The Wire


It’s Been Hell: 20 Years Of Lo Recordings

East London record label celebrates 20 years with a new compilation

To mark 20 years in action, the East London record label Lo Recordings has released a 20 track compilation. Called It’s Been Hell: 20 Years Of Lo Recordings, the release digs deep into the label's back catalogue to uncover originals and remixes from artists like Grimes, Aphex Twin, Luke Vibert, Squarepusher, The Chap, Black Devil Disco Club, and many others.

Over time, this genre-broad label has released 150 records as well as setting up countless parties and exhibitions. “It’s Been Hell…really? Well there have been hellish times but it’s also been a pleasure,” reflects Lo’s founder Jon Tye. “So much of it and so much goodness. Starting off in a basement underneath Spitalfields Market at a time when there was no email – or at least not for me – and the fax machine was king. Thurston Moore said I could hassle him, and so I did – by fax. [Pere Ubu’s] David Thomas would send a fax saying ‘WUZ UP!?’ Nothing else. Aphex Twin said ‘I’ve done the mix shall I bring it over?’ And so he did with Squarepusher in tow.”

Upstairs from the studio was a venue called The Spritz where Tye, Tony Morley and The Wire’s Rob Young ran the Scratch Club for two and a half years​. It saw performances from Derek Bailey, Cornershop, Silver Apples, Talvin Singh & Squarepusher, Lol Coxhill, Eddie Prévost and Andy Weatherall, with its punters including David Bowie.

“This compilation in no way captures the whole journey, just a few snaps along the way,” Tye confirms.

The two-disc set is out now in CD and digital formats.

David Keenan to launch his novel with performances from Bruce Russell and Richard Youngs

The Wire writer celebrates the publication of his first novel with a party night of music, literature and poetry called Go Ahead And Drop The Bomb

The UK launch of David Keenan's debut novel This Is Memorial Device will take place on February 2017. The mega event will feature appearances from The Dead C's Bruce Russell, Richard Youngs, Michael Pederson (co-founder of the literary night and record label Neu! Reekie!), a DJ set from Andrew Weatherall and, of course, David reading extracts from his book.

Called This is Memorial Device, it’s a fictionalised account of the post-punk era in Airdrie, Scotland – “a love letter to the small towns of Lanarkshire in the west of Scotland in the late 1970s and early 80s”, says David.

The launch will take place on 8 February at London The Social, 7pm. Tickets are on sale now, costing £8. The book will be published by Faber.

Four days of glorious alternative sounds across Glasgow promised for April

Ashley Paul is one of the artists so far confirmed to appear at Counterflows 2017

Glasgow's Counterflows festival have set the ball rolling for their 2017 edition. Taking place across the city (while promising “next-to-no scheduling clashes!”), artists confirmed include Ashley Paul, Farmers Manual, Glorias Navales, The Modern Institute, Svitlana Nianio, Olimpia Splendid, Takahiro Kawaguchi & Utah Kawasaki, Mark Ernestus' Ndagga Rhythm Force and Midori Takada.

The artists, say the festival organisers, are “bound together by their questioning spirit and refusal of easy categorisation. [...] We believe that the underground belongs to a myriad of voices and is best engaged with when we come together, share ideas, break down borders, challenge hierarchies and push boundaries.”
Counterflows, they add, “hopes to create a space for you to enjoy the music that feels inclusive, anti-elitist and fun, and hopefully in some way feels like an extension of the activity and community at the heart of Glasgow's own music/art scene(s)”.

The final programme will include performances, specially commissioned projects, one-off collaborations, intimate shows, clubnights and talks. And Counterflows promise some surprises too.

Counterflows will take place between 6–9 April. Tickets are on sale now.

Street in Coventry to be named after Delia Derbyshire

BBC Radiophonic Workshop’s electronic music pioneer gets honoured with a street named after her

As reported by Resident Advisor, a Coventry street has been named after the electronic music pioneer Delia Derbyshire. The composer of the Doctor Who theme was born in Coventry on 5 May 1937 and started work at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop in April 1962. Now, just over 15 years after her death in July 2001, her memory has been enshrined in the street name Derbyshire Way in Stoke Heath, Coventry.

Pete Chambers BEM, director of The Coventry Music Museum said: "Originally it was to be named Derbyshire Road, but I suggested ‘Way’ instead, so it gave a double meaning, as Delia was a genius and strong personality and really did do things in her own way."

Rewire announce first wave of artists for next year's edition

Artists confirmed so far in Rewire’s first line–up announcement for their 17th edition include Arca & Jesse Kanda, Jameszoo Quartet, Gaika, Sarathy Korwar, Cloud Becomes Your Hand, Reckonwrong, and more

Dutch experimental music festival Rewire has revealed the first list of artists so far confirmed for its 17th edition coming up in spring. The full programme, adding some 75 more artists, talks, workshops and screenings, id still to be announced.

