The Wire


The Invisible Hands follows Alan Bishop and his band in Cairo

Made over the course of five years, the film documents Bishop's trip to the Egyptian capital and the formation of outfit The Invisible Hands

Film makers Marina Gioti and Georges Salameh have made a new film about Alan Bishop and his band, The Invisible Hands. The camera starts rolling after the 2011 uprisings in Egypt and follows Bishop on his trip to Cairo and his subsequent collaboration with Egyptian musicians Aya Hemeda, Cherif El Masri and Adham Zidan. What started off as a one off project to translate some of Bishop's works into Arabic, would then turn into the outfit The Invisible Hands.

The film features documentary and archival footage, as well as diary narrations by Bishop. As well as The Invisible Hands members, also making an appearance in the film are: Richard Bishop, Hani El Masri, Mahmoud Hemeda, Sam Shalabi, Hany Zaki, Mervat Abou Oaf, Nabil Ali Maher, and Marcus Boon

The Invisible Hands premiered at documenta 14 art exhibition in Athens and Kassel. It will also show in Tokyo on 22 February. Watch a trailer below.

Film maker Molly Dineen returns with a new documentary on Steve ‘Blacker Dread’ Martin

Being Blacker examines the life of music producer, Brixton record shop owner and key figure in South London's Jamaican community

Film maker Molly Dineen has returned with her first documentary in ten years, Being Blacker. Dineen met the music producer and record shop owner Steve ‘Blacker Dread’ Martin nearly 40 years ago when they we both 18 – she was a student when she shot Sound Business in 1981; a film that documented the British incarnations of Jamaica’s Sound Systems, and where she met Blacker Dread. Back in 2014, Blacker Dread had asked Dineen to film his mother's funeral, an experience that would mark the start of this documentary, and the succeeding three years she would spend with the subject documenting events such as his daughter's wedding and his first prison sentence. “Blacker Dread's life has seen him experience three generations of educational inequality, racism, cultural isolation, lack of employment opportunities, crime and violence, but also togetherness, community spirit, and a vibrant musical culture,” notes that synopsis, with this portrait of a major figurehead in South London's Jamaican community also highlighting many of the issues that face black communities in London today.

“When I reconnected with Blacker I stepped into another world”, explains Dineen. “He’s a wonderful character who has lived the most incredible life and Being Blacker looks at the social and cultural issues which have forged his path. Blacker Dread as seen in this film could only exist in this extraordinary world where family and music are at the forefront, but racism and violence are also everyday occurrences. And if you think any of these are things of the past in London then Being Blacker will prove eye-opening to say the very least.”

Screenings will take place throughout March, including London Curzon Soho (1), Oxford Ultimate Picture Palace (3), London Rio Dalston and Peckhamplex (4), London BFI (5), Manchester Home (7), London Bertha Dochouse (9), London The Lexi Cinema (11), and London Somerset House (12). It will also be broadcast on BBC2 on 12 March, 9pm. Full details of screenings are on the Being Blacker website.

You can watch the trailer below.

Occupy The Pianos festival focuses on themes Protest and The Journey Within

This third edition will take place at London's St John’s Smith Square between 20–22 April

This year Occupy The Pianos festival is curated by pianist and composer Rolf Hind. Taking place this April, concerts will feature new works and fresh interpretations, with radical piano music at the festival's core.

The two themes to be investigated include Protest – from feminism to prisoner rights, animal welfare and queer music, and The Journey Within which will feature audience participation and a led meditation with Eliza McCarthy.

“St Johns’s Smith Square is only a stone’s throw from Parliament Square, site of protest and agitation for hundreds of years” explains Hind. “In keeping with our name, this year’s programming considers politics and protest. At the same time – reflecting the beautiful, serene space in which we find ourselves in this church, the festival’s 2nd day will move towards spirituality and the journey within, offering new ways for the audience to encounter music and their experience of it.”

The line up includes over a dozen new works, some of which are the fruits of an open call for new scores. Also taking place will be a workshop on writing music for piano, and two of Radulescu's sound icons (a grand piano laid on its side) will be housed in the crypt and offer members of the public a chance to improvise.

Occupy The Pianos will take place between 20–22 April. A full list of performances and events can be found on their website.

