The Wire


Black Sweat reissues two rare Archie Shepp and Don Cherry titles

Archie Shepp Meets Kahil El'Zabar's Ritual Trio’s Conversations and Bitter Funeral Beer Band With Don Cherry & K Sridhar’s Live In Frankfurt 82 are released on vinyl for the first time

Milan based imprint Black Sweat have reissued two historic works on vinyl for the first time. First up is Archie Shepp Meets Kahil El'Zabar's Ritual Trio’s Conversations, on which Shepp joined forces with Malachi Favors of The Art Ensemble Of Chicago, El'Zabar of The Ethnic Heritage Ensemble, and AACM saxophonist Ari Brown. A tribute to AACM member Fred Hopkins, it was originally released by Chicago imprint Delmark in 1999.

Black Sweat are also reissuing Bitter Funeral Beer Band With Don Cherry & K Sridhar’s Live In Frankfurt 82. Founded by Swedish drummer and percussionist Bengt Berger (of Archimedes Badkar and Arbete Och Fritid) in the 1980s, on this set The Bitter Funeral Beer Band featured Hindustani sarod player Krishnamurti Sridhar. Though recorded in the early 1980s, it was first released in 2007 by Country & Eastern.

Black Sweat's Davide Domenichini with Al Doum And The Faryds' psychedelic rock set Spirit Rejoin is also available via Black Sweat's website.

Saul Williams is writing a musical as part of his MartyrLoserKing project

A Kickstarter campaign has been launched to fund his intersex sci fi love story Neptune Frost

Saul Williams has launched a Kickstarter campaign for a new musical film he is currently writing as part of his MartyrLoserKing project. Called Neptune Frost, it’s set in a village made from recycled computer parts that’s home to world’s most subversive hacking collective and, along with them, the elusive African hacker MartyrLoserKing. “They are the virtual heroes of a world drawn closer and closer to authoritarian rule until they cross the line that takes them from beloved hackers to first-world terrorists,” explains Williams. “Neptune Frost is the love story between an intersex runaway and a coltan miner, and the virtual marvel born as a result of their union – MartyrLoserKing – the world's #1 trend The Authority seeks to end.”

“The team of ‘losers’ and outcasts,” he continues, “ignite the imagination of the world’s most ‘connected’ generation through deep space, deep web penetration. A virtual hero for a world caught in perpetual analogue exploitation. Neptune Frost is the MartyrLoserKing.”

More information, along with a film trailer, can be found on the Kickstarter website. The campaign has just over a month left, with pledge rewards ranging from T-shirts and an exclusive mix tape, to VIP World Premiere tickets and a visit from the North African kitten named Choo Choo Bird, who will appear in your dreams once every blue moon.

Pram release first studio album in 11 years

Across The Meridian is out on 20 July, followed two days later by a London show

Next month Pram will release their first LP in 11 years. Called Across The Meridian, it follows on from 2007's The Moving Frontier, and is described by their current label Domino as a “celebration of much of Pram’s iconic quirkiness, focused into a beautifully constructed and tautly produced soundworld”.

Across The Meridian is the outcome of an improv session at Foel studios in Wales, which they later reconvened at a studio in their hometown Birmingham. “It’s slightly more hi-fi than previous albums,” says guitarist and multi-instrumentalist Matt Eaton. “Early Pram music was recorded on a four track cassette player in a squat in Birmingham. Having a reliable working microphone was a prize in itself. The texture of our mixing and production has changed over the years.”

He continues: “We allow ourselves to make these odd mistakes and quirks and then the music has a character of its own. It’s part of what we’ve always done naturally, so it’s very unlike us to take a conventional path to something. We want to create something new – a new sound or a new process – each time we record.”

Across The Meridian is released in vinyl and CD formats and as a download by Domino. Pram will play at London’s The Lexington on 22 July. You can check out a video of Pram’s new single below.

The Attic broadcast first music residency over Facebook

From 21–25 June the online platform will broadcast live from a salt mine in the Bacău county

The Attic have organised their first music residency to run from 21–25 June. Taking place in the Slănic Moldova mountains district in Bacău county, it'll feature a series of live concerts, DJ sets, workshops and film, with much of the content broadcast live over their Facebook page.

The four day event is commissioned by the one-month residency programme InContext, which was initiated by Romanian artist Alina Teodorescum. “The Attic residency will be creating a musical ensemble formed of contemporary Romanian and Western musicians,” The Attic explain. “The musicians will experience interculturality from a sonic perspective, as well as the metabolic interaction between man and nature. They will explore various approaches of Indian music, classic as well as contemporary, while experimenting with several instruments. The residency space will become a resource for dialogue and fusion in itself, the process culminating with a concert at the Târgu Ocna salt mine, preceded by three improv acts by different artists.” The concert will feature an ensemble consisting of Stefan Fraunberger and five Romanian musicians: Laurențiu Coțac, Bogdana Dima, Diana Miron, Sian Brie and Călin Torsan.

