Bitstream News from under the radar
Trish Keenan, musician and vocalist in Broadcast, died suddenly from complications resulting from pneumonia on 14 January. She was 42. Broadcast began as a quartet in Birmingham in 1995, signed to Warp, and released three albums of spectral pop – The Noise Made By People, Haha Sound and Tender Buttons – which absorbed influences ranging from Library Music to White Noise to 1960s pop. By the mid-2000s they had slimmed down to the duo of Keenan and partner James Cargill, composing and recording all their own music, which was informed by keenan’s deep interest in film arcana and psychedelia. Recent years yielded the most exploratory music of their career, including The Wire’s 2009 album of the year, Investigate Witch Cults Of The Radio Age, a collaboration with The Focus Group, which tuned in to the uncanny vibrations of hauntology. They performed at The Wire’s Into The Vortex festival in 2009.
Sound artist Rolf Julius has died aged 71. His self-styled Small Music had the ability to heighten perception so that silence becomes a sound quality in its own right. Julius worked with photographs, ink drawings, audio compositions, and most recently, installations aimed at increasing our awareness of textural, material and auditory surroundings. Julius – whose music appears on a flexidisc given away to subscribers with this month’s issue – had been due to perform at the Rothko Chapel in Houston, Texas this spring.
American composer Milton Babbitt has died at the age of 94. Noted for his work in serialism, his earliest compositions date from 1940, and continue through his pioneering work with electronics and synthesizers in the 60s. His music famously inspired a High Fidelity magazine headline writer to caption a piece he had written, “Who Cares If You Listen?” His awards included both a Pulitzer citation and a MacArthur Fellowship and he taught at institutions such as Princeton University, Juilliard School and the New Music school at Darmstadt. His works appeared on labels ranging from New World to Tzadik, and at the time of his death, Babbitt remained an emeritus professor of composition at Princeton.
Asian Dub Foundation have returned with a new album A History Of Now, which attempts to encapsulate the plight of modern living. ADF have also teamed up with The Orb’s Jimmy Cauty to direct the music video for the first release from the album. asiandubfoundation.com
While the music world has been getting to grips with the loss of Captain Beefheart, his influence seems to have even furtherreaching tendrils than expected. When Los Angeles City Council heard of Don Van Vliet’s demise, the members stood in reverence, and voted to honour his memory with a certificate of tribute to his wife. Van Vliet was born and died in California and spent much of his life living in or around Los Angeles.
Sonic Youth have a new digital mixtape available online, streaming via the rotating spools of a tape cassette. Included are tracks from their soon to be released soundtrack to Fabrice Gobert’s film Simon Werner A Disparu and an acoustic version of “Star Power”, heard on the television show Gossip Girl. sonicyouth.com
Grateful Dead fans can now relive the group’s 1972 European tour. Europe 72:The Complete Recordings is a lavish box set of more than 60 CDs, 22 concerts of over 70 hours of music with a hard-bound coffee table book plus “cool surprises”, all in a replica steamer trunk. A limited edition of 7200 copies costing $450 each, the entire run has already sold out on pre-sales in less than four days. You can still buy the CDs only as a stripped-down box set for the same price. dead.net
Diamanda Galás has announced a collaboration with director David Pepe, which premieres at London’s Barbican on 21 April. The film installation Schrei 27 promises to deal with asylum institutionalisation and psychological and physiological torture, featuring Galás and a male actor. Galás will perform live, beginning in darkness and providing musical accompaniment throughout. The film will be shown for two days afterwards. barbican.org.uk
Broadcast’s Trish Keenan
The Centre for Contemporary Music Cultures at Goldsmiths, University Of London have organised a three-day international conference on Greek composer Iannis Xenakis, coinciding with the tenth anniversary of his death, running from 1–3 April at the Southbank Centre. Scholars, researchers and musicians have been invited to present papers, and the event will be accompanied by two concerts featuring programmes of work by Xenakis and others influenced by him. The event is media-partnered by The Wire and keynote speakers include Benoît Gibson, Peter Hoffmann and Makis Solomos. gold.ac.uk/ ccmc/xenakisinternationalsymposium
The winners of this year’s Foundation For Contemporary Arts Grants To Artists have been announced. Notable among the the 14 recipients of unrestricted grants of $25,000 from the American foundation is guitar improvisor, effects pedal abuser and noise freak Kevin Drumm, who’s joined on the list by sound artist Steve Roden and composer and performance artist Marina Rosenfeld.
