The Wire


Retracing Reggae's Record Covers In London looks for funding

Kickstarter has been set up for a photography book documenting the locations of 42 reggae record covers taken in London between 1967 and 1987

London based photographer Alex Bartsch has spent the last two years cycling across London in search for the exact locations of reggae album sleeve phototgraphy and rephotographing them in situ. The project started back in 2014 when he bought a copy of Brixton Cat by Joe's All Stars (Trojan Records, 1969). “I live in Brixton and took the record down to the market where the cover photo was shot, holding it up and rephotographing it at arms length, matching up the LP to the background,” explains Bartsch. “The second cover was Smiley Culture's Cockney Translation 12", which was photographed in Battersea. From then on, I was hooked.”

To date Bartsch has located more than 40 sleeves that will be the subject of a new book next year, and for which he has started a Kickstarter campaign to help fund. Supporters can make pledges to receive anything from a copy of the book to postcards, signed and stamped prints, a limited cloth-bound edition and even a private guided bicycle tour with the photographer visiting various reggae record cover locations around London.

Sleeve: Moodie Early Years (Moodie Music)

“It's been a great adventure, and has painted an interesting map of London's reggae music heritage. To achieve some of these shots I had to hitch a boat ride across Regent's Canal, climb onto a rooftop near Old Street, ask to enter someone's front room in Hampstead, access a back yard in Wembley and venture onto the Westway in west London.”

The book will be 112 pages in length and feature a foreword by Pressure Sounds' Noel Hawks. It will be published through Al Newman's One Love Books, an imprint responsible for other reggae-related titles such as Clarks In Jamaica and the recent art publication In Fine Style: The Dancehall Art Of Wilfred Limonious.

Outernational Days launch crowdfunding campaign

Following this summer’s first edition, the Romanian festival seeks public help to go annual

Romania’s Outernational Days festival has launched an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign. The organisers of the three day event are seeking funds on the back of their successful first edition in Bucharest at the beginning of July with a view to making it an annual affair. “Your contributions will help Outernational Days become an annual summer event, where everybody is welcome,” reads their campaign pitch. “Your donations will have a massive impact on the festival. Not only are you helping fund the artistic part of the festival for 2017, but also you are helping support live music for this year and years to come. Your donations help the organisers to keep the ticket prices affordable, so that everybody can enjoy live music and have a multicultural experience at affordable costs.”

The second edition of Outernational Days plans to bring to Bucharest musicians from Morocco, Greece, Mali, Asia, Kenya and elsewhere in a programme featuring The Sun Ra Arkestra, Karkhana, Hailu Mergia with Tony Buck & Mike Majkowski, Meridian Brothers, Mark Ernestus’ Ndagga Rhythm Force, and others. They also aim to screen films and host lectures, panels and audiovisual installations.

More information can be found on the campaign page. Pledgers can receive a number of rewards including tickets to future events like the second edition of the festival, specially designed T-shirts and bags, a studio session with professional Romanian producers/musicians, posters, limited edition cassette tapes, percussion and didgeridoo lessons, and more.

Outernational Days 2 will take place between 30 June–2 July 2017. As part of the long run-up to next year’s festival, Jerusalam In My Heart will perform on 28 October at Bucharest's Jazz Pong venue.

New weekend festival to take up home in North Wales holiday camp next year

Safe As Milk will launch in April 2017, with first acts announced including Shirley Collins, Omar Souleyman, The Residents, This Is Not This Heat, OOIOO and more

A brand new festival is set to launch in North Wales next year. Safe As Milk, named after Captain Beefheart's debut album, will be held at Pontins, Prestatyn – the venue that held the last All Tomorrow's Parties weekender in April 2016, before that company went into administration.

Founded by Graham Thrower of alt vinyl in partnership with Lee Etherington, the man behind Newcastle/Gatehead's popular Tusk, the festival promises a packed programme. “What do you want from a festival?” Thrower asks, answering “a real diversity of artists delivering powerful sets, a great environment to spend time with your mates, and plenty of stuff going on when the bands aren't playing.” Lee Etherington adds “we want more from a festival too - good food, films, exhibitions, good beer, workshops, great records to buy, gig posters, guest DJs - we're taking this format to the next level and beyond, it's going to be the best weekend you've ever had at a festival.”