Also in the line-up is Avadhut Kasinadhuni & Anne-Marie Ene, Bogman, Electroclown, Houschyar, Megan Dominey & Alexandru Grigore, Melanie Velarde, Miron Ghiu, Saşa Liviu Stoianovici & Dan Michiu, Sillyconductor, Sneha Khanwalker, and others. Plus The Attic Soundsystem with Andrei C, Balearic Goth, Dokia, Duo Mercur, Dragos Rusu, Somebody's Daughters and Stutz.

Full details can be found on InContext's website, and you can stream some of the events via The Attic Facebook page.

Gérard Hourbette has died

Art Zoyd announce director and composer Gérard Hourbette died on 4 May aged 64

Veteran French progressive rock outfit Art Zoyd have announced the death of director and composer Gérard Hourbette. He was 64. Also a violinist, electroacoustic composer, writer and poet, Hourbette was influenced by the work of Iannis Xenakis, Pierre Henry, Karlheinz Stockhausen and Luciano Berio. He joined Art Zoyd in 1971, and collaborated with choreographers including Roland Petit on The Marriage Of Heaven And Hell and Karole Armitage on Schrödinger’s Cat. “He managed to make Art Zoyd Studios, located in Valenciennes in the Hauts-de-France region, a unique place, with artists’ residencies, a permanent centre for musical creation, a space for the gestation of new works and teaching the art of composition with a constant effort to confront it with other art forms,” says the joint statement from his widow Monique and Art Zoyd Studios.

Low announce new album Double Negative

The Minnesota based trio share a triptych video from their forthcoming LP

To celebrate 25 years of Low, the experimental US rock group have announced the pending release of their brand new album Double Negative. Founding members Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker, joined by longtime bassist Steve Garrington, are set to embark on an extensive European and US tour, which will run from June through to November 2018. The album was recorded with producer BJ Burton in Wisconsin and will be released by Sub Pop on 14 September.

This video features three tracks from the record, directed by Ben Chisholm, Karlos Rene Ayala and Mark Pellington, respectively. UK artist and longtime Low collaborator Peter Liversidge helped create the album's cover art.

Low will perform at Leeds Brudenell Social on 19 June and at Queen Festival Hall's Meltdown festival in London on 20 June. For further dates check the band's website.

The Slits publish old scrapbook

The book was featured in the recent documentary Here To Be Heard: The Story Of The Slits

The Slits have published a scrapbook of new clippings documenting a published journey of the British punk band. Focusing on the time when the line up included Ari Up (Ariane Forster) and Palmolive (Paloma Romero of The Raincoats), Viv Albertine and Tessa Pollitt, the book's contents were collected by Pollitt, who began the project in 1977.

News Cuttings And Scraps is a reproduction of these clippings, with added photos and notes from The Slits' members and is sold with a DVD edition of the recent documentary directed by William E Badgley Here To Be Heard: The Story Of The Slits.

“I started collecting cuttings from the old press (no internet in those days!) from 1976 onwards,” explains Pollitt. “This was the scrapbook era. I also loved taking photos from childhood, and have continued on an instamatic camera ever since, some of these are included in this scrapbook. It was [director] William Badgley’s idea to use my scrapbook as a starting point to base the documentary around, an idea that proved to be successful.”

Jalal Mansur Nuriddin of The Last Poets has died

US poet, musician, political revolutionary and grandfather of rap died on 4 June aged 73

Born in Brooklyn, New York in 1944, Jalal Mansur Nuriddin – once known as Alafia Pudim and also Lightnin’ Rod – was a member of proto-rap outfit The Last Poets, as well as a devout Muslim and acupuncturist. “The Last Poets didn’t invent rap for it to become a commercial art form, but as a political necessity, in order to articulate our political, revolutionary and evolutionary agenda,” he told Rahma Khazam in The Wire 124. His incendiary lyrics were an influence to scores of musicians including Chuck D, Miles Davis and Tupac Shakur.

He joined New York group The Last Poets, which at that point included Gylan Kain, Felipe Luciano and Abiodun Oyewole, in the late 1960s. He left before that edition of the group released any recordings, but shortly thereafter regrouped with Oyewole and Umar Bin Hassan under the Last Poets name once again. Members of the previous incarnation including Luciano and Kain would later release music under the name The Original Last Poets.

Nuriddin, Bin Hassan and Oyewole had first met in prison, and on release joined forces with Suleiman El-Hadi as part of a writer's workshop in Harlem. The group preached revolution in spiels they performed on the corner of 125th Street and Lennox Avenue, and it was there that Alan Douglas – the US producer notorious for his work on Jimi Hendrix’s posthumous recording legacy, and whose Douglas label released discs by Eric Dolphy, Malcolm X and John McLaughlin, among many others – approached them.

As Nuriddin explained to Charles de Ledesma in The Wire 11, the group articulated social, political and economical pressures of American life in a way that had rarely been heard before. “The American Dream said each individual could make it but it didn't apply to black people,” he said. “We'd believed that we could accomplish something by working through the system, but, in the streets, the people were angry because they felt they had been lied to and short-changed. They had no power, the government controlled their lives and lifestyles by perpetuating racism and making sure that the people vented their frustrations on each other whilst other cats were getting the buck.” The name The Last Poets, Nuriddin said, came from a poem written by a South African emigrant Willy Okanside. “He had written in his poem that this was the last age of poems and essays and that guns would take the place of poems. Therefore we were the last poets of this age meaning that this is the last chance for dialogue; after that, we can't talk to each other no more, then we all start fighting.”

