The Wire


Colour Out Of Space returns to Brighton this autumn

Chocolate Monk’s celebration of experimental sound and art reaches its seventh edition

After a lengthy hiatus, Colour Out Of Space, the experimental music and arts festival run by Dylan Nyoukis and Karen Constance of Chocolate Monk with Michael Sippings, returns to Brighton this autumn. The festival, whose sixth edition took place in 2013, will be taking place from 18-20 November. Performances will be centered on the Sallis Benney Theatre at University of Brighton, with events off site all over the weekend.

Once again Colour Out Of Space touches on improvisation, noise, sound poetry and all points in between, with a line-up that includes spectralist pioneers Iancu Dumitrescu & Ana-Maria Avram, a trio of Steve Beresford, Tania Chen and Stewart Lee, violinists and composers Angharad Davies and Lina Lapelyte, writer and performance artist Claire Potter, musician and Wire contributor Matt Krefting, Australian sound collagist Matthew P Hopkins, and many more.

Longrunning Swedish arts organisation Fylkingen will present a night of Swedish sounds on Saturday 19 November, with artists including Wol, Anne Pajunen, Kent Tankred, Johannes Bergmark, Daniel Rozenhall & Sten Backman, Johanna Rosenqvist, and Marja-leena Sillanpää, with a film programme by Micke Prey. The weekend is also set to feature talks and panel discussions with hosts including The Wire’s Derek Walmsley and WFMU’s Fabio, among all the usual film and art programmes.

Colour Out Of Space will take place 18-20 November in Brighton, and for more information and new additions to the line-up you can check their website.

Alan Vega dies at the age of 78

Suicide vocalist passes away in his sleep, says family statement

Alan Vega died over the weekend at the age of 78. He passed away in his sleep, according to a family statement posted on Henry Rollins’s website.

The Suicide co-founder had spent recent years more closely engaged with art than music, following a stroke in 2012. His light sculptures, a medium he’d explored since before the days of Suicide, have been exhibited extensively over the last decade. They formed a significant part of a major retrospective of Vega’s artwork mounted in Lyon in 2009.

2009 also saw a set of recordings released to celebrate Vega’s 70th birthday, with numerous artists covering his songs, most notably Bruce Springsteen taking on Suicide’s “Dream Baby Dream”. Vega’s last album was Sniper, a collaboration with Marc Hurtado back in 2010.

Suicide and Vega were interviewed numerous times by The Wire over the years, including an Invisible Jukebox with Edwin Pouncey in 1998 where Vega claimed he had an axe thrown at him when Suicide opened for The Clash in Glasgow. Vega also contributed an Inner Sleeve piece in 2007, where he wrote a freeform poem in praise of the cover of 7th Day Theory by Makaveli The Don Killuminati aka Tupac Shakur.

Blue Öyster Cult producer Sandy Pearlman dies aged 72

The famed US producer, manager, poet and lyricist has died

Producer, manager, songwriter, lyricist, critic and poet Sandy Pearlman has died at his home in Marin County, California. He was aged 72.

Perhaps best known as the visionary behind Blue Öyster Cult, Pearlman developed much of the group’s aesthetic and thematic orientation prior to the foundation of their classic line-up (Eric Bloom, Donald 'Buck Dharma' Roeser, Allen Lanier, Albert Bouchard and Joe Bouchard). Pearlman's epic poem "The Soft Doctrines Of Immaginos" laid out the occult intrigue and byzantine plotting that characterised the band's brainy, laconic brand of heavy metal.

Pearlman also worked in various capacities with Black Sabbath, The Clash, The Dictators, Pavlov's Dog, The Mahavishnu Orchestra and Dream Syndicate.

In December 2015, Pearlman suffered a cerebral haemorrhage that left him unable to walk, talk or fully comprehend his circumstances. The pressing need for expensive healthcare urged friends Roni Hoffman and Robert Duncan to raise funds via GoFundMe.

"My wife, Roni Hoffman, and I are his friends of 50 years. In the absence of close kin, we felt compelled to go to court and become his conservators," explains Duncan in his statement on the GoFundMe page. "We will be withdrawing and administering these funds. We are unpaid, unreimbursed and stand to earn or inherit nothing, which is as it should be. We do it because we admire Sandy as an artist and, more importantly, are grateful for his decades of friendship and generosity.

"[Pearlman] is a pioneer of rock criticism, at Crawdaddy and other seminal publications, a pioneer of heavy metal (a phrase he may have been the first to use, as a rock critic), a pioneer of punk, paisley underground and goth. He is a poet, producer, songwriter, manager, label owner, member of the Library of Congress preservation board, professor of music and philosophy at McGill and University of Toronto. He is a man who has devoted his life to art — making it, making it possible and making it come to life for students and others."

