Faber will be publishing the memoirs of ex-Fall member Brix Start-Smith next year. The book, titled The Rise, The Fall & The Rise, is due to be published in early 2016. It will trace Start-Smith’s time in The Fall and with Mark E Smith from the early 80s and also her subsequent relationship with Nigel Kennedy of The Bangles, along with her day spent in Hole, through to her marriage to Philip Start, with whom she runs a string of fashion boutiques, and more.
More details on the book here.
An early announcement just in for a new festival at London’s Southbank Centre taking place next year, with a focus on the work of female composers. In June 2016, the festival, titled Deep Minimalism will include performances of works by Pauline Oliveros, Meredith Monk, Éliane Radigue, Russian composer Galina Ustvolskaya. The Southbank is currently hosting both Oliver Coates and Mica Levi (The Wire 372) as artists in residence, with Coates programming the festival and a performance by Levi taking place.
More details on the Deep Minimalism festival will be announced via the Southbank site in the coming months.
Ensembles Asia is an ambitious new initiative launched by Tokyo’s Otomo Yoshihide and Hong Kong’s Takuro Mizuta Lippit aka DJ Sniff. According to Sniff, “This is a large scale project with which we aim to connect independent music communities throughout Asia during the next seven years.”
The project has three components: the Asian Music Network, which will link experimental and underground musicians across the Pacific Rim region; Asian Sounds Research, which will film and record the region’s experimental music and whose project director is Otomo’s regular collaborator Sachiko M; and The Ensembles Asia Orchestra.
The project’s first public outing is the Asian Meeting Festival which takes place in Tokyo on 6 and 7 February and will feature performances by The Ensembles Asia Orchestra, which is made up of underground and experimental musicians from Hong Kong, Bandung, Yogyakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Bangok, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh, Tokyo and Osaka. This will be followed on 8 February by a concert by the same musicians in Kyoto, and on 11 February by a symposium on the subject of experimental music in Asia as well as a concert by Otomo, Sniff, Sachiko M and others at Tokyo’s NTT InterCommunication Center (ICC), which is currently hosting the exhibition Otomo Yoshihide: Between Music And Art (reviewed in The Wire 372).
The Asian Meeting Festival will also host a screening of Adythia Utama’s documentary Bising: Noise And Experimental Music In Indonesia and will be preceded on 5 February by a debriefing session hosted by Tokyo’s Japan Foundation that will present the results of the Ensembles Asia project’s 2014 research trips to the Philippines and Indonesia.
Meanwhile, DJ Sniff has just posted a mixtape online featuring most of the festival’s participating musicians.
More information here
Taking The Dog For A Walk, a feature length documentary about the London improv scene, is released on DVD this month by Ni-Vu-Ni-Connu. The film was premiered at the East London Film Festival in 2014 and reviewed in The Wire 367. Including interviews conducted by Stewart Lee and Tony Bevan with Eddie Prévost, Steve Beresford, John Butcher, Alex Ward, Maggie Nicols, Phil Minton and more, as well as archive footage, Antoine Prum’s film looks at how London’s network of small venues and labels has helped shape the music. The DVD release will be marked with a screening at London’s Café Oto on 25 January.
Beijing based musician and Wire contributor Yan Jun’s book, The Beastly Archives: An Anthology Of Essays And Reviews On Underground Rock And Other Musics, is being translated into English. The book brings together Jun’s writings from 1996–2008 and, at almost 400 pages long, is an in-depth account of Chinese underground music from one of its best known figures. Translator Mark Ge has posted a table of contents plus an excerpt from the first essay here. He is currently looking for a publisher for the book.
Susanna Wallumrød, better known as just Susanna, is starting a Best Of Susanna cassette series. There will be three volumes, released at The Wire and NyMusikk's Off The Page festival in Oslo this weekend.
“New technology and digital ways of listening are exciting, but also challenging,” writes Susanna. As such, she has decided to look back at her catalogue via the format she listened to music on while growing up.
The covers are designed by Lasse Marhuag, and are printed in a signed and numbered limited edition. More details on the label here.
Richard Youngs will be the featured artist at this year’s Counterflows
festival, taking place in Glasgow 2–5 April. Commissioned by festival organiser Alasdair Campbell to create a new vocal work, Youngs has written a piece for four singers called "Experiment For Demolished Structures" and, says Campbell, it is inspired by his and Youngs’s love for brutalist architecture.
