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50 Records of the Year on air

Tony Herrington

The German radio show Borderline: Musik Für Grenzgänger (which seems to roughly translate as 'Music For Border-crossers') will once again be playlisting selections from our 50 Records of the Year chart in a series of dedicated shows to be broadcast over the Christmas and New Year period.

The shows will be broadcast between 5-6pm (WET) on five consecutive Fridays beginning on 17 December. If you live in Northesse, Germany you can tune in on 105.8FM. Otherwise, the shows are streamed live at, where you will also find full details of all the broadcast dates and times.

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Lords of the new church

Tony Herrington

The Church of the Holy Rude, Stirling, site for some of the performances at this year's Le Weekend festival

Why do so many so-called experimental music festivals insist on programming events in goddamn churches? (For recent evidence from the UK, see Sotto Voce, Le Weekend, and the slightly too prosaically named London International Festival of Exploratory Music.) No doubt the acoustics are mind-blowingly reverberant, but then the same could be said of an empty factory or warehouse, and let's face it, in the current era of drastic capitalism there is no shortage of such structures, all ripe for creative, even provocative, repurposing.

By implication if nothing else, the notion of experimental music has always been bound up with radical and ongoing critiques of prevailing and oppressive value systems, and concurrent attempts to erect new humanistic paradigms in their place.

From Luis Buñuel to Lydia Lunch, there is a long and noble history of artists staging performances in churches as acts of subversion, taking the good fight deep inside enemy territory, calling down the walls of the establishment by blaspheming the fuck out of its most sacred strongholds.

But what we are dealing with here is something else again, a minor cultural phenomenon that arrives as a particularly dispiriting consequence of current trends in which postmodern irony conspires with the hubris of curatorial culture and the requirements of public and private funding bodies for ever more 'novel' initiatives, to render meaningless the stuff these events are supposed to be providing new platforms for.

In such a context, moving contemporary experimental music into a church setting is tantamount to an admittance of failure, a betrayal of its original revolutionary stance, an acknowledgment that the old order is still standing so we might as well give up and move right on in alongside it.

In effect it is the latest example of a bourgeois art class nullifying vernacular modes of expression by once again giving priority to aesthetics over politics.

Plus, like all sites dedicated to supernatural idolatry, churches give me the creeps.

I can appreciate why the curators and producers of experimental music events might want to escape the conventions of the proscenium arch, and find new contexts in which to present music whose practice, among other things, is predicated on proposing new social relations (which is one reason for the rise of the gallery environment as an alternative if somewhat compromised space in which to present new sound works). But replacing an arch with an altar is no way to go, frankly.

More radical, empathetic and imaginative thinking on the part of the curators, and less collusion on the part of musicians, is required if we are to find sympatico spaces in which to present music that exists in revolutionary opposition to the forces that look to crush our very souls with ever more mediated and policed spectacles, from The X Factor to the kind of middlebrow entertainment packages masquerading as genuine culture that are programmed by major art spaces in just about every city in the Northern hemisphere.

In the aftermath of the UK coalition government’s systematic dismantling of the structures that were erected to democratise this country's post-war society, raising such a seemingly minor issue might seem like decadent pissing in the wind. But as the good Lord knows, the devil resides in the detail.

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Adventures In Modern Music 4 November 2010

The Wire

4 November 2010 on AIMM: New music brought to you by the team behind The Wire magazine, presented this week by Derek Walmsley. This week, to celebrate the forthcoming launch of his new label, we have two exclusive new tracks from former Skull Disco man Shackleton. Now based in Berlin, Shackleton's organic, ethnically tinged style of dubstep was one of the most original strains of electronic music to emerge from London in the late 2000s. His new label, entirely dedicated to his own work, is named Woe To The Septic, and we'll be airing its debut 12" release.

Every Thursday 21:00-22:30 (BST), 104.4 FM for Londoners, streamed live at for the rest of the world.

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Adventures In Modern Music: Theme tune competition

The Wire

The Wire is launching a competition to write a new theme tune for Adventures In Modern Music, the zine’s weekly show on Resonance FM. The theme can be in whatever style you want, created however you want, involve any instrumentation whatsoever, with the only requirement being that it should be roughly two minutes long. The prize for the best entry: it'll be played at the beginning of the show each week, and if that isn't enough, the winner will be interviewed on air (in the studio or on the phone) about their piece, how they did it, what they were thinking, etc etc.

The competition is open to anybody and everybody. Entries should be sent as MP3, AIFF or WAV file format to:

Derek Walmsley
with 'AIMM Theme' in the subject line
(no attachments over 5mb please – provide a download link if necessary)

or in CD format via post to:

Derek Walmsley
AIMM Theme, The Wire
23 Jacks Place
6 Corbet Place
London E1 6NN

Deadline for entries is 17 December.


