The Wire


Anohni performs Hopelessness at Barbican

Anohni, the artist previously known as Antony Hegarty of Antony And The Johnsons, will perform in collaboration with Oneohtrix Point Never and Hudson Mohawke at London’s Barbican this July. The event will see the artist play material from the new album Hopelessness which is due out in spring this year. The Barbican has stated that those in the audience “will be amongst the first to hear material from the new album live in concert”.

At the end of last year, Anohni released the single “4 Degrees” – with 0PN and HudMo in its production credits – to coincide with the UN climate talks in Paris. You can read Phil England's essay on the trend towards cautious messaging in the arts, and the brutal reality of the choices we face in Columns.

Hopelessness will be performed at London's Barbican, 7–8 July, 7.30pm

Konono No 1 set to release new album

Konono No 1 are set to release their first album in six years. The release has the Congolese electronic masters join forces with Angolan-born, Portuguese raised producer Batida aka Pedro Coquenão, and marks their first full length since 2010's Assume Crash Position.

Currently at the helm of the outfit is Augustin Mawangu – the son of Konono founder, the late Mingiedi Mawangu. Based in Kinshasa, DRC, but with origins in the Bakongo ethnic group based between the Congo and Angola, the group are renowned for their use of the electrified thumb piano alongside DIY electronic instruments. In 2004 Crammed Discs put out the full length Congotronics, leading to a collection of other releases as well as Crammed's Congotronics series.

The suffix No 1 is applied in order to distinguish this group from offshoots formed by students of Mawangu. As Nick Richardson explains in his interview with the group for The Wire 314, ”One of the first things Mingiedi tells me is “Tout d’abord, je suis maître” (“First and foremost, I’m a teacher”); Konono has functioned as a school for budding musicians. Youngsters who wanted to learn likembe, the African thumb piano at the heart of Konono’s sound, would come to the virtuoso Mingiedi, who would find them a place in the group where they could hone their skills.

“After they left,” confirms Mingiedi, “they started their own groups, which they also called Konono. I never said that my group was number one, but when they started theirs they called themselves number two, number three, and so on. We took the name Konono No 1 by implication, even though we’d never used it. But yes, the first group to be called Konono was my group.”

Konono No 1 Meets Batida was recorded in Batida's studio in Lisbon alongside guitarist Papa Juju, vocalist Selma Uamusse, and slam poet MC AF Diaphra. The album was jointly produced by the producer of Crammed Discs' Congotronics series, Vincent Kenis, and Coquenão himself.

Listen to "Nlele Kalusimbiko" featuring AF Diaphra on vocals and Papa Juju on guitar:

Konono N°1 Meets Batida is due for release in April 2016 on Crammed Discs.

Subscribers to The Wire can read Nick Richardson's cover feature over at Exact Editions.

Domino announces Flying Saucer Attack vinyl reissues

Photo by Richard Amp

The Domino label is set to reissue three Flying Saucer Attack albums this March. The announcement follows on from last year’s Instrumentals 2015,which marked the return of founding guitarist Dave Pearce after a 15-year hiatus. The three LPs to be repressed are Distance (1994), Further (1994) and Chorus (1995).

In his extensive feature on the West Country scene which produced Flying Saucer Attack (and associated bands such as Movietone, Third Eye Foundation and Crescent) in The Wire 378, Joseph Stannard describes Further in particular as the moment where Pearce "came into his own as songwriter and sonic architect. Opening with the extraordinary "Rainstorm Blues" and proceeding through an impeccably sequenced set of windswept reveries, in which excoriating noise and delicate melody combine in elemental union, Further is one of the most startling guitar records of the 1990s."

Distance, Further and Chorus are released by Domino on 18 March.

SHAPE announce artist roster for 2016

Klara Lewis. Photo by Sylvain Deleu

The Creative Europe-supported SHAPE platform has announced their artist roster for 2016. The three year initiative unites 16 European non-profit organisations active within the worldwide ICAS network and annually chooses 48 musicians and artists to participate in a mix of live performances, residencies, workshops and talks across member festivals and special events including CTM, Skaņu Mežs, Unsound and Schiev Festival. 2016 artists include Killing Sound, Klara Lewis, MESH, Peder Mannerfelt, Laura Luna, Piotr Kurek, Spatial, We Will Fail, and others.