Happening in The Hague, it features Reckonwrong’s live world premiere, plus various Dutch premieres of works from Arca & Jesse Kanda, SUMS aka Kangding Ray & Barry Burns, Daniel Wohl with Slagwerk Den Haag & Matangi Quartet presenting their Holographic, Croatian Amor presenting Love Means Taking Action live audio-visual set, Trigger plays John Zorn’s Bagatelles. The line-up so far confirmed includes Lorenzo Senni, Pharmakon, Jameszoo Quartet, Gaika, Moor Mother, Zs, Horse Lords, Tirzah, Sarathy Korwar, Ryan Teague Ensemble and more.

Rewire takes place between 31 March–2 April across the city of Den Haag, and early bird passes are available now up until 1 December. After that date only standard price full passes and day tickets will be on sale. The 2015 edition was reviewed by Chris Woolfrey for The Wire 377. Subscribers can read that over at Exact Editions.

Sam Underwood charity T-shirts declare: Dance How You Like!

Sound artist and instrument builder has designed some T-shirts in support of Citizens UK

Sam Underwood's new Dance How You Like T-shirts are now up for grabs. He set up his initiative to help raise money for Citizens UK.

“Recent events have left many feeling worried and deflated,” says Underwood. “Others have felt the sharp end of an increase in hate crimes. It feels more important than ever to strive to be open and inclusive. Through this, greater tolerance is born. One of the best expressions of tolerance was a simple phrase uttered by rave MCs: Dance How You Like.

“Old skool raves are places of integration and happy vibes, and the call to dance how you like encapsulated that sentiment beautifully. So, we have created a T-shirt design based on this phrase and we hope you will join us in wearing it with pride. If you feel we should let people talk how they like, wear what they like and Dance How They Like, this is the T-shirt for you.”

The T-shirts come in a variety of colours and can be bought at the starting price of £18. The design also comes in the form of sweatshirts and hoodies.

You can watch various people getting their groove on while wearing the Ts in the video below:

This article was amended on 6 December 2016: the chartiy has been changed to “Citizens UK”.

Pauline Oliveros 1932–2016

The American composer, accordionist and San Francisco Tape Music Center pioneer has died aged 84

The American composer, improvisor and accordionist known for coining the term deep listening died on 25 November. A key figure in the development of electronic and tape music, Pauline Oliveros was also a lecturer, theorist and writer, whose sought-after 1984 text Software For People: Collected Writings 1963–80 was republished at the beginning of this year.

Oliveros was born on 30 May 1932 in Houston, Texas. She learned the accordion at a young age as well as studying the tuba and french horn. For most of her life she lived in California and New York. In his article in The Wire 164, Richard Henderson described Oliveros as “a soft-spoken but stern willed maverick among modern minimalist composers”.

She became a key player in contemporary composition, working and studying alongside Terry Riley, Loren Rush, Ramon Sender and Morton Subotnick. She moved to San Francisco in 1952, where, at a composers' workshop, she came into contact with Robert Erikson, a meeting that had a profound effect on her theories. She studied with him for six years, describing that time to Henderson as an experience that “was of lights being turned on everywhere. Here was a person who understood some things and could guide me without the impositions that I felt in others.”

Theories of deep listening were central to Oliveros's work. She composed a 25 piece series Sonic Meditations, aimed to aid focus and listening. “I use the word meditation, rather than concentration, in a secular sense to mean steady attention and steady awareness [...] for continuous or cyclic periods of time,” she stated in her essay On Sonic Meditation.

In 1958 Oliveros began experimenting with recording directly to tape. From the early 60s on, she played a key role in the San Francisco Tape Music Center, where she worked until 1966. When it moved from Mills College to East Bay it was renamed the Centre for Contemporary Music. She took the post of director for a year before moving to teach at San Diego's University of California, where she ran a graduate programme in electronic music for 14 years.

Alongside Stuart Dempster and Peter Ward aka Panaiotis she formed The Deep Listening Band, a group which often explored the sound qualities of underground spaces such as the lava caves in Lanzarote or the underground cistern which gave their first release Cistern (1988) its title. She also worked with many choreographers including Welland Lathrop, Elizabeth Harris and Merce Cunningham. Oliveros studied chi kung and tai chi, stating that the energy flow of the body was linked to the breathing and energy flow of playing an instrument. Talking to Henderson she noted proudly what made her accordion different to standard versions. “The lnstrument does have a row of pedal tones that are not on standard 120 bass accordions,” she stated. “Mlne will go down to string bass E, and up to a plccolo hlgh C, whlch is a very nlce range. It's a good model, actually deslgned by my former teacher Wlllard Palmer for the Tltano company. I got it in 1983, and had retuned in Just Intonation in 1986. I use a couple of Countryman mlcs on the right hand side and an AKG mic on the left, all of them clip-ons. The actual attachment of the microphone to the instrument is especially Important, as the bellows are movlng all the time."

Oliveros was the author of five books, Sounding The Margins: Collected Writings 1992–2009 (2010), Initiation Dream (1982), Software For People (1984), The Roots Of The Moment (1998), and Deep Listening: A Composer's Sound Practice (2005). She never shied away from discussion of gender in her writings. In the chapter ”And Don't Call Them 'Lady' Composers” in Software For People, she addressed the often asked question: “Why have there been no 'great' women composers? [...] The answer is no mystery,” she offered. ”In the past, talent, education, abiliity, interests, motivation were irrelevant because being female was a unique qualification for domestic work and for continual obediance to and dependence upon men.” In 1970 she composed To Valerie Solanas And Marilyn Monroe In Recognition Of Their Desperation on reading Valerie Solanas's Scum Manifesto.

