The Wire


The Residents' Hardy Fox has died

Back in September the founder member announced he was unwell

The Residents' composer/arranger and founder member Hardy Fox has died, it has been announced by the Cryptic Corporation via Facebook.

“It is with great sorrow and regrets that The Cryptic Corporation announces the passing of longtime friend and associate, Hardy Fox,” reads the statement. “As president of the corporation from 1982-2016, the company benefitted from Hardy’s instinct for leadership and direction, but his true value came from his longtime association with The Residents. As the group’s producer, engineer, as well as a co-creator and collaborator on much of their material, Fox’s influence on The Residents was indelible; despite any formal training, his musicality was nevertheless unique, highly refined and prolific. Blessed with a vital sense of aesthetics, a keen ear, and an exquisite love of the absurd, Hardy’s smiling face was a constant source of joy to those around him. He was loved immeasurably and will be missed dearly.

“After a series of recent health problems, Hardy succumbed to a brief illness. He is survived by his husband, Steven Kloman. An announcement regarding memorial services will be forthcoming.”

The news that he was unwell came by way of an announcement on 23 September, written by Fox himself and shared by way of The Residents. “Our hearts are heavy but let us celebrate our brother, our friend, Hardy Fox,” read The Residents' post which linked to Fox's own statement.

It read: “From the desk of Hardy Fox: Hi from me, Hardy. Yes got sick, making my pass out of this world, but it is ‘all’ OK. I have something in my brain that will last to a brief end. I am 73 as you might know. Brains go down.” He continues, “Doctors have put me on drugs, LOL, for right now.

“Thanks for checking in. Love you all,” his statement ends.

Hardy Winfred Fox, or just Hardy Fox, or Charles Bobuck as one pseudonym would have him, grew up in Texas. He later moved to San Francisco and co-founded the cult art collective-cum-rock band The Residents in the early 1970s, serving as their primary composer. As Fox himself described them in Theory Of Obscurity: A Film About The Residents, “The Residents are actually film makers; failed film makers.” Then there is their label-cum-group handlers The Cryptic Corporation, with Homer Flynn as spokesperson.

The group founded Ralph Records in 1972, and their first release proper was a double 7" called Santa Dog. In 2010 the label folded and the group adopted individual stage names. “At that point the façade of the faceless four had gotten kind of stale,” Flynn told Sam Lefebvre in The Residents’ cover story in The Wire 398. “The idea of creating personalities behind the façade became intriguing, and it’s more the nature of the culture, at least in terms of how the culture is changing – with everyone acquiring their own mini-website on Facebook.”

“The Residents is not a band,” declared Fox in his digital and somewhat cryptic book The Wax And The Wane Of Charles Bobuck. “But for the sake of touring, a band has proven to be a very handy form to assume. For The Residents, forming a ‘Residents cover band’ was easier, so The Residents, instead of becoming a band, formed a cover band made up of Randy, Chuck and Bob, none of which are real people.”

Fox himself enjoyed being a musician removed from the limelight. Keen on remaining anonymous, he almost completely avoided the public eye – he even kept his artistic pursuits secret from friends and neighbours. “I like participating without the need for attention. For over 40 years The Residents idea was satisfying,” he said about his pre-Chuck times.

In the early 2000s, and with the album Demons Dance Alone, the collective felt they had reached a pinnacle. The alias Charles Bobuck, said Fox, was no less fake than his given birth name. That name aside, around 2008 he began releasing solo albums as The Residents, as well as Sonidos de la Noche, Chuck and the Bobuck character.

Following Demons Dance Alone, The Residents’ Talking Light show demonstrated a new sound. “My set-up was computer based. I had programmed what I imaginatively called my ‘space machine’. I had prerecorded hundreds of two-minute loops and had instantaneous access to them by punching buttons and twiddling knobs. I ran a local area network from an Apple Airport hidden under my table that gave me wireless access to a shitload of noise,” Bobuck explained. He later described his input as “a guy named Chuck who played keyboards in a rock band. I don’t play keyboard, I press plastic slivers rhythmically, often resulting in rude noises.”

