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The Mire: Tangents, threads and opinions from The Wire HQ

Sample sale

Derek Walmsley

For those who, like us, have been cold rockin' the Beastie Boys' reissued Paul's Boutique – a big influence on The Bomb Squad, I believe – it's worth checking out this sample resource for the album.

I haven't looked into it deeply yet, but the sheer density of the samples, and breadth of the styles referenced, is fantastic.

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Lost And Found Dept

Great to see Steve Beresford and John Butcher last night at my local pub, The Birdcage in Stoke Newington. They were playing with percussionist Will Connor for new monthly art/music night, The Lost And Found Department.

After a short trio set, which I missed through tardiness, each performer played solo. Butcher was on jazzy form, inflecting lilting melodic phrases with flutters and overtones before pelting the crowd violently with jagged squawks. Glad to see the cosiness of his surroundings did nothing to dilute his performance. Beresford was hyperactive behind his table laden with gadgets. Using a variety of sound sources, incl. Walkman, sampler and a little touch-pad synth he controlled with a pen, he cycled through ideas quickly.

The three then took it in turns to play in duos: Connor & Beresford, Beresford & Butcher, Connor and Butcher. Connor took the everything-but-the kitchen-sink approach to percussion, playing a CD rack, a BBQ hood, assorted pots and pans, jam jar lids, bubble wrap…and proved eminently versatile, adapting as comfortably to Beresford's flighty bubbling as to Butcher's hard angles. Finally the trio were reunited, bringing the night to a close in noisy, triumphant style.

Upstairs At The Birdcage is a beautiful, intimate space – plush and comfy like the smoking room in a Victorian gentleman's club (I imagine) – and Lost And Found Dept is a class act to be sure. I'm looking forward to the next instalment.

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True Riches

Nathan Budzinski

I was wondering what kind of reaction there would be when the ICA decided to shut their live art/new media department last October. Along with the closure, ICA director Ekow Eshun wrote an email explaining that the art form lacked "depth and cultural urgency" (if you can define what exactly the multimedia/interdisciplinary art form of live art & new media is). Is Eshun correct in saying that live and new media arts aren't relevant enough for the ICA to put its funding into, and that anyways it'll be covered by the ICA's other events and exhibitions? Who knows... But there are more delicate ways to put it.

If he had just closed the department with a tight lipped "sorry, no money" explanation or any other standard bureaucratic obfuscation, that would've still been upsetting for the live/performance/digital/inter-multi-etcetera-disciplinary artists losing out, but possibly any backlash against the institution and director may have dwindled away like, well, arts funding. In any case, Eshun was straightforward about his reasons and ended up angering a lot of people. Live artists/performance artists with a predilection towards public exhibition can be counted on to embrace direct action and self organisation with zeal, maybe even flourishing under duress... And so it's good to hear that True Riches, a project created by Rotozaza and Forced Entertainment is attempting to re-establish the live art and new media department without the ICA.

Looking through the programme, it's hard to tell where the events are actually going to take place and if there's been any collaboration between the now independent department and its former home; there's lectures scheduled to take place in the ICA bar, performances in the exhibition spaces and the unlikely flooding of the small cinema. It'll be interesting to follow True Riches through their year long programme and see if they're successful. If so, maybe Eshun has actually provided the cultural world with a brand new institutional model for the current economic situation: make people angry enough and they'll do it themselves. Or else it's simply a premonition of what's to come.

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Doppler In Effekt

Derek Walmsley




The most exciting live event of the year so far – Dopplereffekt's live London debut this saturday night. They resurrected electro in the mid-90s, and recently have been writing electronic eulogies to particle accelerators. The most singular electronic artist of the era, for me...

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DIY Radio

Nathan Budzinski

It's interesting to find pirate radio stations popping up throughout Simon Reynolds's essays on the Hardcore Continuum (which we've been posting on our site as part of The Wire 300) and how important they are for disseminating music that's too quick/difficult for mainstream media to keep up with or handle. In a timely way then, I ran across this video guide on how to build your own low powered radio station, via the free103point9 blog (a NY-based arts radio organisation) from Radio Free Berkeley. I suppose now that podcast technology is fairly common and easy to use the thought of building your own analogue radio station from scratch can seem exhausting if not pointless... Still, maybe broadcasting via the radio spectrum can beat the internet for a feeling of specificity to a place/scene, something that sometimes gets filtered or flattened out through the ease of the Really Simple Syndication of iTunes/Blogger/YouTube/MySpace technology...

http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=2411236&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=0&color=&fullscreen=1
How To Make a Radio Station from Free Radio on Vimeo.

