Our Vinyl Weighs A Ton, a film about Peanut Butter Wolf's Stones Throw Records, has confirmed a run of screenings in the the UK. The film looks at the history and the impact of the label and includes interviews with Kanye West, Snoop Dogg, Madlib, Questlove, Talib Kweli, Mike D, Tyler The Creator, Flying Lotus and Dam-Funk, among others. Glasgow, Liverpool, Edinburgh, London and Dublin dates will also include Q&As. with Dates are as follows: Glasgow Film Theatre (31 March), Liverpool FACT (1 April), Edinburgh Cameo Picturehouse (2), London Ritzy (3), Leeds Hyde Park Picturehouse (4), Nottingham Broadway (5), Dublin Sugar Club (6). More details, plus EU and US tour dates at the Stones Throw site. Watch a trailer below.
The American composer Robert Ashley has died of cirrhosis of the liver, aged 83.
Ashley was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1930. He attended the University of Michigan and Manhattan School of Music, then – after a stint as a US Army musician – he returned to work at the University of Michigan's Speech Research Laboratory. In the early 60s, he composed numerous works using tape and voice, some that included his own distinctive drawl.
Through the 60s Ashley helped organise the ONCE Festival of experimental music in Ann Arbor, and in 1966, co-founded the Sonic Arts Union with fellow composers Gordon Mumma, Alvin Lucier and David Behrman, all part of the so called post-Cage generation. The Sonic Arts Union was active until 1976, during which time it provided a support network and thinktank for live experimental music. In 1968, after several upsets, Ashley gave up composing for five years, but continued to perform via the Sonic Arts Union. In 1969 he took the job of Director of the Center for Contemporary Music at Oakland's Mills College.
Ashley extended his work with electronic music into more theatrical compositions for voices, dancers and tape. He became interested in making extended opera works for television, and in 1976 created the video work Music With Roots In The Aether – a 14 hour TV opera/documentary featuring the work and ideas of seven American composers: Behrman, Philip Glass, Lucier, Mumma, Pauline Oliveros, Terry Riley and Ashley himself. This was followed by several other long form television operas, including 1983's influential Perfect Lives.
Much of Ashley's work was released through his own label, Lovely Music. He was busy up until the end of his life, completing a new opera, Crash, in December 2013, as well as premiering a new work Mixed Blessings, Indiana at New York's Roulette. Three of his operas will be performed at the 2014 Whitney Biennial.
The ghost of This Heat has emerged on Twitter announcing vinyl reissues of the eclectic London rock outfit's first two albums, their self-titled debut, often referred to as 'blue and yellow', and Deceit, plus the Health And Efficiency 12".
Founded in 1976 by Charles Bullen, Charles Hayward and the late Gareth Williams, they disbanded in 1982 after Williams departed for a sojourn to India. The brief post states that the releases are being remastered by the group "with all the attention to detail that we have maintained throughout our history". More details incoming via This Heat on Twitter.
Update: Charles Bullen gets in touch with a message: "Warning ... any Vinyl LP "Re-release" copies of This Heat ('blue and yellow') or Deceit currently available are bootleg copies! We have heard reports that they are badly mastered and pressed. Please do not purchase these bootlegs!"
Hot rats, it's them or us! Sounding like something you might pick up in 200 Motels, a new strain of acne causing bacteria has been discovered and named P Acnes Zappae by long time Zappa fan and Italian microbiologist Andrea Campisano. P Acnes Zappae is a unique strain of bacteria able to move between humans and grapevines, the first time that a micro-organism has been found to transmit between people and plants.
In other Zappa news: a book detailing the Mothers's man's vinyl singles has been published. The author, Dieter Jakob, has compiled images of every single, plus promotional releases, acetates and test pressings across the 530 pages of Vinyl Is Not Dead It Just Smells Funny.
The co-creator of one of the most eponymous riddims of all time, Wayne Smith, has died aged 48. Smith produced “Under Mi Sleng Teng” with Noel Davey in 1984, and hailed a new era of digital dancehall productions which spread from London to Jamaica. Smith began his career in the early 80s at King Jammy's studio in Kingston. The track was first played by Jammy's sound system at a soundclash in Waltham Park Road in 1985, to rapturous reception.
Devo guitarist Bob Casale (aka Bob2), has died of heart failure, age 61. Casale was one of the original members of Devo along with his older brother, Gerald Casale. Bob wrote the guitar line for the track which became Devo's version of "Satisfaction", and programmed Devo's early sequencers. He originally trained as a radiologist but left his job to go on the road with Devo in 1977. In the 1990s he began working with fellow Devo member Mark Mothersbaugh as an engineer and technician at Mothersbaugh's music production company, Mutato Muzika, a stint that included working on the TV series Rugrats.
David Toop has been appointed Chair of Audio Culture and Improvisation at University of the Arts London. As part of his new role he has started a series of events at Central St Martins's Granary Building, looking at concepts such as archives, and objects.
Dates are as follows: David Toop, Charles Hayward, Jennifer Allum, Lore Lixenberg, Adam Bohman, Rie Nakajima and others (31 March), Elaine Mitchener, Jason Yarde, Cathy Lane and others (5 April), Haroon Mirza, Lore Lixenberg, Nathaniel Mann, Daniela Cascella and others (12 April). More details incoming here.
American composer and shoe designer Roberta Settels has died. Settels, who lived in Stockholm, is best known for her 1985 record Isolation! Meinhof In Memoriam, an electronic work on Red Army Faction co-founder Ulrike Meinhof, composed shortly after she was found dead in her cell in 1976. The record was originally meant to be released on the Caprice label, who backtracked over concerns about the album's militant leftist politics, which meant that Settels released it herself on her Music In Crisis label.
An electro-acoustic composer and footwear designer (she ran a chain of leather sandal boutiques), she worked at EMS in Sweden and IRCAM in Paris, with composers including Iannis Xenakis and Pierre Boulez. she described her compositions as "music for spiritual survival" and also composed for TV, film, and radio.
A collection of Polish artists have made a compilation, PL2UA, dedicated to the people of Ukraine, which at time of writing contained 93 tracks (but is growing all the time). Tracks have been provided free of charge by the artists, and are largely made up of previously unreleased material. All funds will be donated to the Open Dialogue Foundation. Get it on Bandcamp.
The Barbican has cancelled this Saturday's Just Jam event after concerns over public safety were raised by the City of London Police. The police have not specified what those public safety concerns are. Chris Sharp, Barbican Music Programmer, said: "The police have not shared the detail of their concerns with us. They have only advised us to cancel the event."
The Barbican statement says: "The Barbican has taken the decision to cancel the Just Jam concert that was scheduled to take place on 1 March 2014 on the grounds of public safety following dialogue with the City of London Police. As a responsible public venue we have to take police advice seriously and consider the safety of audience members, artists and our staff."
Scheduled to appear in the Barbican Hall (a seated event) were RP Boo, Omar Souleyman, Loefah & Chunky, JME & Big Narstie, Sophie, Mount Kimbie, Kurupt FM plus dancer Lightbulb.
Update: The City Of London Police have released a statement, in which they identify concerns as the fact "alcohol would be on sale at an event which would be allowing entry to anyone aged 16 or over" and that "there were worries about the lack of adequate measures in place to address potential issues that might arise, including overcrowding".