Subscribers can read Richard Henderson's full interview with Pauline Oliveros via Exact Editions.

Czech Republic's Festival of Film Animation and Contemporary Art starts on 1 December

Now in its 15th year, the festival is themed around John Berger’s essay Why Look At Animals?

PAF Festival of Film Animation and Contemporary Art will take place in Olomouc, Czech Republic from 1–4 December. Taking John Berger's essay Why Look At Animals? as its starting point, the festival brings together a selection of audio and visual artists’ responses to the aforementioned essay, which they received with their invitation to participate. “Animals are a natural part of many stories, films and pieces of art,” declares the festival. “In 1977 [Berger] proceeded from the assumption that animals are part of the human environment and that animals are both similar and dissimilar to us. This essay thematses the humanising of animals and the significance of zoological gardens”.

Participating artists include Ferda, Ondřej Ježek, Lolina, John T Gast, Edith Karlson, Stanislav Komárek, Bill Kouligas & Harm van den Dorpel, MESH & Michael Guidetti, Jakub Jansa, Andrea Průchová, Punťa, Pavel Ryška and Matěj Smetana. Ongoing screenings, presentations and exhibitions include an Aport Animation programme featuring films about the history of animation and developments in computer game technology involving Malvína Balvínová, Eliška Děcká, Miloš Henkrich, Dorota Holubová, Pavel Horáček, Lenka Ivančíková and others. PAF 2016 also has a film workshop programme and exhibition series.

PAF runs from 1–4 December at various venues in Olomouc.

You can listen to a series of animal themed mixes by participating artists here. And more information can be found on their website.

French computer music pioneer Jean-Claude Risset has died

Early computer music innovator has died aged 78

French electronic musician Jean-Claude Risset has died, reported Exclaim!. Risset passed away on 21 November in Marseille, aged 78. Cited as a pioneer in computer music, he worked with Max Matthews at New Jersey's Bell Labs where he experimented with sound synthesis and psychoacoustics. Risset also created a version of the Shepard scale called the Shepard–Risset Glissando, a type of auditory illusion that gives the impression a sound’s tone is either rising or descending, an effect he also created for rhythm and tempo.

Risset was a composer of orchestral, chamber, vocal, piano and electroacoustic works. Born in Le Puy-en-Velay on 18 March 1938, he studied composition and piano at École Normale Supérieure de Paris from 1957–61. He also studied mathematics and physics and earned a Doctorat ès Sciences in 1967. He started work at the Bell Labs in 1965 and from 1967–69 he worked on brass and timbre synthesis as well as pitch and sound processing and development. There he met F Richard Moore, John Pierce, James Tenney, Vladimir Ussachevsky and Edgard Varèse. He went on to work at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Marseille from 1969–72, and on computer sound systems at the Faculté d'Orsay and the Université de Paris in 1970–71. He was also chair of the computer department at IRCAM from 1975–79.

Risset’s albums including Mutations (1978), Songes – Passages – Computer Suite From Little Boy – Sud (1988), Invisible ‎(1996) and Elementa (2001). In 2014 Editions Mego released Music From Computer, which reached number 12 in The Wire's Top 50 Chart of that year. Describing his work in The Wire 363, Philip Clark wrote: “Risset sculpts his found objects into plastic forms – birdsong stretched out of melodic alignment, high pitched insects heard as basso profundo drones… [his] music has a poetic backbone impressively all its own.” Risset was the author of An Introductory Catalog Of Computer Synthesized Sounds (1969).

LCMF to present a Julius Eastman special

December’s London Contemporary Music Festival focuses on the works of the late composer and performer

London Contemporary Music Festival has announced the dates for its three day Julius Eastman festival in December. Presenting the first major overview of the American composer, pianist and performer, Apartment House and the composer, singer and improvisor Elaine Mitchener will perform rarely heard Eastman works ranging from the recently unearthed extended piece Femenine (1974) to later compositions such as Buddha (1984). The event will also feature music by Eastman’s contemporaries, John Cage and Arthur Russell among them. Other participants include dancer-choreographers Jamila Johnson-Small & Alexandrina Hemsley and artist Juliana Huxtable.

The festival opens on 15 December with Frederic Rzewski's Coming Together (1971) and Eastman’s Femenine (1974). The following night stages excerpts from John Cage's Song Books (1970), as well as Eastman's Evil Nigger (1979) and Buddha, Johnson-Small & Hemsley's Native Instincts: Psychic Labours 6.0 (2016) and Frederic Rzewski’s De Profundis (1994). The final day presents Arthur Russell's Tower Of Meaning (1983/2016) arranged by Kerry Yong, Eastman's Gay Guerilla (1979) and Stay On It (1973) and a performance from Juliana Huxtable.

The festival runs from 15–18 December at London's Second Home Holland Park. A panel discussion on Eastman’s life and legacy will also take place.