Rock's Backpages Library Rock's Backpages
Rock's Backpages

The Wire

Wire, The

Founded in 1982, The Wire is a monthly British music magazine, which initially concentrated on contemporary jazz and improvised music, but branched out in the early 1990s to various types of experimental music. Since then it has covered hip hop, modern classical, free improvisation, post-rock, and various forms of electronic music.

259 articles

Miles Davis: Teo Macero: Thoughts of Chairman Teo

Interview by Max Jones, The Wire, November 1984

TEO MACERO is best known as the producer of dozens of classic Miles Davis LPs, from Sketches Of Spain to Star People. Here he talks ...

The Fall: Watching The City Hobgoblins: The Fall

Profile and Interview by Mark Sinker, The Wire, August 1986

Author's 2005 note: In which I find my voice? In between all the "important rock does this" droning. ...

Anita Baker: The Deep Dark Soul

Interview by Richard Cook, The Wire, September 1986

THE BAND PLAYS a slow, rough-textured groove, flesh laid on the dark bones of the bass. Three women set up a vocal counterpoint, rich with ...

Dave Brubeck: The Unsquare Dance

Retrospective by Richard Cook, The Wire, November 1986

DAVE BRUBECK looked the part. The face that stared out from a Time magazine cover 30-odd years ago had the sober, shaven outline of a ...

Nelson George: The Death of Rhythm & Blues (Omnibus)

Review by Barney Hoskyns, The Wire, 1987

NELSON GEORGE, self-described "B-Boy intellectual" and one of pop culture's few black writers of note, has written a book which (sort of) argues that the ...

Albert Collins: The Ice Man

Profile and Interview by Mike Atherton, The Wire, September 1987

Our blues section opens with a profile of the man who put a chill on the heart of the music. ...

Albert Collins: The Ice Man

Profile and Interview by Mike Atherton, The Wire, September 1987

Our blues section opens with a profile of the man who put a chill on the heart of the music. ...

James Brown: James Brown By James Brown with Bruce Tucker (Sidgwick & Jackson, £12.95)

Book Review by Cynthia Rose, The Wire, November 1987

JAMES BROWN is the Andy Warhol of sound — it's just not possible to imagine modern music without him. Nor could there be a more ...

Eric Dolphy: Naima (Jazzway); Vintage Dolphy (ENJA)

Review by Richard Cook, The Wire, November 1987

Naima (Jazzway MUTT-1502) ...

Art Ensemble of Chicago, Lester Bowie's Brass Fantasy, Keith Jarrett, Pat Metheny, Arvo Pärt: Manfred Eicher: Elegant, Crystalline, Mysterious or Enervated, Chilly, Morose?

Interview by Richard Cook, The Wire, January 1988

In this rare interview, Europe's leading label boss explains exactly what ECM stands for. ...

Albert Ayler: My Name is Albert Ayler

Retrospective by Richard Cook, The Wire, January 1988

Still misunderstood and neglected, the man who took jazz saxophone to its furthest limits awaits a new appreciation. Richard Cook offers a personal view. ...

Ronald Shannon Jackson, Last Exit: Ronald Shannon Jackson: A Jackson In Your House

Profile and Interview by Mark Sinker, The Wire, January 1988

Lone-star sticksman Ronald Shannon Jackson — the percussive power behind Albert Ayler, Cecil Taylor, Ornette Coleman, Power Tools and Last Exit — plays rough with ...

David Sylvian: Life in the Beehive

Report and Interview by Richard Cook, The Wire, November 1989

DAVID SYLVIAN sits back and thinks about the work. "There are evident failures and occasional successes, but my opinion of the work doesn't change much. ...

Eugene Chadbourne: The Chadbournes: The Eddie Chatterbox Double Trio Love Album; Eugene Chadbourne: I've Been Everywhere (both Fundamental)

Review by Mark Sinker, The Wire, November 1989

THERE'S PREJUDICE and there's prejudice, but answer me this — what kind of a narrow soundworld do you have to be living in for the ...

Melvin Gibbs, Power Tools, Sonny Sharrock: Sonny Sharrock & Melvin Gibbs: New York Is Now

Profile and Interview by Mark Sinker, The Wire, March 1990

Guitar and bass tune up for the next wave of sonic assault, from Blind Willie's blues to M-BASE and beyond. Our man behind the amps ...

Elvis Costello: El Hath No Fury: Elvis Costello

Interview by Barney Hoskyns, The Wire, June 1991

"WHEN YOU GET OLD IT'S LIKE they go to the file for the opinions on you," said Elvis Costello last time he was on the ...

Fred Frith/Ferdinand Richard: Fred & Ferd Dropera; Fred Frith: Gravity; Speechless; Cheap At Half The Price (all RECREC)

Review by Mark Sinker, The Wire, September 1991

OH. EVERYTHING hasn't quite changed, after all. Frith's excellent retrospective last year, Step Across The Border, seemed to demonstrate how much more New York and ...

Lou Reed: Alchemical Engineering

Interview by Simon Reynolds, The Wire, February 1992

Lou Reed is one of the few 60s figures who has kept up any serious exploration of rock's sounds and words. In this exclusive New ...

Public Enemy, Sun Ra: Loving The Alien In Advance Of The Landing

Essay by Mark Sinker, The Wire, February 1992

"IN THE MEANTIME," he said, speaking relentlessly but mesmerically softly, as gurus will, "I finally went to Chicago. I determined not to be a musician ...

BBC Radiophonic Workshop, Daphne Oram, Delia Derbyshire: The BBC Radiophonic Workshop

Profile and Interview by Mark Sinker, The Wire, February 1992

SIX COMPOSERS, too shy to make claims for themselves, go to make it up. But Brian Hodgson, who's worked with the BBC Radiophonic Workshop since ...

Laurie Anderson: Clarity’s Angel

Interview by Simon Reynolds, The Wire, March 1992

First, Laurie Anderson chronicled the United States of America. What’s next for the leading performance-person of our day? ...

Giorgio Moroder, Donna Summer: Giorgio Moroder: Throbbery With Intent

Retrospective and Interview by David Toop, The Wire, April 1992

David Toop takes the pulse of disco pioneer GIORGIO MORODER ...

All Mix & No Master

Essay by David Toop, The Wire, September 1992

"Whoever doesn't like what I did, 20 years from now they can go back and redo it."Teo Macero, discussing his method of recording Miles Davis ...

Elvis Costello: Can I Be Frank…?

Essay by Mark Sinker, The Wire, September 1992

2005 note: The original manuscript began and ended with some kind of lyrical gibberish swansong for the song as a music-form (in the age of ...

Elvis Presley: Elvis - The 50s

Review by Mark Sinker, The Wire, September 1992

PERHAPS THE most unexpected thing about RCA/BMG's Presley-project is how unexpected so much of it is. ...

Brian Eno: Taking Modern Culture By Strategy: Brian Eno

Essay by Mark Sinker, The Wire, October 1992

2005 note: It’s not a sensible criticism of a conjuror that his craft does not involve actual real magical powers. Eno is fascinated by the ...

Outing the In-Crowd

Overview by Kodwo Eshun, The Wire, December 1992

Kodwo Eshun digs up the history of Clubland UK, from Boodles to Style Wars to all-day nights on the Cybernet.                                                           * ...

Aphex Twin: Selected Ambient Works 85-92 (R&S/Apollo Double 12"/CD); Polygon Window: Surfing On Sine Waves (Warp LP7 Double 12"/CD)

Review by David Toop, The Wire, February 1993

ALWAYS PREJUDGE the intentions of a piece of music by its title. The judgement may not be entirely fair, yet its accuracy is frequently uncanny. ...

Dismember, N.W.A.: Art on Trial

Comment by David Toop, The Wire, April 1993

By downplaying or ridiculing the potential impact of extreme artforms such as death metal and hardcore HipHop, do the defences in censorship trials call into ...

Frank Black: Frank Black (4AD CAD 3004 CD/MC/LP)

Review by Rob Young, The Wire, April 1993

PUNCH ME out if I mention The Pixies more than twice. Times have changed and Black Francis wants us to call him Frank Black. This ...

John Martyn: Couldn't Love You More (Permanent CD9)

Review by Ian Penman, The Wire, April 1993

JOHN MARTYN has roamed his own byways, apparently lost in a mythic search whose obstacles were all his own devising — only he knew the ...

