I'm saddened and shocked to hear of the sudden death of original UK mic-man David Emmanuel, aka Smiley Culture, after a police raid at his house. I'm not going to add much to the other tributes elsewhere, but I'll gently point you in the direction of an excellent mix exploring the fast-chat era of the UK reggae deejays, of which Smiley was a crucial part. The Lyric Maker mix by John Eden (of the Uncarved blog) and Paul Meme (Grievous Angel) is a great introduction and, most importantly, a crucial selection of Cockney and JA chatters.
The Wire’s monthly series of salon events returns after an extended Christmas and New Year break with an illustrated talk by the magazine’s former hiphop columnist Dave Tompkins on the history of the vocoder. The talk will be based on Dave's acclaimed recent book on synthetic voice phenomena, How To Wreck A Nice Beach (available from Stop Smiling Books)
In anticipation of the salon Dave and Monk One have made an exclusive edit of their How To Wreck A Nice Beach mix for The Wire. You can download it here. Also, click here to read Dave's extensive annotated track list for the mix in all its unexpurgated glory.
The Wire Salon: How To Wreck A Nice Beach: The Vocoder From World War Two To Hiphop takes place at London's Cafe Oto, 15 February, 8pm, £4.
In addition to his appearance at the salon, Dave will also be talking on (as opposed to through) the vocoder at the Off The Page festival in Whitstable this weekend...
The Wire's Biba Kopf has curated a show for Band Of Holy Joy front man Johny Brown's internet radio station, Radio Joy. The episode, which was originally broadcast on 27 June, includes music from Robert Piotrowicz, Male Instrumenty, Za Siodma Gora, Rongwrong, Scianka and more as featured in Kopf's article "Poland's Hidden Reverse" about the contemporary Polish experimental underground (The Wire July 2010). The Strangeness Of Existence: Polish Visions In Sound From Witkacy To Scianka is now available online as a podcast along with previous Radio Joy shows, here.
Tags: band of holy joy | biba kopf | download | Male Instrumenty | Media | Polan | Poland's Hidden Reverse | Polish experimental music | Polish underground | radio | Radio Joy | Robert Piotrowicz | Rongwrong | Scianka | Za Siodma Gora
Glasgow-based director, animator and sound designer Konx-om-Pax aka Tom Scholefield (designer/director for Hudson Mohawke and Jamie Lidell amongst others) has put together a club night as part of his Display Copy project (studio and record label). Forthcoming gigs scheduled are: Oneohtrix Point Never, Tomutonttu, DJ set from Konx-om-Pax and special guests. Glasgow Artschool, 29 May, 11pm–3am, £5/6. Gescom, Konx-om-Pax and Guy Veale, Glasgow Ivy Bar, 4 June, 8pm–12am, free.
1. City Scum Shot, “The Bamboo Vein”
2. Grippers Nother Onesers, “After Dark Cravings”
3. Ducktails, “Seagull’s Flight”
4. Dolphins Into The Future, “Lone Voyager”
5. Tod Dockstader, “Knockwhistle”
6. Tom Dissevelt & Kid Baltan, “The Visitor from Inner Space”
7. Bruce Haack (Miss Nelson And Bruce), “Mudra”
8. Conrad Schnitzler, “Trigger One 2″
9. Irsol, “Concentration”
10. Tolerance, “Sacrifice”
11. Stephen Mallinder, “Length of Time”
12. David Fenech, “Poteaux/Feux”
13. Coil, “Who’ll Fall”
14. Throbbing Gristle, “Painless Childbirth”
15. Team Doyobi, “Music For Cat”
16. Alan Sparhawk, “17.53″
17. Zoviet France, “Electron Gate”
18. Konx-om-Pax, “At Home With Mum & Dad”
19. Chris Carter, “Clouds”
20. Sir Richard Bishop, “Smashana”
21. Erkki Kurenniemi, “Sähkösoittimen Ääniä #4 (1971)”
22. The Goslings, “Overnight”
23. Konx-om-Pax, “Hurt Face”
24. Pocahaunted, “Chinatown”
25. Konx-om-Pax, “Jamie Mono Tape”
26. Current 93 & Nick Cave, “Patripassian”
27. Popol Vuh, “Through Pains to Heaven”
28. Alexandro Jodorowsky, Ronald Frangipane & Don Cherry, “Tarot Will
Teach You/Burn Your Money”
