Essay from Issue 76

Charles Mingus: Hit In The Soul

September 2012


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.

Essay from Issue 184

White Line Fever: Undercurrents #6

September 2012


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.

Essay from Issue 75

Charles Mingus: Underdog Days

September 2012


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. This article was originally published in The Wire 75, May 1990.

Essay from Issue 339

Collateral Damage: Phil England

April 2012

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.


Collateral Damage: John Richards

March 2012

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

Essay from Issue 337

Collateral Damage: Vicki Bennett

February 2012

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


Collateral Damage: Terre Thaemlitz

January 2012

Don’t confuse online culture with digital culture, argues Terre Thaemlitz, whose latest project pushes the MP3 format to its absolute limits.


Collateral Damage: James Kirby

December 2011

Bulk giveaways of music online make it impossible for listeners to make any sense of an artist’s work, argues James Kirby

Essay from Issue 6

Albert Ayler: A response by Mike Hames

November 2011


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).

Essay from Issue 333

Collateral Damage: Marcus Boon

November 2011

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.

Essay from Issue 167

Drexciya: Fear Of A Wet Planet

October 2011


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).

Essay from Issue 58

Sonic Youth & Savage Republic: Cities On Fire With Electric Guitars

October 2011


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).

Essay from Issue 133

Tricky: Black Secret Tricknology

October 2011


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).