The Wire


Ten years of love: JAW family reunion

The soul music collective follow their tenth anniversary with a series of events in Berlin and Paris in November

Parisian soul music representatives JAW are set to continue their tenth anniversary celebrations with special events in Paris and Berlin to mark a family reunion bringing together new and more familiar acts. The reunion will kick off in Berlin on 8 November at the Young African Art Market with a double bill featuring Blue Note’s The Robert Glasper Experiment and New Orleans trumpet player Christian Scott and Tunde Adjuah. Blue Note jazz troupe Gogo Penguin will join them at Bi Nuu on 11 November. They follow their Berlin dates a week later with four consecutive nights of shows beginning at La Machine in Paris on 17 November with Henry Wu's project Yussef Kamaal and JAW regular Theo Parrish. Between 18–20 November the series returns to Berlin for a three night run at Prince Charles with acts including Floating Points, Theo Parrish (again), Motor City Drum Ensemble, Hunee, Red Greg, Gilles Peterson, Sadar Bahar, The Pyramids, Carlos Niño, Rabih Beaini and Jameszoo.

JAW Family Reunion takes place in Berlin and Paris on various dates between 8–20 November.

Kompakt duo announce box set and new album

The two co-founders of veteran German dance institution Kompakt are set to release major projects this autumn

Two of the co-founders of veteran German dance institution Kompakt, Michael Mayer and Wolfgang Voigt, are set to release major projects this autumn.

Voigt's Gas Box compiles the four albums he released under the name Gas in the late 1990s – Gas, Zauberberg, Königsforst and Pop. The box will present each record in its original form alongside a book of Voigt's art. This new package follows a previous Gas box set released in spring 2008 when Voigt graced the cover of The Wire. The vinyl edition of the set includes a number of previously unreleased edits of his recordings. Meanwhile his Kompakt associate Michael Mayer is set to release a brand new album on the !K7 label. Titled simply &, it consists entirely of collaborations with Roman Flügel, Hot Chip’s Joe Goddard and Voigt himself, among many others. The release date for Voigt’s Gas Box and Mayer’s & is 28 October.

Gong co-founder Gilli Smyth has died

The psychedelic rock Space Whisperer has died aged 83

Performance artist, musician, poet and Gong co-founder Gilli Smyth has died. She passed on 22 August. “Gilli died at mid-day in Australia surrounded by loved ones,” Planet Gong reported on 23 August. “She had been admitted to Byron Bay hospital with pneumonia a couple of days ago. She was 83 and also ageless.

“Her unique stage presence and vocals manifested and determinedly represented a vital, deeply fundamental feminine principle within the Gong universe. She last performed with the band in 2012.

“The two images of Gilli that spring to mind when I think of her are reading a newspaper, feet up on a tour bus, in our kitchen, in 100s of dressing rooms - she was never without a newspaper whatever country we were in, or laughing – a little Gilli semi-supressed chuckle at the absurdity of pretty much everything.

“We will miss her. Love to the Good Witch and all who feel her loss.”

Smyth was born on 1 June 1933. At the age of 12 she was expelled from the convent Catholic school she attended for, according to Plant Gong, “writing 'heretical' and erotic poetry”. She studied three degrees at Kings Collage London and worked as an editor for the collage's magazine Kings News. She moved to Paris in the 1960s and began teaching at Sorbonne University. In 1966 Gilli published a book of poetry Nitrogen Dreams Of A Wide Girl. It was in Paris that she met the late Daevid Allen (founding member of Soft Machine with Robert Wyatt, Kevin Ayers and Mike Ratledge), occasionally travelling with the group as a performance poet. In 1967 she founded the psychedelic rock group Gong with Allen and released their debut album Magick Brother in 1970. In Gong she often performed under the name Shakti Yoni with a vocal style which had her develop the concept of the Space Whisper singing style. As Planet Gong notes ”This became part of the unique sound of Gong as part of the concept of Total Space Music that they had heard in their mind's ears. Gilli played a central role in the creation of the Gong mythology, being responsible for much of the radical political inerity of the band and was often credited as being the 'invisible' leader.”

