The Wire


Rachid Taha has died

The Algerian singer died on 12 September aged 59

Algerian singer and activist Rachid Taha died of a heart attack in Paris on 12 September. Born in 1958, he moved to France at the age of ten. In Lyon, he began DJing and writing. In 1982 he formed Carte De Sejour along with Mohamed and Mokhtar Amini, Eric Vaquer and Djamel Dif, releasing their debut album Rhorhomanie in 1984. Taha recalled in an Invisible Jukebox in The Wire 277 how they tried to get The Clash to produce their first record. 20 years later he recorded a version of “Rock The Casbah” titled “Rock El Casbah” with ex-Clash members Mick Jones and Paul Simonon. The group had a 1986 hit with their version of Charles Trenet’s patriotic “Douce France”. After they split, Taha moved to Paris and launched his solo career in the late 1980s. In 1999 he collaborated with raï musician Cheb Khaled and Faudel on 1, 2, 3 Soleils, conceived by ex-Gong guitarist Steve Hillage as an “Arab equivalent of the Three Tenors”.

Anthology of Mark Fisher writings set for November release

K-Punk includes published and unfinished pieces on music, pop culture, politics and mental health

Repeater Books have announced the publication date for a long-awaited collection of pieces by the writer, theorist and former Wire contributor Mark Fisher. K-Punk: The Collected And Unpublished Writings Of Mark Fisher From 2004-2016, a collection named after his longrunning blog, includes unpublished writings, blog posts as well as contributions to The Wire.

The anthology, which includes a foreword by music writer and friend Simon Reynolds and is edited by Darren Ambrose, extends beyond writings on music to TV, film, politics, mental health and popular culture. Among the unpublished pieces is a draft introduction to a planned work on what Mark termed “acid communism”. K-Punk: The Collected And Unpublished Writings Of Mark Fisher From 2004–2016 will be published by Repeater, an imprint co-founded by Fisher in 2014.

Fisher was a regular contributor to The Wire from 2007 up until January 2017, when he took his own life.

Film makers seek crowdfunding for new documentary about Krautrock

The producers of on-going documentary series about progressive rock ask for help funding its new addition, Romantic Warriors 4: Krautrock (Part 1)

Film producers Adele Schmidt and José Zegarra Holder are about to unleash the fourth edition in their progressive rock series Romantic Warriors: A Progressive Music Saga. This time they've focused on the German experimental rock scene that rose to prominence in the 1960s and 70s, with a two part feature-length documentary divided by the genre's core epicentres. Part one will focus on bands from the Cologne, Düsseldorf and Hamburg regions, with part two (release date planned for late 2019) concentrating on bands from the Berlin and Munich scenes.

Documenting the work of artists such as Can, Faust, Kluster, Cluster, Kraftwerk, Floh De Cologne, Neu!, La Düsseldorf, Japandorf and Harmonia, and featuring interviews with Jean-Hervé Peron, Zappi Diermaier, Malcolm Mooney, Jaki Liebezeit, Damo Suzuki, Irmin Schmidt, Wolfgang Flür, Eberhard Kranemann, Dieter Klemm, Dick Städtler, Theo König, Vridolin Enxing, Michael Rother, Miki Yui, Hans Lampe, Hans Joachim Roedelius and Harald Grosskopf, part one is near completion, however the producers still need help financing the final stages.

For more information, and to donate, you can visit the indiegogo campaign. Other films in the series include: Romantic Warriors I (2010), Romantic Warriors II: About Rock In Opposition (2012) and Romantic Warriors III: Canterbury Tales (2015).

Watch the trailer below.

Spitalfields Music Festival announces programme

Artists at December event include Shiva Feshareki and Anna Meredith

Spitalfields Music Festival has announced its 42nd edition will take place between 1–9 December. Curated by conductor André de Ridder, the event will take place across a host of venues in East London including Studio 92, Chapel Royal of St Peter ad Vincula, Rich Mix, Chats Palace Arts Centre, and Hoxton Hall.

This year, site-specific production Unknown, Remembered will fuse Handel’s La Lucrezia with a new commission from Shiva Feshareki, inspired by lyrics from Joy Division's album Unknown Pleasures. The installation will work alongside Haroon Mirza’s film The Last Tape, which features actor Richard Strange. There'll also be performances from The Riot Ensemble, Anna Meredith, Shiva Feshareki, Jörgen van Rijen, Mary Bevan with Elizabeth Kenny and Joseph Crouch, and much more.

"Spitalfields Music Festival 2018 examines connections that span many centuries and genres of quintessentially English music,” explains André de Ridder. For Unknown, Remembered he says “The idea to combine these works came about through a number of streams of thought: it is inspired by the film Control and partly from Deborah Curtis's book Touching From A Distance, which moved me very much with regards to seeing things from Ian Curtis’s wife’s point of view…

“Talking of control and losing control, paired with the powerful tool of memory and its manipulation over time, Lucretia’s monologue in the Handel cantata married to the Unknown Pleasures lyrics of Curtis recomposed and sung by the same singer as the Handel, these pieces become new arias and possibly modern laments again.”

