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• • • Being a journal by artist and designer John Coulthart, cataloguing interests, obsessions and passing enthusiasms.


 

On the threshold

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I was intending to post a new book cover this week but I’m up against another deadline—the last pressing one of this half of the year—so good intentions have been felled by the urgent need to keep drawing. In place of the cover design, here’s a taster of some of the work of the past few months which will be seen shortly in another volume from Editorial Alma. All being well, the postponed cover should appear next week. I also have planned a post I’m looking forward to putting together about a series of horror covers from the 1970s. As always, watch this space.

 


Weekend links 417

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Cover of How To Destroy Angels (Remixes And Re-Recordings) (1992) by Coil. Artwork: Fine Balance (1986) by Derek Jarman.

• It’s that man again: “According to the late great short story writer Robert Aickman, the problem with our excessively modern world is not that it is strange, but that it is not strange enough.” Scott Bradfield on a writer who can no longer be described as neglected or overlooked.

• Coil may have expired over a decade ago after the death of John Balance but the posthumous releases persist. Latest of these is How To Destroy Angels, an album-length presentation of music (or audio) by Coil and Zos Kia (John Gosling) from 1983/84.

• “Two decades ago, a renowned professor promised to produce a flawless version of one of the 20th century’s most celebrated novels: Ulysses. Then he disappeared.” The Strange Case of the Missing Joyce Scholar.

• At Dangerous Minds: The Fool: The Dutch artists who worked for The Beatles (and made their own freak folk masterpiece). Previously here: The art of Marijke Koger.

• RIP Nick Knox. The Cramps were always best when playing live, as here in 1986 when they performed songs from A Date With Elvis on Channel 4′s The Tube.

• “The McKenzie Tapes is a collection of live audio recordings from some of New York City-area most prominent music venues of the 1980s and 1990s.”

• Beyond the veil: two extracts from Death by Anna Croissant-Rust, one of two new books from Rixdorf Editions.

• Impulse Responses: composer Deru on scoring with the Cristal Baschet.

Fleshback: Queer Raving in Manchester’s Twilight Zone Chapter 1–3.

• “Puzzler says he has cracked code to stolen Belgian masterpiece.”

• Mix of the week: FACT mix 657 by Beatrice Dillon.

Jenzeits

Death Have Mercy (1959) by Vera Hall | Oh Death (1964) by Dock Boggs | Oh Death (1967) by Kaleidoscope

 


Fourth Worlds: A Jon Hassell Mix

As noted in the previous post, Jon Hassell has a new and very well-received album out this month, his first in several years. To honour the occasion I thought I’d finally post the Hassell mix I’ve had in mind for some time. The delay was mainly a consequence of not settling on a final version, so the album release has at least forced my hand. This still doesn’t feel completely satisfactory but it has the benefit of not being a recycling of familiar works.

About ten years ago I made a CD compilation of Hassell-related odds and ends: one-off works from compilations, interesting collaborations and the like. The CD set forms the basis of this mix although I’ve blended everything into a single piece rather than present separate tracks. Some of these pieces are either rare or overlooked so even those familiar with the Jon Hassell discography may hear something new.

Note: I only noticed after uploading the mix that the presence of more than five tracks by the same artist means that people in the US may not be able to play this one. Sorry about that: blame your laws/politicians, etc.

Malay (edit) (1981) by Jon Hassell

Shadow (1982) by Brian Eno
From Eno’s On Land.

Ba-Benzélé (1982) by Jon Hassell
A different version to the piece from Possible Musics which appears on Music And Rhythm, a WOMAD compilation album.

Passaggio A Nord-Ovest (1982) by Jon Hassell
One of several unique pieces on Sulla Strada (1995), a collection of music created for an Italian stage work based on Jack Kerouac’s On the Road.

Map of Dusk (1982) by Jon Hassell
A special commission for Myths 3. La Nouvelle Sérénité, a Sub Rosa compilation.

Sketch Pad With Trumpet And Voice (1985) by Peter Gabriel
From the soundtrack to Birdy.

Heroin (1993) by Ry Cooder
More soundtrack work, this one being for Walter Hill’s Trespass which features Hassell’s trumpet timbres throughout. I always regard this album as a darker, nightscape parallel to Hassell’s sunnier City: Works Of Fiction, not least for the way both albums are hip-hop related. There’s more from Trespass later in the mix.

Tycho City (1997) by Bluescreen Project
From The Vertical Collection (Sketches). Bluescreen Project was a collaboration with Peter Freeman which remixes works from the Hassell catalogue to create new hybrids.

Pygmy Dance (1993) by Jon Hassell
Another unique commission, this time for Ai Confini / Interzone on New Tone Records.

Slow Loris Vs. Poison Snail (1997) by David Toop
A guest appearance with tabla player Talvin Singh.

Power Malay (1997) by Bluescreen Project

Anima (1991) by Les Nouvelles Polyphonies Corses With Hector Zazou
A collection of Corsican songs given contemporary settings by Hector Zazou.

A Day For Trade Winds (2000) by Ronu Majumdar, Ry Cooder & Jon Hassell, Abhijit Banerjee

Amsterdam Blue (Cortege) (2000) by Jon Hassell, Gregg Arreguin, Jamie Muhoberac And Peter Freeman
From a soundtrack for a film that few people have a good word for, Million Dollar Hotel. It does, however, feature a Jon Hassell cameo and this excellent piece of music.

The Seeds Of Fate (1998) by The Insects & Richard Grassby-Lewis Featuring Jon Hassell
From the soundtrack to Richard Kwietniowski’s film of Gilbert Adair’s funny and touching novel, Love and Death on Long Island.

 


Weekend links 416

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Cover art and design by Arien Vallzadeh, Dan Kuehn, Mati Klarwein & Taska Cleveland.

• At Bandcamp: “Jon Hassell collages the past on his absorbing new record”. The new album, Listening to Pictures (Pentimento Volume One), was released last week, and it joins the rest of Hassell’s catalogue in sounding unlike any of his other albums while still being recognisably the work of the same artist. Musical collage is a familiar technique today but was much less common thirty years ago; it’s almost a constant in Hassell’s work, however, going back to Possible Musics (1980), with its tape-looped rhythms and layered recordings, to the later Magic Realism (1983), an album which was in the vanguard of digital sampling, and which still sounds like nothing else.

• “We’re supposedly in the middle of a vinyl revival, streaming services are hoovering up all the coin, and everyone seems to have a cassette column. But, argues James Toth, it’s the humble compact disc that we should be celebrating.” No argument here, I’ve long favoured CDs over vinyl even before the current fad for overpriced antique (or not-so-antique) discs and equally overpriced new pressings.

• “Reading [Robert] Aickman’s strange stories is to glimpse a reality you would prefer to forget,” says John Gray. Among the other writers mentioned in Gray’s piece is the excellent (and under-recognised) Walter de la Mare; Wormwoodiana’s Mark Valentine reviews a previously unseen de la Mare story.

• At The Wire: Greetings Music Lover: The premiere of Steve Urquhart’s new audio documentary exploring the life and work of BBC Radio Lancashire broadcaster and Wire contributor Steve Barker.

• Out in November: k-punk: The Collected and Unpublished Writings of Mark Fisher (2004–2016).

• “European cinema embraces the vagina—what’s taken Hollywood so long?” asks Anne Billson.

Strange Stars: David Bowie, Pop Music, and the Decade Sci-Fi Exploded by Jason Heller.

• “Avoid all systems”: Ex-Can vocalist Damo Suzuki is interviewed at Dangerous Minds.

• “A new room in the Great Pyramid”: lost 1963 John Coltrane album discovered.

• Mixes of the week: FACT mix 656 by Mor Elian, and 6 by The Ephemeral Man.

• An introduction by Erik Davis to The Night Land by William Hope Hodgson.

Pyramid Of The Sun (1960) by Les Baxter | The Giant Pyramid Sitting At The Bottom Of The Sea Of Bermuda And The Ancient People (1979) by Isao Tomita | The Obsidian Pyramid (2005) by Eric Zann

 


The South Bank Show: Dracula

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While illustrating Dracula earlier this year I was listening to Wojciech Kilar’s soundtrack to Francis Coppola’s Dracula to sustain the vampiric mood. I also watched Coppola’s film again, it’s an adaptation I enjoy a great deal despite its flaws. (This post detailed some of the plus points.) The South Bank Show‘s programme devoted to Dracula on page and screen was broadcast in early 1993, timed for the opening of Coppola’s film in the UK. I watched this when it was first shown, and remembered it being a good one but neglected to go searching for it back in January. I also remembered it being more about Coppola’s film than it is, although there’s still enough to make it a substantial promo piece.

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The territory here may be familiar but the evolution of Stoker’s novel is contextualised by some expert commentators—Leonard Wolf, Elaine Showalter (with a copy of Bram Dijkstra’s Idols of Perversity at her side) and Christopher Frayling—while discussion of the film adaptations includes Christopher Lee, Francis Coppola, James V. Hart (the screenwriter of Coppola’s film), Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder and others. Among the film clips there are several scenes from Count Dracula, Gerald Savory’s 1977 adaptation for the BBC. This is surprising since The South Bank Show was screened by the BBC’s rival, ITV. But Savory’s Count Dracula is still the most faithful screen adaptation that I’ve seen (and possibly the most faithful to date) so it’s a worthwhile choice, and one whose naturalism makes a sober contrast to Coppola’s Sturm und Drang.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Illustrating Dracula
Illustrating Frankenstein
Dracula and I by Christopher Lee
The Dracula Annual
Nightmare: The Birth of Horror
Albin Grau’s Nosferatu
Count Dracula
Symbolist cinema

 


 


 

Signed & numbered prints

    Blotter Art prints

 


 

Coulthart Books

    The Haunter of the Dark
    Reverbstorm

 


 

Previously on { feuilleton }

    omara.jpg   arthur_lee.jpg

 


 

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