One of the most extraordinary and in-depth pieces of music journalism, the “Wild Planet” series of articles was written by Dave Henderson and published in the UK weekly music newspaper “Sounds” in May 1983 and periodically for the next 2 years.
Charting in great detail the rise of an independent sector (it was much wider than a ‘movement’) of d-i-y experimental and avant garde music and sound sculpture, the series had a worldwide perspective, and opened many people’s eyes to the vast array of sound artists that were beavering away in their own backyards without any media coverage. I can honestly say it was probably the major influence on the creation of the Encyclopaedia Electronica archive.
As such, I hold this work in great regard, and thought it would be interesting to try and revisit those artists’ work and careers now, some 36 years on, utilising the resources of the archive and the wider internet. Hence the Wild Planet “Revisited”…
I’ll be posting the original articles, page by page, and then taking a more in-depth look at each in the intervening years.
Attrition are one of the groups featured in ‘Wild Planet’ that need little introduction. Active from 1980 to this very day, Martin Bowes, as the ever-present member & founder of Attrition, has built up a substantial canon of work, and now actively produces and masters others’ work at his studio, The Cage.
Ok, a whole art movement to cover in a blog…I don’t think so. I’m sure there are endless texts on the internet about the Futurists and the Art of Noises, and I couldn’t do it justice. So, let’s see what the archive has that might be of interest…
The earliest piece is this from the NME 5th January 1980, clipped from Andy Gill’s “The Concise NME Guide to Electronic Music & Synthesised Sound” which ran across two weeks.
In 1985, a compilation LP called “Dada For Now” on Liverpool’s Ark Records generated a bit of interest in the music press, the most in-depth being this piece in the NME, 27th July 1985…
To finish, here’s a piece by Luigi Russoli, from 1924:
Not a group or artist this time, but a tape/magazine label run by Vittore Baroni, the Italian cultural activist, mail artist and music critic, who in 1979 founded the first mail art assembling publication/artist’s magazine in Italy Arte Postale! and was among the first to write about industrial music and the new experimental frontiers. Area Condizionata released 3 compilation cassettes in 1983: “Italiano Industriale”, “The Voice / La Voce” and “Videogames For The Blind”. Vittore then moved on to other projects.
Well, that wasn’t much to go on in pre-internet days, was it? Needless to say, I’d never heard Anode before I started searching t’internet. Turns out Anode, or Anode Productions, is the work of a chap called Robert Carlberg, who was born in Seattle, Washington in 1954. He has been actively creating soundscapes since 1972, releasing his first recording “Early Tapeworm” in 1975. He has recorded musique concréte, minimalism, tape music, phonography, drones, manipulations and other non-keyboard-based electronics. He has also produced recordings for other artists, created soundscapes for film, theatre and musical composition, documented rare environments, provided audio backdrops for trade shows and conventions, and amassed a large library of audio-vérité recordings. On top of that, he founded the Synex newsletter for electronic musicians and wrote a monthly column for Electronic Musician Magazine between 1979 and 1989. Robert became acquainted with many other DIY electronic musicians worldwide, in what eventually became known as “Cassette Culture.”
Robert has released over 50 albums of material, including the “Urban Soundscape” series, which he describes: “My Anode Urban Soundscape Series (AUSS) is a series of CDRs documenting particularly-interesting environments. Unlike other “natural sound” releases which seek to record environments free of mankind – or through editing, create such an environment artificially – my series dismisses the view that all human activity is “noise pollution.” We live, most of us, in human society and the natural sounds around all of us include our fellow pink apes. The sonically-rich environments presented therein will yield to careful attention, but they also can be placed in the background for reading, sleeping, or simply experiencing the ambience of a different time & place. My ultimate hope is to build up a library of such urban soundscapes, allowing one to go “around the world in 80 minutes.” They also explore the idea that we don’t have to travel to exotic locales or witness unusual events to find something worthy of our attention. ”
Anima, which began life as Anima-Sound, were a wife-husband duo of Limpe Fuchs (1936-) and Paul Fuchs (1941-) with support from Freidrich Gulda and Johan Anton Rettenbacher. Part of the burgeoning West German experimental scene which appeared in the late 1960s, their work lay in the area of improvisation and free jazz. They particularly focused on the creation of their own instruments, from wood, metal and stone, such as the Fuchshorn, Fuchszither and Fuchsbass.
Their use of found sound percussion can seen to be a precursor to some of the sounds Einstuerzende Neubauten were creating a decade later.
Anima disbanded in 1989, but Limpe Fuchs has continued to work as a solo artist as well as with famous musicians such as Theo Jorgensmann and Albert Mangeldorff. Here she is in solo performance in 2010.
In 2015 the Berlin label Play Loud! Productions published the entire catalogue of Anima-Sound, Anima and Limpe Fuchs’ solo work in the form of the “Limpe Fuchs archive”.