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Fennesz shares medley from first solo album in five years

Agora is Christian Fennesz’s first solo release since Mahler Remixed and Bécs in 2014

Christian Fennesz will release his first album of solo works in five years. Titled Agora, the release follows on from 2014 solo albums Mahler Remixed on Touch and Bécs on Editions Mego.

“It’s a simple story. I had temporarily lost a proper studio workspace and had to move all my gear back to a small bedroom in my flat where I recorded this album” explains the Austrian musician. “It was all done on headphones, which was rather a frustrating situation at first but later on it felt like back in the day when I produced my first records in the 1990s. In the end, it was inspiring. I used very minimal equipment; I didn’t even have the courage to plug in all the gear and instruments which were at my disposal. I just used what was to hand.”

In 2016 the artist released It's Hard For Me To Say I’m Sorry with Jim O'Rourke, and last year a live recording of Glenn Gould reimaginings, titled Glenn Gould Gathering, was released on Sony. The recordings are made up of part of the gig that took place in Tokyo in December 2017. Also on that release are Alva Noto, Nilo, Francesco Tristano and Ryuichi Sakamoto.

Fennesz's Agora is released on Touch on 29 March. You can listen to a track called “Umbrella”, which is a medley of the four tracks on the release, via bandcamp.

Blue Note Records celebrates 80th anniversary

The jazz label marks its birthday with a new record, documentary and special live events

2019 marks 80 years since German immigrant Alfred Lion produced his first Blue Note recording session in New York City. Relaunched by Bruce Lundvall in 1984, Blue Note Records has remained one of the world’s leading labels dedicated to jazz. Don Was became its president in 2012.

Artists who have recorded on Blue Note include Thelonious Monk, Bud Powell, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley, Horace Silver, Art Blakey, Jimmy Smith, Dexter Gordon, Grant Green, Lou Donaldson, Donald Byrd, Lee Morgan, Freddie Hubbard, Joe Henderson, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Charles Lloyd, Dr Lonnie Smith, Ornette Coleman and Cecil Taylor.

To commemorate the year, 2019 will see a Blue Note 80 vinyl reissue series, a dedicated Spotify playlist called Jazz Classics Blue Note Edition, the documentary Blue Note Records: Beyond The Notes, an anniversary tour kicking off in autumn, prints of Blue Note artwork, and more to be announced throughout the year. Full details can be found on their website.

On-U Sound’s Pay It All Back series returns

35 years after PIAB’s inception producer Adrian Sherwood releases Volume 7

“The Pay It All Back series started 35 years ago!” remembers On-U founder Adrian Sherwood. “These compilations were designed to promote the world of On-U, a ‘payback’ for the people who supported us and to encourage others to investigate the label’s work. The first volume retailed for the price of a 7" single at the time! Other volumes came with fat booklets or a Pay It All Back tour in the case of Volume 3. After Volume 6, the label (and me) was not in the best of shape, and it was some six years before the next label compilation Chainstore Massacre was released.”

Set for March release, Volume 7 comes 23 years after its predecessor. “The label has been through many interesting and difficult times but we are still very much involved in what can loosely be called ‘the business’,” remarks Sherwood.

An 18 track selection of new Sherwood productions, Volume 7 previews several forthcoming On-U releases, unique mixes and deep cuts. These include previously unreleased music from Roots Manuva, Sherwood & Pinch, Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, Coldcut, Ghetto Priest, Gary Lucas, Mark Stewart, Horace Andy, Little Axe and more. Pre-order available now.

Chris Petit and Mordant Music release ‘remix’ of The Man Who Fell To Earth

In What's Missing, Is Where Love Has Gone mangles audio from Nicholas Roeg’s film and other projects by Petit

A new album by Chris Petit and regular collaborator Mordant Music reworks the soundtrack to Nicolas Roeg’s The Man Who Fell To Earth to mark the third anniversary of David Bowie’s death. In What's Missing, Is Where Love Has Gone is the first vinyl release on the long-running ‘anti-record label’ purge.xxx.

