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Engine Room International Sound Art Competition winner announced

Held at London's Morley Gallery, the competition was judged by The Wire's Publisher Tony Herrington alongside sound artist/composers Annie Mahtani and Janek Schaefer

The winners of this year’s Engine Room International Sound Art Competition have been announced. Set up as an initiative of Morley College, and held at their gallery space, the competition was judged at the beginning of May by The Wire Publisher Tony Herrington, as well as sound artists Dr Annie Mahtani and Janek Schaefer.

First prize was awarded to UK artist Laura Daly's “Shadowland”, which, inspired by the destruction of Cambodia’s Sbek Thom shadow puppet theatre at the hands of the Khmer Rouge, focuses on the strength of human spirit in the face of adversity. Second prize was given to George Cloke for “Year In Review”, which uses sound samples of radio news bulletins in order to “confront listeners with the normalisation of atrocities”. Third prize went to Nolan Lem for “Autonomous Sense Object” which explores the condition of autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) to look at our relationship to sound, power and control.

Daly, one of the college’s alumni to have previously studied Sound Art at its adult education centre, said: “The breadth and scope of The Engine Room’s finalists represent an exciting picture of what is happening in sound art. Situating new works on an international platform, it’s a great opportunity for emerging sound artists to raise their profile and engage with practitioners from different parts of the world. To be selected as a finalist among such strong contenders and then given first prize for “Shadowland” is a great honour.”

The 20 shortlisted pieces, whittled down from 177 entries, are now on display at Morley gallery until 1 June. Entry is free.

Ergo Phizmiz is raising money for The United Kingdom Of Earth: A Brexit Opera

Previously called The Happy Breed, this new opera sets to “poke fun at ourselves, our values, and our history”

Dominic Robertson aka Ergo Phizmiz has written an opera about Brexit. Originally titled The Happy Breed, the now called The United Kingdom of Earth: A Brexit Opera, plans to make its UK premiere this July. A Crowdfunder campaign has been set up to help with costs of travel, accommodation, production and marketing.

“Around five years after departing the European Union, Britain finds itself alone in a world otherwise scorched by some massive nuclear misunderstanding,” reads the synopsis. “The United Kingdom Of Earth uses song, speech and music to paint a picture of a completely isolated Britain, what lies therein, and what lurks beneath."

“The aim of That Happy Breed [sic],” says Robertson, “is not to please anyone on either side of the Brexit argument, but rather to question and poke fun at ourselves, our values, and our history. At times like this, provocative art has the capacity to unite people!”

The opera will be performed by a rotating cast, sourced from the local community of the area where the performance will take place.

Originally a production of the Worm Avant Garde Institute in Rotterdam, the show was premiered at their Ubik Theatre last November. In light of the performance at Glasgow's CCA being postponed due to funding difficulties, the London performance will be the first UK show. It will happen on 26 July at Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival.

At the time of writing, Robertson is looking for people to fill some of the remaining roles. Information can be found via the Crowdfunder page.

Saturnalia festival sets a firm principle of inclusivity

Held at the artist run MACAO centre in Milan, the festival hopes to counter institutionalised art

DIY music festival Saturnalia returns this June at Milan's self-organised art space MACAO, a former slaughterhouse with a strict anti-art institution philosophy. Now in its fourth edition, the event serves as a season closure for MACAO and its sound collective Tavolo Suono, celebrating experimentation and inclusiveness.

“We're offering this whole line up at a price of 5€ per day and those who can't afford this price are still let being part of the celebration - this is one of the means through which we realise one of the principles we believe in, ie inclusivity," explains festival promoter Arcangelo Leone de Castris. “Our main aim,” he continues, is to “make people discover the alternative practices and production processes we put in place and why they can be valuable compared to the ones we're all used to in institutional contexts.”

Artists on this year's line up are RP Boo, Copeland & Gast, Camusi (Stefano Giust & Patrizia Oliva), HHY & The Macumbas, Bernardino Femminielli, Valerio Tricoli/Giulio Nocera/KNN/Sec_, Evan Parker & Walter Prati, Kilbourne, O$VMV$M, Rider Shafique & Manonmars, Beneath, Madam X, TSVI, Voronoi, Jack Roland, and others.

Saturnalia will take place 16 & 17 June.