Mick Harvey: Alta Marea & Vaterland (Mute IONIC 6 CD)

Review by Biba Kopf, The Wire, April 1993

A STRONG silent type, Mick Harvey is the unsung hero of The Birthday Party and Nick Cave's Bad Seeds. He also guided the neglected Crime ...

Robert Wyatt: Mid-Eighties (Rough Trade R2952 CD)

Review by Ian Penman, The Wire, April 1993

AT TIMES during the last ten years you might have wondered why Robert Wyatt didn't simply junk music and park outside supermarkets; his solemn Spartist ...

Bootsy Collins

Interview by Mark Sinker, The Wire, October 1993

2005 note: Much of the cultural rhetoric surrounding funk is just teacher’s-pet attempts to plod-cram the music back into the squarest box available – I ...

Lightnin' Rod: Great Recordings: Lightnin' Rod — Hustler's Convention

Retrospective by Kodwo Eshun, The Wire, October 1993

In 1973, Jalal Nuriddin of The Last Poets changed his name to Lightnin' Rod and recorded Hustler's Convention, the first Blaxploitation audiodrama. Kodwo Eshun recalls ...

De La Soul: Buhloone Mindstate (Big Life BLRCD 25 CD/MC/LP)

Review by Kodwo Eshun, The Wire, November 1993

ALTERED STATES ...

Rickie Lee Jones: Traffic From Paradise (Geffen GED24602 CD/MC/LP)

Review by Ian Penman, The Wire, November 1993

RICKIE LEE Jones continues on her own singular way, making records which will not reap her the Four Non Blondes audience, will not return her ...

Flavor Flav, Tupac Shakur, Snoop (Doggy) Dogg: Hip Hop: Trials and Errors

Report by Kodwo Eshun, The Wire, March 1994

Three of Hip Hop's major stars — Snoop Doggy Dogg, 2 Pac and Flavor Flav — are preparing to face various charges of attempted murder ...

Tim Buckley: T.B. Sheets: In Praise of Tim Buckley

Retrospective by Ian Penman, The Wire, April 1994

TIM BUCKLEY was small - "this little man," as he said in one of his slow sly seducer's songs - he was small, and white, ...

Dub It Up: A Whistlestop Tour Through Reggae's Echo Chambers

Guide by David Toop, The Wire, May 1994

A is for Alpha & Omega The odd couple of '90s roots and culture. Bassist Christine Woodbridge and melodica puffer John Sprosen conjure cultural spirits ...

Harold Budd, Cocteau Twins, Andy Partridge: Harold Budd: Sonic archaeologist

Profile and Interview by David Toop, The Wire, June 1994

What unearthly music is Harold Budd exhuming now? ...

John Cale: Music for the Last Day

Interview by Ian Penman, The Wire, July 1994

JOHN CALE IS rock's international traveller, his work a trans-continental drift of moons and maps, seas and seachange, envoys and ennui. From his early (unfashionable) ...

Jon Hassell: Behind the Blue Screen: Jon Hassell

Profile and Interview by David Toop, The Wire, August 1994

Jon Hassell's music with his group Bluescreen is an exotic domain of ritualised sex, strange tonalities, erotic transgressions and invisible connections. David Toop enters the ...

Pete Namlook

Interview by David Toop, The Wire, September 1994

Pete Namlook is one of the more remarkable figures of 90s electronic music. Since December 1992, he has released over 150 albums on his own ...

Incredible Strange and Highly Exotic

Essay by David Toop, The Wire, October 1994

The Incredibly Strange Music books are mondo archaeology for vinyl fetishists. They exhume a hidden world of plastic where exotic Easy Listening, modern primitives, suburban ...

Bill Laswell: An Interview with Bill Laswell

Interview by David Toop, The Wire, December 1994

For almost two decades, Bill Laswell's music has traced a long, humid trail across continents, genres, moods, atmospheres and numerous collaborations. David Toop met him ...

Futurebeat: Vorschtsprung dürch Techno

Essay by Dave Rimmer, The Wire, Spring 1994

"The only possible challenge to repetitive power takes the route of a breach in social repetition and the control of noisemaking. In more day-to-day political ...

Tricky: [the Phantoms of] TRICKNOLOGY [versus a Politics of Authenticity]

Essay by Ian Penman, The Wire, March 1995

"Machine technology is a type of transformation." Martin Heidegger ...

Arthur Russell

Retrospective by David Toop, The Wire, April 1995

This New York composer, who died in obscurity of AIDS in 1992, was a true visionary, traversing dub, disco and minimalism and anticipating the '90s ...

Scott Walker: Tilting at Wind

Interview by Richard Cook, The Wire, May 1995

Scott Walker, perhaps the most enigmatic singer in recent times, has returned with his first recording since 1984. But is it a work of experimental ...

Frank Zappa: From Z to A and Back Again, or: QUANTITIES AND LEER

Comment by Ian Penman, The Wire, July 1995

I CANNOT FOR the pop life of me see why anyone over the age of 17 would ever want to listen to Frank Zappa again, ...

Singing The Body Electric

Overview by Mark Sinker, The Wire, September 1995

The story of the first electronic instruments is as twisted and circuitous as their primitive, labyrinthine wiring. Mark Sinker goes in search of these often ...

Grateful Dead, John Oswald: John Oswald: Rites of the Living Dead

Profile and Interview by Simon Reynolds, The Wire, December 1995

Following the death of Jerry Garcia, John Oswald's Grayfolded, a digital reworking of the Grateful Dead's 'Dark Star', has assumed new, ghostly qualities. ...

Miles Davis, Brian Eno, Hatfield And The North, King Crimson, Charles Mingus, Pink Floyd, Public Enemy, The Raincoats, Nina Simone, Sly & The Family Stone, Tony Williams, Robert Wyatt: Robert Wyatt: Invisible Jukebox

Interview by Mike Barnes, The Wire, December 1995

Every month we play a musician a series of records which they're asked to identify and comment on — with no prior knowledge of what ...

Amon Düül: Communing With Chaos: Amon Düül II

Retrospective and Interview by Edwin Pouncey, The Wire, February 1996

WHEN THE GERMAN rock explosion (now recognised as Krautrock) first hit these shores in the early 70s, the temptation to label it as a thriving ...

The A-Z of Electro

Guide by David Toop, The Wire, March 1996

In its original incarnation, Electro was black science fiction teleported to the dancefloors of New York, Miami and LA; a super-stoopid fusion of video games, ...

The Gnoua Brotherhood

Report by Chris Campion, The Wire, March 1996

ALIGHTING FROM the famed Marrakech Express, Frank Rynne, Joe Ambrose and myself were hustled into an illegal taxi. It careered along Boulevard Mohamed V, the ...

Tortoise: Getting Up To Speed

Interview by Rob Young, The Wire, March 1996

Depending on your point of view, American group Tortoise are either cutting edge avant rock, or ponderous Prog revivalists. Either way, the buzz generated by ...

David Bowie, Lou Reed, Neil Young, Frank Zappa: Contract Breakers

Essay by Mark Sinker, The Wire, June 1996

2005 note: Savage Pencil did a nice illustration for this: John and Yoko hilariously naked, among other excellent things. It also elicited an angry postcard ...

Waiting For The Sun by Barney Hoskyns (Viking)

Book Review by Richard Cook, The Wire, July 1996

The darkside of LA music ...

Ice-T: Invisible Jukebox: Ice-T

Interview by Mike Barnes, The Wire, July 1996

Every month we play a musician a series of records which they're asked to identify and comment on — with no prior knowledge of what ...

Tricky: Pre-Millennium Tension (Fourth & Broadway BR 623 CD/MC/LP)

Review by David Toop, The Wire, October 1996

ANY MUSICIAN who debuts at creative boiling point is going to slap into problems before too long. A couple of years of press saturation, blind ...

Harold Budd: Invisible Jukebox: Harold Budd

Interview by Mike Barnes, The Wire, January 1997

Every month we play a musician a series of records which they're asked to identify and comment on — with no prior knowledge of what ...

Lenny Bruce, Miles Davis, Eric Dolphy, Duke Ellington, Jimi Hendrix, The Last Poets, Bill Laswell, Lightnin' Rod, John McLaughlin: Alan Douglas: Thee Man Who Sold The Underworld

Retrospective and Interview by Edwin Pouncey, The Wire, July 1997

Now into his fifth decade at the doors of perception, label boss ALAN DOUGLAS hasworked with many of the century's underground greats, from Lenny Bruce, ...

