The Wire

In Writing

Essay from Issue 169

Fela Kuti: Chronicle of A Life Foretold

September 2011

When Fela Anikulapo-Kuti died in August 1997, Nigeria lost one of its most controversial and inspirational cultural figures. Here, the Africa-based writer Lindsay Barrett maps the extraordinary trajectory of Fela's life, detailing the emergence of his patented brand of Afrobeat, his anarchic lifestyle, and the ongoing battles with the Nigerian authorities. This feature was originally published in The Wire 169 (March 1998).

Essay from Issue 331

Collateral Damage: Amanda Brown

August 2011

This month: alienated from her computer, baffled by download culture, Amanda Brown laments the rise of the faceless uploader and the attendant decline of the DIY underground.

Essay from Issue 330

Collateral Damage: Bob Ostertag

July 2011

A regular opinion column on the fallout from music’s shifting economy. This month: After committing ‘professional suicide’ by giving away his back catalogue online, Bob Ostertag wonders how the web is changing our understanding of music for good.

Essay from Issue 329

Collateral Damage: David Keenan

June 2011

Following Chris Cutler's response to Kenneth Goldsmith's filesharing Epiphany, David Keenan looks at the fallout from music's shifting economy, from the perspective of his webshop and record shop Volcanic Tongue.

Essay from Issue 108

Gil Scott-Heron: Pieces Of A Man

June 2011

Gil Scott-Heron, with and without his longtime partner Brian Jackson, has long refused to fit into anyone's market plan for a soul-jazz singer. Nathan West and Mark Sinker discuss his recorded legacy. This article originally appeared in The Wire 108 (February 1993).

Essay from Issue 103

David Toop: All Mix & No Master…?

April 2011

Does the new technology of mix 'n' splice mean the end of Popular Song as we know it? Or the start of a new open-ended dance afterlife? The death of the Original, or the birth of the infinite version? David Toop looks/locks into a brand new time lapse. This article originally appeared in The Wire 103 (September 1992). David Toop reflects on writing the essay below.


Xenakis Symposium Extras

March 2011

A three-day conference, sponsored by The Wire and organised by the Centre for Contemporary Music Cultures at Goldsmiths, University of London on the Greek composer coinciding with the tenth anniversary of his death. Scholars, researchers and musicians will present papers and participate in panels, alongside a programme of concerts and workshops. London Southbank Centre, 1–3 April.

Essay from Issue 145

A-Z Of Electro

March 2011

In its original incarnation, Electro was black science fiction teleported to the dancefloors of New York, Miami and LA; a super-stoopid fusion of video games, techno-pop, graffiti art, silver space suits and cyborg funk. Now that Electro is back, David Toop provides a thumbnail guide to the music that posed the eternal question: "Watupski, bug byte?" This article originally appeared in The Wire 145 (March 1996).

Essay from Issue 168

The Primer: Field Recordings

June 2008

An occasional series in which we offer a beginner’s guide to the must-have recordings of some of our favourite musicians (and music). This month, Richard Henderson enters the preternatural realm of field recordings. This article originally appeared in The Wire 168 (February 1998).


Dub Drunk

Web only Epiphany by The Wire's intern Imogen Decordova