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Off the Page

Friday 26 September 2014 to Sunday 28 September 2014, 10:00

The UK's only literary festival dedicated to contemporary sound and music.

Friday 26 September, 8-10pm, £10

Saturday 27 September, 11am-11pm, £20

Sunday 28 September, noon-5.30pm, £8

Three day festival pass: £30

Hosted by The Wire magazine in collaboration with Qu Junktions and Arnolfini, Off The Page is a literary festival focussing on contemporary sound and music. Consisting of a weekend of talks, presentations and conversations, the event will feature an array of leading underground musicians, critics and authors.

The talks and presentations will cover a number of contemporary music matters, from the history of recording to the mechanics of sound systems and the aesthetics of Industrial culture, while the conversations will illuminate the thinking of key contemporary musicians and commentators. There will be a number of extra events taking place throughout the weekend, including film screenings and family activities, a pub quiz hosted by The Wire, and a closing night concert featuring musicians associated with the US Mississippi label.

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Friday 26 September, 8pm-10pm

An Audience with Robert Wyatt: In Conversation with Marcus O’Dair

Robert Wyatt is an English original. For more than four decades he has cut an idiosyncratic path through the nation’s pop landscape, taking in the psychedelic reveries of Soft Machine, the jazz rock inversions of Matching Mole, political songwriting and campaigning, and collaborations with a wildly diverse cast of musicians, from Pink Floyd to Scritti Politti, Paul Weller to Evan Parker, Mike Oldfield to Björk, all testifying to the universal appeal of his singular music.

This September, Serpents Tail will publish Different Every Time: The Authorised Biography Of Robert Wyatt, for which Wyatt collaborated closely with the author and broadcaster Marcus O’Dair. To mark the publication of the book, for Off The Page’s opening event Robert Wyatt will be talking to Marcus O’Dair about some of the most significant moments and episodes in his half a century of music making. The discussion will be prompted by a selection of tracks from a new anthology of Wyatt’s music, as well as previously unseen photos taken from the biography.

The talk will be followed by an audience question and answer session, and signed copies of Different Every Time will also be on sale.

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Saturday 27 September, 11am-11pm

The Bleeping Light: Explorative Sensoriums In Experimental Film & Video

All-day screenings in Arnolfini's Dark Studio of short, experimental sound art films. Taking place throughout Saturday and Sunday the programme will feature works by an array of contemporary film, video and sound artists, including Karel Doing, Spatial, Simon Payne, Sculpture, Lynn Loo, Sally Golding, Makino Takashi, Vicky Smith, Ben Gwilliam, Stephen Cornford, Botborg, Anja Dornieden & Juan Gonzales, Hangjun Lee & Chulki Hong, and Joel Stern & Pia Borg.

For full details of the films to be screened, visit The Wire website.

Mark Fisher

Another Grey World: The Secret Sadness of the 21st Century

A sadness subsists beneath the 21st century's busy hedonism – a grey world lurking underneath all the high-res digital gloss. Listening to a consummate 21st century pop artist like the Canadian rapper Drake, it's clear that this sadness isn't straightforwardly opposed to pleasure seeking, so much as it is its flipside. The melancholia arises in part from the insufficiencies and impasses of digital hedonism itself. But it is also a consequence of the 21st century's failure to properly begin. The 21st century is clogged with the relics of the 20th. It's no surprise, then, that some of the key moments of 21st century pop melancholia, such as Kanye West's 808s & Heartbreaks or Darkstar’s North, should have (re)turned to 1980s synth pop as a resource.

For this talk, Mark Fisher will examine what this morbid attachment to the 1980s tell us about the temporal pathologies of our current moment, musical and otherwise. 

Mark Fisher is a UK academic, author and cultural critic. His books include Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative? and Ghosts Of My Life: Writings On Depression, Hauntology And Lost Futures.

Richard King with Mike Darby and Pinch

A Record Shop, Roots & Bristol Culture

For more than 25 years the Bristol record shop Revolver functioned with a unique and occasionally hysterical resourcefulness and desire, one that had a subtle but lasting effect on the city and its sound. In his forthcoming book Original Rockers, author Richard King considers the long closed shop as a liminal anteroom to a certain kind of musical consciousness. This illustrated talk will draw on some of the ideas explored in the book, in particular the relationship between Revolver and the street level roots music of Bristol in the 1980s.

Following the talk King will be discussing the legacy of artists such as Talisman and Black Roots in Bristol bass culture with dubstep producer Pinch and Mike Darby, whose Bristol Archive label has curated a definitive Bristol roots catalogue.

