The Wire


Critical Beats #1: A Reader

Critical Beats is The Wire's latest series of talks and panel discussions, hosted with the University of East London at London's Stratford Circus. The discussions will examine electronic dance music in East London's club culture and the resulting impact on wider scenes.

The first edition of Critical Beats takes place on 3 November, titled Sound, Technology & Microgenres. The panel includes Matthew Ingram (Woebot), Adam Harper (Rouges Foam), Mike Paradinas (Planet Mu), and is moderated by Lisa Blanning.

The panel will discuss the way emergent technologies enable dance music to constantly renew itself by spawning multiple new subgenres, and what those subgenres say about the scenes they emerge from. Online tickets are available for the first event here. Alternatively, ring 0844 357 2625 to purchase tickets from the Stratford Circus box office directly.

Adam Harper's first book Infinite Music will be published in November by Zero Books. It looks at the limitless possibilities for music making brought about by technological change and asks how and why we should be creating and listening to music now. Harper also runs the blog Rouge's Foam, where he's recently recorded a number of his lengthier blog posts as audio via Soundcloud. Listen to Harper's post on the Night Slugs label below, or read the original here.

Rouge's Foam - Always Read the Label: Night Slugs by Rouge's Foam

Matthew Ingram (aka Woebot) recently uploaded every mix he's made since 2003 to Soundcloud. Ingram ran the blog Woebot until 2007, and the blog now exists as a mailing list. Ingram started the Dissensus forum with Mark Fisher, and writes for The Wire, Fact and others. He started releasing his own music in 2009. You can still read Woebot's list of the 100 Greatest Records Ever here. The full post, with commentary, can be accessed via the Way Back machine here. Ingram has been interviewed by The Quietus and Fact Magazine. Listen to Woebot's Slave To The Rave mix below.

Slave to the Rave by Woebot

Mike Paradinas runs Planet Mu records, and has recently released Spinn and Rashad, Kuedo, Machinedrum, Anti-G, FaltyDL and others. The label has been instrumental in bringing juke to audiences outside of Chicago. Paradinas also makes music under various aliases, including μ-Ziq. Listen to a Paradinas juke mix from 2010 below.

Mike Paradinas Footwork/Juke Mix by Mike Paradinas (A.K.A. Μ-Ziq) on Mixcloud

Matthew Ingram contributed an article to the first Loops journal, where he aimed to bring discussion of the creation and production of electronic music out of the confines of an inner circle of musicians. Read a precis of the article here.

Chapter four of Paul Théberge's Any Sound You Can Imagine: Making Music/Consuming Technology provides some history, with details on the development and impact of cheap synthesizers, samplers, and presets through the 70s and 80s. Théberge notes that Casio only set up its musical instrument division in 1978. By the end of the 80s Casio had shifted around 15 million instruments. Access the chapter via Google Books here.

This 20 minute long video documentary on the 'Amen Break' explains the history of that six second drum sample, used by everyone from Mantronix and NWA to rave producers and beyond, and which originated in B side "Amen Brother" by The Winstons.

For more info on Critical Beats, and to read about forthcoming editions in the series, head here.