Radio Art To Work By

The Wire

[caption id="attachment_767" align="aligncenter" width="407" caption="Noise In The Ether by Ben Drury & Ben Weaver"][/caption]

Knut Aufermann, author of the Radio Art feature in The Wire 320 has compiled, in his own words "a selection of radio streams to listen to whilst concentrating on other things, a kind of audible wallpaper that commercial radio aspires to, but much better."

• Live VLF Natural Radio
A collection of live streams of the VLF band. Beautiful sounds captured from the earth's natural radio signals: lightning strikes from near and far. The station in Todmorden, UK is my personal favourite.

• Ham Radio Live: FM Repeater "Zugspitze" DB0ZU and "Bussen" DB0RZ
An amateur radio repeater station based on the highest mountain in Germany for trans-alpine communications. Mainly silent with the odd morse code interjection this stream randomly offers insight into the Bavarian psyche, when human voices break in as a reminder that you are legally eavesdropping.

• Knut Aufermann: online sound installations
47 different loops from sound installations that were broadcast live on various radio stations, often for hours thoughout the night. The sound sources are always mix of electronic, electroacoustic and radio feedback, the latter one happens when a radio transmitter listens to its own output.

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Exotic Pylon/The Outer Church

Derek Walmsley

Quick (and late) notice for two gigs put on by friends and extended family of The Wire. Tonight (8 October) Jonny Mugwump's Resonance FM show Exotic Pylon holds its second live event at The Vortex in Dalston, with a rare UK performance from Black To Comm, plus Infinite Livez and much more. More details here

Then on 10 November, Mordant Music will be playing live at Joseph Stannard's Outer Church in Brighton which moves to a new home at Komedia in Brighton. There'll be MM films and much more...

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The Wire Salon Reading List: Environmental Agents: The Art Of Field Recording

The Wire

The Spanish sound artist Francisco Lopez has talked about the potential of field recordings to produce "acousmatic broadband sound environments of thrilling complexity". Following on from September’s edition of The Wire Salon, which looked at the rise of sound art, this month’s salon examines a parallel phenomenon of 21st century sound - the emergence of environmental field recordists as sonic artists in their own right.

A panel including the sound and field recordists Peter Cusack, Lee Patterson and Justin Bennett will discuss the philosophies and processes of contemporary phonography, its relationship to the parallel disciplines of acoustic ecology, bioacoustics, cybernetics, ethnomusicology, urban soundscaping and audio mapping, and the way these and other related investigations at the occult fringes of environmental audio science have infiltrated and influenced much experimental music practice. The discussion will be illustrated by audio examples of the modern field recordist's art. Plus other participants to be announced. London Cafe Oto, 7 October, 8pm, £4.

• The Primer: Field Recordings by Richard Henderson (from The Wire 168)

The Wire 300: Will Montgomery On The Changing Uses Of Field Recordings

• Sound & Music's guide to Field Recording, by Richard Thomas

Field Recording and Experimental Music Scene, by Toshiya Tsunoda

Framework Radio, regular Resonance FM radio show focused on the art of field recording with the subtitle "open your ears and listen!"

Favourite Sounds map started as a radio program on London's Resonance FM in 1998, asking participants to answer the question "What is your favourite sound of London?". It has since carried on in cities around the world.

radio ::: aporee maps began in 2006 and is based on artistic research into mapping, spatial conditions and the navigation between the real and the virtual.

The British Library's new UK SoundMap, with contributions of sounds from around the UK from the public at large.

Montréal Sound Map, a growing archival database of sound recordings from all over Montréal, Canada.

London Sound Survey, a collection of the sounds of the public life of London with compilations of past aural accounts showing how the city's sound environment has changed.

The World Forum For Acoustic Ecology (WFAE), "founded in 1993, is an international association of affiliated organizations and individuals, who share a common concern with the state of the world's soundscapes"

Christopher DeLaurenti, Seattle based composer, performer, sound artist, and phonographer. Site contains recordings, writings and information on his various projects. Also, listen to his album Wallingford Food Bank, free to download from Ultra-red's online label Public Record.

Chris Watson's home site, with information and links to the work of one of the best known field recordists in the UK

The Quiet American, website of the field recordist Aaron Ximm with a large collection of compositions and recordings collected from around the world.

Adventures In Modern Music 16 September 2010

Nathan Budzinski

Adventures In Modern Music tonight features 90 minutes of brand new and unheard music as Derek Walmsley flicks through the upcoming Autumn releases, with fresh releases from Joe Colley, Mark McGuire, Ahleuchatistas, Francisco Meirona & Dave Phillips, Bjørn Fongaard and many more, all culled from the ever-bulging shelves of The Wire’s office. AIMM is broadcast every Thursday 21:00-22:30 (BST) at 104.4 FM for Londoners, streamed live at for the rest of the world.