“The TL [Talking Light] tour began with my genuine concern on whether the audience would accept this new, more abstract, sound. But as it travelled, night after night, I gradually conquered my possibilities and started presenting a controlled and predicable result from the millions of random possibilities. Bob and I discovered a simpatico in our noises, often surprising ourselves.”

Hardy Fox retired from The Residents in 2016 but continued to compose for the group through to 2018.

Nkisi's debut full length 7 Directions is released in January 2019

NON Worldwide co-founder’s album is based on the writings of Dr Kimbwandende Kia Bunseki Fu-Kiau

It's been announced that Nkisi's debut album will be released by UIQ on 18 January. 7 Directions is based on the writings of Kimbwandende Kia Bunseki Fu-Kiau. As she explains to Meg Woof in The Wire 417, “I guess the starting point was this amazing book [African Cosmology Of The Bantu-Kongo: Tying The Spiritual Knot, Principles of Life & Living by Kimbwandende Kia Bunseki Fu-Kiau]. They believe in this idea that to be able to walk as a human being in the world, you have to be able to walk in seven directions. I took the seven directions and kind of translated them into seven rhythms – it’s basically seven tracks where I explore those ideas.”

She continues, referring to her recently completed Masters Degree at London’s Birkbeck college. “My books do a lot of the work. There’s a lot of reading and conceptual work, though I just finished my dissertation and now I’m even more confirmed that I want to do music! All the concepts and reading, I feel like I can let it loose in music.

“My dissertation was kind of about transmitting knowledge and knowledge production. I was trying to argue the case for bringing back the body in knowledge production, and therefore better understand what it is to be human. I feel like music is the best space for that, to experience stuff through the body. There’s too much focus on rationality and objectivity. I guess it’s kind of weird to write a dissertation that tries to critique scientific method, it was difficult!”

7 Directions is released on vinyl and MP3 on 18 January by UIQ. Listen to the track “VII”.

The album’s artwork was directed by Nkisi and realised by Dave Gaskarth. Nkisi will curate the opening party at the Geneva Biennale. A new live collaboration with John T Gast is also forthcoming. She will also take up residency at London’s Cafe Oto in March 2019. Subscribers can read the Invisible Jukebox with Nkisi, tested by Meg Woof, via Exact Editions.

Kickstarter launched for documentary Keyboard Fantasies: The Beverly Glenn-Copeland Story

Directed by Posy Dixon, the three-act documentary tells the story of the musician who, over 30 years since the release of Keyboard Fantasies, embarks on his first global tour.

A documentary is in the making about US born, Canadian raised musician and singer Beverly Glenn-Copeland, who has just embarked on his first world tour in light of the reissue of 1986 album Keyboard Fantasies last year.

“Our film Keyboard Fantasies”, says Director Posy Dixon, “tells the time-travelling story of this talented musician and vocalist, as the present finally catches up with him and he embarks on his first global tour at the age of 74. Capturing five decades of relentless musical output and shifting manifestations of gender and sexual identity set against a backdrop of profound social change, the film celebrates the unpredictable rhythms of life.”

The film is set to three acts. The first tells the story of Glenn-Copeland's upbringing in Philadelphia and discrimination faced as an African-American lesbian at the University of Montreal. The second act looks as Glenn-Copland's largely unknown career as musician, composer and children’s TV star. The final section will act as a fly-on-the-wall affair as Glenn-Copland embarks on an international tour. The producers have launched a Kickstarter to raise funds to complete filming. Money is also needed for post-production costs and to license archival footage from the LGBT+ archives from Library and Archives Canada and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

Keyboard Fantasies was directed by Posy Dixon, produced by Liv Proctor and edited by Tim Beeston. Watch a trailer below. Glenn-Copeland will perform at Le Guess Who? in November.

