Editor's Idea

For just about all of this month's featured artists, independence, while often hard won, is an unquestioned fact of life. While no one would want to spread the illusion that running your own operation is a piece of cake, nevertheless the career of Matthew Herbert or the example of the Mego label offer ample proof that self reliance can be made to work in your favour, with very few gut churning compromises. It's all the more important, as we head into an age that looks like choking vibrant expression and stalling freedom of movement, and where art and entertainment is modulated through corporate channels bloated on sixfigure advertisingspends. Artists of integrity and persistent self-belief, such as AMM's drummer Eddie Prkvost, runner of the Matchless label, will never find themselves assimilated into anything resembling a popular context - they insist upon maintaining, rather than ironing out, the complexities, contradictions and occasional failures that form the beating heart of their working method.

The Nonesuch Explorer series was run largely from under the umbrella of Warner Brothers in the 1970s, but the efforts of founder Tracey Sterne and the recordists such as David Lewiston who went to the ends of the earth to collect the music, display an accommodation and an autonomy within a corporate structure that's rarely permitted today. Mego i s often simplistically reduced to being a 'glitch' label, but Edwin Pouncey's anatomy of the Austrian imprint portrays an operation with far wider horizons. A significant part of Mego's appeal has been the excellent graphics of Tina Frank, who came up with their outsize cardboard CD envelopes (although if you do most of your shopping in chainstores, you may not have seen them). The graphic design theme i s carried into this month's Cross Platform section, where alongside a state of the art report from CD sleeve connoisseur Adrian Shaughnessy, we introduce a new regular section called The Inner Sleeve. Each month, a musician, artist or writer will be choosing their favourite piece of record artwork and telling us why. We kick off on page 89 with Peter Saville, whose Factory sleeves, especially those for New Order throughout the 80s, still barely show their age.

To add a little voodoo and hot sauce t o this month's issue, we asked Poison Ivy and Lux Interior of The Cramps to endure the terrors of the Invisible Jukebox. They too are now captains of their own vessel, Vengeance Records; and as their interview in Re/Search Publications' Incredibly Strange Music proves, they're insatiable record collectors and archivists of America's musical underbelly. Our man in Los Angeles, Richard Henderson, seemed t o enjoy being granted access t o their home, fielding their enthusiastic reactions to the records and witnessing how Poison Ivy "came over all kittenish and awestruck" on hearing the voice of Suicide's Alan Vega. And now, welcome to the psychedelic jungle of this month's issue... ROB YOUNG

Adventures In Modern Music Issue 231 May 2003 83.30 i SSN 0952-0686 (USPS 006231)

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I Words Steve Barker, Mike Barnes, Ed Baxter, Clive Bell, Chris Blackford, Marcus Boon, Ben Borthwick, Philip Clark, Mia L Clarke, Byron Coley, Julian Cowley, Christoph Cox, John Cratchley, Alan Cummings, Brian Duguid, Phil England, Kodwo Eshun, Matt ffytche, Sasha Frere-Jones,Louise Gray, Natalie Gravenor, Andy Hamilton, Jim Haynes, Richard Henderson, Ken Hollings, Hua Hsu, David Keenan, Monica Kendrick, Rahma Khazam, Biba Kopf, Art Lange, Alan Licht, Howard Mandel. Dave Mandl, Jerorne Maunsell, Andy Medhurst, Will Montgomery, Jon C Morgan, John Mulvey, lan Penman, Tom Perchard. Ed Pinsent, Edwin Pouncey, Mosi Reeves, Simon Reynolds, Tom Ridge, Stephen Robinson, Chris Sharp, Philip Sherburne, Bill Shoemaker, Mark Sinker, David Stubbs, Dave Tompkins, DavidToop, Elisabeth Vincentelli, Dan Warburton, Ben Watson, Don Watson, Val Wilmer, Barty Witherden

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