The Wire


We Will Fail teams up with MonotypeRec to launch new label

Refined Productions described as a “slow label” intended to encourage listeners to stop and think

Graphic designer and musician Aleksandra Grünholz aka We Will Fail is working with Monotype founder Jakub Mikołajczyk on a new record label. Called Refined Productions, they say their USP is to reset the pace of electronic music production, releasing fewer records that have a longer shelf life. “Stop, watch, listen, feel and think,” the press release states, “then listen again.”

The first two releases will come from Grünholz, following on from two releases on Mikołajczyk's MonotypeRecs with Verstorung (2014) and Hand That Heals/Hand That Bites (2016) – the Schadenfreude EP will be released on 19 January followed by Urgent in March. Urgent features remixes by MESH, Peder Mannerfelt and Kangding Ray.

Schadenfreude is released as a 12” and digitally. You can hear a snippet of the track “Night” in the label trailer below:

Betty Davis documentary premieres in Amsterdam

Betty – They Say I Am Different profiles the groundbreaking funk musician described by Miles Davis as “Madonna before Madonna, Prince before Prince”

Film maker Phil Cox has written and directed a documentary about the reclusive funk songwriter and vocalist Betty Davis. Called Betty – They Say I Am Different, the film draws on archival footage, animation, interviews and song lyrics to tell the story of Davis’s life, from her childhood through her friendships with Jimi Hendrix and Sly Stone, to her writing for The Chambers Brothers and The Commodores, and onto her brief marriage to Miles Davis and her influence on his album Bitches Brew. It also touches on her 35 year disappearance.

“It was an incredible experience to collaborate with Betty across four years,” states director Cox. “Her cultural and musical importance as a free thinking female pioneer, who paved the way for so many artists to follow, must now be recognised. Her fearless stand as an independent artist, years before anyone else was ‘doing it’ led to great hardship, but her blistering funk albums still stand strong alongside those of her contemporaries Sly Stone, Funkadelic and others. Betty is still unique – it was an honour to make this very personal film with her.”

Betty – They Say I’m Different premieres at the International Documentary Festival Amsterdam 2017 on 18 November, followed by screenings at various cinemas around the city until 25 November.

Last year, Light In The Attic released Betty Davis: The Unheard Columbia Years 1968–1969, compiled from remastered original analogue recordings of previously unheard Miles and Betty Davis sessions.

You can watch the trailer below:

Lost tapes of legendary Manhattan night club Paradise Garage to form a new installation

The Final Night In Paradise features footage taken from the club's closing party, where Larry Levan, Keith Haring and ESG were all present

Boiler Room TV and DJ Harvey have collaborated on a new installation that pays tribute to Larry Levan and New York's famed night club Paradise Garage. The club, founded by Michael Brody in 1977 and known for its garage house music and for being credited as one of the first places to put the DJ at centre stage, was the subject of a limited run 2003 documentary called Maestro, which Boiler Room premiered online last month.

The Final Night In Paradise was directed by Amar Ediriwira and features rare footage taken inside the club at the venue's closing party, projected as a CCTV split screen monitor display. In the shots you can see footage of Keith Haring dancing, Levan DJing and singers Gwen Guthrie and Liz Torres giving a special guest performance. As the footage is without original audio, the imagery has been soundtracked with music selected by DJ Harvey.

“The period of early club culture, and everything that flowed out of America in that golden era, remains a total inspiration for us. David Mancuso, Larry Levan, Frankie Knuckles, Ron Hardy, Francois K, Tee Scott and so many others blazed a trail to a whole new world. In many respects Boiler Room lives in the shadow of these mercurial DJs, so we wanted to go the extra mile to commemorate it” say Ediriwira and producer Gabriel Szatan.

The installation will be screened 24–26 November at The Gallery at Village Underground. On 26 November there will be a party at Village Underground club with a screening of Maestro plus special DJ sets from Nick The Record, Colleen "Cosmo" Murphy and Jamie 3:26.