The 12" is inspired by an image of the back of Bowie’s head, a freeze frame accidentally rendered from Petit’s late night viewing of Nicolas Roeg’s The Man Who Fell To Earth. “I find myself thinking about an image of an entertainer, dead now, but with perfect hair,” the novelist and film maker says in the notes accompanying the album. “This man with perfect hair, turning his back on the world, face to the wall… And maybe also the fact that the image is not original but a copy of a copy of a copy, and though it is obviously him (or pretty obviously), there is always a chance it is not.” The record follows a 2017 exhibition of the same name by Petit held in Berlin. Bowie’s particular style of that era, with the haircut he rocked on both the cover of Low and in his part as Thomas Jerome Newton in Roeg’s 1976 film, is as Petit sees it, a “combination of a tarty dye and taking huge amounts of cocaine.”

The music meanwhile was cooked up by esoteric audio engineers Mordant Music, incorporating aspects of The Man Who Fell To Earth alongside detritus from Petit’s 1979 film Radio On, which David Bowie contributed to, and Petit’s LP Museum Of Loneliness.

purge.xxx has previously released cassettes by Frans Zwartjes, Shit & Shine, Iain Sinclair, and many more. The label promises an upcoming launch event for the record with “a Bowie impersonator performing all of the hits with his back to the crowd”. You can read more details about the release on their website.

Mira Calix returns to Warp after a decade

The artist whose recent works have focused on war memorials and ultrasound looks to louche house parties for inspiration

Following various multiple installation and exhibition works, Mira Calix has returned to Warp to release the electronic EP Utopia, her first record on the label in over a decade.

In 2016 Calix launched an online portal of works that included her own back catalogue as well as projects from “people I admire”, she stated. “I’ve been fascinated over the last decade by objectifying sound, with the song as a place and the challenge of building environments.”

More recently, in 2018 she won a Lovie Award for her Ode To The Future project. She also presented the sound work Good Grief, Charlie Brown! and created the audio for Beyond The Deepening Shadow: The Tower Remembers.

The new EP is based on the film of the same name, written and directed by Adam Thirlwell and released on 6 December 2018. The film’s about a character called Renata who decides to set up a commune.

“The past few years I’ve been making mostly installations, which I find thrilling, but the nature of my practice means I tend to work with many hands, many speakers, many materials, many musicians over long periods,” explains Calix. “It was really refreshing to make this EP, to give myself a time limit, a strict set of rules, a tight sonic palette and be fully autonomous as a writer, producer and musician. In a way it’s going back to my roots. My first ever release on Warp was a 10”, but it also felt completely fresh, playful, to just build some tracks around a cinematic scene – something for friends to move to in the early hours of a louche house party!”

On the EP, Mira Calix uses manipulated and recontextulised vocals to expand on her concepts of the muse, the male gaze, nostalgia and modernity.

Check out the lead track “rightclick” below. Utopia is released on 25 January via Warp.

New LP from Royal Trux

The record will be their first album of new songs since 2000's Pound For Pound

Last October, rock duo Royal Trux released their first new music since 2000 with two tracks “Every Day Swan” and “Get Used To This”. Now it's time for the album release. White Stuff is due out on Fat Possum in 1 March, with the duo Jennifer Herrema and Neil Hagerty sharing a new single from the release, the title track “White Stuff”.

"It's funny how the outside world perceives or feels compelled to parse complicated relationships and
dynamics...Usually it's an all or nothing game", says Herrema, talking about the new album. "This next chapter is just another perfectly aligned bit of kismet. No concerted effort to force anything forward or to create something
with an eye on the past. Only an awareness that the present had come calling with a gift to assist the future of Royal Trux. The true believers that were once strangers found their way into our universe because everybody was ready for it and it simply, as if on cosmic cue, came to be."

You can preorder physical and digital formats of the album on Bandcamp, including a limited edition coloured vinyl version.

Drummer and early AACM mover Alvin Fielder has died

Respects have been paid to the American percussionist who worked with Sun Ra Arkestra, Muhal Richard Abrams and Kidd Jordan

American drummer Alvin Fielder Jr has died. Among those paying tribute have been bassist and collaborator Damon Smith, younger Marsalis brother Jason, and Joshua Abrams of Natural Information Society, who performed with the drummer in 2016.

Born on 23 November 1935 in Mississippi, Fielder was from a musical family. His brother, William, was a trumpeter and the Director of Jazz Studies at Rutgers University. The first instrument Fielder learned was the piano, though he didn't take to the instrument, instead turning to baseball and football.