So far the line up include The Wire 393 cover star Shirley Collins, San Francisco experimental art collective The Residents, Yoshimi P-We's OOIOO, This Is Not This Heat with special guests including Thurston Moore & Alexis Taylor, Detroit techno originators Dopplereffekt, Cairo's Islam Chipsy & EEK, Hieroglyphic Being, Horse Lords, Nurse With Wound, and Grouper. Other acts are still TBC.

Safe As Milk takes place from 21–23 April at Pontins, Prestatyn in North Wales. Tickets go on sale 31 October and start at the Super Early Bird price of £139.99 including three nights' accommodation.

Eddie Prévost's Matchless catalogue goes digital via Otoroku

Recordings from the free jazz, noise and improv label's archive now available on MP3 and FLAC

London's Cafe Oto has announced that it’s working with AMM drummer Eddie Prévost on the digitalisation of his Matchless Recordings catalogue. Founded in the 1970s as a means of releasing the AMM records other labels were unwilling to take on, Matchless is still in business. Its artist roster includes Evan Parker, John Tilbury, Alexander von Schlippenbach, Mattin and more, as well as various Prévost collaborations – an impressive 40 year record considering the difficulties he first had getting shops to stock Matchless releases. “I remember having a discussion with one who, frankly, gave me a going over,” recalls Prévost, talking about AMM's 1968 set The Crypt. One shop owner even said to him, “Why do you want to release this stuff? No one’s ever going to buy this? This is awful.”

“We were taken aback,” continues Prévost. “Such a vehement response to the work you know. I said, ‘Well, we didn't produce it for you to sell. We produced it because it was representative of our work and we thought it was an important part of it.’’’

So far, the Matchless catalogue has released 95 titles and is still growing. The digital recordings are available via Cafe Oto's achive label Otoroku, either as part of a digital subscription or for £6 a title.

The spirit of LAFMS boxed in a new 13 LP set

LAFMS BOX BOX documents all The Los Angeles Free Music Society’s 2012 performances at The Box gallery

The Los Angeles Free Music Society is about to release a 13 LP box set of all the performances it staged at a 2012 Los Angeles exhibition marking its 40 year existence. Called Beneath The Valley Of The Lowest Form Of Music: The Los Angeles Free Music Society 1972–2012, The Box Gallery exhibition examined the collective’s output over the past 40 years through photographs, visual art work, home-made instruments, recordings, ephemera, film and video. During its six week run, the gallery hosted a number of concerts featuring the collective’s members, recordings of which now make up LAFMS BOX BOX. “Every concert is given one side of an LP. The LP sleeves feature close-ups of the table top displays we had of various instruments and artefacts,” explains BOX BOX's artistic director and designer Tom Recchion. The set includes a 52 page full colour book showcasing visual exhibits from the various LAFMS members participating, as well as a selection of posters. One such poster was for the late Mike Kelley's installation, which happened to be his last piece of work, just as his opening night performance turned out to be his final show. “All of this comes in a slip case box and is pretty fucking heavy!” exclaims Recchion.

Performances include the opening reception improvisation with Dennis Duck, John Duncan, Ace Farren Ford, Joseph Hammer, Mike Kelley, Fredrik Nilsen, Joe Potts, Rick Potts, Tom Recchion and Vetza; The Artificial Art Ensemble with Ted Byrnes, Ace Farren Ford, Mars Pharoah Ford, Oddrocker Orlando Greenhill and Michael Intriere; The Doo-Dooettes featuring Dennis Duck, Fredrik Nilsen and Tom Recchion; Smegma; Paul McCarthy, Fredrik Nilsen, Joe Potts, Tom Recchion as Extended Organ, and prerecorded XO contributions by Mike Kelley, Rahdlines aka Nate Archer & Aaron Coye, and many others.

The book’s photography is Fredrik Nilsen, and to top it off, the vinyl set comes with a download code. LAFMS BOX BOX will be released on 25 November by Box Editions.

Run The Jewels premiere the first single from RTJ3

El-P and Killer Mike unleash "Talk To Me" from their hotly anticipated third album, due in 2017

Run The Jewels – aka Killer Mike and El-P – have released the first track from their forthcoming third album. “Talk To Me” is available to download and stream from Adult Swim as part of their ongoing singles program.