Aphex Twin, Si Begg, Squarepusher, Cristian Vogel: Richard James, Tom Jenkinson et al: A Taste Of Wonderland, Ministry Of Sound, London

Live Review by Rob Young, The Wire, September 1997

AH, A DUMBSHOW — now that's entertainment. In the middle of the floor in the largest of the Ministry Of Sound's three shapeless spaces, the ...

Silver Apples: Oscillate Wildly

Retrospective and Interview by Edwin Pouncey, The Wire, September 1997

After 30 years of universal neglect, New York's Silver Apples are finally getting recognition for their pioneering electronic rock. ...

Mark Hollis, Talk Talk: Return from Eden: Mark Hollis

Profile and Interview by Rob Young, The Wire, January 1998

As the prime mover behind Talk Talk, Mark Hollis threw off the shackles of a pop existence to create the bleakest, yet most lyrical orchestral ...

Fred Frith: The Frith Element

Interview by Mike Barnes, The Wire, February 1998

Whether upfront on his own projects or undercover in groups like Naked City guitarist FRED FRITH has sought ever more imaginative ways to keep the ...

Long Fin Killie, Mouse On Mars, Salaryman, Tortoise: Tortoise, Mouse On Mars, Salaryman, Long Fin Killie: Electric Ballroom, London

Live Review by Mike Barnes, The Wire, February 1998

IN 1997 THE toilers on rock's margins buffed their edges, dubbed in some breathing space and inserted enough kitsch samples to bring their experiments closer ...

Suicide: Invisible Jukebox: Suicide

Interview by Edwin Pouncey, The Wire, March 1998

Every month we play a musician a series of records which they're asked to identify and comment on — with no prior knowledge of what ...

Gary Lucas: Guitars and Monsters

Interview by Mike Barnes, The Wire, June 1998

Former Beefheart guitarist Gary Lucas might not have fulfilled his childhood ambition to become a vampire, but in wielding his avant-roots-noise music like a stiletto, ...

John Martyn: Felling Gravity's Pull

Interview by Rob Young, The Wire, June 1998

After rising to prominence with the late 60s electric folk renaissance, John Martyn uprooted songform and subjected it to a serious sonic makeover on a ...

John Fahey: Blood on the Frets

Interview by Edwin Pouncey, The Wire, August 1998

The original American Primitive, John Fahey's raw mixes of blues, folk and musique concrete embody the spirit of American alternative music. But during the 60s ...

Grooverider: Locked Groove

Interview by Rob Young, The Wire, September 1998

As one of the few drum 'n' bass starfighters still standing, is it too late for the lone Grooverider to save Jungle from burning out? ...

Invisible Jukebox: Ken Kesey

Interview by Edwin Pouncey, The Wire, September 1998

Every month we play an artist or musician a series of records which they're asked to identify and comment on — with no prior knowledge ...

Pink Floyd: Epiphanies: Ummagumma

Memoir by Mike Barnes, The Wire, November 1998

For Mike Barnes, life would have been a bummer, were it not for Ummagumma. ...

Portishead: Tangled Up In Blue

Interview by Rob Young, The Wire, December 1998

After three albums and a world tour which nearly put paid to them, the members of Portishead are resting up. In Bristol, Geoff Barrow and ...

John Cale, The Velvet Underground: What's Welsh For Zen? By John Cale & Victor Bockris (Bloomsbury Hbk £20, Special Edition £30)

Book Review by Mark Sinker, The Wire, February 1999

OF THE alliance at the heart of the original Velvet Underground, John Cale writes: "We hated everybody and everything. Other musicians were viewed as competition. ...

Can: Can Box: Book By Hildegard Schmidt & Wolf Kampmann (Medium Music Books PBK £16.99)

Book Review by Biba Kopf, The Wire, March 1999

IN ITS COMPLETE form, Can Box will contain a live double CD and a video concert, alongside the generically named Book. Amazingly, the live recording ...

Throbbing Gristle: Wreckers Of Civilisation: The Story Of COUM Transmissions & Throbbing Gristle by Simon Ford Black Dog Publishing PBK £19.95)

Book Review by Don Watson, The Wire, March 1999

JG BALLARD once said that rock journalism at its best was a medium for the "real news", a means of conveying what he called the ...

Os Mutantes: Os Mutantes; Mutantes; A Divina Comedia Ou Ando Meio Desilgado (all Omplatten FJ0RD001-3 CD)

Review by Edwin Pouncey, The Wire, April 1999

IN THE 1960s Brazil declared war on rock 'n' roll. Any popular music betraying American or English influences — and that included the use of ...

Basement Jaxx: House That Jaxx Built

Interview by Simon Reynolds, The Wire, May 1999

WITHOUT FANFARE, House has crept forward to become the leading edge of dance culture again — just like it was over a decade ago. It's ...

Can, Holger Czukay, Irmin Schmidt: Can: Paladium, Cologne, Germany

Live Review by Don Watson, The Wire, May 1999

DURING THEIR heyday in the mid-70s, Can put great emphasis on the subjugation of the individual to the sound of the group. At their best ...

Captain Beefheart: Grow Fins: Rarities (1965-1982)

Review by Byron Coley, The Wire, May 1999

ALTHOUGH IT WAS their third released album, Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band arrived with 1969's sprawling Trout Mask Replica. The ability to appreciate its ...

Frank Zappa, Grateful Dead: Fables Of The Deconstruction

Essay by Edwin Pouncey, The Wire, July 1999

ONE MAY evening in 1967 at San Francisco's Matrix club, Steppenwolf's bass player Nick St Nicholas got up on stage, plugged his guitar into an ...

Michael Gira: Gira Scope

Interview by Ian Penman, The Wire, July 1999

Since unburdening himself of Swans' legacy of extreme body music, Michael Gira has aspired to a state of grace with his new group, Angels Of ...

The Beatles, Can, Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Yoko Ono, Steppenwolf, Frank Zappa: Undercurrents #7: Fables of the Deconstruction

Retrospective by Edwin Pouncey, The Wire, July 1999

In the latest in our series uncovering the hidden wiring of 20th century music, Edwin Pouncey shows how rock 'n' roll's face was changed forever ...

Bobby Beausoleil & The Freedom Orchestra , Blue Cheer, Butthole Surfers, John Paul Jones, T. Rex: Invisible Jukebox: John Paul Jones

Interview by Mike Barnes, The Wire, September 1999

Every month we play a musician a series of recordswhich they're asked to identify and comment on — with no prior knowledge of what they're ...

The High Llamas: High Llamas: Harmonies Don't Hurt

Interview by Mike Barnes, The Wire, October 1999

"THERE IS A fear that pop music instils in a certain bunch of people, because they can't deal with tunes," says Sean O'Hagan, leader of ...

Marshall Jefferson: Last Night A DJ Saved My Life: The History Of The Disc Jockey By Bill Brewster and Frank Broughton (Headline Pbk £12 99)

Book Review by Dave Rimmer, The Wire, November 1999

ONE NIGHT IN the summer of 1996 I went to a rave in an unfashionable district of Prague. It was in a community hall on ...

Iggy Pop, The Stooges: Iggy Pop: Coming Through Slaughter

Interview by Edwin Pouncey, The Wire, November 1999

Where lesser rock gods have become overweight and obsolete, Iggy Pop endures. In Miami, prompted by the bitter-sweet musings of his 13th album, he reflects ...

Walter/Wendy Carlos: Wendy Carlos: Switched-On Boxed Set (East Side Digital ESD 81422 4xCD)

Review by David Toop, The Wire, December 1999

GOD KNOWS, there are enough CDs out there that clamour to be recognised as expressions of posthuman synthesis and the 21st century Zeitgeist. Then a ...

Matato'a: Global Ear: Easter Island

Report by Edwin Pouncey, The Wire, March 2000

A survey of sounds from around the planet. This month … Easter Island ...

John Zorn: Barbican, London

Live Review by Rob Young, The Wire, March 2000

ZORN'S BACK: that part of his anatomy, clad in a casual red pullover above yellow-flecked combat slacks, is, in fact, what is presented to the ...

Vladislav Delay: Against the grain

Interview by Rob Young, The Wire, March 2000

"I'm quite a moody person and I like blue music," says Vladislav Delay, the enigmatic 23 year old musician from Helsinki, and the latest prodigy ...

Wire: Flies in the ointment

Interview by Ian Penman, The Wire, March 2000

23 years after their art attack first outpaced punk audiences, Wire have sprung back into action. Ian Penman meets the group in rehearsal and finds ...

