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


 

Kay Nielsen’s Grimm Fairy Tales

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Illustrated editions of the Grimm Brothers’ fairy tales are so numerous it’s easy to overlook the better examples. Kay Nielsen’s edition isn’t only better than most, it’s an outstanding example of his meticulous approach to story illustration. Hansel and Gretel and Other Stories was published in 1925, and the beautiful colour plates really need to be seen at a larger size. You can view the rest of the book here or download it here.

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The art of Theodor Kittelsen, 1857–1914

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The Water Spirit (1904).

Theodor Kittelsen is, we’re told, one of Norway’s most popular artists and illustrators. This would explain why so much of his work has appeared on the covers of albums by Norwegian metal bands although it also helps that one of the books he illustrated is entitled Svartedauen (The Black Death). The picture below, one of several portraits of trolls and mythological creatures, appeared on the sleeve of Long Island, the most recent album by US band Endless Boogie. Discogs has a list of Kittelsen’s other album cover appearances which also include classical releases. This site has more of the artist’s paintings and illustrations. (Via Wood s Lot).

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Forest Troll (1906).

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Fishing Water Spirit (1912).

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The Invasion of Thunderbolt Pagoda, a film by Ira Cohen

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An inevitable follow-up to yesterday’s film, Ira Cohen’s fantasia from 1968 is one of the classics of psychedelic cinema, a Kenneth Anger-like delirium that makes great use of Cohen’s obsession with Mylar distortions. Anger’s Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome is the model here, with a cast of revellers adopting various guises; Cohen himself appears as The Majoon Traveler and Death. The long version of the film at YouTube is the expanded edition that Arthur magazine released in 2006. Unfortunately the original score by Angus MacLise has been replaced by something that’s even more annoying that the jokey music for NY, NY. I’d recommend finding a suitably trippy substitute.

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Previously on { feuilleton }
Ira Cohen, 1935–2011
Dreamweapon: The Art and Life of Angus MacLise, 1938–1979
William Burroughs by Ira Cohen, 1967
The Invasion of Thunderbolt Pagoda

 


NY, NY, a film by Francis Thompson

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In Heaven and Hell (1956) Aldous Huxley considers various forms of art that might be said to imitate or resemble the intense visuals generated by psychedelic agents. In past centuries this would include firework displays and the vivid hues of stained glass windows; when discussing the present, mention is made of NY, NY, a short film by Francis Thompson that Huxley had recently seen.

Thompson’s film presents a day in the life of New York City with every shot being subject to some form of distortion or fragmentation via prismatic lenses or reflected surfaces. Nearly sixty years later this seems less psychedelic than it would have done to Huxley, although some of the reflections give the same effects as Ira Cohen’s later Mylar Chamber photographs. Watch NY, NY here, and if you do I’d recommend muting the Mickey Mouse score.

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Previously on { feuilleton }
Fog Line, a film by Larry Gottheim
Wavelength
La Région Centrale

 


Listen to the Colour of Your Dreams: Part Three

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Continuing the psychedelic mega-mix based on Jon Savage’s list of “100 mind-expanding masterpieces” (see this post). The third of the six mixes is the final visit to the UK, with songs from the years 1967 to 1969. As before, the selections from the Savage 100 are in bold, and I’ve added a few notes about my additions or amendments.

By late 1968 different musical trends were becoming apparent in pop music, all of which would develop into distinct movements of their own in the 1970s. Some of the strands are evident here, notably heavy rock, progressive rock, and the first stirrings of electronic music. Savage didn’t include any electronic songs in his UK listing but I had to have something from White Noise, an obscure group at the time whose first album, An Electric Storm, has since proved very influential. That album is infused with the psychedelic spirit, especially on Your Hidden Dreams, one of the many songs of the period that conflates dreams with drug experiences. An earlier version of this mix did include Your Hidden Dreams but I’ve ended up going with Love Without Sound, the first piece the group recorded.

The most surprising entry in all six mixes is probably the song by Cilla Black, an artist whose name seldom (if ever) appears in discussions of psychedelia. This was a discovery via another list for Mojo magazine compiled by Rob Chapman, a collection of novelty hits, comedy songs (Dick Shawn’s Love Power from The Producers), and various obscurities. Cilla’s song was included for featuring yet more lyrics that may or may not be about drugs. The faux-Arabian arrangement is by George Martin. If I ever track down all of Chapman’s songs I may upload them as well.

UK Psychedelia, Part Three by Feuilleton on Mixcloud

The Rolling Stones — 2000 Light Years From Home (The Stones at their most cosmic.)
The Nice — Flower King Of Flies (The Savage 100 has Diamond Hard Blue Apples Of The Moon, a B-side that’s also very badly recorded, hence this substitute.)
Status Quo — Pictures Of Matchstick Men
Big Boy Pete — Cold Turkey
The Pretty Things — Talkin’ About The Good Times (Another marvellous single from a group at the peak of their powers.)
Julie Driscoll with Brian Auger and The Trinity — This Wheel’s On Fire (Julie Driscoll also did a great cover of Donovan’s Season Of The Witch. This gets included for the modish phasing and for being the theme song for Absolutely Fabulous on which Driscoll also sings.)
Nirvana (UK) — Rainbow Chaser
The Rokes — When The Wind Arises (An English band recording for the Italian market.)
Boeing Duveen & The Beautiful Soup — Which Dreamed It? (Hank Wangford in an earlier guise. A Lewis Carroll poem set to music, this was the dreamy B-side of the group’s Jabberwocky single.)
The Mirror — Faster Than Light
Fairport Convention — It’s Alright Ma, It’s Only Witchcraft
The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown — Fire
Pink Floyd — Jugband Blues
Cilla Black — Abyssinian Secret
The Jimi Hendrix Experience — 1983 (A Merman I Should Turn to Be)
White Noise — Love Without Sound
The Apple — The Other Side
Kaleidoscope (UK) — Faintly Blowing
Jason Crest — Black Mass (A Satanic obscurity that pre-empts Black Sabbath by several months.)
The Open Mind — Magic Potion (By late 1969 it was much too late to still be writing drug songs but that’s what you have here. The heavy riff points to the future.)
Blind Faith — Can’t Find My Way Home

Previously on { feuilleton }
Listen to the Colour of Your Dreams: Part Two
Listen to the Colour of Your Dreams: Part One
What Is A Happening?
My White Bicycle
Ogdens’ Nut Gone Flake
Tomorrow Never Knows
The Dukes declare it’s 25 O’Clock!
A splendid time is guaranteed for all

 


 




 

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Penda's Fen by David Rudkin