10 hour recording of UK music writing conference to be broadcast on Resonance FM

Paul Gilroy

A recording of a recent two-day conference on UK music journalism will be broadcast on Resonance FM on Monday 25 May. Organised by Wire writer Mark Sinker, Underground/Overground: The Changing Politics Of UK Music Writing 1968–85 took place at Birkbeck, University of London, on 15-16 May. It has been edited into a 10-hour programme that will run from 10am–8pm. The conference featured presentations and panel discussions from writers including Paul Gilroy, Barney Hoskyns, Cynthia Rose, Charles Shaar Murray and The Wire's Edwin Pouncey. The broadcast is part of a fundraising drive to help finance a book of the conference, to be published by Strange Attractor Press.

Sinker picks out some conference highlights: "I was delighted with the whole conference – both days were full of strong and curious material which will repay close listening. The panel where Val Wilmer was interviewed by her old colleague Richard Williams (at very short notice, as David Toop was unwell) is a joy from start to finish. The panel in which Cynthia Rose, Tony Stewart and Beverley Glick discussed the practicalities and office politics of putting out a music weekly I’m particularly proud of, as a glimpse into the day-to-day backroom stuff you rarely get at such events. And the discussion on the second day, between Simon Frith, Paul Gilroy, Penny Reel and Rose again — about who the 1970s music press served and who gets left out of the story — I think was also extremely valuable."

Arthur Russell posters and ephemera on sale at ICA art book fair

New York book dealer Arthur Fournier has brought over various items of Arthur Russell ephemera and archival material to the ICA’s Room&Book book fair.

Included in the catalogue are flyers, postcards and posters, among other items. Fournier’s catalogue can be viewed as a PDF here (Russell artefacts are found on page 22 onwards), and a full list of attendees, which also includes North London based publishing house Test Centre, is online here.

Room&Book takes place 22–24 May at ICA London.

New director announced for Manchester International Festival

Manchester International Festival has named its new artistic director as John McGrath, currently the Artistic Director and Chief Executive of National Theatre Wales. Current Artistic Director Alex Poots will be moving to New York to The Culture Shed.

McGrath staged The Passion in Port Talbot with Michael Sheen, and Coriolan/us in an aircraft hangar for the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad festival. Manchester International festival this year hosts Gerhard Richter and composer Arvo Pärt, Four Tet, Ed Atkins, Carl Craig & Mike Banks and more. Full festival listing here.

Walter Marchetti dies of a heart attack

Composer Walter Marchetti died of a heart attack last week. Marchetti called his work “the arsehole of Western music”, and rejected traditional Western composition, calling it “an acoustic desert”. Inspired by David Tudor and John Cage he formed the Fluxus-like collective ZAJ in Madrid in 1964, with Juan Hildago and Jose Luis Castillejo. The group officially ceased activity in the 90s, although they had wound down long before. Marchetti composed, performed and built installations, including a grand piano made from 3000 toilet rolls (Chamber Music No 211), and another encased in bricks (Chamber Music No 18) and used field recordings such as toilets flushing and pigs squealing in his compositions.

A funeral was held in Milan last weekend.

David Toop’s 1978 Yanomami recordings compiled by Sub Rosa

Sub Rosa are compiling David Toop’s 1978 recordings of Yanomami ritual songs, shamanistic ceremonies and rainforest sounds into an album entitled Lost Shadows: In Defence Of The Soul – Yanomami Shamanism, Songs, Ritual, 1978. Both the double CD and LP include a 40 page booklet with text and pictures that chronicle Toop’s journey through the Amazon jungle to meet and record the last Yanomami shamans.

The double CD edition of Lost Shadows is out now, with the vinyl following in June. More info incoming via Sub Rosa.

The Battle For Texas's Psychedelic Music

Zero Books will publish writer, poet and music journalist Ben Graham's history of Texan psychedelia A Gathering Of Promises: The Battle For Texas's Psychedelic Music, From The 13th Floor Elevators To The Black Angels And Beyond on 26 June. The book's primary focus is the family of groups that emerged from Austin, Houston, San Antonio and Corpus Christi in the 1960s, including The 13th Floor Elevators, The Red Crayola and The Moving Sidewalks (whose line-up included future ZZ Top guitarist Billy Gibbons).

More information here.

Art Of Improvisers group exhibition

Drawing by Terry Day

As part of the Unpredictable series, the Art Of Improvisers Group Show will take place at London’s Oto Project Space between 7–17 May.

Curated by Steve Beresford and Blanca Regina, the show features works from Beresford himself, along with Terry Day, Max Eastley, Evan Parker, George Khan, Gina Southgate and David Toop. The exhibition opening – 7 May 5–8pm – will include a short performance by Steve Beresford and Terry Day. Various workshop and discussions include Material Studies with Matthias Kispert and Blanca Regina and Terry Day’s techniques for playing balloons and self-made pipes.

Full details here

Room40's Open Frame festival to include Jim O’Rourke, Grouper and more

Grouper. Photo: Shawn Records

Lawrence English’s Room40 label is celebrating its 15th birthday with a festival at Sydney’s Carriageworks on 30–31 July.

Called Open Frame, the Sydney festival will feature performances by Jim O’Rourke, film maker Makino Takashi, The Necks’ Chris Abrahams with Louise Curham, Grouper and Paul Clipson’s audiovisual piece Hypnosis Display, William Basinski and more. Previous Open Frame festivals have been held in London and Brisbane.

Tickets and details available here

Ace Hotel London residencies: Keiji Haino, Steven Stapleton and others

Upmarket Ace Hotel London is to run a series of residencies in August involving the Moog Soundlab studio – which includes one of only two existing re-engineered 1970s System 55 modular synthesizers plus an original Taurus Bass Pedal unit along with modern polyphonic Voyager and Phatties tower racks. Participating artists will spend four days and nights creating music using the Soundlab, their efforts culminating in live performances of newly created music in Miranda, the Hotel's live music venue. In addition, the compositions will be produced and experienced under the influence of one of Brion Gysin’s Dream Machines.

Artists so far confirmed include Keiji Haino, Blanck Mass, DJ Andy Blake, Dave Colohan (United Bible Studies), Steven Stapleton (Nurse With Wound), Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard and visual artist Mark Titchner. The public performances will take place between 5–29 August.

Encoding music into DNA Kickstarter launched

Music Of The Spheres

A Kickstarter has been launched to fund the next stage of the Music Of The Spheres project. Inspired by the possibilities of new bioinformatics technology, the project – a collaboration between scientist Dr Nick Goldman and performance artist Charlotte Jarvis – has encoded an MP3 version of a new composition from the Kreutzer Quartet onto DNA molecules. These molecules have since been suspended in a soap solution that will be used to make bubbles. Already half complete, Music Of The Spheres plans to put money raised into showcasing the new work through a series of live performances and installations created by Jarvis.