More information can be found on their website.

Le Guess Who? reveals full programme

Swamp Dogg, Neneh Cherry, Tirzah, Kelsey Lu, Lonnie Holley with Nelson Patton, Midori Takada and many more have been added to the bill

The Utrecht based Le Guess Who? festival has announced the full line-up of its 12th edition. More than 150 artists will be performing at various venues across the city between 8–11 November. Swamp Dogg, Neneh Cherry, Lonnie Holley joined by Nelson Patton, Tirzah, Cass McCombs, Yves Tumor, Midori Takada, Kelsey Lu, Alabaster DePlume, Senyawa, Hot Snakes, and Moon Duo's Sanae Yamadathe as Vive la Void are among the new additions to the programme. The festival’s special projects include Ryley Walker and Kikagaku Moyo collaborating on a performance entitled Deep Fried Grandeur; Yonatan Gat and The Eastern Medicine Singers interpreting Gat's latest album Universalists; and Seefeel marking the 25th anniversary of the release of their album Quique by performing it in its entirety.

As announced in May, this year's guest curators include Devendra Banhart, Asia Argento, Shabaka Hutchings and Moor Mother; and artists previously confirmed include Art Ensemble Of Chicago, Anoushka Shankar, Ebo Taylor, Sons Of Kemet, Beverly Glenn-Copeland, Saul Williams with King Britt, AMMAR 808, Cüneyt Sepetçi, Hailu Mergia, Jozef van Wissem, Lucrecia Dalt, Lucy Railton, Meridian Brothers, Linafornia, Miho Hatori, Eli Keszler, King Champion Sounds, Cindy Lee, Black Midi, Urochromes, Islaja and Oliver Coates.

A full programme can be found at Le Guess Who?’s website. Day tickets and weekend passes are on sale now.

At last year’s festival, The Wire’s Deputy Editor Joseph Stannard spoke to The Bug and Dylan Carlson, as well as Jerusalem In My Heart's Radwan Ghazi Moumneh. You can see those interviews in The Wire's video section.

EMMA launches new label Pastel Prism and shares short film Liberty

“Let’s face it, it’s about time I had my own label,” she declares

Electronic producer and Producergirls workshop founder EMMA has launched a new label called Pastel Prism. Its first release is the soundtrack for Liberty, a short film by Sophie Davies starring Jessica Burgess. This is EMMA’s second collaboration with Davies, who directed the music video for the track “Light Years” in 2014.

“With “Light Years”,” says Davies, “the track already existed and the video paid homage its colourful landscape. What was exciting about this was starting with the film, and watching the world come to life with EMMA’s soundtrack.”

Recently, EMMA produced the music for a Gucci jewellery campaign. In 2017 she released LA Mermaid on Astral Plane and Mindmaze/Pumpkin Emoji on Coyote.

“Let’s face it, it’s about time I had my own label,” EMMA declares. “Pastel Prism really symbolises a lot of my musical and art related influences. I’ll be releasing other artists on the label further down the line, which is an exciting prospect. There’s something about pale, hazy pastel colours which is comfortingly familiar and completely fresh. I designed the artwork for the single with this in mind.”

Liberty will be released digitally on 28 September. You can watch the video below.

Caroline Kraabel asks Why Is Improvising Important?

The saxophonist and London Improvisers Orchestra member sounds out writers, activists, musicians and dancers about the role of improvisation in art and life for a new Resonance FM series

Saxophonist Caroline Kraabel presents an extensive new Resonance FM radio series in the coming months exploring the relevance of improvisation in art and life. Called Why Is Improvising Important?, the series coincides with the 20th birthday celebrations of The London Improvisers Orchestra, of which Kraabel is a longstanding member.

“Improvisation permeates our existence, surfacing in most of our behaviour and interactions: conversation, relationships, work and the market place,” state the programme notes to the Resonance show. Its diverse roster of guests includes musicians, activists, artists and writers, adds Kraabel via email, continuing: “Alex Papas, for example, will discuss antinomian Sufi dervishes in central Asia from the 15th century until the mid-1950s, and the way they kept changing their methods for relating to God and society, not wanting to become fixed or overly dogmatic.”

The programme’s aim is to bolster recognition of improvisation as a vital skill in art and life alike. As Kraabel puts it in the show notes, “‘Making it up as you go along’ is more often used to belittle than to praise. And if everyone improvises all the time, what value can it have? Are there some people and institutions that are ‘better’ at improvising, and what would that mean?” In the world of sound, she continues, “The notion of music that doesn’t involve improvisation is a Western one, and relatively recent, partly to do with establishing ownership of music through publishing and copyright (as mentioned in Pat Thomas’s interview). It may be being rolled back today when recordings of improvisations act as proof of intellectual property.” Other contributors to the programme include John Butcher, Evan Parker, Joëlle Léandre, dancers Solène Weinachter and Max Reed, political journalist and music fan Paul Mason, and restless improvisor and current London Improvisers Orchestra director Steve Beresford.

