The Wire


Stormzy announces #Merky Books in partnership with Penguin Random House

The imprint is dedicated to young writers with future plans for school competitions and paid internships

UK MC Stormzy has announced the launch of a new publishing venture in partnership with Penguin Random House. Overseen by the artist, #Merky Books will focus on young writers, publishing new fiction, non-fiction and poetry. The first title will come from Stormzy himself in November – Rise Up: The #Merky Journey So Far promises an account of his rise to stardom, and it will be followed by a handful of new titles each year.

“Super proud to announce our new venture #Merky Books,” he announced on Instagram. “We will be using this as a platform for young writers to become published authors, I know too many talented writers that don’t always have an outlet or a means to get their work seen and hopefully #Merky Books can now be a reference point for them to say ‘I can be an author’ and for that to be a realistic and achievable goal.”

He continues, “We’ll be doing school competitions, taking entries and submissions and looking for writers as well but I’ll keep you posted! #Merky Books will also be offering a paid internship in 2019!” The imprint is set to issue a call for submissions in the coming months.

You can order Rise Up via Waterstones. More information on #Merky Books, including how to submit new work, is available at Penguin Random House.

New book The Story Of Trojan Records marks the label's 50th anniversary

Trojan staffer Laurence Cane–Honeysett presents a book documenting key musicians, studio engineers, and producers

As part of its fiftieth anniversary celebration, the British label Trojan Records has published a new book containing hundreds of photographs, record sleeves, labels and archive material, as well as features on some of the label's musicians, studio engineers, producers, and record company staff. It also features a forward by DJ and film director Don Letts, who worked with the label in the 1960s.

“Trojan’s place in the development of mainstream popular culture should never be underestimated,” says the book's author Laurence Cane–Honeysett. “Often hailed as the Motown or Blue Note of reggae, the company introduced the sound of Jamaica to a global audience and by so doing was instrumental in forever changing the sound of popular music.”

Founded in 1967 by Lee Gopthal and Chris Blackwell as a sublabel to Island Records, Trojan covered a host of music coming out of Jamaica, from ska and rocksteady to reggae, dancehall and dub. Some of the artists and producers to have worked with the label include Jimmy Cliff, Toots and the Maytals, Dennis Brown, Desmond Dekker, John Holt, Duke Reid, Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry and Bob Marley.

The Story Of Trojan Records is published as part of a wider celebration which includes a documentary about the label called Rudeboy, reissues and a host of live events. More details and dates can be found on the Trojan website.

Berlin’s Atonal announces second batch of participating artists

2018 line-up includes Alpha 606, Beatrice Dillon, Giant Swan, Klara Lewis, Jay Glass Dubs, Lanark Artefax and Robin Fox

Berlin’s Atonal festival has announced Actress, Lucrecia Dalt, British Murder Boys, Group A, and Lanark Artefax as some of those set to perform at this year’s event. Over 100 artists will appear at the five day event at Kraftwerk, which will take place between 22 and 26 August.

Other acts include: Beatrice Dillon, Gábor Lázár, Giant Swan, Helena Hauff, Hiro Kone, Lowtec & Kassem Mosse as Kolorit, Outer Space, Samuel Kerridge, Skee Mask, Veronica Vasicka, Alpha 606, Klara Lewis, Jay Glass Dubs, Robin Fox, Batu, Lena Willikens, Ilpo Väisänen and others.

Also notable, the event's final night will see the premiere of John Elliot and Andrew Veres's Outer Space project presenting Organic Dial. Also that night are Anthony Child and Daniel Bean investigating the effect of tone on consciousness under the name Transcendence Orchestra.

More acts to perform will be announced soon. Day tickets are available starting at €35. Weekend tickets are available for €140.

Sunn O))) mark Southern Lord's 20th anniversary with White 1 & 2 reissues

Matt ‘The Alchemist’ Colton took the original full-length unedited premasters and cut the lacquers using Alchemy studio's half-speed method

To coincide with Southern Lord's 20th anniversary, Sunn O))) have reissued their two White albums in high fidelity vinyl format. The new White masters, we're told, have a broader frequency response with a deeper and more intense bottom end, making the overall sound “clearer, sharper, more direct”.

Originally released in 2003 and 2004 respectively, White 1 and White 2 were actually conceived as acoustic albums. But as Sunn O))) co-founders Stephen O'Malley and Greg Anderson note, the outcome of the recording sessions at Oregon's Fontanelle's Magnetic Park studios made for two psychedelic, electronic drone experiments.

Notably 1 first came out packaged in an embroidered pillow case with a sleeping pill included; 2 marked the first time the group collaborated with their main vocalist, the Hungarian singer Attila Csihar.

The reissues will be pressed on 180 gram vinyl and include an A1 poster of portraits by Kerry O'Sullivan and Glynnis McDaris. They're limited to 1000 copies each and can be bought via Southern Lord's website or Bandcamp. Later on in July they'll hit the shops in a variety of colours.

