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4 The W~re letters


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Question time

I've a few remarks to make; some will accuse me of nit-picking, but here goes:

a) How come only a bare minimum of your monthly Soundcheck winners actually made it to your Top 50 albums of the year?

b) How come some of the musicians you feature (DJ Spooky, Marc Almond) never have their work reviewed? C)How come many of the albums listed on the Office Ambience chart are never reviewed?

d) How come no one has ever mentionedthe free Mute Records compilation CD in hislher letter? Did everybody unanimously find it so horrendous or fantastic that they felt nothing needed to be said about it? Is there a conspiracy of silence out there?

e) How come you did away with the monthly Wire Winners section? Or have those frames replaced them? And was it a coincidence that there seemed to be no one album that stood out from the rest of the albums selected in February?

f) How come in your Invisible Jukebox section you always play the musician in question records which helshe will in all probability successfully identify, know about and have in hislher collection? Why not test them on the sort of music they have no apnori affinities with instead of always painstakinglychoosing the kind they cannot help but know about? I enjoyed it when Gavin Bryars mistook an underwater recordingof bearded seals for "old rudimentary electronic music".

g) Thank you very much for the Evan Parker interview (The Wire 144); 1 hadn't read such sensible and intelligent thoughts on music since John Cage. Carolina Plonsahre Cambridge

Sneer misses

I sometimes wonder if your readers actually read your magazine.

Reading Elliot Rogers's accusations about the misuse of the term 'Krautrock' in connectionwith Tortoise, I checked the review of MillionsNow Living.. . (The Wire 143) and couldn't find any direct comparison to his beloved Germans. Perhaps he was confusing The Wire with other magazines, where Krautrock has indeed become a trendy buuword, used by people no doubt more familiar with Stereolab than the 'real thing'.

I did, however, find plenty about the influence of dub, HipHop, Ambient, Techno and drum 'n' bass on their music. Perhaps Eliot didn't read that far -while his dyspeptic rant was amusing, he seemed to completely miss the point of the band, and though there were moments when the 'Virgin 1976' comparison was horribly accurate, it certainly wasn't the ninetenths claimed! What about the Augustus Pablo-style melodica? Or does that not fit in with a musicalworld-view that seems to hold The Faust Tapes as an avant garde equivalent to Pet Sounds?

Along with previous whinger, Sven Logg, I find a disturbing cocktail of cynicism and superiority in their attitudes.Without offering anything in the way of modern musical alternatives, they take the intellectual high ground and a 'damned if they doldamned if they don't' attitude towards those who dare take on board 'Krautrock' influences, without any seeming appreciationas to how they can be reapplied in different contexts. I find this purism and obsession with historical roots little different - better record collections aside -from those people who smugly demonstrate their knowledge of 60s rock to put down modern guitar pop groups; the continued assertion that it's been done better and done before.

It may indeed be the case, but I suspect that if your correspondents were as genuinely removed from the milieu in which Tortoise and Stereolab work as they imply, they wouldn't have bothered to lift their pens. On the other hand, if they understand Krautrockso well, why don't they pick up their guitarslanaloguesynthdtape editors instead?There's obviously easy . . pickings to be made among those of us who are easily fooled. Julian bwton Cardm

The searcher

As I'm fairly new to the type of music covered in your magazine, I wonder if you could help me in trying to find where the records of the year you listed are available? As a recent defector from the mainstream pop world, the main record shops that I frequent are places like HMV and Virgin, but while I was in there the other day, I hardly found any of the CDs you listed in your records of the year, never mind trying to find them on cassette. Could you please give an ', idea of whereabouts I might find many of the records listed?Are there record ,

shops in Londonwhere I might find them? Ray Jett oxford

Che of theproblems with manyofthe records we discuss is that they don't f cmfoitably into marketingcategories. This, ccupledwith the generalignorance of mcken (especially in highstreet stores), leads to things gettinglostin 'dead' our localOxfordStreet megastores, we've found Japanese Prodpsychedel& in the WorldMusic section, Jon Hassell's recentH@Hw album DressingFor PleasureunderNew Age, and cur own release of David Toop's Screen Ceremonies in Jazz (&I). Clea~iyit can be drfficult -in London, i f s best to try y~eGaIistshops such as Rough Trade, These, Select-ADSC;or alternativelypesteryour local megastore until they wise up -Ed

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