Official trailer released for Don Cheadle's Miles Davis biopic

Photo by Urve Kuusik

Sony Pictures Classics has released the full trailer for Miles Davis biopic Miles Ahead.

The film is directed and co-produced by actor Don Cheadle (Traffic, Hotel Rwanda, Oceans Eleven, Avengers: Age Of Ultron) who also takes the lead role of the late trumpet player and jazz pioneer.

The film's primary focus is the period from the mid-1970s to the early 80s, during which Davis retreated from the music business.

Ewan MacGregor (Trainspotting, Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, The Men Who Stare At Goats) stars alongside Cheadle as Rolling Stone journalist Dave Brill. The role of Davis's first wife Frances Taylor is played by Emayatzi Corinealdi (Addicted, In The Morning, The Invitation).

The film was scored by pianist Robert Glasper under the supervision of Davis's former employee Herbie Hancock. Miles Ahead is released in the UK on 22 April.

Tape loop project features 120 artists

The fourth edition of Jeremy Young’s Chants Beneath podcast has gone live. Described as “a living archive of cassette tape loops” the mass project entails 120 artists each reworking different looped sections of a drone track. Speaking about the inspiration for the project, Young says: ”The initial piece was recorded in London as an improvisation for a 1963 Heathkit Signal Generator with feedback manipulation. When I went back into the piece a year or so later, I thought it should be presented, instead of as one extended drone, as an artist edition of 120 endless loops, uniquely spliced out of different sections of the piece.”

The large scale project has set a target of ten tracks to be released monthly, with the list of musicians and artists set to contribute including Tom Carter, Yan Jun, crys cole, John Chantler, Christopher Tignor, Astral Social Club, Knut Aufermann, Greg Fox, Kathy Hinde, Giuseppi Ielasi, Dylan Nyoukis, Janek Schaefer, Chuck Bettis, Daniel Menche, Antoine Läng, MV Carbon, Yannick Franck, Simon Whetham, Nicholas Szczepanik and many more. “I just started seeking artists that would want to swap a copy of the unique tape edition, an artwork in and of itself (custom hand cut loops, gold letterpress text and black ink-dropped painting on the sleeve design) for a commission to create new work, and it spiralled out of control. The only goal I ever had was to design a model for a non-commercial platform which catalyses both the creation of new sonic work, and also exists as a way for audiences to listen to it.”

You can listen to the tracks via the Chants Beneath website or download as a podcast via iTunes. The latest edition features new work by artists Antoine Läng, Stephanie Loveless, Rachael Finney, Mike Shiflet, Natalie Chami, My Cat Is An Alien, and others. Young will also appear alongside Janek Schaefer in a collaborative improvisation session at Café Oto on 9 March.

Mira Calix opens Moving Museum 35 in Nanjing

Mira Calix has opened a sound art installation on a bus in China. Created in collaboration with the School of Media Art and Communication at the Nanjing University of the Arts, the Moving Museum 35 exhibition takes place on the public bus route 35. “I read somewhere that they opened at least one museum in China every day of 2014,” says Calix, “but having spoken to many artists and curators I was aware that visitor numbers are low, for a variety of complex historical and cultural reasons. I wanted to bring the museum directly to people, rather than people travelling to the museum. I thought it would be interesting to swap that destination and transportation dynamic to experience art.”

The bus is host to a selection of 21 musical responses to a series of artworks curated by the artist. The individual compositions were then mixed in quadrophonic sound, creating a one hour sound piece running on a continuous loop. “I’ve set a level that allows people to stand close to the speakers (peak travel times) without suffering.” Calix explains. “It was one of the most demanding environments I’ve done a soundcheck/level tests in. I specifically chose an electric bus as they are quieter, but as it travels, the sound level of the bus fluctuates as well as the exterior ambient sound. I set about what works well most of the time as it would be impossible to cater for all those fluctuations, including where in the bus you’re physically sitting or standing”.

