The Wire


Takehisa Kosugi 1938–2018

The Japanese violinist, avant garde composer and Fluxus member died on 12 October aged 80

Takehisa Kosugi, a key figure in Japan’s postwar avant garde music scene, was born in 1938, the eldest son of a Tokyo glazier. He played the violin from a young age, having acquired the stringless body of an instrument from a school friend in exchange for a kit radio. However, it was his use of the heterodyne effect that would inform much of his work. As noted by Alan Cummings in The Wire 220, “his discovery of miniature signal generators during a two year sojourn in New York from 1965–67 really decided his future methodology. He found that by placing two generators in close proximity, the intermodulation of two high frequency radio waves inaudible to the human ear could create an audible phasing soundwave. This heterodyne effect – of making the inaudible audible, the invisible visible, transcending the human sensory range – has played a massively important part in his music ever since.”

In the 1960s, while still at art collage, Kosugi formed Japan's first improv collective Group Ongaku. He was also a member of Hi-Red Centre, a short-lived radical art collective active between 1963–64. Alongside this, he was part of the international Fluxus community, and would work with George Maciunas, John Cage, Nam June Paik, Don Cherry and David Tudor. In the 1970s, Kosugi tagged along with The Taj Mahal Travellers, a sprawling ensemble known for sets up to 12 hours long, as they took a camper van across Europe, Iran, Afghanistan and even to the Taj Mahal itself in India. In 1977 he became resident composer for the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, and would go on to present numerous performances and installations at festivals. In 1999 he collaborated with Sonic Youth on SYR4: Goodbye 20th Century.

Alan Cummings spoke to Kosugi in May 2004 for The Wire 243. Read the article for free via Exact Editions.

New series opens at IKLECTIK

Spread over a month, the programme focuses on electronic music and digital culture

Waterloo's experimental arts venue IKLECTIK is adding a new project to its curatorial programme. Spread over one month between 1 November and 1 December, </coding in GE> is a series of events that will “feature and promote the research and impact of pioneers, working in experimental electronic music, new technologies, digital culture with a sociopolitical and environmental focus”, they say.

The programme promises performance, interviews, talks and workshops set to take place both on and off site, also offering a platform for learning and research exchange for academics, artists and professionals working in the field.

Artist on the line up include Otaco, Johanna Bramli, We Will Fail, Corazon de Robota, Laura Netz, Mayuko Hino, Ramleh, Martina Claussen, Agathe Max, AGF and others. The full line up can be found on IKLECTIK's website.

Movie Night with Elaine Mitchener at The House of St Barnabas

Lizzie Borden's Born In Flames to be screened followed by a Q&A hosted by Nina Power

London homeless charity The House of St Barnabas and creative agency Smoke Creatives in collaboration with the Stuart Hall Foundation will host Countless Actions: Movie Night with Elaine Mitchener in the capital on 23 October. The vocalist, performer and composer was asked to select a film that has influenced her life and work, and chose Lizzie Borden's 1983 feminist fantasy flick Born In Flames. Mitchener will be in conversation with Wire writer and cultural critic Nina Power about the film, discussing how it relates to works such as Sweet Tooth, the vocalist’s cross-media performance piece regarding colonialism and its legacy.

The event is part of a series called Countless Actions: Movements, Action and Social Change organised by Smoke Creatives and The House of St Barnabas. Tickets are £10 plus booking fee.

Akio Suzuki and Aki Onda release Ke I Te Ki

The release is out on Room40 this November

Aki Onda and Akio Suzuki are back collaborating together in a new release on Room40 called Ke I Te Ki. In 2014 the pair released CD and book set Ma Ta Ta Bi. The music on this album was recorded a year later in New York City at The Emily Harvey Foundation, formerly home to the studio of Fluxus founder George Maciunas. Onda and Suzuki have performed together often during the last half a decade. “He [Suzuki] and I have a tendency to perceive sound as space, or to always consider sound in relation to space,” remarks Onda. “We don’t usually hear the sound sources as they actually are, since they are always modified by a space’s acoustics and its reflections, absorptions, and attenuation.

