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ULTIMA THULE (1 Conduit Street, Leicester LE2 0JN) "The New-Music Specialists" they claim, rather dubiously I have to say. Vast catalogue (£2.10 in UK) of imported and homegrown new music: experimental, post-industrial, avant garde, New Age, synthesiser, progressive rock and so on. This range of interests ensures, of course, that they have material that no-one else in this country stocks. They also produce AUDION magazine (see elsewhere for review) and the mail-order service shares that zine's particular musical bias. Their own cassette label, Auricle, has releases loads of music by similar artists, from the obscure (Biomechanoid) to the not quite so obscure (Asmus Tietchens, Conrad Schnitzler). Recent catalogues ran to 60 pages including various supplements, full of excellent, hard to find music, although now that they also run a proper shop, mail-order lists are a lot less informative.
ULTRA SONIC CAPACITY (c/o Artware Audio, N.D., Minus Habens & others) Billing itself as an "international concert and performance network organisation for Europe", USC nonetheless has two American associates. Several labels and individuals are involved, all doing their best to promote the kinds of music and art beloved of people like Artware. Bands, promoters etc should contact them if interested: Artware can supply a full list of contacts. There is as yet no UK associate.
UNKNOWN PUBLIC (Unknown Public, Dept WWW1, FREEPOST (RG2558), PO Box 354, Reading RG2 7BR, UK) UP is a subscription-only quarterly CD compilation of "creative" music (with accompanying written material), which on the evidence of the two issues published so far includes composers like Andrew Poppy, Trevor Wishart and Steve Reich, as well as people working in areas like jazz, improvisation or sound art. A 4-CD sub in the UK or Europe costs £50, or 4 cassettes can be had for £40. North American rates are $80 and $65.
V2 (Postbus 19049, 3001 BA Rotterdam, The Netherlands) Not only do they organise installations and performances, and release their own recordings and printed matter, but V2 also distribute a wealth of related material, from (to select a very small sample) labels like Charrm, RRRecords, Silent Records and La Legende des Voix. Their catalogue's a work of art in its own right too!
VIOLET GLASS ORACLE TAPES (5546 Harvest Ln. Apt. B, Toledo, OH 43623, U.S.A.) See the review feature in EST 2 for full information.
VISIONARY COMMUNICATIONS (28-30 The Square, St Annes, Lytham St Annes FY8 1RF) Video label with diverse releases including much punk, post-punk and psychobilly material. Also John Giorno's It's Clean, It Just Looks Dirty, which features Cabaret Voltaire, Diamanda Galás, Einstürzende Neubauten, Swans, John Waters, Psychic TV and others.
WE NEVER SLEEP (PO Box 92, Denver, CO 80201, USA) Hey, look, not only do they have their own cool releases from Left Hand Right Hand, Blackhumour, The Haters, Illusion of Safety and more, but they also distribute lots of other noise and post-industrial music: Bruce Gilbert, Lustmørd, Merzbow, Kodo and more. And subcultural books from Baudelaire to Peter Lamborn Wilson. And videos. And some of the best merchandise I've ever seen, including WNS pillowcases.
WIRE MAIL-ORDER (PO Box 54, Hitchin, Herts. SG4 7TQ; USA: Wire Service, PO Box 322, Alta Loma, CA 91701-0322, USA) They produce a regular newsletter detailing current activities of the members of Wire, as well as reissues. They also provide plenty of related recordings, t-shirts etc mail-order (including the complete Swim Records catalogue) and are working on reissues of the few Wire obscurities not already rescued.
WORLD FORUM FOR ACOUSTIC ECOLOGY (Simon Fraser University, Dept. of Communication, Burnaby, BC, V5A 1S6, Canada) The WFAE is devoted to the study of the relationship between living organisms and their sonic environment or soundscape. They attempt to draw attention to unbalanced relationships, and to preserve acoustically balanced soundscapes. Inspiration comes from, amongst others, John Cage, and Canadian composer R. Murray Schafer's book The Tuning of the World. Members (US$21/CAN$25 per year) automatically receive The Soundscape Newsletter (see Zine Reviews). A Friends of the Earth for the invisible world.
WORLD SERPENT (Unit 717 Seager Buildings, Brookmill Road, London SE8 4HL) Distributor of many fine things: recent additions to their lists have come from Lustmørd, Sol Invictus, Death in June, Nurse With Wound, Coil, Konstruktivists (including plenty of CD releases of back catalogue material) and others, and they run a label as well.
¡ALARMA! (PO Box 230404, Encinitas, CA 92023-0404, USA) Their 1992 catalogue may be out of date, but the house label to Crash Worship ADRV stocks t-shirts, CDs, cassettes and a video, as you might expect. They also produce Minotaurus magazine, which interviews people like Coil, Zeni Geva, Cop Shoot Cop, and Left Hand Right Hand.