Essay from Issue 134

Morton Feldman: Annihilated Angel

July 2011

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Composer Morton Feldman embodied the notion of the enigmatic artist – glittering, distant and elusive. Now, eight years after his death, his still, atmospheric music is gaining a whole new audience. Story by Edward Fox. This article originally appeared in The Wire 134 (April 1995).

Essay from Issue 330

Collateral Damage: Bob Ostertag

July 2011

A regular opinion column on the fallout from music’s shifting economy. This month: After committing ‘professional suicide’ by giving away his back catalogue online, Bob Ostertag wonders how the web is changing our understanding of music for good.

Essay from Issue 329

Collateral Damage: David Keenan

June 2011

Following Chris Cutler's response to Kenneth Goldsmith's filesharing Epiphany, David Keenan looks at the fallout from music's shifting economy, from the perspective of his webshop and record shop Volcanic Tongue.

Essay from Issue 108

Gil Scott-Heron: Pieces Of A Man

June 2011

Gil+Scott-Heron

Gil Scott-Heron, with and without his longtime partner Brian Jackson, has long refused to fit into anyone's market plan for a soul-jazz singer. Nathan West and Mark Sinker discuss his recorded legacy. This article originally appeared in The Wire 108 (February 1993).

Essay from Issue 103

David Toop: All Mix & No Master…?

April 2011

Does the new technology of mix 'n' splice mean the end of Popular Song as we know it? Or the start of a new open-ended dance afterlife? The death of the Original, or the birth of the infinite version? David Toop looks/locks into a brand new time lapse. This article originally appeared in The Wire 103 (September 1992). David Toop reflects on writing the essay below.

Essay

Xenakis Symposium Extras

March 2011

Iannis+Xenakis

A three-day conference, sponsored by The Wire and organised by the Centre for Contemporary Music Cultures at Goldsmiths, University of London on the Greek composer coinciding with the tenth anniversary of his death. Scholars, researchers and musicians will present papers and participate in panels, alongside a programme of concerts and workshops. London Southbank Centre, 1–3 April.

Essay from Issue 145

A-Z Of Electro

March 2011

George+Clinton

In its original incarnation, Electro was black science fiction teleported to the dancefloors of New York, Miami and LA; a super-stoopid fusion of video games, techno-pop, graffiti art, silver space suits and cyborg funk. Now that Electro is back, David Toop provides a thumbnail guide to the music that posed the eternal question: "Watupski, bug byte?" This article originally appeared in The Wire 145 (March 1996).

Essay from Issue 168

The Primer: Field Recordings

June 2008

Field+Recordings+illustration+by+Savage+Pencil

An occasional series in which we offer a beginner’s guide to the must-have recordings of some of our favourite musicians (and music). This month, Richard Henderson enters the preternatural realm of field recordings. This article originally appeared in The Wire 168 (February 1998).

Essay from Issue 221

John Coltrane: Divine Wind

January 2008

John Coltrane died of liver cancer 35 years ago this month, burned out by the increasing intensity of his musical quest. In this personal memoir of the final years of Coltrane’s career, Howard Mandel recalls the incomprehensible effect of Coltrane’s later period music as he plunged into a creative kamikaze strike as self-destructive as it was hallowed, fuelled by hallucinogenics, mystic fervour and a belief in music’s power to unite the human race. This article was originally published in The Wire 221 (July 2002).

Essay from Issue 215

Cabaret Voltaire: Decoding Society

May 2007

cabaret+voltaire

In 1982, Cabaret Voltaire began to mutate from the hardcore Industrial noise of their early years into a new phase of electronic body music inspired by proto-sampling technology and a tradeoff with the emergent beats of Chicago House. Ken Hollings analyses Richard H Kirk and Stephen Mallinder's Virgin years. This article originally appeared in The Wire 215 (January 2002).

Essay from Issue 137

Frank Zappa: Don't do that on stage anymore

May 2007

frank+zappa

For some, Frank Zappa was a musical iconoclast, capsizing the barriers between high and low culture. For others, he was a reactionary force, vilifying anything that didn't fit his cynical worldview. Ian Penman sits down with Zappa's newly reissued back catalogue and takes sides. This article originally appeared in The Wire 137 (July 1995).

Essay from Issue 142

Worlds Collide: The Global Electronic Network

May 2007

In 1995, Electronica has become a nanotechnology, refrying the atoms of other musics into strange new hybrids. In the process, a lattice of invisible, interconnected networks has emerged to link disparate but like-minded musicians, labels and festivals. Rob Young maps the co-ordinates of the new urban music. This article originally appeared in The Wire 142 (December 1995).

Essay from Issue 135

In Praise Of Stupidity

May 2007

Stupidity+Illustration+by+Paul+Shorrock

Sting and Bono are Sensible. The Butthole Surfers and Bootsy Collins are Stupid. John Adams and Glenn Branca are Stoopid. Biba Kopf explains the difference. This article originally appeared in The Wire 135 (May 1995).

Essay from Issue 156

John Zorn Primer

May 2007

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Simon Hopkins grapples with the genre-busting output of John Zorn. This article originally appeared in The Wire 156 (February 1997).

Essay from Issue 96

Loving The Alien: Black Science Fiction

May 2007

Loving+The+Alien%3A+Sun+Ra

Mark Sinker uncovers ideas in black music - about present identity and future possibility - that run counter to all the comfortable old stories. This article was originally published in The Wire 96 (February 1992).

Essay from Issue 128

Kitsch of Distinction

May 2007

The Incredibly Strange Music books are mondo archaeology for vinyl fetishists. They exhume a hidden world of plastic where exotic Easy Listening, modern primitives, suburban astronauts, Bavarian sex symbols and singing psychics co-exist in fabulous Living Stereo. David Toop provides a guide to the delights of incredibly strange records. This article originally appeared in The Wire 128 (October 1994).

Essay from Issue 148

Contract Breakers

March 2007

What's the connection between Neil Young, Lou Reed, Miles Davis, Marvin Gaye, David Bowie, Frank Zappa and John & Yoko? They are all contract breakers, stars who got sick of playing the music industry fame game. Mark Sinker listens to the musicians who pissed off their record companies and fans alike. This article originally appeared in The Wire 148 (June 1996).

Essay from Issue 123

A–Z Of Dub

March 2006

David Toop is your guide on our whistlestop tour through the echo chamber. This article was originally published in The Wire 123 (May 1994).