The Wire

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The Wire Tapper 09 (this CD is no longer available)

Issue 225

Note: The magazine is still available, but not the CD

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Due to licensing restrictions The Wire Tapper 09 (this CD is no longer available) is not available for digital download, only as a CD. The CD came with The Wire 225.

01) Liars - Grown Men Don't Fall In The River Just Like That
Although hailed in some quarters as New York's next big thing, none of the members of this Gang Of Four/Pere Ubu loving group actually hail from there. Singer Angus Andrew is from Australia, guitarist Aaron Hemphill was an art student in LA, while Pat Noecker and Ron Albertson are cornhuskers from Nebraska. 'Grown Men Don't Fall In The River Just Like That' is from the Blast First release, Fins To Make Us More Fish-Like.

02) Themselves - Hat In The Wind
After changing their name from Them in order to avoid a letter writing campaign from the Van Morrison fanclub, the duo of MC/poet laureate of the Don Coscarelli set Dose One and producer/sampler svengali Jel retreated to their art brut rain forest to slay their personal demons and rescue damsels in distress. Their adventures are recounted on Anticon's latest post-modern roman picaresque, The No Music, a densely layered, richly detailed, utterly bonkers HipHop collage/fingerpainting/Rorschach inkblot.

03) Tarwater - 70 Rupies To Paradise Road
The duo of Ronald Lippok and Bernd Jestram has been one of the mainstays of the contemporary Krautrock scene since their 1996 debut, John Donne Death's Duel. Over numerous releases on the Kitty-Yo, Soul Static Sound and Gusstaff labels, Tarwater have explored warm, electronic soundscapes interspersed with loping, looping structures and cut 'n' paste dynamics. Their latest album, Dwellers On The Threshold, features appearances from To Rococo Rot's Stefan Schneider and Ghanaian percussionist Nicholas Addo-Nettey, while on "70 Rupies To Paradise Road", Norwegian performance artist Tone Avenstroup narrates.

04) Múm - We Have A Map Of The Piano
Formed in 1997 while the members were all working on a childrens' play, Múm (Gunnar Örn Tynes, Örvar Fóreyjarson Smárason and twin sisters Gya and Kristín Anna Valtysdóttir) are yet another group who were influenced by Aphex Twin to drop the guitars in favour of electronics. With the lilting melancholy, naive folk melodies and childlike vocals of their Fat Cat album Finally We Are No One, they have come up with a fairytale electronica reminiscent of Boards Of Canada.

05) Badawi - Evocation
Across a number of releases as Badawi, as one half of Sub Dub (with John Ward), as part of Rotor (with DJ Olive and Toshio Kajiwara) and under his own name, Raz Mesinai has sought to integrate various Middle Eastern percussion traditions, dub principles and electronics. Equally influenced by Sufi chanting and Jewish cantors, Jerusalem-born Mesinai brings a spiritual and real-world grounding to the rootlessness usually implied by such Fourth World globetrotting.

06) Suicide - Swearin' To The Flag
Suicide, of course, are the original art-electro-punks. Much of the music we now take for granted would be unthinkable without their minimal, hot-wired psychobilly, and two generations of 'producers', Industrialists, electro-clashers and noiseniks bow their laptop heads to them. A decade after their last album, Martin Rev and Alan Vega are back to their confrontational best on American Supreme, one of the few, if not only, albums to examine the American psyche post-9/11 and ask difficult questions.

07) Supersilent - C-4.1
This Norwegian electric jazz quartet consists of producer Helge Sten (electronics), Ståle Storløkken (keyboards), Arve Henriksen (trumpet, electronics, voice) and Jarle Vespestad (drums). Their nervous, jittery rhythm blowout is superimposed on Henriksen's windswept drone swashes in a post-Miles meltdown to make your trousers quiver. This exclusive live recording from the Moers Festival in 2001 is produced by Deathprod (Sten's other alias).