In the late 1940s he got his hands on a recording of Max Roach playing “Ko-Ko”, an experience which turned him onto modern jazz. “I've been a believer ever since,” he told Clifford Allen in an interview published in allaboutjazz.com in 2007. “Max was very good to me; I got a chance to really know Max I guess maybe 15 or 17 years ago... he was probably the dominant factor in my life after my father and grandfather.”

Fielder joined the school band aged 13 playing drums for the marches at football matches. In 1953 he moved to New Orleans to study pharmacy at Xavier University as part of the family business. There he would have drum lessons under legendary Ornette Coleman collaborator Ed Blackwell before transferring his studies to Texas Southern University. He became active in the Houston jazz scene before moving to Chicago. There he would work with Sun Ra Arkestra, Muhal Richard Abrams, Roscoe Mitchell, Eddie Harris and many more. He became a member of the AACM alongside the likes of Roscoe Mitchell and Malachi Favors, and in 1966 he played percussion on the landmark Roscoe Mitchell record Sound.

In 1968 Fielder returned to Mississippi to take over the family business due to his father's ill health. Through the Black Arts Music Society, Fielder brought musicians such as Mitchell, John Stubblefield, Favors, Abrams and Clifford Jordan to Mississippi. In the mid-1970s he started working with Kidd Jordan and co-lead the Improvisational Arts quintet. He would continue to work with Jordan for over four decades. In 2007, after over half a century as a player, he finally released his debut and only disc as a leader, A Measure Of Vision.

Abyss X launches Greek festival Nature Loves Courage

Intimate weekend affair with 350 capacity

Nature Loves Courage is a new festival put on by Greek electronic producer Abyss X. Based in the south of Crete, it take its name from American ethnobotanist and mystic Terence McKenna, whose recordings Abyss X has used multiple times in DJ sets.

It's set to be an intimate experience, taking place at Fortuna Club, close to the beach in Sougia Bay. Tickets are limited to 350 and clothing is optional. Guests will have the day to explore the area and take part in other activities, while the evening will host a line up featuring Aurora Halal, Juliana Huxtable, DEBONAIR, Nkisi, Rabit, Ziúr, Gabber Eleganza, DJ Paypal, Aquarian, Kilbourne, and Abyss X, with more to be announced.

“It is important to introduce this part of the world to an audience with a curious mind whose visit on the island operates beyond the sole purpose of tourism and leisure”, Abyss X says.

It will take place from 7–9 June 2019. Early bird passes 45€.

Berberian Sound Studio adapted for stage

The play will be performed between 8 February and 30 March at central London theatre Donmar Warehouse

Peter Strickland’s surreal thriller, the 2012 film Berberian Sound Studio has been adapted for the stage by Joel Horwood and Director Tom Scutt. Based on the original motion picture screenplay, a sound engineer swaps the foley table in his garden shed for the Berberian Sound Studio in a plot that has him making sound effects for an Italian giallo film. But the lines between fiction and reality blur. Among the actors taking to the stage is Loré Lixenberg. It will run between 8 February and 30 March at Donmar Warehouse.

The Wire takeover at Bleep X

This January we'll be hosting a selection of events at the Dalston record shop. Featuring Steven Rutter, Shabaka Hutchings, The Rolling Calf trio, Nkisi and others

Starting on 12 January, The Wire will run a weeklong series of special events at the new Bleep.com pop-up store Bleep X. Located in East London, the store opened its doors back in November 2018 and has since hosted a selection of late night gigs, DJ sets and merch specials with the likes of Chris Carter, Apron Records, Aphex Twin, and Brainfeeder.

For The Wire takeover, Steven Rutter of B12 will be talking to Derek Walmlsey and performing live in store on 12 January from 6pm, and a Q&A with Shabaka Hutchings will happen on 13 January at 1pm. Following that, between 15 and 18 January The Wire will be in store between 6-9pm for the following events: an Invisible Jukebox with Mike Paradinas and Lara Rix-Martin of Planet Mu and Objects Limited respectively, hosted by Joseph Stannard (15), Keith Moliné discusses Autechre's remix work (16), The Rolling Calf trio featuring Elaine Mitchener, Jason Yarde & Neil Charles will perform live (17), and Meg Woof hosts a talk with Nkisi (18).

All events are free. More information can be found on the Facebook events page.