Coil: England's Dreaming

Profile and Interview by Ian Penman, The Wire, April 2000

Now living by the sea, Coil tap the tidal flows and lunar tugs shaping England's occult history for their visionary nocturnal music. ...

Martin Rev: Strangeworld

Review by Edwin Pouncey, The Wire, April 2000

MARTIN REV might not be toppling too many new barriers, but the rhythmic and lyrical ghosts he summons up have an indefinable, haunting quality. ...

Dylan Group: Ur-klang Search

Review by Kodwo Eshun, The Wire, May 2000

Dynamic syncopators ...

Laurie Anderson: Epiphanies: Laurie Anderson

Interview by Rob Young, The Wire, May 2000

Laurie Anderson tells Rob Young how a great white whale lured her towards her latest revelations ...

Grateful Dead: Dick's Picks Volume 16: Fillmore Auditorium 11/8/69 (Grateful Dead GD4036 3XCD)

Review by Edwin Pouncey, The Wire, May 2000

ALTHOUGH GRATEFUL Dead tape archivist Dick Latvala died last year, his guiding hand still pushes along the project that carries his name. That Grateful Dead ...

Heri Dono: Moving shadows

Interview by Rob Young, The Wire, May 2000

Fusing traditional musics and puppet displays, Heri Dono's extraordinary installations and sculptures satirise the trashed landscape of Indonesia.  ...

Evan Parker: Invisible Jukebox: Evan Parker

Interview by Mike Barnes, The Wire, May 2000

Every month we play a musician a series of records which they're asked to identify and comment on — with no prior knowledge of what ...

Ash Ra Tempel, Coil, Julian Cope: Julian Cope's Cornucopea: South Bank Centre, London

Live Review by Edwin Pouncey, The Wire, May 2000

BILLED AS "a festival of plenty" by its curator Julian Cope, the two nights spent in the company of his various label mates, old mates ...

Tupac Shakur: Nelson George: Hip Hop America/William Shaw: Westsiders/Cathy Scott: The Killing Of Tupac Shakur

Book Review by Ian Penman, The Wire, May 2000

HIP HOP NEEDS its users' manuals. How many of the millions who bought their in-vogue Fugees CD, say, could untangle the dialectic that daisychains together ...

Pole: 3

Review by Ian Penman, The Wire, May 2000

ON THE FACE of it, Stefan Betke is producing a very samey, so-what? music; compared to some modern millenarians, the bunker dub he releases under ...

Richard Meltzer: A Whore Just Like The Rest (Da Capo)

Book Review by Edwin Pouncey, The Wire, May 2000

"I'M FAT, I drink too much. I feel grey, I feel old, I am old. This could be my last book," is how writer, critic, ...

Chet Baker, Terry Riley: Terry Riley: The Gift (Organ of Corti)

Review by Edwin Pouncey, The Wire, May 2000

TO DATE, Organ of Corti's important release programme of rare and previously released material from master minimalist Terry Riley has been a somewhat frustrating exercise ...

David Toop: Tokyo without a map

Report by David Toop, The Wire, May 2000

Sonic Boom curator David Toop visits the Japanese capital to network with a gaggle of young electronic sound artists, and finds the megalopolis as perplexing ...

Lee "Scratch" Perry: David Katz: People Funny Boy — The Genius Of Lee "Scratch" Perry (Canongate Pbk)

Book Review by Ian Penman, The Wire, June 2000

THIS BOOK — a book I was avid to read, whose subject I revere; whose life is a gift to any halfway capable biographer — ...

Gary Lucas: Improve The Shining Hour: Rare Lumiere 1980–2000 (Knitting Factory)

Review by Edwin Pouncey, The Wire, June 2000

THE GLITTERING career of US guitarist Gary Lucas has inevitably become overshadowed by the work he produced for Captain Beefheart during the early 80s on ...

David Toop: Jeff Noon & David Toop: Needle In The Groove (Sulphur)

Review by Ian Penman, The Wire, June 2000

AT A CERTAIN point in my journey through Jeff Noon and David Toop's shapeshifter alliance — an ingeniously treated setting of Noon's latest novel — ...

Lee Hazlewood: 13/The Cowboy And The Lady (Smells Like)

Review by Ian Penman, The Wire, June 2000

LEE HAZLEWOOD is not one of those cult objects who, on closer inspection, looks like a frail talent protected by decades of vinyl scarcity and ...

Pole: Bassline shifter

Interview by Rob Young, The Wire, June 2000

Pole music combines glitch electronics with the cyclonic eddies of dub. In London, Rob Young meets its creator, Stefan Betke, to uncover a secret life ...

Scotty Hard, MC Paul Barman: Scotty Hard: The Return Of Kill Dog E/MC Paul Barman: It's Very Stimulating (Wordsound)

Review by Ian Penman, The Wire, June 2000

ANYONE DISILLUSIONED with rap should cock an ear to the sounds leaking out from under the bunker doors of Brooklyn's Wordsound collective. The Crooklyn crew ...

J Dilla, Slum Village: Slum Village: Fantastic Volume II (Wordplay/Source)

Review by Kodwo Eshun, The Wire, June 2000

THE DEBUT album from Slum Village (aka Detroit trio Jay Dee, Baatin and TB) has had a three-year delivery, protracted by label mergers and unexplained ...

Tisziji Muñoz: Tisjizi Muñoz

Interview by Edwin Pouncey, The Wire, June 2000

Galactic guitarist ...

23 Skidoo: Urban Savages

Interview by David Stubbs, The Wire, July 2000

Before their drums fell silent, 23 Skidoo’s percussion-heavy apocalypses ripped away the city’s civilised surface to reveal its primitive heart. Now the long wait is ...

Faust: The Faust Tapes: Faust Epiphany

Retrospective by Don Watson, The Wire, September 2000

ONE OF THE EFFECTS of the rabid reissue programs that accompanied the CD revolution was to offer shrinkwrapped package tours into your teenage bedrom. Music, ...

Jimi Tenor: Out Of Nowhere (Warp)

Review by Ian Penman, The Wire, September 2000

SOMETIMES YOU just need a Song: one that makes you feel electric angels are sitting on your shoulder and whispering arcane formulae of timeless Passion ...

Astor Piazzolla: Maria Susana Azzi & Simon Collier: Le Grand Tango – The Life & Music Of Astor Piazzolla (Oxford University Press)

Book Review by David Toop, The Wire, September 2000

THE REVOLUTIONARY tango music of Argentinian composer and bandoneon virtuoso Astor Piazzolla is one of the great treasures of 20th century art. ...

The Clash, King Tubby, Bob Marley & the Wailers, Lee "Scratch" Perry: Reggae: Back to the Roots

Essay by Simon Reynolds, The Wire, September 2000

According to the remixologists' gospel, the dub virus was so successful, it took out the word and eradicated its reggae song hosts. Simon Reynolds rediscovers ...

Royal Trux: Tramps Like Us

Interview by Edwin Pouncey, The Wire, September 2000

Pound for pound, the trailer park noise symphonies of Royal Trux out-weird everything this side of Ornette Coleman and The Grateful Dead. Edwin Pouncey travels ...

The Beach Boys, Tim Buckley, Brian Wilson: Various Artists: Sing A Song For You (Tribute To Tim Buckley) and Caroline Now! (The Songs Of Brian Wilson And The Beach Boys)

Review by Ian Penman, The Wire, September 2000

IS THERE any point in anyone trying to recast the lassitudinous spacesail of Tim Buckley? As a singer, Buckley belongs to the Eternal(s), so aren't ...

Jack Nitzsche: Jack of Hearts

Retrospective by Ian Penman, The Wire, October 2000

Ian Penman celebrates the late Jack Nitzsche, the rogue composer whose soundtrack legacy reads like a rollcall of the Hollywood damned. ...

wire200.net/minehost: Brainwashed.com

Profile and Interview by Rob Young, The Wire, October 2000

Webmaster Jon Whitney controls Brainwashed.com, a central hub for music's outsider tendency, hosting sites for World Serpent, Tortoise, Kid606 and more.  ...

Björk: SelmaSongs (One Little Indian TPLP1 51 CD)

Review by David Toop, The Wire, November 2000

THE FIRST admission to make is that I haven't yet seen Lars Von Trier's Dancer In The Dark, the film that stars Björk and features ...

