W I R E A D V E N T U R E S I N M O D E R N M U S I C
Issue 195 May 2000 f3 1018725 ISSN 0952-0686 (USPS 006231)
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Publ~sher& Edltor-ln-Ch~efTony Herrington Edltor Rob Young Rev~ewsEd~torChris B o b Sub Edltor Peter Shapiro Art Ed~tor& Des~gnerRobin Hawes Advem~ngManager Daniela Garginlo (020 1494 1340) ProjectsManager Anne Hilde Neset Subxnpmm&Admln~straWnBen House (020 1134 3555)
Words Steve Barker,Mika Barnes, C l i w Bell, CboL Blackford, Ben Boathrrick, Bymn Coley, RichudCOOL,J u h uCorrley,Chrhbph Cox, lllPn Clunming.,Bli.n Dugaid, David Ell i ~tt ,Phi1 England, K o h Eshun, JohrEhlau, Matt ffytche, Sarhr FmraJonea,Impise W y , huly Hamilton, Richatd Hedenson, Ken Eolling., Dave Howell, D a d Keenau, MO& Kedrkk, Rahna Khzam, Nick Wmberley, Biba Kopf, M w e , lllpn Idcht, Homud Mandel, Peter McIntyre, Jlndy Mcdhmst, W i Montgomery, Jon C Morgan, T hOrren, Ian Penman, Edwh Polmny, S imon Reynolds,Tom Ridge, Mike Shall-, C M . Sharp, Mark Sinker,Dave Tompkins, David Toop, DanWarbruton, Ben Watwn, DonWatwn, Val Wihe r , Burg Witherden, Douglas Wolk images Amy & Tanveer, Frank Bauer, Dean Belcher, Nlgel Bennett, Vince Dolman, Melanie G r b d , Olly Hewitt, TixnKent, Sirnonh i gh, Joe Wen,SavagePencil, NIL Strangelove, Michele Tuxxhui, EvaVenaaPdel, JobnnyVolcano, Wandy Cover photo NmKent Thank th~sISW to &lEngland,DouglasBenford, Ins Gorrrlfs, AstndBowm, Chns Robertsm D~str~but~on UK & Europe USA C OWG Specialist Eastern News Tawstock Works Distributors Tav~stockRoad West 55th Street West Drayton New York, NY 10019, USA Wlddlesex U67 7QX Tel 212 649 4484 Tei 01895 433800 (USA newsstandqwnes Fax01895433801 callTdlFme780022131481 Subxr~pt~ons Rates (l2 issues) The Wire UK $36 45-46 Poland Street Europe f50 LondonW1V 3DF, UK USA/Canada$851550 Hotl~ne+44 (0)20 7734 3555 Reat Of World E-mall subs w~re@ukonl~necouk $60A1r155OSurface Charmanof the NamaraGroup N l l m d W r h Founder AnthonyWood Prlntedby St Ives PLC. Reprcducumby DP Graphics 7k WIHEa a member of me NamaraGroup USA 7k WIHEISSN 0952-0686 (USPS 0062311 Is published mnVltq fw 160 by The Wue Maga?~neLtd P m r a l s postagepald at Champlaln NY 129191518 F'ommtw send addresschanges to me W!HEdo lMS of New Ywk PO BoxlSl8,Champlan NY 12919-1518 ~ n e ~ e * p e r s e d m I h e ~ a e m J r e o f m ~ ~ c o n W u t a r a n d a r e m t m l y Gwedcymemasaoneanrtan ~ H * e a r u n a m r e r p n u b l i t y h r ~ m d ~ ~ m p M t ~ a m a n d l l u r v ~ C ~ n U K m a b r o a d s M b v m p u b l a h e r o ( b v h e a n : e cmtrtb~tmmutmmr w m dW nm 6faMdsl veryone's curatingsomethingat the moment, whether i t be the assemblage of postcardson your bedroom wall or the customised CD selection you dawnload from the lnternet The word 'curator' implies more than a choosing and rejectingprocess. There's also a 'tending' and 'restorative' aspect to the word, and the best retrospectives are preciselythose which nurse an ailing or forgotten zone of artistic activlty back to health.
Sonic Boom, the six week exhibition now running at London's Hayward Gallery, does just that, as well as being a momentouspersonal achievement for its curator, DavidToop, whose already maxed-out schedule has &n put under even more strain putting the whole thing together since his article surveying the past and present of sonic artwork in last year's Undercurrentsseries (The Wre 186). Like most technical productrons, t h k things are always infinitely more complicatedthan they look One unforeseen problemin building Sonic Boom, for example, was the difficulty of dealing with the crosstalk of noise betweenexhibits -the bleedingsounds from individual installations had to be factored into their distributionaround the space. We hope David will have time to write a little more for us when i fs all over, though no doubt in the aftermath he'll be caught in a crossfireof all the bruised egos who feel they've been 'left out' of a necessarily reductive selection process.
It's already an overworked saw, but the fertility of sound art at the moment- a disappointingly bland term, admittedly, for such an unbounded,expanding field of activities and productions -must partly derive from a general ennui with gallery space and recordinglperformancerituals/cliches(only last month, our On Location live reviews section seemed to be more than usually full of questions about the nature of music and performance itself).Brian Eno, one of the voices you'll hear in our section of the magazine given over to sound artists beginning on page 19, has long bemoaned the uniform packagingavailable to recording artists - he's bored witless by the paltry square centimetres of CD spines which all recordings reduce down to once they're racked on the shelf. But there is a sense that music is reaching beyond its recorded confines again. Where tape has been treated as a passive receiver of informahon by performance based musics such as classical, jan, folk and field artists, electronically enhanced compositionsare often bound up with the recording med~umitself (whrh is where a meta-musician like Christi n Marclay comes ? in). Sound strains at the edges of the CD format on projects like Paul Schutze's Site documents; Caipirinha's series of Architettura CDs; the long stringlwire v~brationsof Alvin Lucier, Paul Panhuysen and Alan Lamb. The Canadiangroup Godspeed You Black Emperor!, whom the ever intrepid David Keenan finally pins down (and watches them squirm) in an extended interview on page 36, virtually camouflage themselves whenever they invade a stage, preferring to deflect the audience's attention away and onto their disturbing magic-lantern film loops, and early copies of their first album were packaged like miniature Joseph Cornell boxes, containing a coin crushed on a railroad track and assorted bits and bobs of cardboard and text leaves. Even The Flaming Lips, a relatively high-proflle alternative rock group, managed to slip a four CD conceptual piece for four playback machines under Warner Brothers' noses a couple of years back.
All that remains is to report a departure and an arrival. This month we say goodbye to Daniela Gargiulo, who's been occupying the Advertising Manager's chair since November 1998. Her Amazonian space-selling labours over that per~odexceeded all records (as did her gig-going capacity), and have certainly been a prime factor in The Wire's current growth spurt. We'll miss her, but wish her luck in her new position at The Cogency. Meanwhile, congratulations and a copy of Raymond Scott's SoothingSounds For Baby go to Subscript~onsManager Ben House, who's just fathered a daughter Because Leila is spelt like that, and not the way Eric Clapton wrote it, his job is safe. ROBYOUNG
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