The Wire


French computer music pioneer Jean-Claude Risset has died

Early computer music innovator has died aged 78

French electronic musician Jean-Claude Risset has died, reported Exclaim!. Risset passed away on 21 November in Marseille, aged 78. Cited as a pioneer in computer music, he worked with Max Matthews at New Jersey's Bell Labs where he experimented with sound synthesis and psychoacoustics. Risset also created a version of the Shepard scale called the Shepard–Risset Glissando, a type of auditory illusion that gives the impression a sound’s tone is either rising or descending, an effect he also created for rhythm and tempo.

Risset was a composer of orchestral, chamber, vocal, piano and electroacoustic works. Born in Le Puy-en-Velay on 18 March 1938, he studied composition and piano at École Normale Supérieure de Paris from 1957–61. He also studied mathematics and physics and earned a Doctorat ès Sciences in 1967. He started work at the Bell Labs in 1965 and from 1967–69 he worked on brass and timbre synthesis as well as pitch and sound processing and development. There he met F Richard Moore, John Pierce, James Tenney, Vladimir Ussachevsky and Edgard Varèse. He went on to work at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Marseille from 1969–72, and on computer sound systems at the Faculté d'Orsay and the Université de Paris in 1970–71. He was also chair of the computer department at IRCAM from 1975–79.

Risset’s albums including Mutations (1978), Songes – Passages – Computer Suite From Little Boy – Sud (1988), Invisible ‎(1996) and Elementa (2001). In 2014 Editions Mego released Music From Computer, which reached number 12 in The Wire's Top 50 Chart of that year. Describing his work in The Wire 363, Philip Clark wrote: “Risset sculpts his found objects into plastic forms – birdsong stretched out of melodic alignment, high pitched insects heard as basso profundo drones… [his] music has a poetic backbone impressively all its own.” Risset was the author of An Introductory Catalog Of Computer Synthesized Sounds (1969).

LCMF to present a Julius Eastman special

December’s London Contemporary Music Festival focuses on the works of the late composer and performer

London Contemporary Music Festival has announced the dates for its three day Julius Eastman festival in December. Presenting the first major overview of the American composer, pianist and performer, Apartment House and the composer, singer and improvisor Elaine Mitchener will perform rarely heard Eastman works ranging from the recently unearthed extended piece Femenine (1974) to later compositions such as Buddha (1984). The event will also feature music by Eastman’s contemporaries, John Cage and Arthur Russell among them. Other participants include dancer-choreographers Jamila Johnson-Small & Alexandrina Hemsley and artist Juliana Huxtable.

The festival opens on 15 December with Frederic Rzewski's Coming Together (1971) and Eastman’s Femenine (1974). The following night stages excerpts from John Cage's Song Books (1970), as well as Eastman's Evil Nigger (1979) and Buddha, Johnson-Small & Hemsley's Native Instincts: Psychic Labours 6.0 (2016) and Frederic Rzewski’s De Profundis (1994). The final day presents Arthur Russell's Tower Of Meaning (1983/2016) arranged by Kerry Yong, Eastman's Gay Guerilla (1979) and Stay On It (1973) and a performance from Juliana Huxtable.

The festival runs from 15–18 December at London's Second Home Holland Park. A panel discussion on Eastman’s life and legacy will also take place.

Germany's Freies Radio Kassel to broadcast The Wire's Top 50

The Borderline: Musik Für Grenzgänger show will once again be spinning tracks from our Top 50 chart

In what has become a seasonal tradition, a countdown of The Wire’s Top 50 releases of the year will be broadcast over the Christmas and New Year period during four special editions of the Borderline: Musik Für Grenzgänger show on Germany’s Freies Radio Kassel. The shows will be broadcast at 7pm on 23 and 30 December, and 6 and 13 January, with each show repeated at 11am the following day. If you live in the Northesse region of Germany you can tune in on 105.8 FM. For everyone else, the shows are streamed live at

Pianist Connie Crothers’ death commemorated by her duo album with Pauline Oliveros

Important Records bring forward the release of the duo’s one and only live recording

A live recording of Pauline Oliveros and Connie Crothers performing together in New York in August 2014 is now coming out in December. Its release date was brought forward, says John Brien of Important Records/Sonambient, because of “the untimely passing of pianist Connie Crothers”. Called Live At The Stone, the record documents the only time the duo played together before Crothers died of lung cancer earlier this year. A jazz pianist and student of Lennie Tristano, Crothers founded New Artist Records with Max Roach. The label released their duo album SWISH in 1982, followed by Crothers’ solo recordings as well as music by the likes of Michael Levy, Jessie Jones, Richard Tabnik and others.