Emeralds’ John Elliott enters the A&R realm with a new imprint Spectrum Spools, which will be produced in association with Peter Rehberg/Pita’s Editions Mego label. They’ve already announced their first two releases by Fabric and Bee Mask, which are due to be released in April, and promise to deliver “current, past and future electronic music works of the highest quality”. spectrumspools.com
The On-U Sound label turns 30 this year, and is marking the milestone with a bunch of new releases. March will see African Head Charge’s Voodoo Of The Godsent, the group’s first new album since 2005, followed by three remastered reissues in April: New Age Steppers’ self-titled debut, Creation Rebel’s Starship Africa and African Head Charge’s Off The Beaten Track. More output planned for later in the year includes more reissues as well as contemporary remixes of Lee Perry’s On-U Sound output, the Adrian Sherwood-produced Little Axe album and a New Age Steppers long-player – their first since 1983 – featuring vocal contributions from the late Ari Up and Mark Stewart. onu-sound.com
All Tomorrow’s Parties have announced their fourth annual New York area show. I'll Be Your Mirror, curated by Portishead and ATP, features an ultra rare live appearance by Jeff Mangum of Neutral Milk Hotel, and will take place in New Jersey, 30 September–2 October. atpfestival.com
Director Marie Losier has completed her documentary The Ballad Of Genesis And Lady Jaye. The film premiered at the Forum in the Berlin International Film Festival in February, and documents EvaVermandel( Keenan)
8 | The Wire | Bitstream You can all join in: Kemialliset Ystävät the life, love and art of Genesis and Lady Jaye Breyer P-Orridge and their groundbreaking experiments in pandrogeny. Lady Jaye Breyer P-Orridge died in 2007. balladofgenesisandladyjaye.com end of our last deal, it felt like it was time for a change and the one thing we were certain we did NOT want to do was to sign another traditional recording agreement.” wilcoworld.net
The seventh edition of Qwartz Electronic And New Music Awards has been announced, with alva noto chairing the jury. Nominated are Yannis Kyriakides, Ben Frost, Ryoji Ikeda, Aoki Takamasa and others. Full list at qwartz.org
Wilco have formed dBpm Records, which will release all future Wilco recordings, and more, based in Easthampton, MA and run by Wilco’s longtime manager, Tony Margherita. Anti Records will provide distribution. Says Margherita, “As we reached the
Netaudio UK is a digital/network technologies event, supported by The Wire, with performances from Nurse With Wound, Mika Vainio & Bruce Gilbert and Radian, plus a sound art exhibition, workshops, conferences and more. It takes place in London on 15 May. netaudiolondon.org
London Sinfonietta have launched a new composition scheme called Writing The Future, which gives six composers the opportunity to write music in collaboration with the Sinfonietta’s musicians. Judges
Richard Baker, Simon Holt and David Toop have selected Sam Britton, Shiva Feshariki, Edmund Finnis, Tim Hodgkinson, Michael Mayhew and Duncan McLeod as the six, tasked to create new works for the ensemble. Continuing the spirit of outreach, the Sinfonietta have also tapped jazz pianist Matthew Bourne and Hardanger fiddler Nils Økland for music workshops, in preparation for performances at Written/Unwritten – their upcoming festival at Kings Place in June. londonsinfonietta.org.uk posted originals. All submissions are due by 1 April. kemiallisetystavat.com/pallonvaltavan
The second Stateside edition of Polish festival Unsound takes place this April. As usual, it promises a mash-up of electronics, dance music, multimedia, music discussion and more, featuring panel discussions and performances from CoH, Carlos Giffoni, Lone, Dorian Concept, Alan Howarth, Emeralds, Morton Subotnick and more. New York various venues, 1–10 April, unsound.pl
Finnish free folk collective Kemialliset Ystävät have announced an open invitation to join their ranks. They’ve posted popular Finnish songs on their website and are asking for recordings of anybody singing or playing along with any part or all of the
Martin Archer wants to match groups of improvisors with video artists, and invites submissions of 15-minute silent films to be screened during his concerts at Sheffield’s Showroom Cinema. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org
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