The Wire


Henry Wu aka Kamaal Williams launches solo project

Following his collaboration with Yussef Dayes as Yussef Kamaal, Henry Wu goes solo as Kamaal Williams on The Return

South London's Kamaal Williams aka Henry Wu is set to realise his new solo project this May with the debut album The Return. In 2016 he paired up with Yussef Dayes to release as Yussef Kamaal, but following the release of Black Focus out on Brownswood and some tour dates, the pair went their separate ways. Now Williams has launched Black Focus Records, with The Return marking its first album release, and featuring Williams on keys, Pete Martin on bass, MckNasty on drums, and Richard Samuels as the engineer. The artist has also announced that Mansur Brown will release his debut album on the label later this year.

As Henry Wu, Williams has released on labels including MCDE, Eglo, Rhythm Section and 22a. He will perform at London's Village Underground on 22 March, followed by Bristol Colston Hall (23), and Cologne Reineke Fuchs (26).

The Return is released on 25 May. You can stream “Salaam” on Bandcamp.

Bassist Buell Neidlinger has died

The US musician who played on Cecil Taylor's debut album was 82 years old

American bassist, cellist and educator Buell Neidlinger died on 16 March, announced Avant Music News. Neidlinger, who performed with pianist Cecil Taylor in the 1950s and 60s, was a versatile musician who was equally at home playing jazz, pop, Dixieland or avant garde music.

Born in 1936 in Westport, Connecticut, Neidlinger learned to play the cello at a young age. He moved to bass when his teacher said it would strengthen his hand. A quick learner, he was soon described as a child prodigy, a status which caused him to suffer a mental breakdown. “The cello became, as is the case with many prodigies, a source of emotional and mental difficulty, [and when] I was 16 I flipped out and had to be hospitalised for a time,” he told Clifford Allen in All About Jazz in 2003. “They put me in this sanitarium where, strangely enough, the great Chicago jazz pianist Joe Sullivan was recuperating from alcoholism, and our therapy was [music]. I don’t know how they found out I could play the bass or whatever, but a bass was procured (probably the worst one I ever played on) and we would go down in this rotten old dusty gym in this sanitarium, where there was an upright piano, and play together. That’s when I learned one of the great lessons right off the bat – that if you want to play bass with a pianist, it’s best to stand at the left side of the keyboard so you can see what his left hand’s little finger is gonna do.”

After studying at Yale University, Neidlinger moved to New York where he gained experience performing with trombonist Conrad Janis. Janis’s band included Gene Sedric, Herman Autrey and Arthur Trappier (all from Fats Waller’s orchestra), and Dick Wellstood on piano, with Neidlinger joining them on Saturday nights. He went on to work with Roswell Rudd, Archie Shepp and Steve Lacy, who introduced him to Cecil Taylor. It was a significant moment – Neidlinger appears on the albums Taylor recorded between 1956–61, including his debut Jazz Advance (1956), Looking Ahead!, Love For Sale and In Transition (all 1959), as well as The World Of Cecil Taylor (1960). Neidlinger later worked with musicians as diverse as Anthony Braxton, Jimmy Giuffre and Earth, Wind & Fire.

Neidlinger died at his home on Whidbey Island, off the US West coast just north of Seattle, Washington.

London edition of Tempting Failure puts out open call to artists

This year’s Croydon based performance and noise art festival urges local residents to apply

Tempting Failure has put out an open call for artists involved in live performance, noise, sound and fine art. Presented in Bristol and London since 2012, Tempting Failure is an annual showcase for artwork with a specific focus on the difficult and unexpected – the kind of work that's prone to censorship, declare its organisers. This year’s TF18 is the first edition in its new biennial format and it will take place in the South London borough of Croydon from 9–22 July.

The event sets out to offer a professional platform and support network to local, national and international artists, they continue, and in the process of making it open to all, Tempting Failure sidelines what its organisers see as the often obtuse academic context of art: “Tempting Failure is invested in the support of performance art and noise art, as well as the professional development of artists at all stages of their careers and the education of all.”

The programme features activities for children, masterclasses for professional artists, a programme of talks, advice sessions and mentoring schemes for young people and those with specific issues such as mental health. Deadline for applications is 7 April. More information can be found at their website.

