The Wire


Clive Bell


Bell Labs: Here Be Dragons

October 2015

Wagakki Band deploy traditional Japanese instruments at dazzling speed to stay ahead of the future, says Clive Bell


Bell Labs: Indigenius

July 2015

"This foreigner has taken us to a beautiful place but he hasn’t bought us lunch yet". Clive Bell looks at the endangered music of southeast Asian hilltribes and John Moore's Indigenius label


Bell Labs: The Benshi Refuses To Die

May 2015

"In the very early days, when all film came from the US, benshi could explain the projection technology and also mediate strange western customs to the Japanese audience." Clive Bell on the narration of silent cinema in Japan, the Burmese record industry and Ugandan Video Jokers


Bell Labs: forecast for 2015

December 2014

You read correctly: the sage Mr Bell buffs his crystal ball (well, his laptop screen), peers into the fogs of 2015 and sees double


Bell Labs: Noise For Your Nose

July 2014

“That musician really gets up my nose”. Like a bloodhound, Mr Bell picks up on the scent of a new musical accompaniment and asks whether it's gesamtkunstwerk or gimmick.


Bell Labs: Sole Music

March 2014

Clive Bells laces up his travellin' shoes and goes for a wander through the clips, clops and squeaks of footwear in music.


Bell Labs: Ear To The Rail

December 2013

All aboard with Clive Bell: "Musicians love trains. They sing about them, imitate their sounds, and scamper, instrument in hand, for the last departure homebound after a show."


Bell Labs: Drum Roll, Please

October 2013

Clive Bell takes a look at the Tweets, the column inches, the bitching and the I’m-above-all-this-nonsense that music competitions attract.


Bell Labs: Flutes In Crisis

September 2013

Who gives a toot about the flute anymore? A panegyric by Clive Bell on the once potent pipes of Pan, and some green shoots of hope for this currently degraded wind instrument.


Bell Labs: Other Folks' Business

January 2013

In the first of a new series of columns written for, Clive Bell pitches an imaginary book about Westerners who rewired World Music as if they were saving the whale.