You can watch a teaser below.

Crowdfunding campaign launched to complete Pauline Oliveros documentary

Daniel Weintraub started working with the US composer on his feature length film three years before she died

Film maker Daniel Weintraub has launched a final drive to finish his documentary Deep Listening: The Story Of Pauline Oliveros. He started work on the film in 2014, joining the composer and Deep Listening theorist as she worked and travelled around the US before her death in November 2016. Since then he has conducted over 30 interviews with people who knew the artist, including Morton Subotnick, Tony Martin, Ramon Sender, Anna Halprin, Claire Chase, Mark Dresser, Linda Montano, Miya Masaoka and Ione. Since Oliveros’s death, notes Weintraub, Ione – her spouse of 30 years – has offered him support and guidance on the project. Money raised from his new crowdfunding campaign will go towards the cost of post-production.

Pauline Oliveros. Screen shot from Deep Listening: The Story Of Pauline Oliveros

“Thanks to the generosity of my Indiegogo contributors and a grant from The Robert Bielecki Foundation, production on Deep Listening: The Story Of Pauline Oliveros is complete,” states Weintraub on his campaign page. “The production process was successful beyond all expectations. I have also scoured archives at Mills College, UCSD and NYU. I have had access to Pauline and Ione’s personal archive as well as many generous archival contributions from others who worked and/or played with Pauline over the years.

“The end result of these past three years of work is that I have an astounding amount of material I now need to somehow distill into a two hour film,” he continues. “In my 20 years as an editor, this is the greatest challenge I have faced (just as I'm sure Pauline would want it!).

“The $35,000 being requested here is actually only a portion of what is needed to complete the film. If this fund drive can bring in more, it will only result in a better final product. Any remaining funding will be secured through traditional grants.”

Donations can be made via Indiegogo. You can watch a trailer below:

AGF, Barbara Morgenstern and John Zorn among those contributing to Mischa Kuball's res·o·nant

Taking place at Berlin's Jewish Museum until 2019, the exhibition invites artists to contribute 60 seconds of sound

Mischa Kuball's new light and sound installation res·o·nant will open on 17 November at the Jewish Museum Berlin. Running until summer 2019 (exact date yet to be confirmed), the Düsseldorf conceptual artist has created an immersive environment in the Rafael Roth Gallery, in the lower ground floor of the Libeskind building, covering a floor space of more than 350 square meters, and incorporating two of the museum's five vertical voids.

The space will feature stroboscopic pulsating lights and several loudspeakers playing 60 second long sound snippets, or what the artist has called Skits, composed specifically for the exhibition by a wide range of artists. These include: John Zorn, Roedelius, Thomas Fehlmann, Heiner Goebbels, Frank Bretschneider, Monika Werkstatt members (including AGF, Morgenstern, Beate Bartel, Danielle de Picciotto, Gudrun Gut, Islaja, Lucrecia Dalt, Pilocka Krach and Sonae), Ihor Holubizky, Kurt Dahlke aka Pyrolator, Pamela Z, Dee C’rell, Andrew Pekler, Thomas Klein, Minou Oram, Midori Hirano, Anja Penne, Krzysztof Honowski and many others.

A call out for new works will also open on 16 November, allowing other artists to submit new pieces for inclusion. The deadline is 31 January 2018. As well as that, various interventions are planned in several spaces throughout the city of Berlin.

More information can be found on the website.

iDEAL celebrates its 20th birthday

The Swedish label will be throwing itself a series of anniversary parties around the world in 2018

Founded by Joachim Nordwall in 1998, the experimental Swedish label iDEAL turns 20 in 2018, and it will be marking the occasion with an international spread of parties plus a special edition album called The Black Book.

The iDEAL party season opens on 19 January at Paris Instants Chavirés club, with Nordwall, JASSS, John Duncan, Sewer Election and DJ Allon Kaye. On 20 January the same line-up plays at London's Cafe Oto, but with Johan Zetterquist instead of John Duncan. The label also promises parties later in the year in its hometown Gothenburg, New York (in collaboration with Blank Forms) and Copenhagen (at JazzHouse).