“When we play,” he continues, “we listen carefully to and respond to the extra acoustics of these phenomena. Our ears have to be wide open, constantly adjusting to ever-changing detail. Nothing is fixed.”

About the former Fluxus studio where their new disc was recorded, Onda says, “Nam June Paik and Shigeko Kubota, whom Akio met around the early 80s, used to live in the same building. Another former resident and friend of Akio, Yoshi Wada, was said to have done some of the carpentry and plumbing.

“It is a historic building of New York avant garde culture, and the last of the artist co-ops that Maciunas created in New York City,” he concludes. “How could this not have an effect on the recording?”

As for the album name, Onda reveals that in Japanese it means “the sound of an alarm, or a whistle to call attention to a hazardous event”. See it as a reminder to push oneself further.

Ke I Te Ki is released on 2 November.

Stine Janvin debuts on Pan and shares video directed by Erik Ferguson

The new release brings the performance work Fake Synthetic Music to record

Vocalist and sound artist Stine Janvin releases her debut on Pan today. The artist has also shared a new video by Erik Ferguson, the video maker known for his grotesque, and somewhat endearing, imagery.

Fake Synthetic Music is the fruit of Janvin's latest performance project, and has her continue her exploration into extended vocal techniques and architectural electronic music, using her voice as the core sound source. “I wanted to explore how I could vocalise in a way that would combine architectural sound with dance floor sequences.” she says.

Pan also celebrates its 10th anniversary this month with a gig at Berghain. Fake Synthetic Music is released on 12 October. Watch the video below.

Mira Calix wins Lovie award and presents two new commissions

Ode To The Future wins Lovie Award while Good Grief, Charlie Brown! and Beyond The Deepening Shadow: The Tower Remembers will open this autumn

This autumn composer Mira Calix will present two new commissions across London. First is Good Grief, Charlie Brown!, a group exhibition that will take place at Somerset House between 25 October 2018 and 3 March 2019. A video piece with a quadraphonic soundtrack, it was filmed at the central London venue in August this year, and was influence by the musical notation in Charles M Schulz’s Peanuts comic strips.

“Schulz really portrayed music as an animated character throughout the Peanuts strips,” explains Calix. “It was the first time I had seen musical notation fly, bend, be embraced, wrestled with. He made me consider music as an object in time and space.”

The second piece is a sound installation to Tom Piper's work at the Tower of London commemorating the centenary of the end of the First World War. The installation is called Beyond The Deepening Shadow: The Tower Remembers, with words from war poet Mary Borden’s Sonnets To A Soldier. That work will run between 4 and 11 November.

In other news, Mira Calix and her project Ode To The Future with fischerAppelt and Fork Unstable Media has been announced as Gold & People's Lovie winners in the Music and Entertainment category of the eighth annual Lovie Awards. Celebrating 350th anniversary of science and tech company Merck, the artist worked with six expectant mothers and their foetuses to capture ultrasound data that would be transformed into audio frequencies, making up the basis for musical composition. The result can be downloaded for free via Bleep.

Giorgio Moroder celebrates the 1980s in first European tour

2019 UK dates include Birmingham, Manchester, London and Glasgow

Giorgio Moroder has announced his first ever live tour in Europe. Now in his 70s, the electronic dance music pioneer will embark on the 15 city tour in April next year, performing highlights of his career with a band and vocalists. The tour is hailed as a celebration of the 80s, taking just a section from a career that spans over 55 years. Recent pursuits include DJing, provided the music for Google game Racer, and releasing his latest studio album Déjà Vu in 2015.

“Back in the days it was unthinkable for producers to ever leave their studios” says Moroder about the tour. “That territory was reserved for the singers. Today, DJs and music producers have become the superstars of popular dance music, so the time feels right and I am so excited to be finally doing this!”

Tickets go on sale 12 October. UK dates are: Birmingham Symphony Hall on 1 April, London Eventim Apollo on 2 April, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on 4 April, and Manchester Apollo on 5 April.