Mark Fell seeks sounds of the North for Protomusic#1

The Sheffield musician aims to fill Gateshead’s Sage with an orchestra of found noises

Mark Fell has launched a new project for Sage Gateshead based on the “real world sounds of the North”, with a call for audio contributors to get involved. Called Protomusic#1, it forms part of the Great Exhibition Of The North, a summer-long celebration of the culture and history of the region. The invitation is extended on his website: “We made an app to help people do this,” it explains. “Please record some sound, up to one minute, from your environment – factories, cars, boats, animals, streets, etc etc... anything that catches your attention.”

Fell takes up the story, adding via email: “I guess for me I’m most intrigued by the industrial centres in terms of where sounds might come from. Growing up on the outskirts of Sheffield the heavy factories were a few kilometres from my childhood home, and I remember staying up all night listening to the sounds in the distance… my mum as a young woman had her first job in a weaving factory, so I grew up hearing stories about the sounds in the factory. So I guess that’s my personal focus. But it’s really amazing to hear how people have responded to this so far.”

He has already received more than a hundred responses, ranging from “weird environmental drones” to “recordings of buses with lots of interacting voices”.

The intention is to take all of these recordings and work them into an orchestral project for the concert hall, “activating Sage Gateshead’s interior spaces” with an instrumental score based on the sounds. Fell has enlisted technology to help fulfil this formidable task. “The basic process is we select the sounds and look at how to rebuild the sound from instrumental layers,” he explains. “Ircam (who are supporting the project) have given us access to their software libraries including Orchids… this does an analysis of the sound and then suggests various scores that can be played. there are also similar processes in Max/MSP to track partials etc.”

There's inevitably a certain amount of invention involved. “We are also using our ears and doing things manually,” adds Fell, “for example, the drone of a bus made out of lots of tubas.”

The ambition of the piece extends to its title. Protomusic, Fell explains in his project’s proposal, “refers to hypothetical sonic practices that predate the emergence of language and music in the development of human culture… I am taking this as my starting point: how the sonic, rather than visual, is at the heart of who we are; how sound underpins our relationship to the environment and one another.”

There’s a more basic aim of the project, concludes Fell: “To get people to listen to their environments.”

Protomusic#1 will be aired from 22 June–9 September at Sage Gateshead. You can find more information, also about how to get involved, at Fell's website.

Jamaaladeen Tacuma presents Outsiders Improvised & Creative Music Festival

Organised by Jam-All and curated by Tacuma, the Philadelphia based festival’s highlights include Ornette Coleman’s Prime Time Band under the direction of Denardo Coleman

Jazz bassist Jamaaladeen Tacuma will present his Outsiders Improvised & Creative Music Festival for the fourth time in April. As part of Philadelphia’s Jazz Appreciation Month and spread over three dates, the festival sets out to showcase risk-takers in progressive music.

It begins on 6 April at Milkboy with the trio of Jamaaladeen Tacuma on bass, G Calvin Weston on drums and Vernon Reid on guitar, plus support from Sirius JuJu. Then on 15 April at South Kitchen & Jazz Bar Tacuma premieres his new quartet Jupiter 2, featuring Nels Cline on guitar, Chad Taylor on drums and Alfredo Colón on saxophone and electronics.

Ornette Coleman’s Prime Time Band under the direction of Denardo Coleman play at the event's finale at Ibrahim Theater, International House, on 29 April. The programme also includes saxophonist Odean Pope, guitarist and singer James Blood Ulmer, and the quartet Secret Mall led by saxist Alfredo Colón.

Jamaaladeen – who was 19 when he joined Coleman's electric band and continued to tour and record with the group throughout the 1970s and 80s – was the 2018 recipient of the City of Philadelphia’s Benny Golson Award, established to recognise both the city’s history of jazz and its future through honouring the work of musicians teaching and educating the next generation.

Tickets for individual events are available from their respective venues, with the exception of the closing event, where tickets can be bought at

Large vault of unreleased Commix EPs now on Bandcamp

The Cambridge drum ’n’ bass outfit make available unheard tracks from the 2000s

Aside from Goldie's Rufige Kru alias, the drum ’n’ bass group Commix’s 2007 debut Call To Mind was the first album to be released by the Metalheadz imprint. They also took up home on the Exit, Hospital and BrandNu labels. From Commix’s original line-up of George Levings, Guy Brewer and Conrad Whittle, Levings is the only remaining member. In 2016, Commix continued Levings’s relationship with Metalheadz by releasing Generation 1 and Generation 2.

Now he's back with ten EPs of previously unheard recordings made between 2004–09. They're drawn, says Levings, from “a large vault of old Commix music” that he “found on an antique hard drive”.