08) Polwechsel/Fennesz - Framing X (Reconstructed by Patrick Pulsinger)
The Vienna based microsound Polwechsel quartet, consisting of bassist Werner Dafeldecker, cellist Michael Moser, guitarist Burkhard Stangl and saxophonist John Butcher, has joined forces with melodic laptop explorer Christian Fennesz for this one-off Erstwhile collaboration. "Framing X" is an exclusive reworking by fellow Viennese Patrick Pulsinger (aka Sluts 'N' Strings & 909). Rather than remix one track, Pulsinger took the whole Polwechsel/Fennesz album, Wrapped Islands, and reconstructed it.

09) Wazahugy
Wazahugy is a one-off strings and percussion Improv quartet featuring Philipp Wachsmann (violin and electronics), Ingar Zach (percussion), Charlotte Hug (viola and electronics) and Ivar Grydeland (guitar). While Wachsmann and Hug are established presences on the European free improvisation scene, the Norwegian duo of Zach and Grydeland are at the forefront of Improv's next generation of musicians, and bosses of the prolific Sofa label.

10) Asa-Chang & Junray - Tsuginepu To Ittemita
Percussionist/trumpeter Asa-Chang was the leader of The Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra before discovering a strange drum on a trip to Indonesia. In his hands (and with the aid of some old school electronic kit) the Dandud bongo becomes a kind of PoMo, comedic tabla - perfect for the playful mixture of cute pop and avant garde practice carried out by his group, guitarist/programmer Hidehiko Urayama, FX maestro Kiyoshi Kusaka and actual tabla player U-Zhaan.

11) Deadbeat - Organ In The Attic Sings The Blues
Organ In The Attic Sings The Blues Along with producers like Akufen, Jetone and Mitchell Akiyama, Deadbeat (aka Scott Monteith) is part of Montréal's increasingly vital electronic music scene. Through solo releases on Force Inc, Mutek, Revolver and Background, and in a duo with fellow Canuck Stephen Beaupre as Crack Haus, he has explored the same micro-structures that have fascinated fellow travellers like Matthew Herbert and Monolake. "Organ In The Attic Sings The Blues" is from Deadbeat's forthcoming album on Pole's ˜scape label.

12) DJ Vadim - Till Suns In Your Eye
Ever since he released the Abstract Hallucinating Gases EP on his own Jazz Fudge label in April 1995, the erstwhile Vadim Peare has been one of HipHop's most restless travellers. Moving from the deathbed instrumental HipHop of his earliest releases to working with some of the most challenging and innovative MCs around (Antipop Consortium, Sarah Jones, Company Flow, Mr Lif, Gift Of Gab, Phi Life Cypher, Slug, etc), Vadim has constantly expanded and refined his palette, giving credence to Nas's assertion that "sleep is the cousin of death".

13) Oxes (Prison And I Were In A 5 Way mix by Cex) - Horses R OK
The Oxes are three guys from Baltimore, Maryland who play a grindingly intense, churning, brutal brand of instrumental math rock - it's so punishing it could be called trig rock, except it isn't that complex. Their mate Cex (aka Ryjan Kidwell) also hails from Baltimore, records for Tigerbeat6, thinks he's a rap star and often performs live in his underwear. Together on this exclusive track, they're the best combination from the Chesapeake Bay since crab cakes and Old Bay seasoning.

14) Sagan - JabPunPlusOne
As the great astronomer Carl Sagan himself might have said, there are billions of sounds floating around the laptop universe, and the San Francisco-based multimedia Improv trio of J Lesser (of Lesser, Disc and Matmos's live crew), Blevin Blectum (from Blectum From Blechdom) and video artist Ryan Junell are on a mission to discover them all. Although the group have performed frequently around the Bay Area, "JabPunPlusOne" is their first cosmic fugue to go public via CD. Their first album will be released by Asphodel sometime next year.