Raster-Noton company to split in two

The partnership between Raster-Music and Noton will cease to exist as the label is restructured this month

Following recent 20th anniversary celebrations including last year's White Circle installation and the publication of visual catalogue-cum-compilation Source Book 1, the Raster-Noton label is set to be rebranded. Olaf Bender will run Raster-Media, with labels Raster-Music, Raster-Index and Raster-Archive continuing the catalog of Raster-Music/Raster-Noton, while Noton will be administrated by Carsten Nicolai, representing all past and future projects of Alva Noto. The name Raster-Noton will persist for the sole purpose of collaborative projects and activities.

“The idea to restructure Raster-Noton has been in the air for some time already,” explain the pair. “We absolutely wanted to celebrate our 20th anniversary in 2016 together without changing anything and tried to conclude this process, which means the years between 1999 and 2016, with the publication of our Raster-Noton: Source Book 1.

“Now in 2017, we want to go separate ways,” they continue, confirming, “we think that in the end, this reorganisation is to our mutual benefit as it has become harder and harder in recent years to meet and actually work together, not just because we are based in different cities now, but also because of our busy schedules, which made it all very complex. In this sense, we think it's more efficient for both of us to continue as separately.”

This September will see the 10th anniversary of the Raster-Noton's festival Electric Campfire which will take place at Villa Massimo Rome, Italy. White Circle will also be presented that month at the Ruhrtriennale in Duisburg, Germany.

Wiley autobiography to be published in November

Eskiboy will look at the veteran grime artist's life and career

William Heinemann will publish Grime artist Wiley's autobiography. Called Eskiboy, the book will follow the Eskibeat creator and Roll Deep founder member’s life and career “from white label releases and illegal broadcasting to lifetime achievement awards and beyond”, declare the publishers. Over the course of 96 short chapters, Eskiboy will cover his “early years and influences, his friendships and rivalries, and the tragedies and triumphs of two decades in music, as well as explore the history and future of grime and the eskimo sound”.

The news of Wiley’s forthcoming autobiography follows the release of his 11th studio album Godfather earlier this year. Eskiboy will feature lyrics, notes and previously unseen photographs. It’s set for publication in hardback and ebook editions on 2 November 2017. Windmill will publish a paperback version in 2018.

Fat Out's Burrow announce one last party

The Burrow's residency at Manchester's Islington Mill ends in June, opening up space for newcomers

After a two year residency at Islington Mill, The Burrow has decided to part ways. “Islington Mill offered for us to continue our residency,” state the organisers, “and it wasn’t an easy decision for us not to carry on (one we toyed with for the best part of a year). We have decided to hang up our hats and close The Burrow chapter at the Mill, but not without one fucking massive final party.”

Fat Out still plan to host shows however, with energy focused on their Fat Out Fest, which they’ll be continuing. In the meantime Islington Mill are looking for new candidates to fill the space, alongside others that have recently become available. An open night will be held on 22 June (email for more details).

The Burrow's Final Smoke will take place on 19 August.

Adventures In Sound And Music: Wire 400 specials start today

The first in our nine part series of 400th issue radio shows will feature Tony Herrington and Chris Bohn talking to Ilia Rogatchevski about their combined 45 years on The Wire staff

For the next 2 months The Wire will be hosting a series of special radio shows marking the publication's 400th issue. Aired on London's arts radio station Resonance FM, they'll happen during the weekly Adventures In Sound And Music slot, and feature ten staffers covering a period of nine weeks.

The first show will take place this evening, with Publisher Tony Herrington and Editor-in-Chief Chris Bohn talking to Ilia Rogatchevski about their combined 45 years on The Wire staff. Other shows include Gustave Evrard playing some of his favourite Wire-featured artists from the year he was born (1986), Joseph Stannard will be looking back to issue #127 (September 1994) and the first issue he ever purchased, and Derek Walmsley will welcome to the studio trailblazing musicians and thinkers David Toop and Kirk Degiorgio to discuss black music and its overlooked and underappreciated innovators. For news of further Wire 400 specials watch this space.

Adventures In Sound And Music takes place every Thursday 9–10:30pm (GMT), 104.4FM for Londoners, or stream elsewhere.

Composer, playwright and author Joanna Brouk has died

She developed her work as a sound poet and performer during her studies with Terry Riley and Robert Ashley

American composer Joanna Brouk has died. Her death on 28 April followed a diagnosis of cancer, announced Blank Form on behalf of her family.

Brouk was a pioneer of electronic and new age music who explored the underlying sounds of words and their effects on the emotions and health. She also wrote extensively for theatre, television and radio. At Mills College Center for Contemporary Music in Oakland, California, she studied under Terry Riley and Robert Ashley, and in the 1980s she released a series of cassettes on her Hummingbird Productions label. Brouk was producer and programme director at San Francisco Bay Area's KPFA radio.