Now in its fourth year, 2015’s Counterflows will also feature performances from Daniel Carter, Noura Mint Seymali, Rabih Beaini, Neil Michael Hagerty, Hisato Higuchi, Angharad Davies, Fish Police, Wang Ju-Jui, DINO, Raymond Boni, Negro Leo & The Chinese Cookie Poets, Adam Campbell, Lin Che-Wei, Evan Parker & Sten Sandell, Sacred Paws, Andrea Neumann, Yong Yong and more, as well as film screenings and workshops.
Full details can be found here.
TCF has set loose an artificial intelligence of sorts, a command line called TCFX. It allows users to issue commands to a computer programme, which responds with written answers, numerical code and images.
The command line is intended as an extension of producer TCF’s Liberation Technologies release from last year, the catchily titled 415C47197F78E811FEEB7862288306EC4137FD4EC3DED8B, and future releases by TCF will upgrade and expand TCFX. It has been developed by Remote, with Tljtieue Bovitobenn and Aedrhlsomrs Laucehrofn. Watch a short instructional video on how to use TCFX below.
Glasgow’s Volcanic Tongue, run by Heather Leigh and longtime Wire contributor David Keenan, is closing after ten years in business. The forest green website, featuring a picture of a girl striking a pose in dressing up clothes (a young Heather Leigh preparing for a Madonna fancy dress party) became a mecca for underground music in the UK, stocking CD-Rs, tapes and vinyl often unavailable elsewhere. It began as a mail order business, run out of Keenan and Leigh’s kitchen, before expanding into a Glasgow shop. Since then, it has moved locations, started its own cassette store day and hosted regular in store performances. The website's regular longform write-ups by Keenan now total an estimated two million words, forming an archive of sorts for underground music released in the last decade.
Musicians and artists also passed behind the desk for spells of employment, including Alex Neilson. “As a reflection of the abundance of its music scene, Glasgow has always boasted a healthy number of high quality record shops,” writes Neilson, who worked at Volcanic Tongue between 2004–07. “Suffice to say, none of these ever had anything like the intensely focused aesthetic or the monomaniacal commitment to alternative culture and experimental art as Volcanic Tongue. As a tender 22 year old with an obsession for free jazz and feral folk music, it was a first class back seat education, which often felt like the equivalent of jet skiing behind a runaway train."
Neilson says that the shop became a crucial hub for underground music at a time when there was a ground swell of musicians and non-musicians using the internet and cheap recording equipment to short-circuit the existing production lines of art and music. “Volcanic Tongue provided a platform for people to record and self-release their most personally conceived expressions with the knowledge that it would be discussed with intelligence, sensitivity and on its own peculiar terms,” he explains. “Its closure hasn't just left a gaping hole in Glasgow's cultural landscape, but that of the world.”
“The noise explosion and the CD-R revolution was something that Volcanic Tongue helped channel,” says Keenan, “and by about 2006 it was really at its apex: glory years where it seemed like there were amazing new releases coming out every few days in incredible inventive packaging and with radical new approaches to the form. But when the recession hit in 2008, it hit hard. I don’t think the economy has ever really recovered, nor ever truly will.”
Last year, Volcanic Tongue announced plans to shut up its physical shop and instead return to mail order, but despite these plans Keenan says that this set off a “chain reaction" which could only end in the shop closing completely. "We started Volcanic Tongue as a mail order run out of our kitchen, and we ended that way,” he says. “We were very fortunate in that we developed a reputation in the underground community for breaking and bringing to people music they had never heard of before, so many of our customers were willing to buy blind purely on our own recommendation. We resisted modernising or upgrading the website, as we wanted to preserve the experience of reading a magazine – the way you would take a pitch on something purely after reading a review, with your imagination on fire and a fantasy image of what you were about to hear.”
One of the key factors leading to the closing of the shop is the increasing number of projects both Keenan and Leigh are working on outside of the shop. Keenan’s debut novel, The Comfort Of Women, will be published by Strange Attractor this year, along with a reprint of his book on the UK underground, England’s Hidden Reverse. He’ll also be continuing to contribute to The Wire, and running his cassette label. Leigh is working on new solo and group projects, with a number of releases planned for this year.