Reactions documented so far in the visitor's book are varied, with responses ranging from “It feels like a kindergarten, I’m happy here” and “I’ve taken bus 35 for two years. It’s a witness of my dreams and love” to “The music is too loud. It’s better to be quiet on bus”.

“The premise of sound art is a new concept for a large majority of our visitors. Of course some people don’t like it, or just find it too loud or intrusive. But considering how many thousands of people are getting on the bus weekly – it's a surprisingly tiny percentage. I never expected everyone to love it, but I did want to bring the conversation about arts value and meaning in our daily lives to the table. In this I think so far it’s been a tremendous success. We’ve also had other cities in China asking if they too can have the Museum bus, which is a great marker in just how open people are to the new.”

Moving Museum 35 is running daily until 7 April in Nanjing, China. More information can be found at Mira Calix's website.

Bloc Festival announces collaboration with LEME

Carl Craig. Photo by Kai von Rabenau

Bloc Weekend has announced a new collaboration with London Electronic Music Event. Taking over the on-site cinema venue in the main arena, LEME will present a two day programme of panel discussions, demonstrations and talks with artists, including Carl Craig, Andrea Parker and Billy Nasty.

Festival goers can also see a series of on-stage demonstrations with Carl Craig, Ansome and Defekt presented by London Modular. The event includes a debate called Equal Representation In Electronic Music, with panellists Jane Fitz, Lauren Martin (RBMA), Ashley Maks and Gabriel Szatan (both of Boiler Room). Resident Advisor will be talking to DJ Bone, and the art of DJing will be discussed by John Scheffer aka Intergalactic Gary, Andrea Parker, Billy Nasty and Raj Chaudhuri (also of Boiler Room). Other events providing refuge from the gory films being shown on Bloc TV include Sofia Ilyas from the international female collective discussing diversity in music event programmng, Alan Miller on the impact of legislation on electronic music culture and The Wire's Derek Walmsley in conversation with Mute records founder Daniel Miller.

Bloc 2016 runs from 11–13 March at Butlins, Minehead. With Jeff Mills, Holly Herndon, Optimo, Ben UFO, Steve Davis, Helena Hauff, Laurel Halo, Sandrien, Dasha Rush, Kowton, Shanti Celeste, Mr Mitch, Debonair, and more.

Bloc are offering one of our readers a chance to win two weekend passes (incl. accommodation). Retweet to enter.

Massive Attack return

Massive Attack are back with a new EP titled Ritual Spirit on Virgin/EMI. Produced by Massive Attack’s Robert del Naja and long-term studio collaborator Euan Dickinson, the EP features Tricky on the track “Take It There” as well as collaborations with Edinburgh hip hop group Young Fathers, Roots Manuva and East London newcomer Azekel. The release marks the first release for the group since 2010's Atlas Air EP and a Burial collaboration in 2011 with the Four Walls/Paradise Circus 12”. A second EP, written and co-produced by Daddy G, is set for release in spring this year.

The group have also joined the likes of Goldie and released their own App. Called Fantom, the sensory music player creates personalised remixes of the four tracks from the new EP, based on the listener's heartbeat, location, time and movement.

New label Weekertoft release four CD boxset documenting Mopomoso tour

Guitarist John Russell and pianist Paul G Smyth have co-founded Weekertoft, a new label dedicated to improvised music. Its first release will be Making Rooms, a four CD box set documenting the 2013 UK tour of Russell’s London club night Mopomoso to other cities in the UK. Mopomoso brings together UK improv players Evan Parker, Pat Thomas, John Edwards, Alison Blunt, Benedict Taylor, David Leahy, Kay Grant, Alex Ward and Russell. The tour was also co-promoted by Sound And Music. On 5 February a launch event for the box set will feature performances from all the musicians playing on it, apart from Pat Thomas, currently in Antigua, who will be represented by a short film of Thomas in action made by Helen Petts.

The box set can be pre-ordered via Weekertoft's bandcamp before the end of January at a special early bird price of £25 plus shipping. The early bird ticket also includes free entry to the launch event.