Roger Robinson calls for one hundred poems about Windrush

“There’s a responsibility being squarely placed on the shoulders of artists in these troubled and dark times”, says poet and King Midas Sound's Roger Robinson

Roger Robinson has placed a call out over Twitter for artists and writers to send him their Windrush poetry. The announcement read:

“All poet family. I've had enough of how Caribbean elders are being treated. My friend n fellow poet @ZenaEdwards mum has to fill out a Windrush form to stay in the country she lives ffs. I’m writing a poem about [Windrush] and I want to gather a hundred poems about it. PlsShare #vexedandvocal”

The tweet comes after Edwards and Robinson had worked together at Battersea Arts Centre with Apples and Snakes in a production called Rallying Cry. “It was an immersive piece of theatre that illustrated the conversation and thoughts of 19 poets with a creative citizenship practice,” explains Robinson over email.

“There’s a responsibility being squarely placed on the shoulders of artists in these troubled and dark times. Many poets and artists have had to upgrade their Creative Citizenship practice, by that I mean use their art practice to challenge stale and outdated notions of who, what or how a citizen could or should be”.

He continues: “All week I had been talking with Zena and other poets that art can effect strong emotional changes and that the proximity it creates can defeat apathy. So when Zena Edwards posted in social media that her mother had to fill in those degrading Windrush forms I knew something had to be done. At first I put out a social media call out for a hundred poems for Windrush respect and then art organisations; and the poets started sending poems and organisations like Beatfreeks in Birmingham and Apples and Snakes in London lent their support.”

With the works, Robinson plans to host a poetry show and compile a document of work with proceeds going to those affected by the scandal.

Rudeboy: The Story Of Trojan Records premieres in London on Friday

Screenings will also take place at the fifth edition of Doc ’n' Roll music documentary festival

Trojan records marks its 50th anniversary this year, and as part of the celebrations, Nicolas Jack Davies has produced the documentary Rudeboy. Celebrating British Jamaican working-class youth culture, the documentary kicks off in Jamaica in the 1950s, and continues on to the founding of Trojan in 1968 by Windrush immigrant and B&C Records owner Lee Gopthal. It traces the label's history from ska and rocksteady to its legacy of bringing reggae to a global audience.

Combining archival footage, interviews and cinematic reconstructions, artists featured include Lee 'Scratch' Perry, Toots Hibbert, Ken Boothe, Neville Staple, Marcia Griffiths, Dave Barker, Dandy Livingstone, Lloyd Coxsone, Pauline Black, Derrick Morgan and more.

Screenings take place at Vue in Leicester Square on 12 October, as well as 13 and 15 October at Southbank BFI. The film is also part of London's Doc 'n' Roll music film festival which starts on 1 November. Full listings for the festival are over on their website.

Tsunami benefit compilation with Serang Dakko, Hamrin Samad and Arrington de Dionyso

Arrington de Dionyso dedicates the release “to the healing and recovery of all those affected by the earthquake and tsunami in Palu, Central Sulawesi”

Arrington de Dionyso is donating proceeds from Unheard Indonesia Vol 14 towards the relief effort following the Indonesia 7.5 magnitude earthquake and tsunami on 28 September. At that time, Palu was hosting its annual Nomini music festival on Talise Beach when the Tsunami struck to devastating effect.

Tsunami Benefit Unheard Indonesia Vol 14: Serang Dakko And Friends In Makassar is available now via Bandcamp, and features tracks by Serang Dakko, Arrington de Dionyso & The Free Ensemble with Hamrin Samad, Basri B Sila, Khaeruddin, Ancu Batara, Ochang, Serang Dakko, Bram, Arrington de Dionyso and Siswa SMK. The recordings were made in August this year in Makassar, Sulawesi (an area not directly affected by the tsunami). On the release you can hear Daeng Serang Dakko and Daeng Hamrin Samad play traditional percussion and pui pui.

“The musicians involved would like to dedicate this release to the healing and recovery of all those affected by the earthquake and tsunami in Palu, Central Sulawesi,” says the Bandcamp page. “All funds raised from this recording will go directly towards the benefit of recovery efforts.” Donate via Bandcamp . You can also donate (without receiving the compilation) on gofundme.