Pearls Before Swine frontman Tom Rapp has died

The American singer and songwriter was 70 years old

Tom Rapp died on 11 February in Melbourne, Florida. Born in North Dakota in 1947, Rapp was given his first guitar at a young age after his family had moved to Minnesota. His family later moved to Pennsylvania and then on to Florida.

Rapp had a short but influential career as the founder and frontman of psychedelic folk rock outfit Pearls Before Swine. The group formed while Rapp was at school with fellow pupils Wayne Harley, Roger Crissinger and Lane Lederer. They went on to release their debut album One Nation Underground in 1967 (reissued in 2017 by Drag City). They followed it with five more albums, keeping the Pearls Before Swine name even though band members varied, before Rapp left to embark on a brief solo career in the early 1970s.

He later returned to education and became a civil rights lawyer. In 1999 he released a solo album called A Journal Of The Plague Year (Woronzow).

Tansy Davies and Nick Drake premiere Cave

The London Sinfonietta, in association with The Royal Opera, presents the new commission at London Printworks this summer

Tansy Davies and Nick Drake will premiere their brand new site specific opera this June at London's Printworks venue. Called Cave, the futuristic work tells the story of one man's battle to find his lost daughter amidst the devastation of climate change.

The piece was commissioned to Davies by London Sinfonietta as a finale to its 50th anniversary season, and has the composer reunite with Drake following the award winning 2016 operatic response to 9/11, Between Worlds. “We both want to try and achieve a better world, a balanced world where respect for nature is important” says Davies. “We both feel that there’s power there – not only dreams and visions but real wisdom that we can reclaim and respect... It’s an outer journey about the world and situation we’re in but it’s also an inner journey. It has to do with finding stillness within.”

Cave is performed by tenor Mark Padmore, mezzo-soprano Elaine Mitchener and the London Sinfonietta. It is directed by Lucy Bailey and conducted by Geoffrey Paterson, and will run 20-23 June. Tickets are available now.

The Goodiepal Equation original soundtrack available to trade

Released in late 2017, the documentary follows the Danish “musician, hacker, renaissance man, futurist” and self-proclaimed “man for the new millennium” to ask: what exactly is the Goodiepal equation?

The music to Sami Sänpäkkilä’s documentary on the Danish musician, artist and activist Goodiepal has been released. The near-feature length film The Goodiepal Equation was released at the end of 2017, and takes a closer look into the world of this eccentric performer (born Kristian Parl Bjørn Vester) who rides around on a self-built power generating bicycle, and whose art and activism has become increasingly radical.

“Goodiepal is by nature impenetrable, yet consistent,” says the film's director Sänpäkkilä, also head of the Finnish Fonal record label. “Goodiepal himself forms an essential part of his theories. Indeed, the Goodiepal Equation is as follows: ‘The further a message travels over space and time, the more value it adds to its content.’ One might think that this documentary has been made on the off-chance of Goodiepal later becoming an extremely famous artist and theorist. This, however, is a ready example of the paradox that is Goodiepal.”

Sänpäkkilä continues: “For all his overbearingness, he is not merely a master manipulator; his actions reveal true altruism and empathy. He pays for rooms for the needy to work and live in, he helps refugees and donates large sums of money to charity. The documentary portrays a man who is more than an artist or a theorist. It shows us someone who is battling – in his very personal way – his problems and illnesses.” Goodiepal lives with the inherited degenerative condition Huntington's disease.

Following a host of screening in the US and Europe last year, the soundtrack has now been released as four LPs – but with a catch. Goodiepal won't take money for the release, instead will only exchange them for more music. “I am old and I need new music,” he says. “Yes I need to listen to new music – so the copies that I have, I will only trade!” Full details and trade address can be found via the Facebook post.

Watch a trailer of the documentary below:

Royal Trux reissue digital catalogue via Fat Possum

American duo have signed to the Mississippi label to reissue their archive and record a new album

American rock duo Royal Trux – aka Jennifer Herrema and Neil Hagerty – have signed to Mississippi label Fat Possum. The record label are set to digitally re-release the majority of the pair's back catalogue, from the 1988 self titled debut up until 2000's Pound For Pound. Notable exceptions are Sweet Sixteen and Thank You, both released via Virgin in the mid-1990s). After Pound For Pound was released Royal Trux took a 15 year hiatus as a duo, with their comeback release, Platinum Tips And Ice Cream, put out on Domino in June 2017.