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The Wire Salon: We Hear A New World: Microphony, Technology & The Rise Of Sound Art

The Wire

At the turn of the century sound art reached a new level of visibility with a cluster of high-profile shows and countless below-the-radar initiatives. Meanwhile, new thinking about sound has led to an extraordinary proliferation of practices, and in recent years a phalanx of sound recordists and sonic artists has emerged to stage a revolutionary coup on behalf of sound, demanding its right to exist both in and of itself, free of the competing agendas of music or the visual arts.

The emergence of this new world of audio was accelerated by the dual technologies of microphony and digital processing, and can be heard in the examples of acoustic ecology and anthropology; desktop synthesis; the form-destroying praxes of Noise makers; Reductionism's amplification of previously occult sound events; frequency experiments with waveforms and pure tones; and more.

A cluster of recent books on this area has showcased the range of thinking behind the new sound art. For some, this work calls for a renewed focus on the perceiving body; for others, sound art offers new perspectives on the circulation of cultural meanings; for others still, sound has removed itself from the realm of the human to occupy a world where we simply don't figure.

For this edition of The Wire Salon, artist/writer Salomé Voegelin, author of Listening To Noise And Silence (Continuum), Helen Frosi, curator of the Soundfjord gallery, and critic/sound artist Will Montgomery discuss the new philosophies and practices that have emerged in recent years to map and calibrate the new world that has been revealed by 21st century sound art.

The Wire Salon: We Hear A New World: Microphony, Technology & The Rise Of Sound Art takes place at London's Café Oto, 2 September, 8pm, £4 Ticket on the door only.

Plus: take part in an audience-participation sound art quiz and have your perception of the audio world around you reshaped!

In anticipation of the night, we've put together the following reading list with links to online MP3s, videos and texts:

• Anne Hilde Neset hosts an edition of The Wire's Adventures In Modern Music on Resonance FM. Anne was joined by Dont Rhine and Robert Sember, members of the international activist/art/music collective Ultra-red.

• Steven P McGreevy specialises in recording natural Very Low Frequency (VLF) Radio phenomena, "The (very beautiful) Music Of The Magnetosphere And Space Weather"

• Recordings of Futurist composer Luigi Russolo's compositions using his noise making Intonarumori instruments (page also contains a downloadable PDF of Russolo's The Art Of Noises manifesto from 1913)

• "Return To Form: Christoph Cox On Neo-Modernist Sound Art" from Artforum, November, 2003

•Seth Kim-Cohen's "The Hole Truth: On Doug Aitken's Sonic Pavilion" from Artforum November, 2009

• Francisco Lopez's essay "Environmental Sound Matter" on La Selva, the sounds of nature and 'profound listening'

• Read about Konstantin Raudive and Electronic Voice Phenomenon

• Mike Kelley's essay: "An Academic Cut-Up, in Easily Digestible Paragraph-Sized Chunks or The New King Of Pop: Dr. Konstantin Raudive"

Ubuweb's Kenny Goldsmith on sound art

David Toop on The Art Of Noise

• A selection of video work by Brandon LaBelle: Concert #2: working with participants to stage the tension between sight and sound; Perspectives: writing and listening action in public space; Z: writing action utilizing motion-tracking to generate sound in real-time.

• Footage from Sound Seam, Aura Satz’s collaboration with Aleks Kolkowski, shown as part of the AV Festival 2010

• Mike Patton and Luciano Chessa test out reconstructed Futurist Intonarumori noise machines.

• Join the Soundasart mailing list

• More sound art links (via Seth Cluett)

The Wire Salon is a monthly series of salon events, hosted by The Wire magazine, and dedicated to the fine art and practice of thinking and talking about music. The evenings, which take place on the first Thursday of each month, will consist of readings, talks, panel discussions, film screenings, DJ sets and even the occasional live performance.

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Volatile Frequencies: call for papers

Tony Herrington

Volatile Frequencies: Topologies of Authority, Technology and Production in Contemporary Middle Eastern Music Practices: call for papers and performances

NB: Due to request, the deadline for the submission of abstracts has been extended to 1 October 2010 and for full paper submissions to 1 November 2010

The Volatile Frequencies conference seeks to collate research that translates, mediates and frames practices specific to sonic disciplines (music, sound art, musicology) arising in relation to the Middle East and North Africa, and to critically connect with wider academic currents. It will emphasise current post-graduate research and scholarly approaches to new sonic practices, prioritising practice that favours experimental and exploratory approaches.

Volatile Frequencies will be in conjunction with the first edition of the MazaJ Festival of Experimental Middle Eastern Music and is co-produced by Zenith Foundation, Sound And Music, and The Wire to be held in London in November 2010.

Academics and artists are invited to submit proposals for the Volatile Frequencies post-graduate day, addressing the key themes outlined on the conference site.

For further information visit

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