“This recording resulted from my one and only performance with Connie Crothers at her invitation during her amazing residency at The Stone in August 2014,” says Oliveros. “I was honoured to play with Connie and did not realise that this would be a memorial recording. We have lost an extraordinarily original musician too soon.

“May this recording be a tribute to Connie Crothers,” she continues. “Her spirit will always be present in the wonderful community of musicians in New York and around the world and most certainly in my heart.”

You can watch Crothers and Oliveros performing together in the video below.

Live At The Stone will be released on 9 December via Important Records.

London’s Fabric nightclub to reopen soon

Following its closure earlier this summer by London Islington Council, the club has got its license back

On 21 November London’s Fabric nightclub announced its plans to reopen soon.

”We are hugely thankful to be able to confirm the news that we have won our license back,” read Fabric’s statement on its Facebook page. “We owe everything to our supporters. We really would not be here today without your unparalleled support and generosity. So many different people stepped up to put their voices to our cause, artists from all corners of the music community, fellow promoters who have put on huge events from us and clubbers from around the world who all united behind us. We’ve even seen people sporting their #savefabric T Shirts on the other side of this planet showing just how big this thing is.”

The club had to close on 7 September when the London Borough of Islington Council revoked its license following its suspension in August due to two drug-related deaths at the venue. The huge public campaign against the decision amassed 150,000 signatures calling for the club’s reopening, while raising £300,000 in donations to help with its legal fees. Resident Advisor reported that an agreement between the club, Islington Council and the Metropolitian police was approved by judge Robin McPhee at Highbury Magistrates Court, stipulating 32 new conditions including raising the entry age to 19 and strict search and ID controls on entrance.

The full statement can be found over at RA's website. The actual reopening date is still to be set.

Fear Anger Love at CTM's 2017 edition

CTM will take place from 27 January–5 February at various venues in Berlin

Next year Berlin's CTM festival promises to focus on emotions as expressed through sound. Titled Fear Anger Love, the event will include special projects and commissions and performances, with "an outlook that continues to search the fringes of current music geographies [and] examine the unhinging and emancipatory potential of resonant (musical) emotion to recurrently question and challenge the status quo," as the organisers put it.

Artists on the first announcement include Actress, Behrou Pashaei & Tarik Barri, Siavash Amini, Gazelle Twin, Genesis P Orridge with Aaron Dilloway, NON Worldwide in collaboration with Ligia Lewis and featuring Chino Amobi and Nkisi, Moor Mother, Princess Nokia, Rima Najdi with Kathy Alberici and Ana Nieves Moya, Tanya Tagaq, Thomas Ankersmit and many more. Also at the festival will be a weeklong collaborative laboratory with MusicMakers Hacklab (who are currently calling for participants) doing an "emotional intervention", an installation titled Sol by Kurt Hentschlaeger and an exhibition on the history and current state of electronic music and sound art in Mexico titled Critical Constellations Of The Audio-Machine In Mexico. Also there will be the annual Research Networking Day conference (also calling for submissions). Premieres include Rima Najdi and Julian Bonequi, winners of the radiolab open call which was announced in September this year.

More information on what is happening can be found on CTM's website.

