The Wire


Bloc 2016 will be the last weekender

Bloc has announced that this year's weekender will be the festival's last. “After ten glorious years – this is it. It’s the final one and we won’t be doing any curtain calls, encores, reunion tours or one-last-jobs,” Bloc stated in a press release published this morning.

This latest update follows a well-documented turbulent period for the festival after the cancellation of their 2012 event at London Pleasure Garden put the company into adminstration. Since then Bloc has hosted a series of events in Hackney Wick, London; and last year saw the popular weekend festival return at Butlin's Minehead (its home since 2009). But this year's event won’t be the last thing the world hears from Bloc, as co-founder Alex Benson explains in an interview with Resident Advisor. “We're going to build a super club. As many of you will know, we started a venue in an ex-industrial building in London, then renovated the surrounding warehouses into music studios and workspace. A community sprung up around it and it has been one of the most rewarding things we have ever been involved in. We want to develop this community and the venue at the heart of it. It will, like the current venue, be called Bloc.”

Bloc 2016 will take place between 11–13 March. The line-up includes Jeff Mills, Carl Craig, Space Dimension Controller, Peverelist & Kowton, Slackk, Ceephax Acid Crew, Om Unit, Second Storey and Appleblim, Logos, Ben UFO, Omar S, Holly Herndon, Surgeon & Blawan, Tama Sumo & Lakuti, Andrew Weatherall & Optimo, Steffi, Helena Hauff, Powell, Lone, Objekt, Kahn, Aurora Halal, Laurel Halo, Debonair, and more.

David Keenan launches expanded study of the esoteric underground

On 21 February David Keenan will launch the revised and expanded edition of his book England's Hidden Reverse at London's Cafe Oto. Originally published in 2003, the book explores the history of the English esoteric underground through the works of Coil, Nurse With Wound and Current 93, among others. Out of print for more than ten years, the original edition has since become a collector’s item. The updated publication comes with two new chapters, including “Crime Calls For Night”, which is described by this second edition’s publisher Strange Attractor as a “daring argument that traces the transgressive urge that animates industrial culture all the way from Palaeolithic cave art through rock ’n’ roll and punk rock and up to contemporary noise music”; and a final summing up of how the culture has changed gear since the title was first published.

The launch event will feature Keenan presenting a talk based on the “Crime Calls For Night” chapter, a DJ set from Helm that promises to be of “industrial strength”, a selection of film screenings connected to early industrial culture, as well as a panel discussion with Keenan, Jill Westwood (Fistfuck/The Wound), Ken Hollings and more TBC. Strange Attractor Press will also be there with copies of the book fresh for signing.

England's Hidden Reverse book launch takes place on 21 February, London Cafe Oto, £4.

AV Festival 2016: Meanwhile, what about Socialism?

Dziga Vertov, Enthusiasm: Symphony Of The Donbas, 1930. Courtesy Oleksandr Dovzhenko National Centre, Kyiv

The full programme for AV Festival 2016: Meanwhile, what about Socialism? has been announced. The event “presents work by artists and film makers who situate themselves in relation to historic political struggle, revolution and social movements, creating new forms of resistance to neoliberal capitalism”, says the festival. As well as a series of visual art installations, a large film programme, including a screening of Dziga Vertov’s first sound film Enthusiasm (Symphony Of The Donbass), is on the cards. Test Dept will also be there performing a live soundtrack to the never-before-screened Mikhail Kaufman's film An Unprecedented Campaign.

The festival takes place in and around Newcastle and Gateshead, 27 February–27 March.

Rewire announce more acts

Jlin. Photo by Will Glasspiegel

Rewire have announced the new swathe of artist to be added to the 2016 bill including a James Holden & Maalem Houssam Guinia collaboration, a festival commissioned improvisation from Vessel, Black Rain and Pete Swanson, Dean Blunt’s new project Babyfather, Jlin, Roly Porter, Mikael Seifu, Anna Meredith, and more. Rewire takes place 1–3 April in The Hague.

Psychic TV/PTV3 catalogue goes digital

The entire back catalogue post-2003 Psychic TV/PTV3 is now available digitally. Psychic TV/PTV3 reformed in 2003 with new collaborator Edley ODowd (formally of Toilet Boys) joining the group’s original frontman Genesis P’Orridge. Since then the group released two full lengths, Hell Is Invisible...Heaven is Her/e and Mr. Alien Brain vs. The Skinwalkers, alongside a handful of singles and EPs. Bar a limited run of 300 USB sticks that were released last year, Dais Records will be digitally releasing the catalogue for the first time.

Cafe Oto launch digital membership downloads

Charles Gayle as Streets. Photo by Chris Verene

London’s Café Oto have launched a digital membership service that makes available 30 exclusive live recordings for download, with a new release added every week. Current releases include offerings Wolf Eyes, Alash, and Graham Lambkin, with future releases promised with the likes of Mika Vainio, Charles Gayle and Akira Sakata. Digital membership costs £10 a month and gets you three downloads within that period. Full membership (which also includes cheap gig tickets, early-bird booking and discounts on records and books bought via their shop) is also available.

More details can be found on Cafe Oto's website.

A-Bound at Islington Mill

Launching the second phase in Fat Out’s Burrow programming residency at Islington Mill is a new series of events called A-Bound. Running from 23–27 March, the events programme has A-Bound collaborating with Now Wave, Cacophonous Sarcophagus, Optimo Music, High Hopes and Brazier Park’s Supernormal festival. Also appearing in March at Islington Mill will be Lydia Lunch with Retrovirus. It promises an “all-star cast of sonic brutarians in a no-holds-barred survey of her musical output from 1977 to the present.”

More information can be found at Fat Out's website.

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.