They were found around four years ago in the attic of a house in Cambridge where Levings and Guy Brewer had once lived – a period in their life when Commix’ output was rife.

“We both live in Berlin so we forgot about it for ages again,” Levings contiues. “We were only really interested [in the drive] because of the pictures we presumed were on there. We had no idea about the music.

“We eventually got it back to Berlin but the drive had an unusual power supply, so another year went by with it sitting on a shelf. Then the other day we sorted it out and found the right power supply and started going through it. It was a very nostalgic day!

“At the time we wrote this music we were working every day and dumping the end result onto that drive on our desktop, so there was so much music we had completely forgotten about. It’s definitely of an era but it’s music we are both proud of and it’s nice to see it up and out now after all this time.”

You can check out Acid Lake, Destination, Visions, Spaces and more on Bandcamp.

Nubya Garcia launches own imprint and new EP

London based saxophonist, composer and bandleader Nubya Garcia returns with a new EP When We Are

A year after debut release Nubya’s 5ive, London based saxophonist, composer and bandleader Nubya Garcia returns with a new EP When We Are, a release that also marks the launch of her new imprint Nyasha.

When We Are features longterm collaborators Femi Koleoso, Joe Armon-Jones and Daniel Casimir. It gained support from Steve Reid Foundation’s InNOVAtion award, and includes remixes from K-15 and Maxwell Owin. “I’ve been inspired a lot by the producers around me at the moment, people like Ben Hayes, Tom Misch, Joe Armon-Jones, Jake Long and Maxwell Owin,” she says. “There’s an electronic vibe in there that I wanted to explore more, and this release feels like a positive evolution from the last EP.”

Released on 8 March, the vinyl edition has already sold out, but you can grab a copy of the digital release on Bandcamp. Garcia was also featured recently on five out of the nine tracks on the recent Brownswood release We Out Here.

Malmö's experimental music festival Intonal takes place in April

Line-up includes DJ LAG, Elysia Crampton, Eartheater, and more

Intonal has revealed some of the artists confirmed for this year's Intonal festival, Hailing from Detroit, Montreal, China, Berlin, China and elsewhere, they’ll be performing in the city's old chocolate factory Mazetti. The latter became home to the three stage arts venue Inkonst back in 2006.

So far, acts announced include Arpanet, Elysia Crampton, Towlie, Mag, Pelada, Pan Daijing, Courtesy, Oiseau Danseur, Alessandro Cortini, Aleksi Perälä, Avalon Emerson, Charlemagne Palestine, Charlotte Bendik, DJ LAG, Don’t DJ, Eartheater, Ellen Arkbro, Goat, Group A, Mokira and Nadah El-Shazly.

Intonal takes place between 25–30 April. Tickets are on sale now for 600 krona.

Jenny Hval writes novel about female desire and queer sensuality

Paradise Rot will be published by Verso in October

Norwegian artist, musician and former Wire cover star has announced she is to release a new novel this year. Called Paradise Rot, the fiction follows the story of Jo, an overseas university student in a unknown country, as she experiences a sexual awakening and queer desire.

It will be released by Verso this October, with the exact date still to be confirmed. Hval spoke to Maya Kalev about her vampire inspired album Blood Bitch and more in The Wire 392. Subscribers can read that interview on Exact Editions.

DJ Target reveals Grime Kids book

Marketed as a “definitive and explosive insider account of grime — from subculture to international phenomenon” the new title is published in June by Trapeze

DJ Target's has announced a new book Grime Kids: The Inside Story Of The Global Grime Takeover will be published by Trapeze on 14 June. Grime Kids marks the debut publication for the Roll Deep member, who has been a consistent figure in the scene since the formation of the earlier garage collective Pay As U Go Cartel. He's now a broadcaster for BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra, and label head at Pitched Up, the imprint he co-founded with Danny Weed in 2014.

The book maps out the rise of the scene through his own perspective and through other prominent figures. “Offering an unrivalled level of insight”, says Target, “it will give fans the story that only a select few of us can really deliver firsthand. Charting legendary stories and moments in grime music, as well as investigating the social aspects behind the culture, my personal journey from a young grime kid and growing up with the likes of Wiley and discovering Dizzee Rascal, to being a member of two of the most influential collectives and experiencing both underground and mainstream success with Roll Deep, through to my position today as a National Radio broadcaster.”

He's also revealed the cover, sporting a young Target with the recently awarded MBE Wiley, and promises that an audio book narrated by the author himself will also be available. Pre-orders of the print edition are available at Amazon.