Smyth left Gong in July 1972 and following a brief period in Spain with her children went on to form numerous other project including Mother Gong releasing her first solo album Mother in 1978. That was followed by several albums written with Harry Williamson such as Fairy Tales (1980), the Robot Woman trilogy, The Owl And The Tree, and others. Gilli went on to release albums throughout the 1990s (including two with her son, Orlando Allen, as Goddess Trance/Goddess T) and 2000s, including reunions with Daevid Allen and 2012's Paradise.

Watch her perform “Witches Song, I Am Your Pussy”

Recording engineer Rudy Van Gelder has died

Engineer of hundreds of recordings for Blue Note and other labels passes away at 91

The legendary jazz recording engineer Rudy Van Gelder has died at the age of 91, The New York Times reported.

Van Gelder, an optomistrist by trade, began making recordings in a makeshift studio in his parents' house in Hackensack, New Jersey. He was recommended to Blue Note Records in 1952 and the following year took over responsibilities for recording engineering at the label. The painstaking detail of his recordings came to define the sound of jazz. Richard Cook, former Editor of The Wire, called Van Gelder's method of recording and mixing the piano “as distinctive as the pianists' playing itself” in his book Blue Note Records: The Biography. Electronic producer Kirk Degiorgio, interviewed in The Wire 160, declared that “before Blue Note you couldn't really hear a cymbal on a jazz record. Rudy Van Gelder pioneered that whole idea of the importance of the recording.” But Van Gelder himself, however, was deferential: “the Rudy Van Gelder sound is really the Alfred Lion sound,” he said, crediting the Blue Note producer.

Van Gelder was so prolific in the 1950 and 60s that putting a precise figure on how many albums he had a hand in is almost impossible – including engineering, mastering and remastering, the total runs into thousands. He recorded all styles of jazz, from bebop to fusion to free jazz, and worked not just for for Blue Note but for Verve, Prestige and Impulse!. It was for the latter that he recorded John Coltrane's A Love Supreme in 1964.

Berlin’s 3hd Festival returns in October

“There is nothing left but the Future?” is the theme of 3hd Festival’s second edition, announce Berlin based organisers Creamcake

The second instalment of 3hd festival will take place at various venues in Berlin between 11–15 October. It will also feature an extensive online presence, marking it as “a new breed of hybrid festival, looking at music, performance, and visual art to ask deeper questions about politics, community, economic uncertainty, and communication”. With this year’s theme asking the question “There is nothing but the future?”, the festival aims to go against what it sees as a trend towards futuristic prophecies. Instead it focuses on “potential solutions for addressing the problems of the present”.

Creamcake’s Daniela Seitz and Anja Weigl announce that the line-up confirmed so far includes Wire contributor Adam Harper (whose essay on “violent freedoms and violent oppressions” in Beethoven’s Ode To Joy via Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange is already online), AGF, Aïsha Devi featuring Emile Barret, Claire Tolan, DIY Church, DJ NJ Drone, DJ Paypal, 食品まつり aka Foodman, Inga Copeland/Lolina, Kara­Lis Coverdale, Lisa Blanning, Soda Plains featuring Negroma, ssaliva, Uniiqu3 and many more. The Wire's Deputy Editor Emily Bick will also be there hosting panel talks, details TBC.

3hd takes place between 11-15 October at various venues in Berlin. Tickets are on sale now.

Shaun Bloodworth fundraiser in September

#RaveForShaun events to help raise money for the photographer awaiting a liver transplant

Two fundraising events have been organised for Sheffield based underground electronic music photographer Shaun Bloodworth, who is currently in Northern General Hospital, where he suffered an infection that led to him having his lower leg amputated while waiting for a liver transplant. “Shaun is also self-employed,” explains Claire Thornley, contributor to Sheffield Culture Guide, “so this enforced and lengthy stay in hospital, and subsequent rehabilitiation, is making a bad situation even worse. These events are a chance for his friends to create something positive for Shaun and his family at this awful time.”