Derek Bailey: String Theory

Review by Edwin Pouncey, The Wire, November 2000

FEW MUSICIANS have fully understood how to make effective use of feedback in improvised music. If anybody can crank up their output and return part ...

HIM, Doug Scharin: HIM: Our Point of Departure

Review by Mike Barnes, The Wire, November 2000

DOUG SCHARIN certainly has the alchemists touch in assembling and directing groups of excellent musicians. ...

Add N to (X): Invisible Jukebox: Add N to (X)

Interview by Rob Young, The Wire, November 2000

Every month we play a musician or group a series of records which they're asked to identify and comment on — with no prior knowledge ...

Jazzanova: Remixes 1997–2000 (Jazzanova Compost)

Review by Kodwo Eshun, The Wire, November 2000

IF YOU LISTEN forward from mid-90s Adam F to late 90s Shy FX to early noughties Hospital Recordings, it immediately becomes apparent that 'jazziness' in ...

Radiohead: Kid A

Review by Edwin Pouncey, The Wire, November 2000

WITH THEIR FOURTH album Kid A, Oxford quintet Radiohead have caused a tsunami-sized wave of confusion by breaking with stadium rock orthodoxy to exhibit an ...

The Cinematic Orchestra, Coldcut, Kid Koala, Kid606, Mr. Scruff: Xen Cuts: Ten Years Of Xen (various London venues)

Live Review by Kodwo Eshun, The Wire, November 2000

LONDON's Ninja Tune label celebrated their first decade in the flirty, flighty, faddish, fickle world of UK dance with Xen Cuts — three consecutive nights ...

HIM, Doug Scharin: Doug Scharin: His Imperial Majesty

Interview by Mike Barnes, The Wire, December 2000

Doug Scharin's masterful polyrhythms provide the pulsing backbone for groups such as Rex, Codeine and Out In Worship, as well as his own outfit HIM. ...

Otomo Yoshihide: Invisible Jukebox: Otomo Yoshihide

Interview by Mike Barnes, The Wire, December 2000

Every month we play a musician a series of records which they're asked to identify and comment on — with no prior knowledge of what ...

Evan Parker, Keith Rowe: Keith Rowe: Harsh, Guitar Solo; Evan Parker/Keith Rowe: Dark Rags

Review by David Toop, The Wire, December 2000

"AFTER SEVERAL years of bizarre playing in a sort of anti-jazz style that always ill-suited his supposed role of rhythm guitarist, Rowe now seems on ...

Multi Media: mp3 Newsgroups

Column by Jason Gross, The Wire, December 2000

Jason Gross finds MP3 newsgroups are the way to sidestep Napster. ...

Sigur Ros: Desolation Angels: Icelandic music

Report and Interview by Rob Young, The Wire, January 2001

Spearheaded by Sigur Rós, Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson and the Kitchen Motors collective, Iceland’s hardy children of nature are proving stubbornly resistant to the World Rock ...

Evan Parker, Jah Wobble: Jah Wobble & Evan Parker: Passage To Hades (30 HERTZ)

Review by David Toop, The Wire, February 2001

PERHAPS THIS IS a disingenuous flash of hindsight on my part, but I'm convinced that when I heard Public Image Limited's first album, back in ...

The Residents: The Primer: The Residents

Discography by Edwin Pouncey, The Wire, February 2001

A bi-monthly series in which we offer a user's guide to recordings of some of our favourite musicians. This month, Edwin Pouncey takes a duck ...

Timothy Day: A Century Of Recorded Music – Listening To Musical History (Yale University Press)

Book Review by David Toop, The Wire, February 2001

BANISH RECORDED MUSIC and 41 pages, including record company advertisements, vanish from the pages of last month's Wire. Erase any evidence, awareness or memory of ...

Global Ear: Istanbul

Report by Jason Gross, The Wire, March 2001

A monthly survey of sounds from around the planet ...

Irwin Chusid

Interview by Mike Barnes, The Wire, March 2001

Atrocity exhibitions ...

Stephen Malkmus, Pavement: Stephen Malkmus: invisible jukebox

Interview by Mike Barnes, The Wire, March 2001

Every month we play a musician a series of records which they're asked to identify and comment on — with no prior knowledge of what ...

Outside the box: Touch

Profile and Interview by Rob Young, The Wire, May 2001

For 20 years, Mike Harding and Jon Wozencraft's audiovisual Touch label has refused to dumb down its message of complexity in jouissance ...

Scritti Politti: Epiphanies: Scritti Politti

Retrospective by Simon Reynolds, The Wire, June 2001

Simon Reynolds swoons to the sound of Scritti Politti's seditious soul music ...

Missy Elliott: Miss E... So Addictive (The Gold Mind Inc/Elektra 7559626392)

Review by Ian Penman, The Wire, June 2001

Ian Penman gets out of his head on Miss E ...

Radiohead: Amnesiac (Parlophone CDFHEIT45101 CD/MC/2XLP)

Review by Ian Penman, The Wire, June 2001

Radiohead's Amnesiac pursues the detours into electronica essayed on last year's Kid A, but Ian Penman's world remains unrocked ...

Radiohead: Walking on Thin Ice

Interview by Simon Reynolds, The Wire, July 2001

Radiohead may be one of the biggest groups on the planet, but their dissenting voice and exploratory studio techniques conflict with the commercial pressure to ...

Grateful Dead: Dick's Picks Vol. 21 and Vol. 22 & View from the Vault II

Review by Ken Hunt, The Wire, August 2001

THE TWO latest Dick's Picks documents present live Grateful Dead shows from February 1968 (Vol. 22) and November 85 (Vol. 21), while the second in the ...

Laurie Anderson: Invisible Jukebox: Laurie Anderson

Interview by Mike Barnes, The Wire, August 2001

MOST PEOPLE first heard about Laurie Anderson when her 1980 single, 'O Superman', an eight minute voiceloop and vocoder incantation, reached number two in the ...

Pauline Oliveros: No Mo (Pogus)

Review by Mark Sinker, The Wire, August 2001

MADE AT Mills Tape Music Centre in California and the University of Toronto, Pauline Oliveros's 1965–67 electronic work includes I-V Of lV, Bye Bye Butterfly, ...

Shirley Collins: False True Lovers (Fledg’ling)

Review by Ken Hunt, The Wire, August 2001

FALSE TRUE LOVERS captures a vital contributor to the English folksong revival at a key stage in her development. ...

Björk: Alone in the Dark: Björk on Vespertine

Interview by David Toop, The Wire, September 2001

Björk's eerie night songs are infused with the mythological landscapes of her native Iceland and the concrete fjords of Manhattan. She tells David Toop about ...

Bill Laswell, Carlos Santana: Bill Laswell/Carlos Santana: Divine Light (Columbia Legacy)

Review by Edwin Pouncey, The Wire, September 2001

IN 1997, PRODUCER Bill Laswell was granted access to Columbia's tape vaults where, using the original masters, he put together Panthalassa, his devoted reconstruction of ...

Destroy All Monsters, John Sinclair: Destroy All Monsters: Backyard Monster Tube and Pig/Various: Music Is Revolution (Book Beat)

Review by Edwin Pouncey, The Wire, September 2001

THE RESURGENCE of Destroy All Monsters, the Detroit artists' collective group made up of founder members Mike Kelley, Jim Shaw and Cary Loren, owes much ...

Gregg Bendian

Interview by Edwin Pouncey, The Wire, September 2001

"KIRBY'S FOURTH WORLD period was sort of like when Miles went electric," enthuses jazz percussionist Gregg Bendian about the inspirational force behind his improvised tribute ...

Lester Bangs: Loud Bangs and Bestial Noises

Essay by Mark Sinker, The Wire, September 2001

In the 20 years since Lester Bangs wrote his 'Reasonable Guide to Horrible Noise', the multi-mediated world has largely assimilated the hostile sounds he espoused. ...

Sand

Interview by Mike Barnes, The Wire, January 2002

Born gritty "THE MANY and varied musical backgrounds of the current Sand line-up lead the group to argue violently at length about compositional and performance ideas, ...

Alice Coltrane, John Coltrane: Alice Coltrane: Enduring Love

Retrospective and Interview by Edwin Pouncey, The Wire, April 2002

AFTER HER KEY ROLE IN JOHN COLTRANE'S ECSTATIC JAZZ EXPERIMENTS OF THE LATE 60S, PIANIST AND HARPIST ALICE COLTRANE EMBARKED ON A JOURNEY INTO THE OUTER SPIRALS ...