29. Nicholas and Gallivan with Larry Young, “Angles Wing”
30. Chris Corsano, “How Should You Throw It On Other Occasions?”
31. Androids Of Mu, “Atomic X”
32. Martin Creed, “Fuck Off”
The Wire’s monthly series of salon-type evenings continues with author and The Wire contributor Ken Hollings (author of Welcome To Mars and Destroy All Monsters and presenter of the Hollingsville series on Resonance FM) and Steve Goodman (Kode9, author of Sonic Warfare), discussing the uses and abuses of sound and noise from sonic bombs to soundclashes.
Below is a short online reading and listening list in anticipation of the event (mostly via Ken Hollings)
•Stream Hollings's Radio 3 programme From Gameboy to Armageddon on the Military Entertainment Complex
•PDF download of Theatres Of War: The Military-Entertainment Complex, an essay by Tim Lenoir and Henry Lowood.
•Projects page of the Institute For Creative Technologies - an institute set up to bring military planners, games designers, Hollywood SFX people and experts in interactive technology together.
•Give yourself an adrenalin buzz (or scare yourself silly) with Bohemia Interactive's Virtual Battlespace 2 promotional film.
The salon takes place at London's Cafe Oto, 6 May, 8pm, £4.
There's 20 000 free downloads of their upcoming single "Bye Bye Bayou" available on www.lcdsoundsystem.com on a first come first serve basis. It will be available for purchase in shops on 12" 9 November and digitally for purchase on 24 November. According to the publicist "Bye Bye Bayou" is not going to appear on their new album, which comes out early 2010.
DJ Rupture's blog has a new track to download from The Wire ex-cover star Wiley, who is going through another of his purple patches of frenzied activity (last seen around the time of 2006's five – or was it six? - editions of Tunnel Vision mixtapes). "Spirit In The Beats" also features Flo Dan, here in more lyrical mode than his more ranting recent outings with The Bug.
The track is decent enough, but it's the reference to "spirits" that makes the hair prickle up. Spirit is a recurring obsession of Wiley's. On the classic "Boogieman" from many years ago with Trim, he "breaks the doors down and lets the spirits in"; on a recent freestyle on a Maniac beat, it was a reference to a burned out car and "spirits leaving the vehicle". In an interview many years ago, Wiley says regarding estranged ex-Roll Deep member Dizzee Rascal that "my spirit is with him, his spirit is with me".
There's various ways to interpret such references. There's a kind of comic book resonance to the way he uses it, as if he believes he has a non-material doppleganger, a sort of uber-Wiley who's all-seeing, all-knowing. Such a fantasy seems to fit: in the ultra-material world of grime, where everything is cold hard concrete or cold hard cash, it's not surprising that an MC invokes a spiritual side-kick. Dizzee Rascal had a track about being "here, there... everywhere": a yearning to turn urban chaos into some sort of cosmic order.
What really strikes a chord is that "spirit" seems something of a grimey-counterpoint to hiphop's painfully overused category of "soul". For American music, soul (as a concept and genre) is so tired it has nothing to do with James Brown and Bobby Byrd: it's simply a prosaic, statement of 'this is who I am' individualism. Grime very rarely mentions soul: by invoking "spirits" instead, it taps something much more uncanny and chaotic. It reminds me of one of the true reasons grime felt so fresh, a few years back: it suggested urban poetry where the slate had been wiped clean of all hiphop's tired, burdernsome political and [a]moral ideology.