Richard King is the author of How Soon Is Now? The Madmen & Mavericks Who Made Independent Music 1975-2005. Original Rockers is due to be published by Faber & Faber in April 2015

Sarah Angliss

Visceral Music: The Corporeal Origins of Electronic Sound

Musicians have always been consummate cyborgs, enmeshing their bodies with machines and animal parts to augment their physical capabilities – and centuries before vocal plug-ins, musicians were seeking otherworldly voices by going under the surgeon’s knife. In music, any concerns about the dehumanising influence of technology have always been mixed with a degree of machine envy. When human sound first took flight from the body, with the advent of the telephone and phonograph, some listeners found the effect disturbing. Today, in the era of transmitted audio and disembodied music downloads, it’s the physical, sometimes fleshy precursors of our electronic sound technology which can seem uncanny.

In this exploration of the visceral roots of electronic sound and music, Sarah Angliss will discuss some surprising precursors of today’s studio technology, fashioned from flesh, bone, tallow, feathers and living animals.

Sarah Angliss is a UK composer, roboticist and sound historian. Her work explores defunct machinery, archaic variety acts and European folklore.

David Keenan

Crime Calls for Night: A Phenomenology of Transgression in Industrial Music

This audio-visual talk is triggered by the re-publication by Strange Attractor Press of David Keenan’s England’s Hidden Reverse, his landmark study of the UK’s esoteric Industrial underground via the key figures of Coil, Nurse With Wound and Current 93. The talk will track the sources of Industrial music’s thinking of the ‘unthinkable’, its obsession with secret histories and alternative sources of information, and its history of flirtation with – and sometimes outright embracing of – images of genocide, fascism, serial killers and the nighttime of the 20th century. 

David Keenan is a UK music journalist, author and co-owner of Glasgow’s Volcanic Tongue record shop.

An Audience With Carla Bozulich: In Conversation with Frances Morgan

Carla Bozulich is a US musician whose work over the last three decades has emerged in a wide variety of contexts, from site-specific performance pieces to tributes to the outlaws of Country & Western, but which always leaves the floor strewn with blood and guts – usually her own. Emerging from the early 80s LA underground as a member of the notorious performance art unit Ethyl Meatplow, in the 90s Bozulich was on the verge of becoming a bona fide rock star courtesy of The Geraldine Fibbers’ mix of US roots music and emotional Grand Guignol. Instead, she has opted to spend the last two decades living a nomadic existence throughout Europe and the US, pursuing her interests in collaboration, performance, noise, improvisation and cathartic songwriting in her group Evangelista, and via alliances with the likes of Willie Nelson, Wayne Kramer, Lydia Lunch, Mike Watt, Nels Cline, Okkyung Lee, Christian Marclay, Xui Xui and many others.

For Off The Page, Carla Bozulich will be in conversation with The Wire’s Deputy Editor Frances Morgan, playing music and showing images from a prolific and uncompromising 30 year artistic life.

An Audience with Paul Gilroy: In Conversation with Tony Herrington

Academic, writer and sometime guitar player Paul Gilroy has been chronicling the history of music in the Black Atlantic for nearly four decades, most notably via such landmark studies as There Ain't No Black In The Union Jack: The Cultural Politics Of Race And Nation and The Black Atlantic: Modernity And Double Consciousness. For Off The Page, he will be in conversation with The Wire’s Editor-in-Chief and Publisher Tony Herrington, discussing how his commentary on the development of black music in Britain has elided with a wider consideration of the aesthetics and politics of black vernacular cultures through civil rights and beyond.

The talk will be prompted by a playlist that will amplify how the changing character of black life in the UK is audible in the innovative music that's been made here, as well as how those sounds communicate and inspire the enactment of a better world than this.  

Julian Henriques with David Fisher (Papa Roots Sound System)

The Sound System Unplugged

For decades the sound system has been the engine of the dancehall scene in the UK, Jamaica and around the world. Considered as a musical as well as a phonographic instrument, an actual sound system is broken down into its component parts of crossovers, amplifiers, scoops, tops and the like. For this talk, Julian Henriques will take the audience deep into the volumes, pitches and timbres of the reggae sound system set of equipment, discussing the history and ins and outs of its sonic production forces with David Fisher of Bristol's Papa Roots Sound System, who will demo his system as part of the event, giving an in-depth appreciation of the engineering and sonic skills and connoisseurship at the heart of this crucial street culture.

Julian Henriques is a UK academic and author of Sonic Bodies: Reggae Sound Systems, Performance Techniques And Ways Of Knowing.

11pm-3am at The Cube:

Off The Page aftershow party

The Saturday of Off The Page continues with an aftershow party at the Cube hosted by DJs from NTS Radio's Rewired show.

NB Entrance to the party is free to holders of Off The Page festival passes and day tickets. Other tickets are £3 payable on the door only.