Boards Of Canada: Geogaddi (Warp)

Review by Kodwo Eshun, The Wire, April 2002

LIKE YOU, NO doubt, I'm a sucker for what Marshall McLuhan called "participation mystique". ...

Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band: Dust Sucker (Milksafe)

Review by Edwin Pouncey, The Wire, May 2002

THE FULL STORY of Captain Beefheart's ill-fated Bat Chain Puller – potentially his greatest musical statement after Trout Mask Replica – has already been admirably ...

Shirley Collins: Spirit Of Eden: Shirley Collins

Retrospective and Interview by Mike Barnes, The Wire, May 2002

"The main body of [folk music] is just based on myth and the Bible and plague and famine and all kinds of things like that ...

Vincent Gallo: Recordings Of Music For Films (Warp)

Review by Ian Penman, The Wire, May 2002

NOTE THAT STRICTLY utile title. Here we find not vanity project Muzak for 'imaginary' films, projected by some vain musclehead Hollyweird jerk-off with more friends ...

Arthur Lee, Love: Invisible Jukebox: Arthur Lee

Interview by Mike Barnes, The Wire, August 2002

Every month we play a musician a series of records which they're asked to identify and comment on — with no prior knowledge of what ...

Global Ear: Izhevsk

Report and Interview by Don Watson, The Wire, September 2002

A survey of sounds from around the planet. This month: Don Watson travels deep inside Russia’s Volga Basin to eavesdrop on the region’s new electronica ...

N.E.R.D.: N*E*R*D: Shepherd's Bush Empire, London

Live Review by Kodwo Eshun, The Wire, September 2002

JUST GOES to show how wrong I can be. Figured me plus a few brainiac dumdums were the only ones nebbish enough to catch the ...

The Boredoms: Drilled to Infinity

Retrospective and Interview by Edwin Pouncey, The Wire, September 2002

Over 15 years, Osaka's Boredoms have mutated from a splatterpunk avant noise group to the streamlined ferocity of their current mantric percussion barrage. In London, ...

Epiphanies: Mr. Jazz and 'Coarse Fish'

Memoir by Byron Coley, The Wire, October 2002

In 1974, TV's 'Mr Jazz' threw a switch that scrambled Byron Coley's brain with the DIY cut-ups of Orchid Spangiafora. ...

Tony Allen: Invisible Jukebox: Tony Allen

Interview by Mike Barnes, The Wire, October 2002

Every month we play a musician a series of records which they're asked to identify and comment on — with no prior knowledge of what ...

Epiphanies

Memoir by Richard Cook, The Wire, November 2002

Well, there are worse ways of making a living. Richard Cook tells how a compulsive jones for collecting records — only partly sated by music ...

Godspeed You! Black Emperor: Yanqui UXO (Constellation)

Review by Edwin Pouncey, The Wire, November 2002

Veering between swarming guitar symphonies and Messiaenic tranquillity, Canadian refuseniks Godspeed You! Black Emperor are learning to love the bomb... not.  ...

Beth Gibbons & Rustin Man: Out of Season

Review by Rob Young, The Wire, December 2002

Lighting out for a rural retreat, Portishead singer Beth Gibbons and ex-Talk Talk bassist Paul Webb fashion a pastoral strain of folk rock.  ...

Kevin Ayers: Invisible Jukebox

Interview by Mike Barnes, The Wire, December 2002

KEVIN AYERS was one of many curious teenagers who gravitated towards Wellington House at Lydden, near Canterbury, in the early '60s. The house was owned ...

Asian Dub Foundation: Faces and Windows: Asian Dub Foundation

Profile and Interview by David Stubbs, The Wire, January 2003

Community, collectivism, connection are keywords in Asian Dub Foundation's irresistible assaults on cultural apathy. From their Community Music roots they have established a broad popular ...

John Sinclair: Invisible Jukebox: John Sinclair

Interview by Edwin Pouncey, The Wire, January 2003

John Sinclair — poet, journalist and former manager of 60s revolutionary rockers The MC5 — was born in Flint, Michigan in 1941. His father worked ...

Colin Newman, Wire: Invisible Jukebox: Colin Newman

Interview by Mike Barnes, The Wire, April 2003

Every month we play a musician a series of records which they're asked to identify and comment on — with no prior knowledge of what ...

Captain Beefheart: The Captain's Conjurors: The Magic Band

Retrospective and Interview by Mike Barnes, The Wire, April 2003

With the 1982 LP Ice Cream For Crow, the legendary Don Van Vliet, aka Captain Beefheart, laid the final incarnation of his Magic Band back ...

Autechre: The Futurologists: Autechre

Interview by David Stubbs, The Wire, April 2003

The world of electronica might have become overcrowded since their first releases a decade ago, but Autechre are still burrowing through microscopic cracks into the ...

Matthew Herbert: The Body Politician

Interview by Rob Young, The Wire, May 2003

If electronica constructed entirely from sampled body parts, stacked recordings of falling telephone directories or the noise of domestic appliances hasn't already established that utopian ...

David Sylvian: Blemish

Review by David Toop, The Wire, June 2003

With contributions from Derek Bailey and Christian Fennesz, David Sylvian's new record is his most adventurous departure yet. ...

Nina Simone: Always Searching for a Key

Obituary by Ian Penman, The Wire, June 2003

The realisation that she was black in a country run by whites, a woman in a world run by men, turned Nina Simone into the ...

The Mad Professor, Lee "Scratch" Perry, Tricky: Tricky, Lee 'Scratch' Perry, The Mad Professor: Meltdown Festival, Royal Festival Hall, London

Live Review by David Stubbs, The Wire, August 2003

ON PAPER, what a line-up, what a dub melding of nonconformist minds: The Mad Professor (aka Neil Fraser), who through his remixes of Primal Scream ...

Ron Geesin

Profile and Interview by Mike Barnes, The Wire, September 2003

"Ron Geesin, composer for all media, live performer and one-man record company, works from his own studio both writing for musicians and working with complex ...

Aphex Twin: Protection Racket

Interview by David Stubbs, The Wire, November 2003

It's been a long trip for Richard D James, the notorious and misunderstood figure behind the Aphex Twin and co-founder of the Rephlex label. As ...

Devo: Jade Dellinger & David Giffels: Are We Not Men? We Are Devo!

Book Review by Edwin Pouncey, The Wire, December 2003

DEPENDING ON which side of the critical fence you were standing at the time, '70s art rock group Devo from Akron, Ohio were either "the ...

Jonny Greenwood: Bodysong

Review by David Stubbs, The Wire, December 2003

THIS IS THE soundtrack by Radiohead guitarist Johnny Greenwood to a unique film directed by Simon Pummell. It traces the journey from birth to death ...

Arthur Russell: The Flying Heart

Retrospective by David Toop, The Wire, January 2004

Arthur Russell is the great enigma of New York's music scene. A cellist, Buddhist and former music director at the legendary Kitchen, he was seduced ...

Faust: Epiphanies: Faust

Memoir by David Stubbs, The Wire, March 2004

David Stubbs recalls early arousals caused by Faust's "wonderful wooden reason". ...

Dean Roberts: Lost City Rambler

Profile and Interview by Rob Young, The Wire, April 2004

"I LIKE TO get songs to find their place in the air and sort of float there," says Dean Roberts, who began his career in ...

Jem Finer, The Pogues: Cross Platform: Jem Finer

Interview by David Toop, The Wire, May 2004

Sound in other media. This month: David Toop talks to Jem Finer about his transition from banjo plucking with The Pogues to computer-decomposed improvisations and ...

Eric Dolphy: Eric's Trip

Retrospective by David Stubbs, The Wire, June 2004

On the 40th anniversary of the death of Eric Dolphy, David Stubbs offers a personal benediction to one of the most enigmatic and neglected figures ...

Can, Damo Suzuki: Damo Suzuki: The Accidental Anarchist

Interview by Mike Barnes, The Wire, July 2004

Damo Suzuki is the legendary vocalist with German group Can, but he has been perfecting his unique mode of 'instant composition' all his life. Having ...

Sunn O))): Invisible Jukebox: Sunn O)))

Interview by Edwin Pouncey, The Wire, July 2004

EVERY MONTH WE PLAY A MUSICIAN A SERIES OF RECORDS WHICH THEY ARE ASKED TO IDENTIFY AND COMMENT ON WITH NO PRIOR KNOWLEDGE OF WHAT ...

