As promised last week, here’s my latest cover for Megan Derr’s gay fantasy series, Tales of the High Court. The first book wasn’t intended to have this many sequels so my initial cover design also wasn’t planned as something that might be a template for later volumes. The previous books (below) borrowed bits and pieces from a set of early Viollet-le-Duc illustrations, a decision that posed problems as the series evolved when I began to run out of usable material. The new book required a different setting so I was able to dispense with the medieval architecture in favour of a hybrid of Indian and Cambodian stonework. I’ve always enjoyed the ruined-jungle-temple aesthetic so this was fun to work on, and made a break from all the black-and-white illustration I’ve been producing for the past year or so. The Mercenaries of the Stolen Moon will be published by Less Than Three Press later this year.
• Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo is sixty years old this year. It’s a film I’ve always found to be preposterous and very over-rated, despite the considerable strengths of its cast, production, etc; consequently, any claims to its being an unalloyed masterpiece (such as being voted the best film of all time in the 2012 Sight & Sound poll) have been difficult to accept. For the latest anniversary, David Thomson examined the film in the light of changing social attitudes.
• Currently seeking funding at Unbound: Stars, Fools and Lovers: An illustrated guide to the art and history of the Tarot by Joanna Ebenstein, Laetitia Barbier and Mark Pilkington. Another Tarot-related book, Pamela Colman Smith: The Untold Story by Stuart R. Kaplan with Mary K. Greer, Elizabeth Foley O’Connor and Melinda Boyd Parsons, will be published next month.
• Coming soon from Lazarus Corporation: England’s Dark Dreaming by Paul Watson.
• Sean Kitching on The Strange World of Charles Hayward (This Heat et al).
• At Dennis Copper’s: The title sequences of 56 mostly horror movies.
• Stone circles: Adam Scovell chooses 10 notable cinematic examples.
• “You gotta be selfish. It’s a terrible thing,” says David Lynch.
• Wolf’s Kompaktkiste shows off a serious record collection.
• Boy with Cat (1966), a short film by Donald Richie.
• Mix of the week: Secret Thirteen Mix 256 by Nina.
• Tank (2018), a short film by Stu Maschwitz.
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.
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.
• “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.
• Mix of the week: FACT mix 657 by Beatrice Dillon.
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.