As for iDEAL’s special edition album The Black Book, it'll be a triple LP compilation featuring key players in the label’s history, including Russell Haswell, Stephen O'Malley, Ectoplasm Girls, John Duncan, F1K, Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe, Prurient, Carlos Giffoni, Dungeon Acid, Tilliander and Sewer Election.

Other iDEAL releases planned for next year include sets from Jim O'Rourke, Nadine Byrne, Carlos Giffoni, Ben Vida & Marina Rosenfeld, Siavash Amini, and more.

“A few years ago we tried to slow down,” says Nordwall. “Now we are doing more stuff than ever.”

Call for submissions on reggae sound system and vinyl culture

The Sound System Outernational #4: Strictly Vinyl presentation will be happening in London in January 2018

Sound System Outernational #4: Strictly Vinyl has made an open call for works and papers to be showcased at a conference about reggae sound system and vinyl culture. Taking place at University of London Goldsmiths on 13 January 2018, the one day event offers the chance for practitioners and researchers to share their knowledge, experiences and appreciation of vinyl. The conference is part of Sound System Outernational’s larger initiative to recognise and support sound system cultures worldwide.The day will close with a club night running until 4am. Deadline for submissions is 30 November. For more information, email the organisers.

The Goldsmiths conference coincides with the arrival of the touring exhibition Let's Play Vinyl on 10 January, which will run until 12 February. Plus, on 12 January there will be a screening of Legacy In The Dust: The Four Aces Story, including a Q & A session with director Winstan Whitter; and on 14 January there will be participatory workshops for adults and young people. Go to this Tumblr page for more information.

Paul Buckmaster has died

The UK musician, composer and arranger was 71 years old

The death of Paul Buckmaster was announced by his management company McDaniel Entertainment on 8 November.

Born in London in 1946, Buckmaster picked up playing cello at an early age. After studying at Royal Academy of Music, he began his career with a focus on classical music but he soon started collaborating with rock and pop artists. He worked on David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” (1969) and he was a member of The Third Ear Band when they composed the soundtrack to Roman Polanski’s 1972 film adaptation of Macbeth. He also played electric cello and contributed arrangements to Miles Davis’s On The Corner (1972). Indeed he played cello on many jazz recording sessions, British composer Neil Ardley's 1976 album Kaleidoscope Of Rainbows among them. In 1995 he composed the score for Terry Gilliam's Twelve Monkeys, and in 2012 he participated in Kirk Degiorgio's The Beauty Room project. One of his longstanding working partnerships was with UK guitarist Michael Chapman, which continued into the 2010s.

Mats Gustafsson’s anthology of interviews probes the enduring fascination of vinyl

The veteran saxophonist talks to legendary record collectors including Henry Rollins, Robert Crumb and Wire contributors

"I want to get buried in a vinyl coffin, made from my collection. Viking burial style!" Mats Gustafsson has been a key player in improvised music for over three decades, and when he hasn’t been picking up a saxophone, he's been picking up records. In the spirit of giving something back, his website has for several years now been running a regular Discaholic’s Corner, where Gustafsson interviews fellow obsessives to understand and invesitgate the life of the collector. A new book, Mats Gustafsson’s Discaholics! Record Collector Confessions Volume 1 now collects ten of these interviews, with renowned music heads and archivists including Henry Rollins, Oren Ambarchi, Robert Crumb, Thurston Moore, The Wire’s Byron Coley and Brian Morton, and more.

A key inspiration for Gustafsson was the classic jazz book Notes And Tones: Musician To Musician Interviews, where drummer Arthur Taylor’s comradely rapport with his fellow players elicits details that no other interviewer could. Gustafsson’s interview style, displayed over the longform discussions of Discaholics!, is similarly fluid, sometimes probing deep into the knowledge of his fellow enthusiasts, but then throwing in more general reflections such as "Can discaholism be cured?" and "Which record is closest to sex?".

