New Optimism, "Dr. My-Ho" (Phantom Limb). Best known for her work in Japanese trip-pop hybridizers Cibo Matto, Miho Hatori has a fresh project called New Optimism that will induce just that to receptive listeners. Today the UK label Phantom Limb released her debut EP under that name, Amazon to LeFrak, and it's a blessed joy from start to finish. Hatori's deft deployment of funky beats, endearing, breezy melodies, and distinctive percussion timbres remains intact, thankfully—with some production help from ex-Vampire Weekend member Rostam Batmanglij. Her history includes collaborations with Gorillaz, the Beastie Boys, and John Zorn, among others, and you can discern their influences in this new music.
"Dr. My-Ho" rides a deep, humid groove that wouldn't sound out of place in a dubbed-out Bill Laswell track from the '80s or '90s, but Hatori's layered, Shibuya-kei vocals and celestial vibes (or is it FX'd glockenspiel?) lift the song out of the funky swamp. It's a lovely combo of filthy and sweet elements, and I'd like an extended club mix of "Dr. My-Ho" on 12-inch yesterday. Failing that, a New Optimism Seattle live date would be nice.