Wilco: Free the Spirit: Wilco

Interview by Edwin Pouncey, The Wire, August 2004

"IF I PLAYED you all the Wilco songs in chronological order on an acoustic guitar, they probably wouldn't sound that different," declares Wilco leader Jeff ...

Brian Wilson: Brian Wilson Presents Smile (Nonesuch CD)

Review by Mike Barnes, The Wire, October 2004

Three and a half decades after it was abandoned, leaving its creator in a state of nervous collapse, Brian Wilson's troubled masterpiece has finally been ...

Christian Marclay: djTRIO (Asphodel)

Review by Rob Young, The Wire, January 2005

CHRISTIAN MARCLAY's djTRIO is a changeable turntablist threesome with himself as the constant. The seven tracks here document seven different improvisations in as many locations. ...

Hugh Davies (1943–2005)

Obituary by David Toop, The Wire, February 2005

David Toop laments the passing of a meticulous British improvisor and instrument builder ...

Bonnie "Prince" Billy, Matt Sweeney: Matt Sweeney & Bonnie "Prince" Billy: Superwolf

Review by Mike Barnes, The Wire, February 2005

IT'S STILL DIFFICULT for me to listen to the music of Will Oldham – aka Bonnie "Prince" Billy – without thinking back to when I ...

Ron Geesin, Hamilton Yarns: Friends Meeting House, Brighton

Live Review by Mike Barnes, The Wire, February 2005

THIS RARE live appearance by multi-instrumentalist, composer and poet Ron Geesin — only his second in seven years or so — took place in the ...

Bill Fay: Tomorrow Never Knows

Retrospective and Interview by Rob Young, The Wire, March 2005

AFTER MAKING TWO OF THE FINEST BUT OVERLOOKED APOCALYPTIC SINGER-SONGWRITER ALBUMS OF THE EARLY 70S — WITH JAZZ ARRANGER MIKE GIBBS AND FREE GUITARIST RAY ...

Bill Frisell: Richter 858

Review by Mike Barnes, The Wire, March 2005

RICHTER 858 begins explosively with guitar, violin, viola and cello producing an atonal storm akin to George Crumb's Black Angels. This cedes to slow guitar ...

David Sylvian: The Good Son vs the Only Daughter: The Blemish Remixes (Samadhisound)

Review by David Stubbs, The Wire, March 2005

2003's BLEMISH was a significant improvement on David Sylvian's previous album, the far from mediocre Dead Bees On A Cake. ...

Konono No. 1: Konono No 1: Congotronics

Review by Rob Young, The Wire, March 2005

IN AFRICA, corrupt and irresponsible governance has led some of the continent's most prominent modern musicians to cast themselves as surrogate leader figures — think ...

Steve Reich: Barbican Hall, London

Live Review by Mike Barnes, The Wire, March 2005

ANTICIPATION WAS high at Ensemble Modern's UK premiere of Steve Reich's new piece, You Are (Variations), which earned enthusiastic press when first performed in the ...

John Cage, Keith Rowe: Seriously funny

Comment by David Stubbs, The Wire, June 2005

David Stubbs on discovering that humour and music do mix ...

Animal Collective, Ariel Pink: Animal Collective and Ariel Pink: Faun fables

Profile and Interview by Simon Reynolds, The Wire, July 2005

Drawing on psychedelia's childlike bliss and Techno's electronic transmutations, Animal Collective have developed a uniquely woozy soundworld, winning over audiences with their shamanistic live presence. ...

Jamie Lidell: Boy in a Bubble

Interview by Rob Young, The Wire, July 2005

Digital avant funk sound boffin and flamboyant vocalist by turns, Jamie Lidell's live appearances are spectacular feats of improvised technology and showmanship. On the release ...

ABC, Cabaret Voltaire, Clock, Heaven 17, The Human League: Martin Lilleker: Beats Working For A Living – Sheffield Popular Music 1973-1984 (Juma)

Book Review by Rob Young, The Wire, July 2005

PRACTICALLY EVERY city in Britain has a roster of musical hod carriers with appalling names. This exhaustive history of Sheffield's music scene is crammed with ...

Buck 65: Secret House Against the World

Review by Mike Barnes, The Wire, August 2005

Though some deplore Buck 65's drift away from Anticon hiphop, Mike Barnes welcomes his blended but more mature songwriting direction. ...

Marissa Nadler: Death Becomes Her

Profile and Interview by Edwin Pouncey, The Wire, August 2005

IN THE BACK of a small pub in South London, surrounded by a crowd of curious onlookers, Marissa Nadler tunes up her acoustic 12-string guitar ...

This Heat and Cold Storage: Once upon a time in Brixton

Retrospective by Mike Barnes, The Wire, August 2005

"A former meat storage room that became This Heat's rehearsal room then an 8-track studio then a 16-track studio then a 24-track studio then a ...

Boards Of Canada: Protect and Survive

Interview by Rob Young, The Wire, October 2005

In a rare face to face interview at their Scottish retreat, Boards Of Canada break their self-imposed isolation to scotch the myths that have coalesced ...

The Stooges: Heavy Liquid (Easy Action)

Review by Edwin Pouncey, The Wire, October 2005

ASSEMBLED FROM a back catalogue of previously released sessions, rehearsals and various recording ephemera circa (1972–74) from what many believed to be The Stooges' last ...

Battles: Ready to rumble

Interview by David Stubbs, The Wire, February 2006

"ONE AVANT GARDE child prodigy, two indie guitar nerds and one hard rock borderline metal drummer thrown together in a filthy basement studio in Brooklyn," ...

Faust: Faust IV

Review by Rob Chapman, The Wire, May 2006

IN DECEMBER 1972, when the late Ian MacDonald wrote the first authoritative, and still near-definitive, guide to German experimental rock for NME he sorted the ...

Bert Jansch: Invisible Jukebox

Interview by Mike Barnes, The Wire, February 2007

Complete draft of the feature originally published in The Wire 276, Feb 2007 ...

Fern Knight: Music For Witches And Alchemists

Review by Mike Barnes, The Wire, February 2007

ON FIRST LISTENING, Music For Witches And Alchemists sounds like a richly melodic, if somewhat lightweight, set occupying a point in the musical spectrum somewhere ...

Lily Greenham, Daphne Oram: Daphne Oram: Oramics/Lily Greenham: Lingual Music (Paradigm Discs)

Review by David Toop, The Wire, March 2007

David Toop recovers past visions of the future from the audio fragments of two English women in experimental music ...

LCD Soundsystem: Sound of Silver

Review by David Stubbs, The Wire, March 2007

THE LYRIC to the title track of LCD Soundsystem's latest album is more of a mantra: "The sound of silver/Makes you want to be a ...

Peter Hammill

Retrospective and Interview by Mike Barnes, The Wire, March 2007

"I DIDN'T HAVE white tunnels, but I did have the feeling that if I got too tired, which at a certain point might have been ...

Burial: Untrue (Hyperdub)

Review by David Stubbs, The Wire, January 2008

THE RELEASE of Burial's second album Untrue chimes in well with the coming of British winter, as the air turns chill and dirty, the days ...

Blacksand: Black Widow Russian Submarine, Medway River (near Strood), UK

Live Review by Mike Barnes, The Wire, August 2008

LIFE ON A U475 Hunter-Killer submarine must have been tough, even during the Cold War. ...

Beirut Slump, Teenage Jesus & the Jerks: Teenage Jesus and the Jerks/Beirut Slump: Shut Up And Bleed (Cherry Red)

Review by Edwin Pouncey, The Wire, February 2009

THIS COMPREHENSIVE collection of Teenage Jesus And The Jerks recordings features 'Orphans' and 'Less Of Me', both sides of their debut single for Charles Ball’s ...

Big Black, Butthole Surfers, Sonic Youth: Sonic Youth And the Blast First Axis

Essay by David Stubbs, The Wire, 12 February 2009

AS FAR AS many people were concerned in the 80s, in the UK in particular, rock was a discredited medium. ...

Robert Wyatt: Orchestra National De Jazz & Robert Wyatt: Around Robert Wyatt (Bee Jazz)

Review by David Stubbs, The Wire, July 2009

ROBERT WYATT has become more and more an object of attention and devotion with the passing of time, as if taking on the status of ...

Toro y Moi: Underneath The Pine (Carpark)

Review by Simon Reynolds, The Wire, February 2011

HAVE YOU noticed? Pop music sounds shit these days.  ...

