Hello and welcome to a New Year and another fairly thin newsletter. Below are some reports from across the border of Wire's end of term gig in Edinburgh and news of some new releases from the extended Wire clan plus news of the final release from WMO.
Reports from the Wire gig in Edinburgh on 8th December proved that the group's power to reinvent and surprise is still intact. First up from Paul Rabjohn:
'The venue was superb, a circular church-type building with pews and a balcony. Support band looked a bit uninspiring (Altered Images meets Prag Vec was my initial thought). Wire started up with the long slow throb of Zoom, building into a relaxed Heartbeat, then cranking up the tempo for a brilliant Ally in Exile and the punky Germ Ship. No more new ones but He Knows stays there for now. Then it was hit-by-hit as they raced to the finish line with Advantage in Height, Lowdown, Another the Letter, 12XU and a blistering Pink Flag. A quick fag and then back to give Drill a mainly instrumental kicking. An excellent performance under stark white light, an Xmas party to be proud of.'
Mark Bursa added this:
'A truly ferocious performance, as good as they've been this year, and delivered in a venue curiously reminiscent of Oxford's Museum of Modern Art.
It was great to see new material—only the truly talismanic old songs remain in the set—Another the Letter, Advantage in Height, Drill, and Pink Flag is delivered with venom. Gone is Mercy, and also Silk Skin Paws from the Garage set.
The new material will hopefully swell the set list next year—the droning, e-bowed intro classes as a song, according to the setlist, while the other all-new song would not have been out of place on Pink Flag. The gig highlight for me was the revived Ally in Exile—now a mutant hybrid of the Document and Eyewitness song and its close relation Art of Persistence. It's more streamlined than the original, and Bruce is mighty throughout. He Knows is now honed to perfection.'
Finally, Graeme Rowland, offered up his thoughts:
'The set opened with a drone instrumental which was perhaps closer to Ocsid territory than anything Wire have done before. The title was Zoom and only Colin played guitar, droning with e-bow. Bruce and Robert set up a minimal synth beat and gadget atmospherics, and Graham's synth was the only base. Graham walked on stage halfway through the track, to applause.
The other new one was a very short rocker called Germ Ship. Both Colin and Graham sang on this. It seemed to be made up of three sections, an opening vaguely reminiscent of The Commercial, but way more venomous, the central singing part and then the closing with the opening instrumental cycle.
Ally in Exile was also played, and Bruce's shifting block guitar sound really good on that one. The rest of the set consisted of the rearranged Heartbeat, Boiling Boy, He Knows, Lowdown, Advantage in Height, Another the Letter, 12XU, Pink Flag and the encore, Drill. Bruce almost broke into a jig during Pink Flag! Robert looks more and more like a bird of prey with each passing gig.'
On 10-11 February, Colin was interviewed by Claire Kember on Totally Radio about all things Wire and Swim, and provided a choice of music that included some unreleased Wire, Newman and some additional personal favourites.
The new Ocsid CD, Opening Sweep, released by Ash International is now in stock. This CD is a live recording of their performance in Munich in 1999. It is available from WMO in UK and USA as well as the usual outlets. Additionally, Hox' It-ness has been reissued by the R&S/Apollo label in Belgium. Copies, again, in stock by both WMOs.
The Viennese Mego label finally released the long-awaited IBM LP/7", The Oval Sessions in January. IBM are Ilpo Vaisainen, Bruce Gilbert and Mika Vainio, ie: Pan Sonic and Bruce. A limited edition of 1000 has been pressed. It is available direct from Mego, Ruckergasse 10/21+22, A-1120, Vienna, Austria. or from These Records, 112 Brook Drive, London, SE11 4TQ. Other outlets such as Carbon Disks and reputable shops should stock it. WMO(US) is to hold copies.
The first release of 2001 came at the end of February with Silo's second CD, Alloy, described in the press release as 'real headnod sh*t'. Future releases promised include a new album from Colin Newman.
A special offer for anyone who still hasn't got Whore, Turns and Strokes, Dugga and Coatings: Any two are now available from WMO(UK) for £15, any three for £25 and all four for £35, inclusive of P&P. Contact WMO(US) for North American details.
The final final release from WMO is due in May. We are proud to release the late Michael o'Shea CD. And with the discovery of extra material (not Gilbert/Lewis produced, but still as evocative and excellent), the CD now runs at nearly 70 minutes. There are two bonus tracks with fellow Irish musician Stano, two backing tracks for the same songs, plus a track Michael recorded in collaboration with poet/artist Larry Cosgrave.
Released with the full and co-operative help of Michael's family, we believe that this CD represents the complete recordings of this wonderful and lamented talent. WMO feel it is a fitting end to the label.
The only outstanding release WMO intends to put out will be a mail-order, subscription copy of The Haring 2, by Bruce Gilbert. Watch this space for details.
Those who you have visited our website will have seen that at the end of this year WMO(US) who controls this site will cease to be. Plans are afoot for WMO(UK) to take care of the administration of this site into 2002 onwards. Further details nearer the time.
This newsletter ©2001 WMO limited, except for material from other publications or stated authors which remain the copyright of the original copyright holders. All reviews are the opinion of the stated writers.