Tresor reissue Jeff Mills, Robert Hood, Drexciya, Juan Atkins and Scion albums

The Berlin label recirculates five key techno records. Meanwhile Jeff Mills launches fifth edition of his NTS series Outer Space

Starting in November, Tresor will reissue five key techno works from their back catalogue. The first one will be Jeff Mills's Waveform Transmission Vol 3 (originally released in 1994) on 2 November. That will be followed by Juan Atkins as Infiniti with Skynet (16 November), Scion’s Arrange And Process Basic Channel Tracks (23 November), Drexciya’s Neptune’s Lair (30 November), and Robert Hood's Internal Empire on 1 February 2019.

Listen to some extracts from Waveform Transmission Vol 3.

The fifth edition in Jeff Mill's Outer Space series on NTS radio has also just aired. This time it's called Deep Thinkers, and it’s inspired by the life and works of Leonardo Da Vinci. The broadcast premiers 60 minutes of new Mills music, including a performance of his composition for theremin player Carolina Eyck. The show also features a discussion with Irina Metzl from the Da Vinci residence Château du Clos Lucé, where Leonardo died in 1519. You can listen back to all Jeff Mills’s shows on NTS radio.

New label God In The Music focuses on international collaborations

New Zealander Noel Meek teams up with Astral Spirits, after putting End Of The Alphabet on hiatus

The Wire contributor and musician Noel Meek has announced he is launching a new label in partnership with Astral Spirits. Called God In The Music, it will be “a totally different feel” to his End Of The Alphabet imprint, says Meek. The first release will be From The Land Of The Wicked King, from the trio consisting of Meek himself, Arrington de Dionyso and Rodrigo Rico. It was recorded in Seattle “after a series of stonking gigs”, enthuses Meek. Future releases are all New Zealand/international collaborations, including one from Donald McPherson & Tetuzi Akiyama. “I like to think it's part of the internationalist strains of free music and it's definitely intended as an opening of musical borders while national borders are clamping down left right and centre (in all, it'll be a much more politically minded project),” concludes Meek.

From The Land Of The Wicked King will be released in early December.

Un-forgetting Julius Eastman on Radio 4

Elaine Mitchener presents a UK BBC documentary about the life and music of the US composer, with contributions from Anton Lukoszevieze of Apartment House, Mary Jane Leach, Jace Clayton and George E Lewis

The new BBC Radio 4 documentary Un-forgetting Julius Eastman will be broadcast on 6 November. The programme is presented by UK vocal and movement artist Elaine Mitchener, who describes Eastman as “a much-needed hero, and one whose work has been wrongly overlooked”. In the programme, Mitchener is joined by Apartment House cellist and leader Anton Lukoszevieze and pianist Rolf Hind, all of whom have performed the late composer’s works. Mary Jane Leach, Renee Levine Packer, Jace Clayton, George E Lewis and Jan Williams also make contributions.

Un-forgetting Julius Eastman is a Cast Iron Radio production for BBC Radio 4 produced by Zakia Sewell. It airs at 11.30am on 6 November, and it will be available to stream via BBC iPlayer in the following few months.

London Contemporary Music Festival returns to Ambika P3 for two weeks in December

This year’s theme was inspired by philosopher Donna Haraway

In association with the Serpentine Galleries, The Death Of Rave, Apartment House and Musarc, LCMF 2018 returns for its second run at Ambika P3 between 1–16 December. The theme for this year’s festival was inspired by philosopher Donna Haraway. Her “calls for a ‘thick present’ and 'multi-species muddles’ have encouraged us to think like a gardener, dedicated to creating a ‘hot compost’ of music, dance, film and art”, state LCMF organisers. The result, they say, is a “programme that is richer and more tentacular than ever before, where singing cyborg statues and go-go dancers will rub shoulders with professional mourners; where you can hear the music of volcanoes and the sound of great rivers and the destruction of Sodom”.

The line-up features new LCMF orchestral commissions from Elaine Mitchener and Neil Luck, Mark Leckey's Nobodaddy, commissioned for Glasgow International 2018, plus works commissioned from Klein and Mark Fell, and UK premieres from Annea Lockwood, including her Ambika P3 installations of A Sound Map Of The Hudson River and Gone. Other firsts include Sofia Jernberg’s presentation of Julius Eastman’s Prelude and Holy Presence Of Joan D’Arc for eight cellos; and US choreographer Yvonne Rainer will present We Shall Run. Also on the programme are Gerald Barry, Carlos Maria Romero & Steven Warwick, a London showcase from The Death Of Rave, and the second instalment of the Serpentine Galleries’ year-long ecological symposium, featuring Sophia Al-Maria, Sabine Hauert, Daisy Hildyard.