David Bedford: Albion's Astronaut

Interview by Mike Barnes, The Wire, March 2011

Trained by the European avant garde, British composer David Bedford helped launch Mike Oldfield and Kevin Ayers's pastoral rock into orbit with his cosmically aligned ...

Chet Baker, Jan Erik Vold: Jan Erik Vold & Chet Baker: Telemark Blue (Hot Club)

Review by Ian Penman, The Wire, March 2011

SO MANY paradoxes with Chet: a man who became a visual icon, but couldn't care less about his appearance; a man whose music was all ...

George Russell: The Complete Remastered Recordings On Black Saint & Soul Note

Review by Rob Young, The Wire, May 2011

THE LYDIAN Chromatic Concept of Tonal Organisation is seldom invoked these days, but jazz composer George Russell's theoretical attempt to lift jazz up and away ...

Not Not Fun label: New Age Outlaws

Profile and Interview by Simon Reynolds, The Wire, May 2011

Britt and Amanda Brown are the husband and wife team behind LA's Not Not Fun label, focal point of a networked international underground that includes ...

Merzbow, Richard Pinhas: Richard Pinhas & Merzbow: Paris 2008 and Rhizome (Cuneiform)

Review by Byron Coley, The Wire, October 2011

THE CONCEPT of French avant Prog guitarist Richard Pinhas and Japanese Noise king Merzbow playing together may not seem like the most natural pairing. But ...

John Fahey: Commemorating one of the New Weird America's founding fathers

Comment by Byron Coley, The Wire, February 2013

THE TERM New Weird America (NWA) was used by The Wire's David Keenan to describe the music at the Brattleboro Free Folk Festival in 2003. ...

Band of Susans, Big Black, Butthole Surfers, Sonic Youth: Sonic Youth and the Blast First axis

Retrospective by David Stubbs, The Wire, February 2013

A previously unpublished essay by David Stubbs, on Paul Smith's Blast First label and Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon's Sonic Youth. ...

Chrome: Half Machine From The Sun (King of Spades)

Review by Frances Morgan, The Wire, January 2014

CHROME's Alien Soundtracks and Half Machine Lip Moves were released in 1978 and 1979, which makes them contemporaries of Mad Max, Philip K Dick's VALIS, ...

Robbie Basho: Visions of the Country (Gnome Life)

Review by Frances Morgan, The Wire, January 2014

ROBBIE BASHO's singing is sometimes written about as if it's a rather regrettable aspect of his work. ...

Neneh Cherry: Blank Project (Smalltown Supersound)

Review by Rob Young, The Wire, February 2014

NENEH CHERRY's re-emergence as a solo artist has been a long, gradual process.  ...

John Cage: David Grubbs: Records Ruin The Landscape – John Cage, The Sixties And Sound Recording

Book Review by Frances Morgan, The Wire, June 2014

JOHN CAGE can always be relied upon for a good quote. Here an apparently lighthearted comment, in which the composer compares sound recordings to postcards ...

The Soft Pink Truth: Why Do The Heathen Rage? (Thrill Jockey)

Review by Frances Morgan, The Wire, June 2014

I ONCE SAW Drew Daniel in his Soft Pink Truth guise provoke such a negative response from an audience member that he must have been ...

Music Blues: Things Haven't Gone Well Thrill (Jockey)

Review by Edwin Pouncey, The Wire, August 2014

THE 2006 resurrection of Athens, Georgia doom rockers Harvey Milk was a cause for celebration among those who had faithfully followed the group's precarious career, ...

Folk music field recordings in the British Isles

Review by Frances Morgan, The Wire, September 2014

Various Artists: The Barley Mow: Field Recordings And A Film Made In Suffolk In The 1950s Various Artists/Topic /The Flax In Bloom: Traditional Songs, Airs ...

Godflesh: Invisible Jukebox: Justin Broadrick

Interview by David Stubbs, The Wire, September 2014

JUSTIN BROADRICK was born in 1969 in Birmingham. Raised by his mother and stepfather, he was exposed to underground music at an early age and formed ...

Ariel Pink: Pom Pom

Review by Mike Barnes, The Wire, November 2014

"AM I blowing this guy's mind with this bullshit?" Ariel Pink joked to his friend during an Invisible Jukebox interview (The Wire 309), held at ...

Cut Hands: Festival Of The Dead (Blackest Ever Black)

Review by Frances Morgan, The Wire, November 2014

THE SHOCK WAVES generated by Cut Hands' 2011 album Afro-Noise (Volume 1) have long dissipated. Ritualistic electronic music built around African drum rhythms is now ...

D'Angelo and the Vanguard: Black Messiah

Review by Ian Penman, The Wire, February 2015

Soul revivalist D'Angelo channels voices of funk music's past but ends up lost in limbo. ...

Mica Levi: Loving the Alien: Mica Levi

Interview by Frances Morgan, The Wire, February 2015

As a member of Micachu And The Shapes, Mica Levi was an archetypal underground pop star — then she wrote the soundtrack to Under The ...

Björk: Vulnicura (One Little Indian)

Review by Frances Morgan, The Wire, March 2015

The grand drama of the latest Björk album reveals command of texture and mood as her survival mechanism. ...

John Coltrane: A Love Supreme: The Complete Masters (USM/Impulse/Verve)

Review by David Toop, The Wire, November 2015

The complete session of the landmark John Coltrane album underlines the solemn rigour of the ritual.  ...

John Foxx: London Overgrown (Metamatic)

Review by Mike Barnes, The Wire, November 2015

FASCINATED BY ruin and dereliction as a result of temporal processes, John Foxx has been filming, photographing and exploring London with what you could call ...

Bob Cobbing: William Cobbing & Rosie Cooper (Editors): Boooook – The Life And Work Of Bob Cobbing (Occasional Papers)

Book Review by Byron Coley, The Wire, March 2016

THE LATE Bob Cobbing was an extraordinary individual. People, especially Americans such as myself, tend to be familiar with just one aspect of his long ...

Klara Lewis: Happy Accidents: Klara Lewis

Interview by Frances Morgan, The Wire, June 2016

The open canvases of Klara Lewis explore a landscape of found sounds, re-recordings, pop songs and audio byproducts. By Frances Morgan. ...

Aluk Todolo, Bobby Beausoleil & The Freedom Orchestra , Black Widow, Blue Öyster Cult, Graham Bond, Coven, Jimmy Page, Rudimentary Peni, Skullflower, John Zorn: The Primer: Occult rock

Guide by Edwin Pouncey, The Wire, August 2016

Channelling the magick of Aleister Crowley and the neo-paganism of witchcraft, occult rock is the sound of rock 'n' roll's secret society. Edwin Pouncey reads ...

Dagmar Krause: Invisible Jukebox: Dagmar Krause

Interview by Mike Barnes, The Wire, December 2016

Each month we play a musician or group a series of records which they are asked to comment on — with no prior knowledge of ...

A Tribe Called Quest: We Got It from Here... Thank You 4 Your Service (Epic)

Review by Michael A. Gonzales, The Wire, January 2017

With their secretly recorded sixth and final album, A Tribe Called Quest address the state of their nation with fury, humour and love. ...

Common: Black America Again (Def Jam/ARTium CD/DL)

Review by Michael A. Gonzales, The Wire, January 2017

HARKING BACK to the late 1960s/early 70s protest pop when The Last Poets and Gil Scott-Heron led the rhythmic revolution with powerful poetics soaked in ...

JPEGMAFIA x Freaky: The Second Amendment (Deathbomb Arc)

Review by Neil Kulkarni, The Wire, January 2017

TIME AGAIN for hiphop to look beyond its normal loci of national and international significance and focus on those scenes so cut off from the ...

Can: Ulrich Adelt: Krautrock: German Music In The Seventies (University of Michigan Press)

Book Review by Rob Young, The Wire, April 2017

AS ULRICH ADELT points out in his introduction to this sweeping survey of German music, there have been relatively few books on krautrock, even fewer ...

Marvin Gaye: Inner Sleeve: Marvin Gaye's I Want You (Tamla)

Comment by Michael A. Gonzales, The Wire, August 2018

This month's artwork chosen by Michael A Gonzales. Cover painting by Ernie Barnes ...

Streaming: The Inessential Collection

Essay by Mark Sinker, The Wire, January 2020

The explosion of music streaming platforms in the 2010s makes Mark Sinker yearn to get back off the grid ...

back to LIBRARY

COPYRIGHT NOTICE