Subscribers can read about Blue Öyster Cult - who tour the UK at the end of July - in Edwin Pouncey's occult rock primer in The Wire 390 via the online archive

Radiophrenia open call for submissions

Mark Vernon’s Glasgow based art station back on air in August

Glasgow Art Radio station Radiophrenia returns this summer. Broadcasting between 29 August–11 September, the station’s schedule will include newly commissioned works by Graham Lambkin, Sarah Angliss, Anna Friz and Chris Dooks, and live on air performances by Maya Dunietz, Secluded Bronte, Jim Whelton, Cara Tolmie, The Resonance Radio Orchestra, and many more.

The station has also put out an open call for sound art and radio works to be included in the broadcasts, with the deadline for submissions set for 25 July.

Set up by sound artist and radio producer Mark Vernon, Radiophrenia made its first broadcast in April last year. It goes out live in Glasgow over 87.9FM and can be streamed online. The station was the subject of a feature by Stewart Smith in The Wire 374. Subscribers can read that article over at Exact Editions.

Milford Graves to participate in CMS autumn workshop

The drummer joins creative musicians’ team leading the four day workshop in Big Indiana, New York

Drummer Milford Graves, pianist Fabian Almazan and Creative Music Studio Associate Artistic Director and trumpeter Steven Bernstein will join CMS co-founders Karl Berger and Ingrid Sertso at this autumn’s Creative Music Studio Workshop.

Taking place at the Full Moon Resort in Big India, New York, the four day intensive course includes master classes, concerts and jam sessions. All musicians welcome. The CMS Fall Workshop runs from 19–23 September.

Detroit: Techno City exhibition starts end of July

London’s ICA Fox Reading Room exhibition will chart a timeline of Detroit Techno music from the 1970s to the early 1990s

London ICA’s Detroit: Techno City exhibition kicks off at the end of the month. Taking place in the institute’s Fox Reading Room, it will look at “the evolution and subsequent dispersion of Detroit Techno music”, charting a timeline from the 1970s to the early 1990s.

Inspired by the 1988 compilation Techno! The New Dance Sound Of Detroit released on 10 Records, and featuring the likes of Anthony Shakir, Kevin Saunderson, Juan Atkins and others, the series will focus on various aspects of the scene and music including analogue equipment used – like the legendary Roland TR808 – and how the sound travelled to Europe, inspiring a generation of producers such as Carl Craig, Richie Hawtin and Kenny Larkin. The exhibition takes a special focus on Underground Resistance’s Mike Banks, John Collins, Robert Hood and Jeff Mills.

NTS Radio will be presenting a series of online programmes to accompany the exhibition, and in mid-September The Wire will be hosting a talk details TBC. Detroit: Techno City runs from 27 July–25 September.

Les Diaboliques on tour this November

Maggie Nicols, Irène Schweizer and Joëlle Léandre reconvene as a trio – for the last time?

Les Diaboliques will be touring the UK this November. Formed in 1990, the improvising trio consist of UK vocalist Maggie Nicols and Swiss pianist Irène Schweizer, both of them members of the Feminist Improvising Group, and French bassist Joëlle Léandre of the European Women’s Improvising Group. It is said that this will most likely be the last opportunity to see the trio at work. So far dates have been lined up in Brighton (16 November), Derby (18), London (19) and Bristol (20). Tour organiser and researcher Deborah Withers is setting up a Les Diaboliques blog, which will upload archive material, research and images examining the work of Nicols, Schweizer and Léandre as individuals and as a trio.

Confront Recordings special on Adventures In Sound And Music 21 July

Mark Wastell’s improvisation label under the spotlight as it celebrates its 20th anniversary

Adventures In Sound And Music on Thursday 21 July confronts Confront Recordings, Mark Wastell’s pioneering non-idiomatic improvisation label which this year celebrates its 20th anniversary.

The label started in the mid-1990s around the time Wastell was playing on the London improv scene with the trio ist and subsequently the Chris Burn Ensemble. In 2005 Wastell and associated players such as Phil Durrant, Angharad and Rhodri Davies became the subject of a Wire piece entitled The Other Side Of Silence, which discussed the fertile microscene then developing around Wastell’s Sound 323 record store in North London and the regular gigs held in its basement.

Confront Recordings went on hiatus in the earl 2010s but has emerged again in the last two years with new and archive recordings from ist, his longrunning trio The Sealed Knot, and Derek Bailey with Simon H Fell.

