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For those unfamiliar with Document and Eyewitness, it really doesn't do it justice to describe it simply as a collection of live recordings from three turn-of-the-80s Wire gigs. What makes it more than that is the unorthodox nature of the main performance and the way it was presented on record. The centrepiece of the original vinyl release was a recording of the final gig of Wire's 70s phase. Wire's set was composed of largely new (and often under-rehearsed) work,accompanied by a series of artistic actions and interventions.
The evening was memorable for the unusually hostile reaction from sections of the audience, which has perhaps elevated it beyond a simple passing moment. If the crowd was expecting a standard gig, the level of outrage, expressed in vociferous abuse suggested that the band's intentions were lost on those in attendance, who were instead confounded by the apparent artistic pretensions on display. The approach was to couple selected live tracks with a spoken commentary on the proceedings by long-term Wire fans Adrian Garston and Russell Mills. Hence the title, Document and Eyewitness. For the album, the Electric Ballroom material was supplemented with recordings from a July 1979 show at the Notre Dame Hall (a straightforward band performance), along with one track from a 1979 gig in Montreux.
1. 5/10 (Electric Ballroom Version) 2. 12XU (Fragment) (Electric Ballroom Version) 3. Underwater Experiences (Electric Ballroom Version) 4. Everything's Going to Be Nice (Electric Ballroom Version) 5. Piano Tuner (Keep Strumming Those Fucking Guitars) (Electric Ballroom Version) 6. We Meet Under Tables (Electric Ballroom Version) 7. ZEGK HOQP (Electric Ballroom Version) 8. Eastern Standard (Electric Ballroom Version) 9. Instrumental (Thrown Bottle) (Electric Ballroom Version) 10. Eels Sang Lino (Electric Ballroom Version) 11. Revealing Trade Secrets (Electric Ballroom Version) 12. And Then.. Coda (Electric Ballroom Version) 13. Go Ahead (Notre Dame Version) 14. Ally in Exile (Notre Dame Version) 15. Relationship (Notre Dame Version) 16. Underwater Experiences (Notre Dame Version) 17. Witness to the Fact (Notre Dame Version) 18. Two People in a Room (Notre Dame Version) 19. Our Swimmer (Notre Dame Version) 20. Heartbeat (Montreux Version) 21. Our Swimmer (Single Version) 22. Midnight Bahnhof CafÉ (Single Version) 23. Second Length (Our Swimmr) 24. Catapault 30
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Their 13th studio album - simply titled Wire, - comprises material that was written with the album in mind, but toured extensively first, as well as songs that Newman introduced to the group in the studio just prior to recording. The idea was to get the most spontaneous reaction possible from the musicians, and far from the rough and ready results one might expect from such a tack, Wire is full of swooning pop melo-dies with a 60s tinge and an irresistible, near motorik rhythmic momentum. One can recognise certain me-lodic inflections, guitar and bass motifs, and drum rhythms from Wire's idiosyncratic vocabulary but it has a remarkable freshness. The basic tracks were recorded at Rockfield Studios with overdubs added at Brighton Electric. The 11 tracks selected for release were the ones that came together most naturally. From the outset Wire was an alliance between four very different characters and continues today with the addition, in 2012, of It Hugs Back guitarist Matthew Simms, who is around thirty years younger than the other group members. "With Matt there was a really new dynamic that had appeared in the group's sound and that was something we wanted to capture, utilise and be creative with," says Lewis. Wire is the first album where Simms has been involved in formulating the material from the ground up, but when the group's particular chemistry starts working he is now very much part of the process.
1. Blogging 2. Shifting 3. Burning Bridges 4. In Manchester 5. High 6. Sleep-walking 7. Joust & Jostle 8. Swallow 9. Split Your Ends 10. Octopus 11. Harpooned
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