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


 

The Quietened Mechanisms

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The latest themed collection from A Year In The Country is a surprise for being a dramatic departure from the previous installment, the very musical Shildam House Tapes. The Quietened Mechanisms follows similar the label’s other Quietened releases—Bunker, Cosmologists and Village—in seeking to represent in sound or music a sense of absence or ending. The theme of the new collection is the end of Britain’s industrial revolution, a period of social and geological turmoil whose ruins still litter the landscape, especially in the Midlands and North of England. Consequently, the entries this time are sparse to the point of abstraction, tending to the soundscape end of the musical spectrum.

The album is an exploration of abandoned and derelict industry, infrastructure, technology and equipment that once upon a time helped to create, connect and sustain society.

It wanders amongst deserted factories, discarded machinery, closed mines, mills and kilns and their echoes and remains; taking a moment or two to reflect on these once busy, functioning centres of activity and the sometimes sheer scale or amount of effort and human endeavour that was required to create and operate such structures and machines, many of which are now just left to fade away.

Track list:
1) The Heartwood Institute—Birkby and Allbright Mine
2) Quaker’s Stang—The Hoffman Kiln
3) Depatterning—Of Looms in the Housen
4) Embertides—Ash, Oak & Sulphur
5) Dom Cooper—Metallurgy
6) Field Lines Cartographer—The Mill in the Forest
7) Grey Frequency—Nottingham Canal
8) Howlround—A Closed Circuit
9) The Soulless Party—Rattler to the Tower
10) Keith Seatman—Rural Flight
11) Listening Center—Clarion of the Collapsed Complex
12) Spaceship—The Stones Speak of Short Lives
13) Sproatly Smith—Canary Babies
14) Pulselovers—Fuggles
15) Time Attendant—Hidden Parameters
16) Vic Mars—Watchtower and Engine
17) A Year In The Country—The Structure/Respite

This is post-industrial music in the multiple senses of the term although Dom Cooper’s Metallurgy harks back to the Industrial metal-bashing sub-genre of the 1980s. The pieces that seek to conjure pictures of abandoned places do so in ways that aren’t always so obvious: The Mill In The Forest by Field Lines Cartographer is closer to Gil Mellé’s Andromeda Strain soundtrack than Shirley Collins. Not all the contributions have immediately obvious titles so the accompanying notes are essential: Sproatly Smith’s solemn Canary Babies is a memorial to the women who worked in the Rother Ordnance Factory making bombs and shells, and whose skins were turned yellow by the chemicals they used. This isn’t industrial nostalgia, in other words, but an often poignant commemoration. Another impressive installment in this ongoing series. The Quietened Mechanisms will be released on 2nd October 2018, and is available for order here.

Previously on { feuilleton }
The Shildam Hall Tapes
Audio Albion
A Year In The Country: the book
All The Merry Year Round
The Quietened Cosmologists
Undercurrents
From The Furthest Signals
The Restless Field
The Marks Upon The Land
The Forest / The Wald
The Quietened Bunker
Fractures

 


Weekend links 430

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Il Mago from the IONA Tarot by Giona Fiochi.

• “Russia’s answer to James Bond: did he trigger Putin’s rise to power?” Andrew Male on Max Otto von Stierlitz and Seventeen Moments of Spring. The whole series is on YouTube (with subtitles).

Geeta Dayal reviews High Static, Dead Lines: Sonic Spectres and the Object Hereafter by Kristen Gallerneaux, a new book about the eeriness of sound technology.

• Published next month: Strange Frequencies: The Extraordinary Story of the Technological Quest for the Supernatural by Peter Bebergal.

Let me first introduce an aside: I hate the word “queer” and all its new iterations. “Gay” was awful enough. “‘Gays’ makes us sound like bliss ninnies,” Christopher Isherwood said once. “Queer” will always be for men of my generation a word of violence and hatred, and it separates generations. And while I’m digressing, let me commit blasphemy: the over-emphasis on the Stonewall riots depletes and distorts our history of resistance and the art produced, which is determinedly referred to as “pre-Stonewall.” Resistance occurred years before Stonewall (but there were lots of writers in New York at the time to write about those riots), in San Francisco, Los Angeles, other cities, powerful confrontations with the police, powerful demonstrations. “Pre-Stonewall” writers include William Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, strong radical voices confronting the grave dangers of the time, violence, prison.

John Rechy talking to Eric Newman about his latest novel, Pablo!, written in 1948 but only now seeing publication

Tangerine Dream performing Identity Proven Matrix, one of the standout pieces from recent album Quantum Gate, live in the studio.

Beloved is the debut solo album by Randall Dunn, record producer and member of the masterful Master Musicians of Bukkake.

• “How will police solve murders on Mars?” Geoff Manaugh on the new frontier of interplanetary law enforcement.

Milly Burroughs on how Verner Panton changed the way the world sees furniture design.

Tim Martin on the new science of psychedelics.

Werner’s Nomenclature of Colours

Next Stop Mars (1966) by Sun Ra & His Arkestra | Mars, The Bringer Of War (1976) by Isao Tomita | Mars Garden (2013) by Juan Atkins & Moritz Von Oswald

 


Saki: The Improper Stories of HH Munro

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I thought I’d written about this some time ago but it appears not so the present post can serve as a way to honour the talents of the late Fenella Fielding. The obituaries this week have inevitably emphasised her roles in the Carry On films, a series of alleged comedies that I’ve never liked, and which weren’t much liked by several of the actors who appeared in them. Fenella Fielding did much more than this, of course, especially in the theatre, on radio and in television, including appearances such as the one here from a collection of adaptations of the peerless short stories of Hector Hugh Munro, better known as Saki. Granada TV made a whole series of these in 1962, broadcasting this anthology in 1985 following the death of producer Philip Mackie. Fenella appears in the second story, A Holiday Task, as the forgetful Mary Drakmanton, and she fits so well with into Saki’s world that I really wish I’d suggested to my colleagues at Savoy Books a reading or two by Fenella from Saki. She enjoyed reading Colette for Savoy, and chose the selections herself, one of which concerned Colette’s homosexual friends. Given this, I can imagine Fenella teasing out some of the sly gay humour that runs like a scarlet thread through Saki’s Clovis stories.

The other pieces in this Granada collection are The Stampeding of Lady Bastable, The Way to the Dairy, Sredni Vashtar and A Defensive Diamond. The story editor was Gerald Savory who later did such an excellent job adapting Dracula for the BBC.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Fenella Fielding reads Colette

 


Weekend links 429

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• Julia Holter’s next album, Aviary, will arrive next month with a cover design bearing astrological symbols (a cryptic message?) and what looks like a grimoire page in the background, although I may be reading too much into this. Whatever the esoterics signify, the album is a double, and going by the sound of new song I Shall Love 2 it’s going to be a good one. Aviary will be released on 26th October just in time for the witch season.

Donna Ferguson talks to Oscar Wilde’s grandson, Merlin Holland, about the manuscript for The Picture of Dorian Gray which includes more openly homoerotic sentences than were included in the printed versions. A facsimile of the manuscript is now available in a limited, numbered edition from SP Books.

• The final single in the excellent Other Voices series from the Ghost Box label is released later this month. Something Out Of Nothing is by Sharron Kraus and Belbury Poly.

…we’re still trying to operate this new, paranoid society on what amounts to a psychedelic substrate—with little or no awareness of how our sets and settings are determining our results. The set and setting of the advertiser yield addictive behavioral design and persuasive technologies. The set and setting of the investor lead to algorithmic trading and winner-takes-all, extractive businesses. The set and setting of the military lead to drone warfare. The set and setting of the politician lead to targeted propaganda and digital fascism.

America is unconsciously living in a psychedelic landscape and having a bad trip. We don’t realize that we are living in a media environment that offers us an unprecedented capacity over reality. The world may have always been a consensual hallucination to some extent, but never before have we built our world so completely.

The internet is acid, and America is having a bad trip, says Douglas Rushkoff

Photographia Erotica Historica is a tiny leatherbound collection of antique pornography from Goliath Books.

Why is the Federal Government threatening an indie book publisher with $100,000 in fines?

• Undead, undead: my illustrations for Dracula are featured at Dangerous Minds. Thanks!

• The Vinyl Factory meets Japanese composer and musician Midori Takada.

• Exploring HP Lovecraft’s Gothic roots by Dr Xavier Aldana Reyes.

• From 2013: Dario Argento discussing his films with Alan Jones.

• Aurora Mitchell on Electro pioneer Doris Norton.

• Mix of the week: XLR8R Podcast 558 by DJ T.

Aviator (1970) by Michael Chapman | Aviation (2000) by Fluxion | Aviation (2001) by Monolake

 


The eyes have it

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Recent picture research turned up issues of L’Oeil de la Police, a lurid French crime magazine that I hadn’t encountered before. It shouldn’t be too surprising when the nation that gave the world the guillotine and Grand Guignol theatre produces magazines filled with gore, but the amount of red ink in these pages (also applied to gun shots and explosions) is certainly unusual for the time. The covers of Le Petit Journal—which ran concurrently with L’Oeil de la Police—also tended to the lurid and gory but the quality of illustration was better there. L’Oeil de la Police is positively cartoon-like, especially on the back covers of each issue which present their disasters in comic-like pages overseen by the spectral Eye of the Law. This is rather disingenuous when many of the scenes don’t involve law-breaking at all, but are reports of natural disasters and fatal accidents. The samples below show the most bizarre feature of the back pages which is the titular Eye in places becoming anthropomorphised, like an atrocity-viewing precursor of the eyeball heads worn by The Residents.

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The L’Oeil de la Police archive at Gallica runs from 1908 to 1914 should you require an antique disaster fix. The archive site has improved in recent years but it can still be awkward (and slow) to use so perseverance is required.

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