Wastell will join Derek Walmsley in the studio to discuss UK improvisation past and present, the 20th anniversary of The Sealed Knot, different flavours of silence, and reductionism and what came next. With new music from Akode and Zachary James Watkins, alongside early tracks from Wastell’s archive including The Sealed Knot with Peter Kowald’s Global Village from Hannover, and recordings with players such as Keith Rowe, Derek Bailey and Toshi Nakamura. It all takes place on Thursday 21 July at 21:00 on Resonance FM.

Unreleased Julius Eastman music to be released in autumn

Julius Eastman’s Femenine recorded by the longrunning SEM Ensemble in 1974

A previously unreleased work by US composer Julius Eastman gets its first release this autumn. Femenine, a 1974 piece for chamber ensemble, was recorded the same year by SEM Ensemble, and this new disc marks its premier release. To date, it’s the only known recording of the composition.

Eastman, who died in 1990, was a composer, vocalist, choreographer and dancer whose pieces addressed his status as a black gay composer in a white-dominated musical elite in composition titles such as Evil Nigger, Gay Guerrilla and If You’re So Smart, Why Aren’t You Rich. His work incorporated additive processes of minimalism, but as part of his own style of composing termed organic music. But Eastman’s work also spanned operatic performance – including a role as King George in a performance of Peter Maxwell Davies’s Eight Songs For A Mad King – and conducting. He formed a close relationship with cellist and disco producer Arthur Russell, conducting many of his works; and Steve Cellum, the co-producer of Russell’s World Of Echo, recorded this 1974 perfomance.

The piece is played by SEM Ensemble with Eastman on piano. The US based SEM Ensemble were formed in 1970 by Czech composer Petr Kotik and continue to operate today as interpreters of avant garde and experimental music – they recently performed as part of Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival’s 50th anniversary of AMM events in in 2015.

Eastman’s later years saw him spiralling into poverty and homelessness. His work did not appear on record at all until the 2005 three disc New World set Unjust Malaise. He was the subject of the recent book Gay Guerrilla: Julius Eastman And His Music, edited by Mary Jane Leach and Renée Levine Packer, the former of whom provides the sleevenotes accompanying this new release. The anthology was reviewed by Philip Clark in Print Run, The Wire 388.

Femenine is released by the Finnish label Frozen Reeds, whose autumn release schedule also includes a brand new double CD by Thomas Brinkmann, A Certain Degree Of Stasis. For more information on both head here.

Invisible Jukebox – live! This year at Ableton Loop

The Wire’s longrunning monthly feature takes to the road for the first time

For the very first time The Wire will be taking its longrunning Invisible Jukebox feature out on the road to a live audience. Three artists are set to take the Jukebox test, where we play records which they are asked to comment on without knowing what they are, during Ableton’s Loop weekend at Berlin’s Funkhaus studio complex this November.

The Invisible Jukebox has been a monthly feature in The Wire since December 1991, where every month we select an artist or group, and sit down with them to listen to a specially selected collection of tracks, which they are then invited to identify and discuss in relation to their own work. The format echoes the classic jazz magazine interview format of the blindfold test. The legendary jazz critic Leonard Feather started the feature, entitled The Jazzman As Critic: The Blindfold Test, for Metronome in 1946, and went on to conduct dozens of tests with the giants of jazz for magazines such as Down Beat and Playboy.

Artists who have sat the Invisible Jukebox over the years include Robert Wyatt, Lou Reed, Derrick May and Tony Allen, while recent participants include Islam Chipsy, Beatrice Dillon and Ilan Volkov. Invisible Jukeboxes in the past have seen Future Sound Of London skipping through the CD they were played searching for sampling material, and Lemmy of Motorhead insisting we stop playing him High Rise and Massacre (but praising ZZ Top and Little Richard). In 1997, The Wire published Invisible Jukebox, an anthology collecting a number of the most memorable interviews. More recently, Wire reader Christopher Thompson started a Tumblr which attempts to compile the playlists of every Invisible Jukebox from the very first installment onwards.

The live editions of Invisible Jukebox will take place at Ableton Loop, a three day summit of discussions, performances, workshops and more investigating technology and music-making, with scores of participants including Moritz von Oswald, Morton Subotnik, Anna Meredith and Elysia Crampton. Taking the test in front of a live studio audience, under the expert supervision of a Wire contributor, will be Gudrun Gut, with others to be confirmed. The event takes place from 4–6 November at Berlin’s Funkhaus, the purpose-built broadcasting complex of the old East Germany. More information on Loop can be found here.