With Bin Hassan, Oyewole and percussionist Nilaja, they released their debut album The Last Poets in 1969, selling over a million copies largely by word of mouth. Oyewole didn’t appear on their second release Madness, and Suleiman El-Hadi replaced Hassan on the album Chastisement in 1972. This became the album that introduced the style described by Nuriddin as “jazzoetry”.

Under the name Lightnin' Rod, Nuriddin released the influential 1973 album Hustlers Convention, featuring, among others, Kool & The Gang and Julius Hemphill. Mike Barnes played the track "Sport" to Ice-T as part of an Invisible Jukebox in The Wire 149, which the MC rapped along to by heart, describing it “as the first gangsta rap album". According to the UK poet and writer Abdul Malik Al Nasir two follow-up releases, The Hustlers Detention and The Hustlers Ascension, which together form an autobiographical poem, have been written but are currently unpublished.

Around this time, The Last Poets shared concert bills with Miles Davis, Stevie Wonder, Jimi Hendrix and Aretha Franklin, even as their politically charged and revolutionary lyrics began to draw attention. They were monitored by COINTELPRO, a counter intelligence programme operated under President Nixon's administration. Gig organisers were discouraged from booking them, and their records became hard to find.

“The street smart art form variously described as jazzoetry and spoagraphics/biographics (the art of spoken pictures) associated the traditional African instrument, the drum, and the African method of playing it, with the ghettoised voice of the contemporary urban black,” wrote Rahma Khazam. “Along with fellow Afro-Americans in the Nation Of Islam and The Black Panthers, they were rejecting Western society and connecting instead with what they perceived as their African roots.” Nurridin added: “We've been regurgitated from the belly because we're unpalatable, which means articulate.”

In 1984 members of The Last Poets returned with Oh My People, produced by Bill Laswell and released by the Celluloid label, and 1988’s Freedom Express. Other configurations of musicians were using the Last Poets name around the same time, while Nuriddin operated various solo projects; he worked with Adrian Sherwood in the early 1990s, released the single “Mankind”, and spent several years living in Paris, Liverpool, Bristol and London. He was the subject of an Epiphanies column (which can be read via Exact Editions) in The Wire 186 back in 1999, where Christoph Cox recalled his years of friendship and acupuncture sessions with him.

Jalal Mansur Nuriddin died on 4 June, reportedly of cancer.

Poetry & Lyrics festival returns celebrating moments of change

A carnival of poetry, music and lyrics from the London based arts organisation Poet In The City

Poetry & Lyrics returns to London this year for a third installment celebrating poetry, music and wordplay. Taking place at Kings Place from 8–9 June, the programme spans concerts, live music, talks, workshops and readings.

This year’s event intends to focus on how poetry and lyrics have articulated important moments in history, with a line-up of artists that takes in hiphop, folk, contemporary music and classical. Performances will come from Garance Louis, Levee Breaks with Cerys Matthews, Benin City, Michael de Souza with Lil' Bruv from the TV show Rastamouse, Anthony Joseph, Daudi Matsiko, Inua Ellams presenting a Rhythm And Poetry Party, the works of Emily Dickinson, and others.

The event is hosted by Poet And The City. More information can be found on the King's Place website.

Boiler Room announces new film platform 4:3 and documentary Fleshback: Queer Raving in Manchester’s Twilight Zone

Marketed as a “Netflix for the underground”, the free streaming site will explore performance, identity, youth culture and anti-establishment

Boiler Room has launched 4:3, a new streaming platform for a wide range of music documentaries, feature length films and archival footage. The platform is curated by guests Elijah Wood, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Peaches and Jenn Nkiru, and is free to use, although you do need to register.

So far 4:3’s uploaded content covers topics ranging from New York’s Paradise Garage club and UKG to grime and Industrial, including contributions from or about Sun Ra, Sudan Archives, Jeff Mills, Vince Staples, Blood Orange, David Mancuso, Ron Hardy, and many more. There is also a section dedicated to the works of documentary film maker Robert Mugge.

“Holding a mirror up to internet culture, 4:3 omnivorously pulls anything from a feature film to a music video to found footage to a meme,” says its Creative Director Amar Ediriwira. “The platforms seeks to challenge notions of ‘high’ and ‘low’ art, all the while expanding the ways we experience moving image and sound.”

In the meantime, 4:3’s first release of original content explores the history and the present state of queer dance music culture in Manchester. Produced by Anaïs Brémond and directed by Stephen Isaac Wilson, it’s called Fleshback: Queer Raving In Manchester's Twilight Zone and it marks the 30th anniversary of the homophobic Section 28 legislation introduced by Thatcher's government to prohibit the promotion of homosexuality in schools.

You can watch chapter one of the documentary below or register to view it on 4:3.