The Wire


London Improvisers Orchestra take up new residency at Iklectik

Longrunning spontaneous ensemble to become regulars at the South London venue

London Improvisers Orchestra have begun a new residency in the capital. Every first Sunday of the month the spontaneous big band will be performing at South London free music institution Iklectik. The LIO began nearly two decades ago, under the guidance of Steve Beresford, Ian MacGowan and Evan Parker, among many others, and in the years since numerous significant improvisors have emerged from the group.

Forthcoming events at Iklectik also include a screening of Eddie Prévost's Blood by Stewart Morgan which will be followed by a Q&A with Prévost on 25 February, Mark Cunningham's Blood Quartet on 15 April, and as part of The Engine Room project, Philip Jeck will perform on 11 May.

Stewart Smith co-edits special edition of The Drouth

Wire contributor and Elodie Roy guest edit the Scottish literary quarterly

The Wire contributor Stewart Smith has guest co-edited a music-themed issue of Scottish literary quarterly The Drouth. Contributions come from The Wire’s Frances Morgan, in conversation with Claire Biddles about feminist and queer music writing, fandom and publishing, and Jon Dale on Scottish DIY in the post-punk era. Smith himself has written on ancient resonances in Hanna Tuulikki and Drew Mulholland’s recent projects, and there’s a mapping of interwar Glasgow through gramophone record sleeves by co-editor Elodie Roy. “Drouth means thirst, by the way,” Stewart explains.

The Drouth #57 will be available via the website soon.

New sublabel from Superior Viaduct

The new imprint says it will focus on “unconventional sounds from truly unique artists.”

Archive specialist Superior Viaduct has announced a new sublabel called États-Unis, a “limited edition series that comes out in batches once or twice a year”. The first chunk of releases is a compilation of experimental sound artists from San Francisco in 1959 called Highlights Of Vortex, the 1961 debut from early electronic music pioneer Tod Dockstader Eight Electronic Pieces, Berlin performance art punks Die Tödliche Doris’s 1982 debut “ ”, Joe Jones’s In Performance, and LAFMS affiliate Le Forte Four’s Bikini Tennis Shoes.

The label is up and running now, with each release coming limited to 500 editions and pressed on clear vinyl. They've also made all five releases available at the special price of $95.

Jazz Photographer Chuck Stewart has died

The photographer who famously shot John Coltrane's A Love Supreme recording session died on 20 January aged 89

Jazz Photographer Chuck Stewart died on 20 January aged 89. Born in Henrietta, Texas, Charles Hugh Stewart was raised in Tucson, Arizona. His career spanned over 70 years, which, by his estimate, had him take photographs for more than 2000 albums, including a substantial portion of the jazz catalogues of Impulse!, Mercury, Reprise and Verve Records. He famously documented the recording of John Coltrane's A Love Supreme, and his work has been used in various books, magazines, films, documentaries and personal collections. He photographed James Brown, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Eric Dolphy, Judy Garland, Billie Holiday, Quincy Jones, Machito, Max Roach, Frank Sinatra, and many others. Stewart’s photography was exhibited at Jazz at Lincoln Center; it was also collected in a book called Chuck Stewart’s Jazz Files, published by Da Capo Press.

rkss releases Brostep In The Style Of Florian Hecker

An ode to Florian Hecker’s 2009 release Acid In The Style Of David Tudor is out now on Conditonal

rkss aka Robin Buckley has released Brostep In The Style Of Florian Hecker, his ode to Florian Hecker’s 2009 release Acid In The Style Of David Tudor. The release “investigates the similarities of brostep with Hecker’s work such as Sun Pandämonium (2003)”, explains Buckley, who goes on to describe it as “an eight channel electroacoustic composition that challenges ideas of economic and cultural values within sound art and contemporary computer music”.

It will be available digitally as a stereo mixdown of each individual channel, plus four different stereo pairs. There are also some limited edition lanyards to bag and a free video game made for Mac, Linux and Windows, through which the player can experience the piece in a VR university dorm room where the piece was apparently constructed.

rkss’s Brostep In The Style Of Florian Hecker is released by Conditional.

Buzzcocks reissues on Domino mark the 40th anniversary of their first single

Domino Records follow the reissue of Buzzcocks’ first recordings with a boxset in March

Domino Records have reissued the Buzzcocks EP Spiral Scratch, marking 40 years since its original release. In Addition, Time’s Up, the infamous bootleg of the group’s 1976 demos featuring the original line-up of Howard Devoto, Pete Shelley, Steve Diggle, and John Maher, will be released by Domino on 10 March alongside the Buzzcocks MK.1 Box, containing vinyl and CD versions of both releases, plus reprints of rare graphic material including Shy Talk Fanzine No 4, various postcard flyers, posters and more.

Spiral Scratch was initially pressed in a run of 1000 and sold for £1 a pop. It went on to sell 16,000 copies in the six months following its release. It is available now as a limited edition 7".

