Alan Licht is a musician and author of the book Sound Art: Beyond Music Between Categories. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.
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Since it was founded in 1982, The Wire magazine has covered a vast range of alternative, experimental, underground and non-mainstream music. Now some of that knowledge has been distilled into The Wire Primers: a comprehensive guide to the core recordings of some of the most visionary and inspiring, subversive and radical musicians on the planet, past and present. Each chapter surveys the musical universe of a particular artist, group or genre by way of a contextualizing introduction and a thumbnail guide to the most essential recordings. A massive and eclectic range of music is celebrated and demystified, from rock mavericks such as Captain Beefheart and The Fall; the funk of James Brown and Fela Kuti; the future jazz of Sun Ra and Ornette Coleman; and the experimental compositions of John Cage and Morton Feldman. Genres surveyed and explained include P-funk, musique concrète, turntablism, Brazilian Tropicália, avant metal and dubstep. The Wire Primers is a vital guide to contemporary sounds, providing an accessible entry point for any reader wanting to dig below the surface of mainstream music.
“The most essential music magazine of the contemporary era.”—Forced Exposure
“For 25 years The Wire magazine has been celebrating the sound of cussed eccentricity ... A true English eccentric ... it is the curator of a self-sufficient and non-aligned musical world.”—Daily Telegraph