 

Throughout Saturday in the Arnolfini bar, Off The Page’s resident DJ Jonny Trunk will be spinning an esoteric selection of audio curiosities and sonic obscurities. Also in the bar area, The Wire bookshop will be open for business selling a selection of specialist music titles.

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Sunday 28 September

The Bleeping Light: Explorative Sensoriums In Experimental Film & Video

All-day screenings in Arnolfini's Dark Studio of short, experimental sound art films. Taking place throughout Saturday and Sunday the programme will feature works by an array of contemporary film, video and sound artists, including Karel Doing, Spatial, Simon Payne, Sculpture, Lynn Loo, Sally Golding, Makino Takashi, Vicky Smith, Ben Gwilliam, Stephen Cornford, Botborg, Anja Dornieden & Juan Gonzales, Hangjun Lee & Chulki Hong, and Joel Stern & Pia Borg.

For full details of the films to be screened, visit The Wire website.

Noon-1pm at the Louisiana:

The Wire 2014 pub quiz

In this multiple choice pub quiz, test your knowledge of some of the more unusual facts from the year so far in underground, alternative and experimental music against that of your fiendishly knowledgable hosts and quizmasters, The Wire’s Derek Walmsley and Rob Young. Prizes of Wire T-shirts, tote bags and books will be up for grabs for the winners.

The Wire pub quiz will take pace at the Louisiana pub. The fun starts at noon. Just turn up, pressgang friends and family, or even perfect strangers, into forming a team, and be in with a chance to be crowned The Wire pub quiz champions 2014!

2pm-6pm at Arnolfini:

Film screening

A Spell To Ward Off The Darkness

A Spell To Ward Off The Darkness follows an unnamed character through three seemingly disparate moments in his life: in the midst of a 15 strong collective on a small Estonian island; in isolation in the majestic wilderness of Northern Finland; and during a concert as the singer and guitarist of a black metal band in Norway.

Written and directed by visual artists Ben Russell and Ben Rivers, and starring musician Robert AA Lowe (best known for his intense live performances in Lichens), the film lies somewhere between fiction and non-fiction, a document of experience and an experience in itself, an inquiry into transcendence that sees the cinema used as a site for transformation.

2013, France / Germany / Estonia, 98 mins

watch trailer

Dean Blunt

“Black Metal”: A Reading

Eric Isaacson

A Cosmic and Earthly History of Recorded Music According to Mississippi Records

A combination of film, slide show, lecture and soundscape, this talk by the founder of Portland, Oregon’s Mississippi Records will attempt to chart the entire history of recorded music, from the birth of the first star in the universe all the way to the dark ages of the 1980s. 

Drawing on materials from Mississippi Records’ vast archive of film, music and art, the talk will touch down at various points in the evolution of recorded music, from the cosmic patterns that resemble music generated by stars being born and dying to the musical patterns in the natural world that work on the same principles as music; from the untold early history of recording technology (including tales of archeoacoustic technology that allows us to hear recordings from 2000 years ago, cat pianos and the phonautogram, which reproduces sounds from dust) to the rise of the blues, rock ’n’ roll and other revolutionary music forms. The talk will include archive footage of some some the greatest musicians on Earth (as well as some novelties) including Bo Diddley, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, The Collins Kids, Reverend Gary Davis and The Staple Singers.

Eric Issacson runs the US label Mississippi Records, which has issued more than 280 releases on vinyl and cassette.

Throughout Sunday afternoon in the Arnolfini bar, Off The Page’s resident DJ Jonny Trunk will be spinning an esoteric selection of audio curiosities and sonic obscurities. Also in the bar area, The Wire bookshop will be open for business selling a selection of specialist music titles.

7pm-11pm at The Cube:

Off The Page closing concert:

Marisa Anderson + Lori Goldston + Dragging An Ox Through Water

Off The Page closes with a special concert at The Cube hosted by Qu Junktions and featuring musicians associated with Mississippi Records: US composer, guitarist and multi-instrumentalist Marisa Anderson, US cellist Lori Goldston, and Brian Mumform's Dragging An Ox Through Water.

NB Entrance to this concert is not covered by Off The Page festival passes or day tickets. But all Off The Page festival pass and ticket holders can purchase special discounted tickets to the concert. Click here for full details and information.

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Listen to recordings from the first edition of Off The Page, Whitstable Playhouse, 2011:

Kodwo Eshun discusses selected paragraphs of music criticism

Ken Hollings on the legacy of John Cage

Green Gartside and Mark Fisher on politics and music

Steve Beresford on improvisation and John Stevens

 

 

  

 

 

 

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Sunday 26 June 2016

Galleries  11am-6pm

Shop 11am-6pm

Cafe 10am-7pm

Reading Room  11am-6pm