15) Leafcutter - John Mandolin Work (Edit)
After becoming disillusioned at art school, John Burton ditched the brushes and canvas first in favour of performance-based work and then hard drives and the Max/MSP programming environment. Attracting comparisons to Autechre, Pimmon and his label boss, Mike Paradinas, Leafcutter John combines often abstract field recordings and snippets of folk tunes with brittle, glitchy, parsed electronics and granular synthesis. "Mandolin Work" is an as yet unreleased track from his forthcoming album due out on Planet Mu next year.

16) Sun (Pluramon remix) - Reach For The Sky
Sydney based duo Sun is the unusual pairing of experimental guitarist Oren Ambarchi with music figurehead and soundtracker (his portofolio includes Dead Poets' Society) Chris Townend. Their debut album, released next year, is inspired by melancholic pop outfits like Talk Talk - quite a departure for Ambarchi, who is better known for his uncompromising guitar stirrings with artists like Otomo Yoshihide and Phill Niblock. "Reach For The Sky" has been reworked by Cologne based Marcus Schmickler aka Pluramon.

01) Max Tundra - Mastered By Guy At The Exchange
Beginning as something you might have picked up on Rough Trade 20 years ago only to evolve (or devolve, depending on how low you like to wear your trousers) into particulated disco, "Mastered By Guy At The Exchange" amply displays the range of influences that Ben Jacobs has brought to bear on his off-kilter electronica since his debut, 1998's "Children At Play".

02) Wire - Spent
Along with The Fall the only members of punk's first wave that can still walk with their heads held high, Bruce Gilbert, Colin Newman, Graham Lewis and Robert Grey (aka Robert Gotobed) haven't stood still since they burst on the scene with the extraordinary Pink Flag in 1977. The group ushered in their Silver Jubilee with Read & Burn, their first recording with the original line-up since 1990's Manscape, and an intense, vitriolic return to their original, abrasive sound.

03) Sonic Youth/ICP/The Ex III
This abstract miniature, which was recorded last year in Holland, is further evidence (as if any were needed) of Sonic Youth's extraordinary enthusiasm for testing their limits and leaping into the fray. "III" can be found on In The Fishtank which documents an impromptu jam session between Sonic Youth (a line-up which includes percussionist William Winant, but not Kim Gordon) and Dutch improvisors Han Bennink, Ab Baars and Wolter Wierbos (from the Instant Composers Pool), and Terrie and Luc from The Ex.

04) Sigur Rós - untitled
With the epic, cinematic sweep, plangent strings, melodramatic melodies and mournful vocals of their breakthrough album, Agœtis Byrjun, Jon Thor Birgisson, Georg Holm, Kjartan Sveinsson and Orri Pall Dyrason became the biggest thing to come out of Iceland since Björk. "Untitled" is from their new Fat Cat album, helpfully titled ().

05) John Fahey - Red Cross, Disciple Of Christ Today (For Guitar Roberts)
Few people have expanded the range of their chosen instrument the way John Fahey broadened the scope of the acoustic guitar. By using blues and Country fingerpicking styles to express more 'complex' ideas from Indian ragas and Charles Ives, Fahey spanned both continents and traditions. "Red Cross, Disciple Of Christ Today" is taken from Red Cross (which will be released next year on Revenant), Fahey's last recordings before he died last year.

06) A Small Good Thing - A Mighty Stillness (Remix)
Big skies, tumbling tumbleweeds, whoopin' banditos, six-gun shooters sitting under sagebrush sippin' sarsparilla: they're all to be found on the two volumes of A Small Good Thing's Ambient ode to the Wild West, Slim Westerns. Wonderfully evocative of the lone prairie and Monument Valley they may be, but these two albums were recorded by three refugees from former Fourth Worlders O Yuki Conjugate (Andrew Hulme, Tom Fazzini and Mark Sedgwick), who live in London, Leeds and Hull.