In the workplace thinking on your feet is often seen as a magic ingredient sought by creatives to unlock new ways of working or connecting with customers. Kraabel's show, however, aims to return the focus to the autonomous individual and what improvisation can do for them in their own life. “If there’s a war or competition to be ‘won’, it’s between power and the oppressed,” she says. “Those for whom the former is more important may attempt to co-opt improvisation, but the latter will make more out of it.”

In the sphere of music, recent books by Jack Wright, Simon Rose, David Toop and Trevor Barre have attempted to contextualise the practice of improvisation across many decades of activity and writing. When asked if there is a core attribute or essential ingredient to real improvisation, Kraabel offers: “Courage, respect for self and others, trust, temporal awareness, reflexes, practice, openness, listening, not listening, memory, integrity, having an idea of what feels right and being able to change that idea...

“Learning how to share power, to navigate, negotiate and create,” she concludes, quoting another of her forthcoming guests, Maggie Nicols. The 12 week series begins at 4:30pm on Thursday 13 September. The London Improvisers Orchestra will further celebrate their 20th anniversary with performances at London’s Cafe Oto in December and a forthcoming double CD of live recordings from recent years. You can read more about The London Improvisers Orchestra here.

Outlands network announces third tour

Kyoka and Grischa Lichtenberger go on tour with immersive environment Drift, developed by wetgenes and Fuse Art Space

The third Outlands commission has been announced, with Raster artists Kyoka and Grisha Lichtenberger touring cities across the UK with Drift. Part club, part installation, Drift is an audiovisual environment described by the network as an “intoxicating, hyper-sensory experience”. Motion and audio sensors will monitor the room, from which the visuals take cues, creating a feedback loop between audience and performance.

The tour will take place between 7–17 November in Milton Keynes, Cambridge, Birmingham, London, Bexhill, Bradford, Manchester, Bristol and Plymouth. Full information can be found on the Outlands website.

Drift was developed in collaboration by technologists wetgenes and Fuse Art Space. wetgenes will be facilitating workshops prior to the UK tour (information TBC). Support comes from Numbers affiliates YTAC.

3hd returns this year with special theme: System.Lure

Taking place in Berlin and online, the festival hopes to challenge “the powerful systems that dominate our world”

Berlin based festival 3hd will run this year between 23 and 27 October. This year the event sets its sights on challenging dominant worldly structures and systems with the new theme System.Lure. Artists and performers are asked to “probe the political conditions of contemporary media, as well as ideas of community, alongside methods of protest and dissent”.

Before the main event, the programme kicks off with the pre-festival gig Takedown at Berlin's Klosterruine on 20 September, and featuring felicita and YATTA. There will also be an afterparty at ACUD theater.

Artist announced so far include: MHYSA, Casey MQ, Simone C Niquille, FAUNA, QT, Josefin Arnell, Salim Bayri, Philipp Bergmann & Thea Reifler, Nadah El Shazly, Golin, Georges Jacotey, Yony Leyser, STILL, Alexa Vachon, Bob Vylan, and Ydegirl.

3hd takes place at various venues across Berlin. Tickets for the pre-party can be found on Resident Advisor.

Romania’s Outernational Days 3 kicks off on 19 September

Nadah El Shazly, PRAED and Cüneyt Sepetçi are among those participating in the Bucharest festival

Hosted by online music magazine The Attic, Bucharest’s Outernational Days returns this month with its third edition. Over five days of performances, DJ sessions, workshops, lectures and film screenings, the festival has brought together musicians from around the globe in a programme designed to celebrate diversity.

The programme includes Stimmung, Las Poftas, Vasile din Buzău cu formația, KNR, Stella Chiweshe, Phurpa, Balkan Taksim, Spiritczualic Enhancement Orchestra, Mangulica FM, Artetetra, Raed Yassin, DJ FETT, SUPER Trio Mercur, Outernational Ensemble Conducted by Iancu Dumitrescu, Bicikl, Lotto, PRAED (extended band with Hans Koch, Marc Stucki and Christian Kobi), Khidja, Nadah El Shazly, Sote presents Sacred Horror In Design, Cüneyt Sepetçi, Kornelia Binicewicz, PARADAIZ and Marius Georgescu.

Also featured is a talk with Romanian composer Iancu Dumitrescu hosted by Octav Avramescu, lectures by Matteo Pennesi and Luigi Monteanni on exoticism in music, Luigi Monteanni on Indonesian trance rituals, and Kornelia Binicewicz on Turkish women singers from the 1970s and 1980s. And the ODD THEORY #9 workshop will investigate a commons based society (maximum 20 participants – email to join in). There is also a screening of Andrei Nicolae Teodorescu’s Shindy Music (Muzică de Petrecere) (2017) and Nicolae Constantin Tanase's Heads And Tails (Cap și pajură) (2018). Attic DJs will also be spinning records throughout the festival.

Outernational Day 3 runs from 19–23 September. Tickets are available now.