New modular synth about to hit the market

Dirty Electronics’ John Richards and graphic designer Jack Featherstone have created a new hand held synth

A new hand held synth called Polytik is about to go public. The hybrid analogue/digital device was designed by Dirty Electronics’ John Richards and designer Jack Featherstone in collaboration with Artists & Engineers production and technology studio. It will be available as four separate colour-coded modules: blue (Core) is a sequencer, programmer and mixer; red (VCO) features voltage controlled feedback and voltage controlled oscillator; black (combi) features the same as red and includes filtering; and yellow (noise) has a noise generator, patchable feedback networks as well as VCF.

“Polytik is born out of a DIY ethos and the maker community,” state the manufacturers. “It uses open-source hardware and encourages users to make new modules and hacks, but Polytik has been crafted into something very different – a series of beautifully designed objects in their own right.”

The Core module is loaded with 30 pre-programmed sequences and more modules can be added. Furthermore there is a Golden Chip special edition pack which comes with an additional 20 sequences programmed by John Richards and a further 10 sequences with interviews and comments embedded in the code from musicians and artists including: Simian Mobile Disco, Mark Fell, Frieder Nake and Nik Colk Void & Gabe Gurnsey aka Factory Floor. The first modules will be available to buy this spring and available for pre-order via a Kickstarter campaign set for launch on 31 January. London Modular will also hold workshops with the synths. Details yet to be confirmed.

Butthole Surfers perform first UK gig in five years at Safe As Milk

The new North Wales festival announces the full line-up of its first edition

The new festival Safe As Milk has released the full line-up details for its first weekend event at Pontins, Prestatyn, in April.

Its roll call already includes Shirley Collins, The Residents, This Is Not This Heat, Dopplereffekt, Hieroglyphic Being, Nurse With Wound, Grouper, Actress, Michael Rother, Anna Meredith, Ata Kak, Princess Nokia, Gaika and others. New to the festival bill are Butthole Surfers, whose first UK appearance in five years is their only scheduled gig for 2017. Also added is a collaboration between Tony Allen and Jeff Mills, a performance that had its 2016 debut jam at Paris jazz club New Morning. Another fresh collaboration brings together Craig Leon & Martin Rev; while other artists just confirmed include Forest Swords, Blanck Mass, Richard Dawson, Demdike Stare, Rezzett, Warm Digits, Basic House and The Cosmic Dead. An extensive music documentary film programme will be announced soon with screenings happening throughout the weekend.

On a side note, Safe As Milk is also keen to shout about the selection of food and drinks on offer. “Never ones to neglect food & drink,” boast the organisers, “Safe As Milk have called upon some talented people to feed the masses.” They list Mother May I’s Vegan Kitchen, Scream For Pizza & Claw Hide Grill, 200 Degrees Coffee and Conwy Brewery as the festival’s nourishment providers.

Safe As Milk runs from 21–23 April. The full line-up can be viewed at their website. Tickets are available now for £199 including accommodation.

The headline of this article has been changed for clarity. It originally read: Butthole Surfers perform for the first time in five years at Safe As Milk

Knoxville’s Big Ears festival expands into a four day event

Running from 23–26 March, the 2017 edition features Matthew Shipp, Carla Bley, DJ Rupture, Oliver Coates and more

Coming up in March, Knoxville's Big Ears festival will now be running for four days to accommodate its expanded programme of artists, installations and screenings. The line-up includes Gavin Bryars, Jóhann Jóhannsson, Meredith Monk, Carla Bley, Henry Grimes, Henry Treadgill, Musica Elettonica Viva consisting of Alvin Curran, Frederic Rzewski and Richard Teitelbaum, and Norway's Supersilent with Arve Henriksen, Helge Sten and Ståle Storløkken. Also in the line-up is Wilco, Matthew Shipp, Xylouris White (a collaboration between George Xylouris and Dirty Three’s Jim White), Matana Roberts, Tortoise and many more. Films include Meredith Monk's Book Of Days, Janie Geiser’s Double Vision and Roger Beebe performing Films For One To Eight Projectors.

The festival takes place in downtown Knoxville,Tennessee, at various theatres, clubs, churches and other performance spaces. Tickets are on sale now at $50 for a film only pass and $165 for general weekend admissions. There are also VIP tickets available.

Terraforma festival makes first 2017 weekender announcement

Gerald Donald and Suzanne Ciani confirmed for Milan's eco-fest

The first four acts have been announced for Terraforma 2017: Andrew Weatherall, Suzanne Ciani, Laaraji and Drexciya's Gerald Donald performing his Arpanet project. Artists in residence this year will be Simone Bertuzzi and Simone Trabucchi aka Invernomuto, and Francesco Cavaliere, who performed at last year’s festival. Cavaliere also designed this year’s festival artwork, which he's called “Carte Mutaforma”. It will be unveiled on 14 February at Gluck50 in Milan.

Watch a short documentary of Terraforma 2016 by Steven Jønger:

The sustainable music festival will take place on the grounds of Villa Arconati, Milan, between 23–25 June. Camping is available at the event, which will also feature a series of talks and workshops. More acts are still to be announced, but the first round of 70€ tickets have already sold out. Early bird tickets are still available for 80€ which include a weekend festival pass and camping.