After the extraordinary achievements of his early years, the great bassist/composer Charles Mingus faced crisis – and a nervous breakdown – in the mid-1960s. But his comeback in the 70s, though constrained by illness, led to a few late masterpieces. as Brian Priestley reports in the concluding part of our Mingus retrospective. This article was originally published in The Wire 76, June 1990.
As recording formats become obsolete, sound archivists are rethinking the paradigms around methods of preserving our audio heritage. By Will Prentice of the British Library.
Biba Kopf explains how the autobahn, not the freeway, has created an enduring road mythology for post-war motorik rock. This article was originally published in The Wire 184, June 1999.
One of the most inspiring and turbulent personalities in jazz, Charles Mingus – as player and composer – has exerted an enormous influence on the post-war era. In the first of a two-part survey of Mingus on record, Jack Cooke ah ums his way through the great bassman's early masterpieces on Candid, Atlantic and Impulse. This article was originally published in The Wire 75, May 1990.
The voracious appetite for ‘buzz’ on social media sites is taking its toll on hiphop artistry says Andrew Nosnitsky
Digital transparency has revealed dimensions to African music beyond Western received ideas. But how to market it sympathetically, asks Brian Shimkovitz
Circulating music as resource-free downloads might reduce carbon footprints, but the fast turnover of the computers, MP3 players and mobile phones we play them on costs the Earth plenty, argues Phil England.
Arthur Russell died in obscurity of AIDS in 1992. Yet this New York composer was a true visionary, traversing dub, disco and minimalism and anticipating the 90s obsession with musical hybrids. David Toop pays tribute. This article was originally published in The Wire 134 (April 1995).
A public resignation from David Toop. This article was originally published in The Wire 166 (December 1997).
When John Richards of Dirty Electronics began manufacturing interactive sound devices such as a hand-held analogue synth, he tapped into a participatory social experiment in revitalising digitally numbed senses
In the early 2000s, increased bandwidth allowed recombinant artists to enter the gift economy. It’s a freedom we should defend at all costs, argues Vicki Bennett aka People Like Us
Don’t confuse online culture with digital culture, argues Terre Thaemlitz, whose latest project pushes the MP3 format to its absolute limits.
Bulk giveaways of music online make it impossible for listeners to make any sense of an artist’s work, argues James Kirby
Two life long Albert Ayler enthusiasts – Bill Smith and Brian Case – remember the legendary, lost tenorman. This feature first appeared in The Wire 3 (Spring 1983).
In response to The Wire's two previous Albert Ayler pieces (in The Wire 3), Mike Hames reveals the true circumstances of the saxophonist's death, and reassesses his controversial experiments with soul, R&B, and gospel music. This article originally appeared in The Wire 6 (March 1984).
File sharers uploading rare and out of print records challenge official histories of music by confronting hand-me-down narratives with the source artefacts, argues Mutant Sounds blogger Eric Lumbleau.
The culture of copying is intrinsic to all music, argues Marcus Boon. So get over it – copyright buccaneers are roadtesting creative alternatives to obsolete capitalist models.
Brian Morton examines the history of composition by computer. This article was originally published in The Wire 96 (February 1992).
The enigmatic Detroit duo Drexciya disperse the African-American diaspora from the depths of the Atlantic into outer space. By Kodwo Eshun. This article was originally published in The Wire 167 (January 1998).
New York's Sonic Youth and Los Angeles' Savage Republic are revitilising American rock music with their hard-core attitudes and screaming guitars. Biba Kopf reports on the coast-to-coast cacophony as rampant discords clash by night. This article originally appeared in The Wire 58 (December 1988).
The story of the first electronic instruments is as twisted and circuitous as their primitive, labyrinthine wiring. Mark Sinker goes in search of these often bizarre creations and their inventors, including the best known of all: Leon Theremin. This article originally appeared in The Wire 139 (September 1995).
Tricky's debut album Maxinquaye is the most feted, discussed and misunderstood record of the moment. Ian Penman steps back from the media feeding frenzy to consider a music that wreaks havoc with our notions of sex, soul and technology. This article originally appeared in The Wire 133 (March 1995).
From the smash-and-grab cut-ups of The Boredoms and Otomo Yoshihide to the psychedelic excesses of YBO2 and Ruins, the Japanese underground is a place of strange views and exotic intensities. David Ilic provides a consumer's guide
The combination of digital technology and the easy accessibility of samplers and computers have irrevocably changed the way sound is produced and perceived. As electronic music moves further away from the conventions of the club culture that spawned it to become a profound means of expression in its own right, a new breed of musician is emerging to forge new directions in Ambient and Techno with the parallel sciences of multimedia and electronic networking. Here we profile four such acts: Global Communication, The Black Dog, Bedouin Ascent and the Sähkö collective. This article originally appeared in The Wire 131 (January 1995).