo she describes thus:
“In this video, I build and distort an overtone series, with sine waves in the 2nd to 5th harmonics coming from a 2-channel function generator.

Then, I bring in the fundamental 64 Hz and first harmonic 128 Hz and 6 sine waves on my ARP Odyssey synthesizer, which are offset just enough to give a slow beating pattern. The next step is to record 3 different 60-second cassette loops using two Pro Walkmen and one Panasonic brick. Speed differences and tape degradation create more beating patterns.

Finally, I start up the Uher tape monitor. In addition to everything else to this point, I record tuning forks to add a “Theta” wave beating and, by this time, all the beating patterns have become a deep tissue massage. I fade out each element until the Uher loop stands alone before lights out.”

and for some more of that well-described “deep tissue massage” here’s an excerpt from track one of “Sonescent”…

But what of Whitney’s musical pick for VS? Without further ado this is Matchess’s transformative “song for ewe”…

“I’ve been listening to the first stage of Deuter’s Kundalini method (for Osho) in the mornings.
I found a youtube link for it, but it’s kinda odd:
Just the first 15 minutes is what I’m thinking.

Cooper (Cooper Crain, producer and member of Bitchin Bajas, Cave) passed along this record to me a few years ago, and it became a morning tradition in my old apartment. We’d put it on and do our calisthenics and routines. Now it sparks a memory of my psyche in those days, and the horizon snaps into focus when I put it on.

Osho used this First Phase for the Rajneeshees to do a shaking meditation in the afternoon or evening: “Be loose and let your whole body shake, feeling the energies moving up from your feet. Let go everywhere and become the shaking. Your eyes may be open or closed. If you shake your body rightly for fifteen minutes, with total feeling, then all the repressed energy will begin to manifest and flow.”

Matchess photo by Marzena Abrahamik

THANKS SO MUCH TO WHITNEY AND TO SIMON RUSSELL AT DRAG CITY

“Sonescent” is out on 25 Feb via Drag City

Check out the Matchess page here

and on Bandcamp

She is also on tour including in the UK next week – dates as follows:

2/18/22 London, United Kingdom
2/19/22 Newcastle, United Kingdom
2/23/22 Chicago, IL
3/25/22 Rotterdam, Netherlands
3/26/22 Brussels, Belgium

and I will be playing a song from the album in full on the VS radio show next weekend (19th Feb) so listen out.