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Words Jake Barnes, Mike Barnes, Clive Bell, Chris Blackford, Linton Chiswick, Richard Cook, John Corbett, Christoph Cox, Brian Duguid, Phll England, Kodwo Eshun, Mark Espiner, John Everall, Matt ffytche , Louise Gray, Andy Hamilton, Steve Holtje, Slmon Hopkins, David Die, Sasha Frere-Jones, David Keenan, Rahrna Khazarn, Nick Kimberley, Biba Kopf, Art Lange, Howard Mandel, Peter Mclntyre, Andy Medburst, Will Montgornery, Ian Penman, Edwin Pouncey, Slmon Reynolds, Tom Ridge, Robin Rimbaud, Jonathan Romney, Paul Schiitze, lain Scott, Richard Scott, Peter Shapiro, Chris Sharp, Mark Sinker, Paul Stump, Julie Taraska, David Toop, John L Waiters, Ben Watson, Barry Witherden
Images Julian Anderson, Frank Bauer, Dean Belcher, Iris Garrelfs, Tlm Kent, Adarn Lawrence, Savage Pencil, Michele Turriani
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Special thanks this issue Joy Lewis, Eiichi Azuma, Richard McGuire, Robert Jelinek, Jeremy Steckler, Mah at the Ghost House
Cover photogra ph of Patrick Pulsi nger & Erdem Tunakan Eva Vermandel
In the middle of the frantic scramble to get the final pages of this month's issue off to the printers, I take a call from a researcher for BBC Radio 1's Newsbeat programme who wants a sound bite from The Wire about some crap record that's coming out using a piece of sequencing software derived (so he says) from a mathematical formula used by 'chaos' theorists.
"Er, OK," I hear myself saying, not yet awake enough to come up with a gracious delegation of responsibility, nor to slam down the phone. Down the li ne comes 15 seconds of this inane track, by one Phil Thompson (who? ) a murky, meandering mess. Following this, a quick test for levels and then, oh, at least 20 seconds of interview in which I have time to blurt out that no, I didn't like the sound of it; no, it's not the first time it's been done - where were Radio 1 when Eno's Generative Music came out? - and yes, you cwld call it a sort of soul music if soul is about searching for deep truths, it's maths, systems and the sciences that are doing that for us now. "Great, cheers then mate, we'll be broadcasting it at 12:30."
Irksome as it is to have been so easi ly co- Take a cutting-edge cabal like the Sonar festiva l in Barcelona. Forget all the recent departing Tory propaganda about London being the world's capital of cool. For one thing, the generation of young Spaniards who turn out for it are just eye-bogglingly healthy looking - us northeri"Vmiddle Europeans feel very pale and scrawny indeed. For another: this is the one city in the whole of Europe where public spaces and amenities seem genuinely to have been designed and placed in the public interest We stroll through Sonar's garden of delights, pulled here by a shared love of a common music sponsored by some of the very companies who manufacture the instruments and technologies that produce that music - probing, clicking, surfing, chatting, discussing, selling, buying That progenitor of the global village, Marshal! McLuhan, would be messing his pants.
Take a cutting-edge cabal like the Sonar festiva l in Barcelona. Forget all the recent departing Tory propaganda about London being the world's capital of cool. For one thing, the generation of young Spaniards who turn out for it are just eye-bogglingly healthy looking - us northeri"Vmiddle Europeans feel very pale and scrawny indeed. For another: this is the one city in the whole of Europe where public spaces and amenities seem genuinely to have been designed and placed in the public interest We stroll through Sonar's garden of delights, pulled here by a shared love of a common music sponsored by some of the very companies who manufacture the instruments and technologies that produce that music - probing, clicking, surfing, chatting, discussing, selling, buying That progenitor of the global village, Marshal! McLuhan, would be messing his pants.
But how is this regarded by someone like 'Mad' Mike Banks, the enigmatic head of Detroit's Underground
Resistance label? A shadowy figure of legend at the best of times, Banks has remained a true isolationist. refusing even the approaches of an international dance press that endlessly recycles the same myths about the city and its music, unable to reconcile their parallel versions of it as musical Mount Olympus or post-industrial Hades. I hope one day Banks will feel ready to tell his story, a tiny glimpse of which can be found posted on an Internet mailing list in the form of a written reply to a fan who accused him of selling out "Please understand there are four ways to overcome these boundaries," Banks writes, referring to the social and envi ronmental barriers to progress in his neighbourhood. "1) Go to prison 2) Join the army 3) Leave and move somewhere else if you can afford itl 4) Substance abuse." Later, he writes "I am a very serious brother; nothing that I do with UR is funny or entertaining I have never been pimped and neither has my company. The moves and strategies that I use are for one thing and one thing only - and that is to guarantee that the programmers' agendas and stereotypes do not proceed into the next century! Because it is these same agendas and prejudices that nearly exterminated my mother's peoples (Biackfoot Indians) and forcibly enslaved my father's peoples for 400 years" And, in turn, what would the overachieving, apolitica l white kids on the European side of the Atlantic, for whom the 12"s of Drexciya, Robert Hood or The Suburban Knight are holy tablets, make of such righteous anger?
In Barcelona, Banks appeared at my shoulder, handed me a copy of a new Drexciya CD on his Submerge label, and dematerialised again The booklet contains a story of the Drexciyans, a mythical race of aquatic humanoids descended from the unborn children of pregnant African women dumped over the side of slave trading ships Now there's a story for that Radio 1 researcher.
By the way, in case you 're wondering why this month's Editor's Idea is coming from the monkey rather than organ grinder Tony Herrington, no need to panic there hasn't been a coup at Wire HQ. Instead, congratu lations to Tony and his partner Rachael on the birth of a daughter, Ruby Fat Havanas too for Wire writers Sasha Frere-Jones and Peter Mclntyre, who have also recently become employed as fathers. This issue is dedicated to all these new lives. ROB YOUNG
PnntedbyStlvesPL( The~ rs a membef of the Namara Gfoop USA. The Wre ISSN0952-0686(USPS0062 31) rs publiShed monthly IOf S60 by The Wife Magazne Ltd. ~Is postage pad at Hackensack NJ 0760 1 Postmaster serd address charlges to The Will' (R MI) do Yellowstone lntemational, 2375 Pratt BNd, Elk Grove V~laQe. FL60007-593 7. USA TheVJeWSe•pressedinrheWtn!aretroseoftherespectrvecontnbutcrsandarenotneces santy Shared by the magavne or its staH The W1re assunes no respon51bdrty IOf lJ'lSOiiated manuscnpts, photographsand~luslranons.Copyright hereand a bro.xlrsheklbythepubHsherOfbyfr~ance contnbutors lklautt'olsedreproductJonofcntrtemiSiorbldden.andwemeanit '
The September 97 issue of The Wire
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On sale Tuesday 26 August
4 The Wire