Shaun’s photos documenting the electronic music underground have been featured by The Wire, Rinse, FWD, Bleep, Tempa and many others. The first #RaveForShaun will take place in Sheffield on 1 September. It will be followed by #RaveForShaun London at Ministry Of Sound on 15 September. The line-up confirmed for London includes Geeneus, Katy B, Benga, Rustie, Pearson Sound, Lone, Special Request aka Paul Woolford, Toddla T b2b Roska, Illum Sphere, Youngsta, Loefah, Mary Anne Hobbs, Raji Rags, and many more. All money raised will go directly to Shaun and his family, alongside a donation to the UK based organ donor charity Live Life, Give Life. More information can be found at Tickets are on sale now. You can also make a donation via Justgiving.

The virtual orchestra comes to London’s Southbank Centre

London Philharmonia Orchestra and conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen co-present the first major virtual reality initiative from a UK symphony orchestra at the Southbank Centre in September

London's Southbank centre is presenting a free ten day series featuring the first major virtual reality presentation from a UK Orchestra. The presentation will consist of two digital installations – a walk-though audio-visual piece based on Holst’s The Planets called Universe Of Sound and a VR backstage 360 Experience. And it will culminate in a concert on 1 October conducted by Esa Pekka Salonen.

“The Philharmonia's Digital Projects have taken place all over the world and I am delighted that we are now bringing Universe Of Sound to our home at Southbank Centre, and to our London audience,” says The Philharmonia Orchestra’s principal conductor and artistic advisor Salonen. “The incredible power of virtual reality is that it is disappointing to leave it to come back to reality. There is no doubt that for classical music virtual reality will be a very powerful, useful medium, and I am very excited to be taking part in this project.”

Various workshops will also be taking place. The series runs from 23 September–2 October.

Unsound Krakow line up announcements continue

The latest artists are announced for Unsound's Dislocation edition this October, as individual tickets go on sale

More artists have been announced for this year's Unsound Krakow. Amongst those announced, Demdike Stare are set to return to the weeklong event as “part of a post-Brexit focus on UK artists at the festival” according to the press release. Also engaging with this theme is a new site-specific project from duo Emptyset which will feature “self-made instruments, projections and light” and, as previously announced, Felicita working with the newly confirm Polish traditional dance outfit Śląsk Song and Dance Ensemble. Other premieres come from Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein performing works from their score to the Stranger Things TV series and Bill Kouligas collaborating with Amnesia Scanner. Death Grips will also be making an appearance as part of their European tour and The Wire's Editor Derek Walmsley will host talks.

Unsound Krakow takes place 16–23 October. Weekend tickets have now sold out but individual tickets are still available via their website. You can read Unsound founder Mat Schulz's article on the fallout of Brexit's breakaway victory in In Writing.

Volume two of After Us magazine coming out in September

Designer Optigram is set to publish the second volume of his future-orientated arts magazine

London based designer Manuel Sepulveda will be publishing the second volume of After Us magazine this September. Sepulveda operates under the alias Optigram, works for labels such as Hyperdub, Planet Mu and Ninja Tune, and hosts Nitetrax on NTS radio.

Featuring future-orientated essays, pictorials, interviews and short fictions about art and developments in technology, After Us Volume Two follows a year after the first issue landed at and London's ICA and Tate Modern bookshops.

Manuel discusses his reasoning behind the magazine via email. “It”s the first time I’ve produced any kind of print publication, but I’m finding a lot of similarities between this and the record label I used to run in terms of working with contributors and getting everything together,” he explains, referring to the Citinite label that recently closed for business following a decade of releases. “It definitely takes up more time though!”