The duo formed shortly after El-P produced Killer Mike's 2012 album R.A.P. Music. To date they have released two acclaimed albums and the Meow The Jewels remix collection – on which a variety of producers recreated the second album using only cat sounds. More recently RTJ provided raps for “Nobody Speak”, a track on DJ Shadow's The Mountain Will Fall.

RTJ3 is set for release next year via Mass Appeal

New book of Peter Brötzmann’s sleeve and poster art

Graphic Works 1959–2016 features more than 45 years of Brötzmann’s record cover and poster art

Wolke Verlag has published a book of Peter Brötzmann art works. Called Graphic Works 1959–2016, it’s made up from a selection of approximately 260 of his record sleeve and poster designs. It also includes written contributions from Lasse Marhaug, John Corbett, Gérard Rouy, David Keenan, Karl Lippegaus and Jost Gebers.

The publication of Graphic Works 1959–2016 coincides with a Brötzmann exhibition showing at Bimhuis, Amsterdam, until 11 December.

David Toop looks back at the year 2000’s Sonic Boom: The Art Of Sound

At a public talk in November The Wire contributor David Toop will discuss the UK’s first major sound art exhibition he organised at London’s Hayward Gallery

Musician, writer, curator and Wire contributor David Toop will discuss his London Hayward Gallery show Sonic Boom: The Art Of Sound at a public talk in November. The exhibition, which ran in the year 2000, was the UK’s first major sound art show. It drew together works from sound art practitioners in improvised music, performance, sound design and the visual arts. David’s talk is part of a series of events organised by Afterall’s Exhibition Histories and East London’s Whitechapel Gallery, where it takes place on 24 November.

Earlier this year, David Toop's new book Into The Maelstrom: Music, Improvisation And The Dream Of Freedom: Before 1970 was published by Bloomsbury. He joined Derek Walmsley in the Resonance FM studios last month. Listen to their conversation here.

Slapp Happy to reform and play with Faust at a Cologne fest

Avant garde pop band Slapp Happy will perform for the first time in 16 years at Cologne’s Week-End festival

The Anglo-German avant pop band Slapp Happy will reunite for their first performance in 16 years at Cologne’s Week-End festival in November. Although they’ve got back together for various projects over the years, the group formed in 1972 by Anthony Moore officially spllt in 1975 following their move to the UK and the release of Desperate Straights, the album they co-recorded with Henry Cow. At Week-End, Slapp Happy’s three original members – Moore, Dagmar Krause and Peter Blegvad – will be joined by Faust’s Jean-Hervé Peron and Zappi Diermaier on bass and drums, both of whom appeared on the trio’s debut album Sort Of and the later Casablanca Moon (aka Acnalbasac Noom in the 1980s version released by Recommended).

Week-End runs from 25–27 November at various venues in Cologne. The programme also includes Baba Zula, Les Filles De Illighadad, The Julie Ruin, Babyfather, and more.

Swansea all-day fundraiser for refugees

The first edition of a new concert and film series in West Wales will feature Aura Satz, The Swansea Laptop Orchestra, Wire contributor Clive Bell, and more

A new event series in support of local refugee causes starts up in West Wales in November called Gŵyl Nawr festival. “NAWR (meaning NOW in Welsh) is a new multidisciplinary concert series in Swansea of experimental music, free improvisation, film, lo-fi, free jazz, sound art, alternative folk and new music,” declares the festival, which was convened by Rhodri Davies, Jenn Kirby, Rose Linn-Pearl and Dan Linn-Pearl. “The aim is to offer an open and reflective space for an audience to experience new music in a welcoming and intimate setting.”

The line-up of this first edition features Wire contributor Clive Bell, Douglas Benford, Kevin Chan, Euros Childs, Matt Collier, Rhodri Davies, Medi Evans, GINKO, ANi GLASS, Ian Holloway, Adam Howell, Simon Kilshaw, Jenn Kirby, Matthew Lovett, John Rowley, Aura Satz, Swansea Laptop Orchestra, Richard Thomas, Ian Watson, and others. The festival’s film programme includes David Garner’s Between The Stammer And Le Mot Juste and Call And Response, Helen Petts’s Solo Soprano, and various Aura Satz works such as Oramics: Atlantis Anew and Little Doorways To Paths Not Yet Taken: Laurie Spiegel Film.

NAWR takes place at the Volcano Theatre on 20 November.