Records reissued by Fat Possum are Royal Trux (1988), Hand of Glory (1989), Twin Infinitives (1990), Untitled (1992), Cats And Dogs (1993), Accelerator (1998), 3-Song EP (1998), Veterans Of Disorder (1999), Pound For Pound (2000), and Radio Video EP (2000)

Herrema and Hagerty have also announced plans to record a new album for Fat Possum (details yet to be confirmed), and they are also set to tour the US and Europe across this year and next.

The first set of reissues are to be expected in March 2018. Listen to “The Flag” from Cats And Dogs below. Royal Trux appeared on the cover of The Wire 399.

All Gates Open: The Story Of Can published in May

Faber and Faber announce the release date for the two-book biography penned by The Wire's Rob Young and Can's Irmin Schmidt

This May will see the publication of the definitive portrait of cherished experimental rock group Can. Titled All Gates Open: The Story Of Can, it's divided into two separate parts and features a host of previously unseen art and photos.

The first book has The Wire's Rob Young pen the full biography of the band, drawing on unique interviews with all its founding members and vocalists, as well as friends and acquaintances. Book two, titled Can Kiosk, has been assembled by founding member Irmin Schmidt and is touted as a collage, featuring an oral history collated by former Electronic Beats editor Max Dax, and Robert Defcon. It also includes a selection of interviews conducted by Schmidt with musicians and film makers including Bobby Gillespie, Geoff Barrow, Mark E Smith, Daniel Miller, Wim Wenders and John Malkovich, and extracts from Schmidt’s notebooks and diaries from 2013–14.

Published by Faber and Faber on 5 May, All Gates Open: The Story Of Can is available for pre-order as a hardback edition for £25. There is also a limited edition version available for pre-order from 5 April for a price of £250.

Wysing announce 2018 residencies including Moor Mother, Rachael Rosen and Sonic Cyberfeminisms

This year focuses on “developing new work within an atmosphere of collaboration”

Wysing Arts Centre in Cambridge have announced a full list of artists to appear in residence throughout 2018, and who will work across a range of practices including visual art, writing, choreography, dance, music and sound, with a focus this year on collaboration. Artists are set to work with Wysing across multiple visits to the complex, with many bringing existing networks of people with them, including children and relatives. The artists chosen make work that investigates family, disability, race and racism, gender, identity, sexuality, and more.

The list of contributors includes: Camae Ayewa aka Moor Mother, Leah Clements with Rebecca Bligh, Uma Breakdown, Elena Colman, Alice Hattrick and Lizzy Rose, Phoebe Collings James and Last Yearz Interesting Negro aka Jamila Johnson-Small, Brandon Covington Sam-Sumana aka N-Prolenta, Julia Crabtree and William Evans, Formerly Called, Ibrahim Cissé, Atum Farah, Cédric Fauq, Georgia Lucas-Going, Elijah Maja, Olu Ogunnaike, Cindy Sissokho, Kefiloe Siwisa, Dominique White, Anna McMahon, Salote Tawale, Joe Moran, Tessa Norton and family, Nastja Säde Rönkkö and family, Rachael Rosen and collaborators, Liv Wynter, also with collaborators, and more.

The event also features a Sonic Cyberfeminisms strand with Annie Goh, Marlo De Lara, Jane Frances Dunlop, Natalie Hyacinth, Miranda Iossifidis, The Wire's Frances Morgan, Shanti Suki Osman and Marie Thompson. More information can be found on Wysing's website.

12 CD box set released in celebration of what would have been Pierre Henry’s 90th birthday

The music was selected and remastered by the composer prior to his death last year

A 12 CD box set covering more than 50 years of work by the musique concrète pioneer Pierre Henry has been released on Decca. Titled Polyphonies, the works were selected and remastered by the composer himself before his death on 5 July 2017.

The release collects 29 compositions and includes nine previously unheard pieces, including Chronicles Terriennes (2016), Études Transcendantes Pour Un Piano Imaginaire (2015), Pleins Jeux (2008) and Kyldex (1973). The final disc is a selection of 2016 remixes (described also as remasters) that were completed before Henry lost his sight. Also included is a 112 page booklet made up mostly of the composer's notes. Polyphonies is out now.