LCMF 2018 takes place at Ambika P3, with extra events happening at Second Home, Bloc and Walmer Yard. A full programme can be found on their website.

Altered States Tapes celebrates its 100th release with new compilation

Label founder Cooper Bowman has also announced the latest edition of Australia's two-city Obsidian festival

Australian experimental electronics label Altered States Tapes will mark its 100th release with a special compilation showcasing some of its core players. Called The Bottom Of The Earth To The Top Of The Wazir, the album is viewed as a cumulative statement by Altered States’ founder Cooper Bowman.

“The experience of running AST has been as much about techno/experimental cassettes as it has been supporting and being involved in a marginalised community across Australia,” he declares. “It’s made me re-evaluate my understanding of music and reinforced my initial impetus for wanting to be involved.

The Bottom Of The Earth also includes one of Bowman’s own tracks, “Feudal Step”, which he describes as him “playing with sounds I’d associate with triphop (specifically Leslie Winer’s phenomenal Witch album) for the first, and probably last, time”.

Featuring Lucy Cliché on the compilation was a “no-brainer”, Bowman continues, declaring her to be “one of the most important live electronic artists in Australia”. You can listen to that track below. The album is released in vinyl and download formats on 8 November.

In other news the second edition of Obsidian, the joint Sydney and Melbourne festival which Bowman co-founded last year, opens in November. Starting in Melbourne on 9 November, and moving to Sydney on 16 November, the line-up features JG Biberkopf, Rings Around Saturn, WDK, Ying-Li Hooi, Makeda, Beau Wanzer, Nina Buchanan, Lucy Cliché, Debris, and more. Tickets are available from Resident Advisor.

Royal Trux release first new music since 2000

Listen to two new tracks from longrunning rock duo Jennifer Herrema and Neil Hagerty

Royal Trux have released their first new music since 2000's Pound For Pound. In 2015 Jennifer Herrema and Neil Hagerty reunited as a duo for a series of shows and the live album Platinum Tips And Ice Cream (Domino/Drag City). These two new tracks, however, were recorded in Los Angeles in the summer of 2018.

“Nothing has changed within the Truxian universe we created for ourselves as teenagers,” declares Herrema, “because Trux is and will always be our way of life whether living it together or separate...This is no hobby rock kick. We are long game lifers with no fear, no regrets and plenty of gratitude for the way the universe has rewarded our singular dynamic.”

Earlier this year the pair signed to the Mississippi based Fat Possum imprint and are set to embark on a US tour in February and March 2019. Listen to the two new tracks below.

“Every Day Swan”

“Get Used To This”

Both tracks are available via iTunes and Google.

Anthology share short documentary about their new library music compilation

A “perfect jumping off point into this ocean of ordinary yet completely extraordinary music”, says compiler David Hollander

The new compilation Unusual Sounds: The Hidden History Of Library Music will be released by Anthology on 9 November. It’s a companion volume to the book of the same name by David Hollander, a producer and writer living in Texas, whose library music collection is cited as one of the best in the world. To mark its release, the label has shot a short documentary delving into the world of recorded library music.

“It was shot in Europe while interviewing library music composers and others for the book,” says Hollander, “several of which have tracks included on the accompanying compilation, which serves as the perfect jumping off point into this ocean of ordinary yet completely extraordinary music.”

The 20 tracks included on Unusual Sounds have been chosen to encapsulate this niche subculture, the musical scope of which reaches far and wide, and features compositions by Brainticket founder Joel Vandroogenbroeck, KPM Allstars’ John Cameron and Keith Mansfield, Janko Nilović, Stefano Torossi, and many others. You can preorder Unusual Sounds: The Hidden History Of Library Music via Mexican Summer, and watch the documentary below.