Japan's Asian Meeting Festival moves to Singapore for this year's edition

AMF have joined forces with Playfreely for a new festival Closer To The Edge

Singaporean group The Observatory’s experimental music festival Playfreely returns this year in collaboration with Japan’s Asian Meeting Festival (AMF) – an event put on as part of Otomo Yoshihide, Yuen Chee Wai and Takuro Mizuta Lippit's Asian Music Network and Ensemble Asia. With 15 musicians, this fourth edition of AMF will be held over two nights and feature a collection of duo and ensemble performances with the aim that it ”ignites fresh conversations from all quarters of music-making, particularly from Japan and South East Asia”. It will be the first time that AMF has put on a festival outside of Japan.

Playfreely, originally inspired by the New York experimental music venue The Stone, began life as a fortnightly free music initiative. This new collaborative project, titled Closer To The Edge, will take place at The Projector in Singapore. The line-up will feature Atsusi Arakawa
, Junji Hirose
, Jojo Hiroshige
, Sudarshan Chandra Kumar, Takashi Makino, An Murazato, Otomo Yoshihide, Senyawa, Dharma Shan, DJ Sniff
, Tara Transitory, Vivian Wang
, C Spencer Yeh and Yuen Chee Wai.

Closer To The Edge will happen between 8–9 December. Plus, running alonside the festival Otomo Yoshihide will host Black Axis sessions featuring performances by Yoshihide, Leslie Low and Yuen Chee Wai which will take place from 13–14 December.

Soul Jazz presents screening of In The Heat Of The Night

Proto-Blaxploitation classic will be accompanied by Soul Jazz DJs and talk

The archive experts at Soul Jazz will present a screening of the classic civil rights-era film In The Heat Of The Night in London on Friday 18 November. Directed by Norman Jewison, the movie stars Sidney Poitier in the role of an African-American policeman from Philadelphia who investigates a killing in a racist small town in the Deep South, and was an important precursor to the later era of Blaxploitation films.

The film, which was made just four years after the notorious bombing of an African-American church in Alabama and one year before the assassination of Martin Luther King, played an important role in raising awareness of racism, bigotry and violence at a crucial juncture of US history.

In The Heat Of The Night also boasts a classic Quincy Jones soundtrack, and the evening will feature Soul Jazz DJs spinning after the film, as well as an introduction by label head Stuart Baker.

The screening is part of Soul Jazz’s ongoing Black Action Films series at the Regent Street Cinema.

Only Connect festival in Oslo to happen in May 2017

Music confirmed for next year's edition includes work by Julius Eastman, Jennifer Walshe, Arditti Quartet and Paal Nilssen-Love’s Extra Large Unit

Norway's Only Connect Festival Of Sound has announced the dates of its 2017 edition. The three day event will take place from 18–20 May, and the highlights so far confirmed include a performance of Julius Eastman's composition Evil Nigger on three grand pianos played by Heloisa Amaral, Elisa Medinilla and Frederik Croen, and a new Jennifer Walshe piece composed for The Arditti Quartet. Titled Everything Is Important, Walshe's offering will focus on topics such as natural disasters, economic crises, the Bitcoin, drones and plastic. There’s also Øyvind Torvund’s sequel to Sweet Pieces, his Only Connect 2016 commission for The Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra.Called The Exotica Album, he composed it for the Bergen based BIT20 Ensemble. And Paal Nilssen-Love will make an appearance with his big band Lage Unit.

The festival takes place in Oslo from 18–20 May at various venues. More information will be coming soon via nymusikk's website.

Cello Unwrapped announces the UK premiere of Arthur Russell's Tower Of Meaning

The series will take place at King's Place in January

Arthur Russell’s composition Tower Of Meaning will receive its UK premiere in 2017. Russell affiliates Peter Zummo and Bill Ruyle, who performed on the piece’s original recording, will participate in the event, which is part of King’s Place’s Cello Unwrapped series. Also in attendance will be London based cello virtuoso Oliver Coates, the author of The Wire 394's The Inner Sleeve column, and The London Contemporary Orchestra. The concert, which takes place on 14 January 2017, continues the ongoing collaboration between Ruyle, Zummo and Coates, which was set up to explore Russell’s music.

Subscribers to The Wire can read Oliver Coates on Mike Nelson's 2004 installation Triple Bluff Canyon via Exact Editions.