Last year the Numero label released the first major collection of Brouk’s work. Called Hearing Music, it reached number 31 in The Wire's 2016 Archive Releases Of The Year, featured in issue #395.

The New York based Blank Form had planned to present a Brouk concert in June as a follow-up to her first performance in 30 years, which took place in France last month.

New compilation released in memory of Amanda Moss

A compilation to raise money for the late Corsica Studios co-founder's medical treatment is now available with all proceeds going to charity

Record label Candela Rising and promoters Individual Collective have released Elephant Road in memory of Amanda Moss and in aid of her partner's chosen charity Target Ovarian Cancer.

“Originally, we had started to curate the compilation prior to Amanda's passing, but of course we were too late sadly. We've decided to release the compilation (as we were 80% there with it) and donate all proceedings” explains Matt Tharp of Individual Collective, a club event that was held at Corsica. “It's a compilation of exclusive material from the likes of SOS Gunver Rydberg, Rrose, Kangding Ray, Peder Mannerfelt, and more amazing artists, all mastered by mastering supremo Matt Colton (who also donated his time for free).”

Elephant Road is released by Candela Rising

Tracklist:

Peder Mannerfelt “Lift Me Up”
Eomac “Perversas”
Kangding Ray “Dotted”
JK Flesh “Being”
Arad “Phase Gills”
Headless Horseman “For All Eternity”
Manni Dee “Leadon Idols”
Whirling Hall Of Knives “Vooidtexx”
SØS Gunver Ryberg “Voyager”
Rrose “Netting”
Nuances “Blakenhall”

Finnish electronic music pioneer Erkki Kurenniemi has died

The instrument builder of Finland's early electronic music scene has died aged 75

Finland’s early electronic music pioneer Erkki Kurenniemi has died. He was 75. The film maker, artist and composer was also an instrument designer who invented one of the world's first digital synthesizers. In 1973 he designed the first commercially manufactured micro-computer, the DIS-System. As noted by Harri Uusitorppa in The Wire 225, the then relatively unknown musician entered the limelight at Helsinki's multimedia Avanto Festival in 2002, when Pan Sonic performed on some of his original electronic instruments. That year also saw the Love Records release of a collection of rare recordings compiled by film maker Mika Taanila, who also made a documentary about Kurenniemi called The Future Is Not What It Used To Be.

Born on 10 July 1941 in Hämeenlinna, Finland, Kurenniemi set up his first electronic music studio during the mid-1950s in his school loft. Between 1962–74 he worked as a volunteer assistant at the University of Helsinki's Department of Musicology where he built an electronic music studio starting with a Telefunken tape recorder. Kurenniemi also worked as as an assistant and a designer at Department of Theoretical Physics from 1962–73, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in 1968.

One of Kurenniemi’s earliest recorded works was 1963's On/Off, which was inspired by a power station. He designed and built the Sähkökvartetti (Electric Quartet) as an instrument for simultaneous group composition, which can be heard in Finnish artist M A Numminen's "Kaukana Väijyy Ystäviä". Inspired by the notion of bio-music and human interaction, Kurenniemi invented the DIMI synthesizer series.

Kurenniemi made 14 experimental 16 mm films about nature, sex and technology. As Jennifer Lucy Allan notes in an article on the exhibition Erkki Kurenniemi: Towards 2048 in Helsinki, “Kurenniemi anticipated a time where bodies would integrate with machines. In 1982 he wrote in his diary: ‘I have owned a PC for 20 months now. In those 20 months the machine has become part of me (or I of it).’ His self-built instruments bear this out: Dimi-T translates brain waves into sound; Dimi-S (aka the sexophone) uses human touch to complete the circuit to make sound.” She also noted the way he called the body an “organic slime machine”.

Following periods writing about mathematical theories of music, articles on science and the potential of computer technology, and working in jobs such as a designer of industrial automation and robotic systems at Nokia, Kurenniemi returned to music in the mid-2000s, when he collaborated with Thomas Carlsson on a new version of the Dimi instrument. Designed to create sound based on space, it featured two cameras connected to a computer and display unit.

Erkki Kurenniemi’s archives are available at the Central Art Archives of the Finnish National Gallery. He received the Finland Prize of the Ministry of Education and Culture in 2003.

Kurenniemi died in hospital in Helsinki on 1 May following a long illness.