07) The Sea And Cake - Left Side Clouded
Featuring Archer Prewitt, Sam Prekop, John McEntire and Erik Claridge, The Sea And Cake are the supergroup of the Chicago indie scene. All of the Windy City hallmarks are here: post-Krautrock meandering, loping tempos, diffident guitars, gentle, warm tones and shy-boy lyrics and vocals all wrapped in a gauzy electronic membrane. "Left Side Clouded" is from their latest supersession, One Bedroom, which will be released on Thrill Jockey in January.

08) Masha Qrella - I Want You To Know
Masha Qrella is usually associated with two largely instrumental German groups, Contriva (for whom she plays bass and guitar) and Mina (for whom she plays keyboards). As a solo artist, Qrella is an intimate, impressionistic singer-songwriter in the vein of David Grubbs or Elliot Smith. She played all of the instruments on her first solo album, Luck, which was released on Monika Enterprises earlier this autumn.

09) Dictaphone - The E.Song
Berlin based composer Oliver Doerell (electronics) has joined actor/musician Roger Döring (saxophone, clarinet), who formed Orchestra Obscure with Rudi Moser (Einstürzende Neubauten) back in the days, to form the duo Dictaphone. The duo, whose crackly, melancholic soundscapes are reminiscent of artists like Pole and Kit Clayton, will be releasing a full album on Berlin/Manchester label City Centre Offices.

10) Pulseprogramming - Blooms Eventually
A multimedia collaboration between musicians Joel Kriske and Marc Hellner, graphic designer Hans Seeger and video/film artist Eric Johnson, Pulseprogramming originated in Portland, Oregon. Their careful pop sensibility and gentle vocodings create a warmth rarely ascribed to electronic music. Drawing inspiration from artists like Mouse On Mars, Boards Of Canada and Telefon Tel Aviv (whose Charlie Cooper mixed the record), Pulseprogramming release a new album on Aesthetics next year.

11) Electrelane - This Deed
Verity Susman (keyboards, vocals), Emma Gaze (drums), Rachel Dalley (Bass) and Mia Clarke (guitar) make up this young Brighton based avant rock outfit. Located somewhere between Broadcast and Neu!, Electrelane started out in 1998 and own their own record company Let,s Rock!. "This Deed" has been recorded exclusively for The Wire Tapper 9.

12) Ellery Eskelin Trio - 43 RPM
Kansas born tenor saxophonist Ellery Eskelin formed his trio with Andrea Parkins (accordion, piano and sampler) and percussionist Jim Black back in 1994, since when they have amassed a large body of work. Neither 100 per cent free nor completely improvised, the outfit's direction is never predictable. "43 RPM" is an exclusive edit taken from a forthcoming Hat Hut album that is due out in spring next year.

13) Jimmy Lyons - Jump Up
Underrecorded and undersung, Jimmy Lyons was nevertheless one of the great alto saxophonists in jazz. His reedy tone and flurries of notes were regularly heard in the Cecil Taylor Unit from 1961 until his death in 1986. "Jump Up" was recorded in Geneva in May 1984 with bassoonist Karen Borca and drummer Paul Murphy, and will form part of Ayler Records' projected five CD box set of Lyons material.

14) Amon Tobin - El Wraith
This Brazilian born breakbeat adventurer must be hooked on filters and distortion software. His fourth album, Out From Out Where, released on Ninja Tune, continues where he last left off: compressed, heavy rhythms filled with dark textures and murky drones from what sounds like a digital didgeridoo. The string and vocal samples on "El Wraith" gives his work a distinct soundtrack quality.

15) D'Arcangelo - All That J
If you believe the style mags and all the hipsters who hang around Shoreditch and Williamsburg, then retro electro-funk synth-pop is the sound of 2002. Ask Italian brothers Marco and Fabrizio D'Arcangelo, however, and they will tell you that this was the sound of Rome circa 1998. Along with fellow Italians Marco Passarani and Bochum Welt, D'Arcangelo's records on ACV, Nature, Monomorph and Rephlex helped lay the groundwork for all the sullen fashion students currently raiding the Berlin back catalogue.