Meakusma festival happening between 7–9 September

The festival takes over the Belgian city of Eupen for three days in September

This year’s Meakusma festival plays out across several venues in Eupen. Fresh announcements for the three day event include the appearance of Shackleton, Chris Watson recording in the neighbouring High Fens natural reserve, and Lena Willikens curating her own stage focusing on artists from Japan. Also in the line-up are Christina Kubisch, Steven Stapleton & Christoph Heemann, Asmus Tietchens, Carl Stone and Miki Yui, The Transcendence Orchestra, Kara-Lis Coverdale, Ben UFO, Timedance, Sean Canty, Peter Brötzmann & Heather Leigh, Coby Sey, Radian, Tomaga, and many more. A programme of talks, installations and films will be announced soon.

You can check out a list of available accommodation on Meakusma’s website. Tickets start at €7.50.

Primitive Art release new EP on Arcola and offer Wire readers a free download of a MESH remix

Crab Suite is out now via the newly revived Warp subsidiary

Arcola is back with another release. The Warp sublabel which was recently reactivated with releases from Rian Treanor, Ethiopian Records and Nkisi has just added Crab Suite by Italian duo Primitive Art to its refreshed discography.

Primitive Art are Matteo Pit and Jim C Nedd, the latter of whom co-directed the recent documentary about Colombian soundsystems PICO Un Parlante De Africa En America. Pit, on the other hand, is the art director of Italy's Club Adriatico.

Crab Suite is a follow up to the pair's debut Problems (on Hundebiss) and comes with a MESH remix of the EP's fourth track “Sequrity”. You can listen to the full EP via Soundcloud and Wire readers can download the remix below.

Primitive Art will perform at Creepy Teepee Festival in Kutná Hora on 6 July. Next up on Arcola is a new 12" from Basic Rhythm, and some “lost slices of leftfield techno” from Black Lodge with MWR157, which was originally meant for release on Mo’Wax circa 2000. That'll be followed closely by another Black Lodge release Bitter Blood on the new archival imprint Disciples.


Haruomi ‘Harry’ Hosono archive releases

Hosono House, Paraiso and Cochin Moon are among the forthcoming Hosono LPs to be reissued on deluxe vinyl

Light In The Attic’s Japanese Archive series continues with a selection of key albums from Yellow Magic Orchestra mastermind Haruomi ‘Harry’ Hosono.

Included in the label’s batch of vinyl reissues are 1973’s Hosono House, Haruomi Hosono & The Yellow Magic Band’s Paraiso (see below), Cochin Moon (both 1978), 1982’s Philharmony, and 1989’s Omni Sight Seeing. Some of them include a translated interview with Hosono, and triple album bundles are also available. They’re set to be released over the coming months.

Contributor Tomokazu Hayashi explored Yellow Magic Orchestra’s musical output alongside the solo work of YMO members Haruomi Hosono, Ryuichi Sakamoto and Yukihiro Takahashi in The Wire Primer (issue 404). Subscribers can read that over at Exact Editions.

A L’Arme! festival celebrates sixth anniversary

Participating artists include Laurie Anderson, Bill Laswell, Mark Fell, Andrea Belfi, Joëlle Léandre and Klein

A L’Arme! is celebrating its sixth anniversary this year with four days of jazz and experimental music at Berlin’s Radialsystem V from 1–4 August.

The line-up includes Laurie Anderson & Bill Laswell´s Method Of Defiance, Klein, Maja S. K. Ratkje, Ellen Arkbro, Joëlle Léandre, Michael Zerang & The Blue Lights, Andrea Belfi, Mark Fell, Carl Michael Von Hausswolff, Radian, Paal Nilssen-Love’s Large Unit, Lillevan, Rabih Beaini, Valerio Tricoli, Wanda Group, and much more.

NTS presents International Knockout

To mark the World Cup, London's internet station hosts a knock out DJ competition featuring 16 countries

Dalston's NTS radio is hosting an International DJ Tournament. Inviting 16 different DJs from around the globe, each artist will get in the mix for 30 minutes, playing music that represents their country. Listeners will vote on their favourite set in a knock style competition, with the winning four finalists set to DJ an extended hour-long mix on 9 July. Voters will be entered into a prize draw to win a Sonos Beam or limited edition T-shirt.

DJs are: Courtesy (Denmark), Olivia (Poland), JASSS (Spain), Soichi Terada (Japan), Gilles Peterson (England), Kedr Livanskiy (Russia), Lyzza (Brazil), Kasra V (Iran), Lefto (Belgium), Kutmah (Egypt), Crackstevens (Nigeria), Fatima (Sweden), Onra (France), Andras (Australia), and Gerd Janson (Germany). Slots run between 11am-3pm and 5pm-11pm on 29 June. Stream via NTS Live.

This article was updated on 29 June. Kasra V has replaced Mideast Tunes.

Celestial Trax launches label True Aether

New Finnish label and bi-weekly radio show

Having relocated from New York back to his native Finland, musician, composer and producer Joni Judén – aka Celestial Trax – has started a new label named True Aether, which doubles as a bi-weekly radio show in Helsinki. The imprint’s first release, a free digital EP by Celestial Trax titled Ashwagandha/Saariaho, was released in March. It will be followed on 30 July by Judén’s ambient jazz collaboration with Karri Luhtala – his former next door neighbour in 1990s Finland – under the name Linnuissa. On the Ensimmäinen EP Luhtala plays vintage Fender Rhodes, piano and an old Russian Moog clone, while Judén plays additional electronics and synths. All the music was improvised on the spot with no further editing.

Listen to three Celestial Trax cuts: