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    not a bad little book with gr8 live cd included!anybody got any comments on this?
    I think the four songs on it are from the Hibernian gig in London in May 1990. Much prefer these versions than the recorded ones which ended up on Manscape. Not a great period for Wire in my opinion but a good document of their most electronic stage. The book is in both English and Italian if I remember and contains lyrics of songs not included on the cd which is a little bizarre. Good collectors item.

    On another point it would be good to see Wire getting involved in Record Store Day on April 21st with some further rare, preferably 7" vinyl release?
    The interviews in the book are pretty great, as is the CD. Not to hot on that version of Underwater Experiences, though.
    "Not too hot on that version of Underwater Experiences, though"

    It's my favourite version of the song.
    I just don't find it as intesne as the D & E versions, which is what I really like about the track.
    I don't think that the audio is going to change anyone's life.

    However, the interviews are quite interesting - they give a sense of "The Ideal Copy" being a certain kind of artistic high in Wire's career, and that the subsequent geographic dispersal precluded any coherent effort to further evolve the group sound. "A Bell Is A Cup ... " gets a kicking because it ended up as a collection of songs with similar musical styles and produced sound. There's more perspective on the Mute period than Kevin Eden was granted for his book.
    I agree about the perspective on Mute in Exploded Views. This book was done at the latter end of Wire's relationship with Mute whereas mine was written very much at the earlier end (they had just recorded Bell when I began interviewing them) and whilst there were the inevitable personal wear and tear and tussles within the band on every Mute album (I could have written a book in itself about those!) my main focus of interest was to present their views, individually and collectively, about what they had achieved with each album rather than kick around what they felt they had failed to achieve.
    It's also interesting, and ultimately inevitable, that as time passes their viewpoint on each album has changed or slightly altered to see some of the better things that came out of the Mute period.
    I've only really spoken at any length with Colin on ’80s and ’90s Wire material, but the impression I get is that the band has increasingly recognised a lot of strength in the material, but is also increasingly distanced from the production and end result. I suspect if time, money and reality weren't issues, we'd enjoy totally reworked versions of a bunch of those albums, although we are at least getting different takes on many of them live. (Personally, I'd always hoped—and I know it's never going to happen—Wire would do So and Slow live, with Rob.)
    Maybe it's because I've listening to a lot of Win and M83 lately, but personally, I love the shiny production on A Bell is a Cup and Ideal Copy. Leave them alone!

    Anyway, anyone know where you can read the Exploded Views interviews? I'd buy the book, but it looks like it's as rare as rocking horse shizzle.
    There are a couple on sale at - that's where I got mine
    "I love the shiny production on A Bell is a Cup and Ideal Copy. Leave them alone!"

    IC's a bit of a noisy mess at times, but there are some great moments, notably Ahead (which is, oddly enough, the track that got me into Wire in the first place) and I still really like Bell as an item. After that, though, it's seriously diminishing returns in terms of production. Also, my attitude towards the ’80s albums has also changed after hearing the live stuff from the era. There's power and grit in the live Queen of Ur that's totally lacking from the album version, and the same feels true for me regarding many other tracks from the era. To some extent, that's why I was dead happy with the bootlegs series, which enabled me to piece together live takes on most of the Bell album.
    > my attitude towards the ’80s albums has also changed after hearing the live stuff from the era. There's power and grit in the live Queen of Ur that's totally lacking from the album version, and the same feels true for me regarding many other tracks from the era. To some extent, that's why I was dead happy with the bootlegs series, which enabled me to piece together live takes on most of the Bell album.

    That's precisely been my experience with the 80s material. The albums haven't aged well for me due to production, but the bootleg series has demonstrated that the songs themselves were mostly very strong.
    I don't buy this theory about albums aging well or otherwise. They're either good or they're not. They don't start off good and then go off the longer you leave them on the shelf.

    It's great that live Wire and recorded Wire were very different beasts at the time - there's nothing more tedious than turning up at a gig and hearing precisely what you've got at home on vinyl being reproduced note for note through a thick fug of stale farts and tepid beer on your trainers.

    However, I just don't subscribe to the tiresome received wisdom that the Mute material was some sort of blip. Strikes me that what Wire were doing on the Ideal Copy and A Bell is a Cup was very similar to what someone like New Order were doing with Brotherhood and Technique - shaking off the shackles imposed by their punk-loving audiences to create gloriously technicolour experimental pop albums.

    I absolutely love how the Queen of Ur and Pieta build layers upon layers with every verse and frankly shudder to think what kind of lumpen mess they'd be if you attempted to tackle the material using meat-and-potatoes guitar, bass and drums.

    I guess it's all about what you want Wire to be and how you regard their career as a whole. I'm quite aware of the fact that the critical hegemony seems to be that the first three records are untouchable, the Mute years are best forgotten and they came roaring back to form in the 00s. For me, I regard the run of form they were on between Chairs Missing and The First Letter as pretty much unparalleled in terms of a willingness to progress and a staunch refusal to pander to the expectations of an audience.

    I always like Wire to be striving to be the greatest pop band on the planet, rather than settling for a middling career in a shouty punk ghetto.
    I agree with most of what Dr Up says there, apart from the aging bit. Some things do sound dated whether we like it or not, yet some things date better than others. Nuggets-type stuff sounds dated, but in a good way IMO. The same can't always be said about some 80's stuff. Again IMO.

    But as for Wire...well I remember buying Snakedrill when it came out. I hadn't heard it and had no idea what Wire were going to sound like in 1986 or whatever it was. And it sounded great - it was unmistakably Wire and yet they weren't just re-hashing their 70's work. Best of both worlds really!

    Sure it sounds of its time now to some degree (e.g. those thuddy drum sounds) and it would sound very different if they recorded it today, but that's life. Any artist can surely only make something that sounds good in their head at that moment. You can't be thinking what it's going to sound like in 25 years or you'd get nothing done!

    As for A Bell Is A Cup, well yes it does have some 80's sheen, but it still sounds fab to me. It blew me away at the time and listening to it now on a grey morning in 2012 it still sounds pretty fantastic to my ears!

    I'm not looking for an argument but I really don't know why anyone has to listen to live bootlegs to know how good these songs are. I've got It's A Boy playing as I type now and despite some period shimmering it's really not that different to how the band sound these days.

    One of their finest albums AFAIC.
    "A Bell....." is one of my faves too - I'd put it as a big brother to "Red Barked Tree". If I have any problems with Wire albums - one would be "Send" - just a little too bombastic for me in some areas of it - and the one that I really do find it hard to get on with is "Manscape" - an undeniably eighties production in 1990. (Although the same treatment on the Live May 90 version of "Underwater Experiences" somehow seems to work). The so-called 12" version on the CD Single of "Life In The Manscape" I regard as a mistake.

    "The First Letter" is a terrific album and one that should be re-assessed amongst the more casual Wire fans - the ones who never think beyond the first three.....
    I think Wire themselves regard the "Life in a Manscape" single as a mistake. When interviewing them for the ELAH book after the Manscape album had been released I started by asking about the first track on the CD, the single. They all collectively groaned and asked me to move on to other tracks first. This was done and we finally returned to the single. Recorded after the Manscape sessions it was recorded at Mute's behest because it was felt a single was needed to crack the US market. They complied but felt the results not up to par.
    One plus about the LiaM single is the track Gravity Worship, which is one of my favourites from those sessions. Wonderfully menacing beat with a chainsaw guitar.
    Gravity Worship, It Can't Be True and Who Has Nine? all deserved wider exposure that US single and Japanese Manscape. Hence their inclusion on Coatings.

    Perhaps a defintive reissue programme of the Mute period is in order. Remastered albums, b-sides and rarities included. Double CD's all with nice sleeve notes and relevant photos.

    We can but dream!
    Indeed. I'd always hoped something could happen for Wire's Mute output that mirrored the Cure reissues from a few years back: remastered (but not ruined) audio, liner notes/pics, and a second disc of bits and bobs. I guess the death of the CD rather puts paid to some of that, but then a reissue on digital is perhaps more practical.
    'Death of the CD'. What on earth you talking about! Still a valid format imo and long may it reign!

    Call me an oldish fogey but the CD was best thing to happen to music since the ark was built. Don't give me that claptrap that vinyl sounds better. I have one word for those people. SCRATCHES!

    And for advocates of iplayers ipods and other small boxes of electrickery (said with my Catweazle hat on) I poop in your face!