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Guitar Craftsman

Derek Walmsley

Keith Rowe and Fred Frith are perpetual reference points for The Wire – two figures who turned the electric guitar on its head (or more accurately on its back). While such techniques aren't exactly mainstream these days – the only tabletop or laptop guitarists from the hit parade who spring to mind are either Nashville Country types or Canadian blues guitarist Jeff Healey – the history of these anti-technique techniques does hang heavy over newer practioners. I imagine those who take a tangential approach to the instrument days get heartily sick of being constantly compared to Rowe and Frith – and rightly so. The tabletop guitar approach can, sometimes, be in danger of being fetished as much as the loose-strapped guitar-slinging style.

Weirdly refreshing, then, to watch the video vignettes sent to me by American guitarist Morgan Craft. Because of the visuals you can't see what he's doing with the guitar, and it leaves your mind free to wander without the shadow of previous technicians hanging over it. Apparently, it's done live with no overdubs, and is genuinely otherworldly at times. For all I know, he's doing the whole lot with his foot on the monitor through a Marshall Stack, but I kind of doubt it.

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Adventures In Modern Music 29 January 2009

Derek Walmsley

The Wire's Resonance FM show last thursday was presented by Edwin Pouncey, with tracks by KTL, Khatate and many more, plus a guest mix by the excellent British label Singing Knives (home of Part Wild Horses Mane on Both Sides, The Hunter Gracchus, Stephanie Hladowski, Directing Hand etc). Full tracklisting and download is available in the On Air area of the site now...

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Wire 300/Reynolds and the Hardcore Continuum

Derek Walmsley

New on www.thewire.co.uk:

The February 2009 edition of The Wire is the magazine’s 300th issue. To mark the event, we have commissioned a series of exclusive online essays by a number of our regular writers and contributors that examine various musical trends and initiatives that have emerged during the lifetime of the zine (ie since the publication of its first issue back in the summer of 1982), and that still inform, influence and animate our world today. The essays will be posted here regularly throughout February.

As part of The Wire 300 online, we're putting up all of Simon Reynolds's essays documenting the rise of Hardcore, Jungle, Garage ... and beyond.

Simon's new introduction is now online, plus pieces on Hardcore Rave and Ambient Jungle. Further articles will be going up daily.

For me, it's not an exaggeration to say that, without this writing, I might well not be living in London and writing about music.

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ISB on Resonance

Derek Walmsley

Great looking show on Resonance FM tonight:

ISB
January 27th, 2009 · No Comments

This evenings Clear Spot is produced and presented by Ed Baxter. Ed discusses the musical career of lysergic Scots folk experimentalists The Incredible String Band with Adrian Whittaker. Whittaker is the author of Be Glad: An Incredible String Band Compendium. Hux Records have recently released Tricks of the Senses, a collection of rareties assembled and annotated by Adrian (reviewed here by The Guardian’s Robin Denselow). Ed also - via telephone - talks to Mike Heron, Robin Williamson, Malcolm LeMaistre and Rose Simpson about the past and present. Genesis P. Orridge, Salman Rushdie, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Séamus Ennis, Bob Fass, Alex Harvey and Joe Boyd are among those name-checked. Plus exclusive audio and an update on the search for Licorice. Clear Spot, Tuesday 27 January, 8pm - 9pm.


Ed wrote a British Folk primer for us, back in issue 202, and there was an article with Robin Williamson back in 2007. As recent convert to some of ISB's pulseless, hovering meanderings, I'll be checking this out.

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EDIT - profuse apologies. This was on yesterday. Nevertheless, the Clear Spot tonight with Rob Murphy promises to be pretty interesting too, with Up Murphy Street being reissued right around now...

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