He continues, “The main purpose is to provide writers and artists with a platform to express ideas, at intersections between art, science and politics, that they may not have found an outlet for otherwise. It’s important that the articles don’t feel too academic, or at the other end too journalistic or news-led – I’d like to strike a balance between being approachable but also pushing the reader a little.”

Asked about his statement in the first volume of After Us that contemporary art lacks political engagement, Manuel responds: “I feel most art is geared more towards being photographable and sharable, or being an experience to stimulate the senses, rather than really challenging the viewer to think. There are of course plenty of exceptions – I’ve seen two great pieces just this week – but they feel in the minority to me. I can appreciate that some artists might feel that political themes have already been explored to death by previous generations, but there is definitely scope for artists to communicate deeper concepts as new technologies continue to change our cultures.

“The other problem is that even if a work does have political themes, once it’s posted on Instagram or Tumblr it’s inevitably stripped of all meaning and just becomes an exercise in aesthetics,” he continues. “Many websites are finding ways of giving artists more control of how their work is shown. Certainly once After Us is more established I’d like to be able to provide an online space for this, rather than just sitting here complaining.”

After Us takes its name from a Tumblr site which the designer started around 2014 as a means of gathering articles and images that inspired him. “Topics included robotics, virtual reality, dystopian fiction, hacking, identity, transhumanism, etc,” Manuel recalls. “It got a good response from friends and it occurred to me, rather than collating existing material, why not commission new work and produce a physical magazine that tackled these ideas. It also felt like an opportunity to do something in a similar vein to Omni magazine, which had been a favourite of mine when I was growing up.”

Volume two will include articles such as Jennifer Boyd’s “A Taxonomy Of Explosions”, an interview with Patrik Schumacher, director of Zaha Hadid Architects, and Laurel Halo and Mari Matsutoya on their audio-visual project Still Be Here. Amy Ireland has also contibuted some fiction set on a mining colony in the Kuiper Belt. Illustrations are provided by Lee Gamble collaborator Dave Gaskarth, among others.

It'll cost £5 and is available via Bleep. Manuel Sepulveda chose Prince & The Revolution Around The World In A Day for The Inner Sleeve in The Wire 390 . Subscribers can read that feature via Exact Editions.

Sound map of the London Underground network launched

The Next Station presents recordings and reinterpretations of sounds taken from stations across the Tube

The first online sound map of the London Underground network has been launched. Put together with the help of the London Sound Survey, it presents recordings and reinterpretations of sounds taken from 55 of the network's 270 stations.

Entitled The Next Station, the project is presented as part of the Cities And Memory website, and lets you listen to sounds of stations that take in Brixton in South London to Finsbury Park in the north, Stamford Brook at the western end of the District Line to Royal Victoria in East London's Docklands Light Railway, and beyond. A team of 95 field recordists and sound artists from across the globe gathered the material, and the map presents raw sounds taken from inside, outside and around the Tube stations alongside reworkings of the same material which attempt to present a reimagined version of London's transport network.

Clicking your way down a tour of the Victoria Line, you can hear the distinctive screech and rattle of a train speeding into Finsbury Park station; running water under the platform at Victoria; the quiet whirr of a train rolling into Pimlico; and the bustling throng of a crowd, with a woman offering free hugs, below the big sign outside Brixton station. A journey on the Waterloo & City line captures a sub-bass rumble as the train passes underneath the city; the metal-on-metal sound of track repairs echoing throughout the partially closed station at Mile End; and a chatting crowd slowly filtering through the cramped old tunnels at Camden Town. The 'reimagined' versions also present chopped up collages and beefed up remixes responding to the history and geography of the Tube.

The City And Memory website is a longrunning project that attempts to present a sound map of the entire world, with a sound from each location accompanied by a reimagined version by way of a remix of the same location. It currently features more than a thousand sounds spread over 55 counties. The Next Station is freely available to explore – no travelcard required – on the City And Memory website.

The London Sound Survey contributed a portal of online listening resources back in 2012, and subscribers can read a feature by Nathan Budzinski on London Sound Survey from The Wire 341 via our online archive.