As to whether Gustafsson thinks discaholism can – or should – be cured, he says: "It depends on what you define as a ‘problem’, haha! I want them (the records) to have an impact on my life. That is for sure! Of course when it comes to various addictions, you need to have a relation to your addiction… I do have a relation to my addiction, I want my collection to get better, to inspire me. I want it alive, like a garden, trimming it every day."

The way Gustafsson puts it, the relationship to his records is about learning rather than preservation or stockpiling. "The most important aspect of my record collecting is the source of inspiration and information – it is to have a huge library of music (and literature). You can find new elements, details and structures all the time… just take a dive! It never ends, the sources of inspiration within the archive. I have rediscovered a lot of music again after many years… found many new perspectives and layers in the music."

Discaholics! is a mine of lists, obscure arcana, punk, jazz, discussion of logos and ephemera, and burning questions such as "What vinyl would trigger an earthquake?". For Gustafsson, part of the interest in his Discaholics column was unlocking new areas of interest for himself. "Learning is only possible to do from other (real) people…. the internet might be a good source of information but not for inspiration. There is a lot to learn." He enthuses about areas of music that Discaholics Corner has introduced him to, including hardcore, an area reflected in the book by Swedish punk scenster Dennis Lyxzén, and pre-war jazz and blues, as represented by venerable cartoonist Robert Crumb's renowned collection.

Some of the music covered in the book tends towards the manly and macho, and there's only one woman collector. “Yes, this IS a problem,” Gustafsson acknowledges. “In the beginning I was trying too make interviews with fellow discaholics that are interested in jazz and improvised music – just like me – and I have to say it has been almost impossible to find female discaholics interested in that music. And look at a record fair… do you see all women queuing up? It is depressing.

“It has gotten a bit better the last years… but it is far from being equal,” he continues. “We believed that the interviews included are of a huge interest, all ten of them – and we decided to publish them as is. For the Discaholics Volume 2 (to be published in fall 2018) – there will be discaholics from many other genres of music interviewed, and of course more women involved.”

The book features a fair bit of comparing sizes. So how does his own collection measure up? “Discaholics usually don't answers in actual numbers,” he says cryptically. “It is about 2.5 tonnes... or a bit more then 50 metres of LPs... and a decent amount of 7"s and 10"s…"

The book, accompanied by a bonus 7", is set to be published by Marhaug Forlag on 15 November, and includes an extensive interview with Gustafsson himself.

Fundraiser to record James Tenney's Changes: 64 Studies For 6 Harps

Adrian Tenney, the daughter of the late composer, is raising money to put Changes: 64 Studies for 6 Harps to record for the first time

Adrian Tenney has started a crowdfunding campaign to record a previously unrealised composition by James Tenney. One of several that remained unrecorded at the time of the composer's death in 2006, the piece is now destined for a debut performance on 11 November at The Box in Los Angeles, followed by a recording session a few weeks later, though money for the latter still needs to be raised.

“This performance, and the 50 hours of rehearsal time necessary for the seven artists to prepare, has already been funded, however, we still need to raise $22,000 to be able to send the musicians into the recording studio very soon after this performance. If we wait any longer to record, we will have to start from scratch, paying the artists for 50 hours of rehearsal time all over again,” confirms Adrian.

The I Ching inspired composition Changes: 64 Studies For 6 Harps was written for six harps tuned a sixth of a semitone apart, explains the fundraiser page. “Much of the piece uses a technique called hocketing which is one of the reasons the piece sounds super interesting,”

CalArts has already granted the musicians access to a free recording studio space from 23–26 November and financial contributions have already come in from SASSAS and the Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts, however further funding is now needed for artist fees, hospitality, transport, and the mixing and mastering of the recording.

New World Records will be releasing the album in the form of a 3-CD set in 2018.

Donations are being accepted via