Feb 5, 2017
Red Queen (no date) by Jo Brocklehurst.
• Happy birthday to Kenneth Anger, 90 years old this week. In 2008 Anger was interviewed by Nicolas Winding Refn at the National Gallery of Denmark, Copenhagen.
• “Fabeness be to the Auntie, and to the Homie Chavvie, and to the Fantabulosa Fairy”. “Church ‘regret’ as trainees hold service in gay slang.”
• Andrew Male on Michael Chapman, an exceptional guitarist, and “the man who connects Elton, Bowie, Nick Drake and Sonic Youth”.
• A trailer for A Life In Waves a documentary about synth composer Suzanne Ciani by Brett Whitcomb and Bradford Thomason.
• The website for design company Barnbrook has been relaunched, as has the site for Jonathan Barnbrook‘s personal work.
• Mixes of the week: Secret Thirteen Mix 209 by Umwelt, and XLR8R Podcast 475 by Melina Serser.
• Ryan Gilbey: “From Sean Connery to Harrison Ford: actors who secretly played roles gay.”
• Writer and editor Russ Kick is selling his huge book collection.
• Lucifer Sam (1967) by Pink Floyd | Lucifer (1968) by The Salt | Lucifer Rising (2002) by John Zorn
Feb 3, 2017
A few snapshots of the exhibits from Wednesday’s sold-out event at the Horse Hospital, Bloomsbury, London. As noted here before, the impetus for the event was Paul Guest’s printing of my series of psychedelic Alice pictures (above) as blotter prints, sheets of blotting paper having been a common medium for the delivery of LSD doses in the late 60s and 1970s. Since my pictures are relatively small and only filled out one of the walls the rest of the exhibition space was filled with Alice art of a similar tone. The opposite wall also featured a variety of fascinating period artefacts from The Psychedelic Museum, including a few original (and rare) blotter sheets. My time was taken up preparing for the discussion so I wasn’t as diligent as I usually try to be in documenting all the artists involved.
The discussion itself went really well. The audience was receptive and small enough to be easily communicable, while the talk never strayed too far from the subject at hand. My thanks to my fellow participants—Nikki Wyrd, Jake Fior, Sophia Satchell-Baeza and Andy Roberts—and huge thanks to Vyvy and John and the rest of the Horse Hospital staff for making the event run so smoothly.
The exhibition continues through to Saturday (Feb. 4th), noon to 6pm; entry is free. My blotter prints will remain on sale at the exhibition, and they can also be ordered from Paul at Blotterart.biz, either as single prints or a collected set of 12. For serious collectors the set of 12 will be available as a boxed edition of signed and numbered prints (limited to 100 sets) with a lid design adapted from my 2010 Alice calendar. I should note that the print quality is excellent, and web reproduction doesn’t do justice to the colour or the detail.
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Jan 29, 2017
Wasted Alice (2017) by Sonia Lazo.
• Brian Eno: “We’ve been in decline for 40 years—Trump is a chance to rethink.” An equivocal headline, and the usual misinterpretation from the hard-of-thinking, prompted Eno to issue a clarification. More Trumpery: Jonathan Meades wonders what kind of wall “The Lout” might want to build. Related: almost all of Meades’ smart and witty television essays may be viewed at MeadesShrine (click through to Vimeo for download links).
• “Once you’ve turned entire buildings into instruments as on Medium, and then you’ve made the ionosphere itself an instrument as on Signal, where do you go next?” Emptyset discuss their forthcoming album, Borders, and a change in their working methods.
• Christopher Burke & David Davis at Weird Fiction Review talk to Valancourt Books about reprinting neglected works of horror and gay fiction.
• At the BFI this week: All about Jim Jarmusch’s leading men, from Tom Waits to Bill Murray, and John Hurt (RIP): 10 essential films.
• “Claude Arnaud’s biography of Jean Cocteau shows how the artist lived a life nourished by infinity,” says Ricky D’Ambrose
• Sukhdev Sandhu on John Berger: “a pathfinder who was alive to the present”.
• Theodore Carter on Doll Part Art: Visual Feasts Made of Plastic Bodies.
• Count Backwards from Ten: Peter Bebergal‘s Top 10 Occult in Media.
• Books from Strange Attractor will now be distributed by MIT Press.
• Eero Saarinen, the architect who saw the future.
• Mix of the week: FACT Mix 585 by Niagara.
• RIP Maggie Roche.
• Hammond Song (1979) by The Roches | Losing True (1982) by The Roches | Keep On Doing What You Do / Jerks On The Loose (live, 1990) by The Roches
Jan 25, 2017
One thing to note about the late Jaki Liebezeit is that everyone liked Can in the 1970s, which means that everyone liked Jaki Liebezeit’s drumming. When the music wars were raging in 1976, Can were one of the few groups from the hippy side of the barricade given a pass by the punks. Prog-heads liked Can because of the rock grooves and complex improvisations; punks enjoyed the muscular insistence of songs like Father Cannot Yell and Halleluwah. David Bowie liked Can; Brian Eno liked Can enough to let Jaki Liebezeit guest on Before And After Science (Eno also made this tribute video for the Can DVD); John Lydon when he was still Johnny Rotten played Halleluwah on his Capital Radio show in 1977 together with other favourite records; a year later, Pete Shelley wrote a sleeve note for a Can compilation (and the first Can album I bought), Cannibalism; Mark E. Smith liked Can (of course); Siouxsie called Jaki Liebezeit “the best drummer in the world,” while Jah Wobble would go on to work with Liebezeit on numerous recordings under his own name and as a guest on other albums. Some of the Wobble recordings appear below. If there’s a minimum of Can music in the following list that’s mainly because Mute/Spoon keep the back catalogue away from British users of YouTube. I don’t mind that; the absence of the prime stuff means I can draw attention to some examples of Jaki Liebezeit’s post-Can work which might otherwise be overlooked.
Mother Sky/Deadlock (1970) by Can.
Two numbers from the fantastic live set the group played on German TV for an audience of ecstatic/bored/stoned hippies.
Jaki Liebezeit drum solo (1970).
In the Can Book Liebezeit says he never played drum solos but he was forgetting about this example from the group’s early days.
Flammende Herzen (1977) by Michael Rother.
Michael Rother’s first solo album was also his best after leaving Neu! The album is essentially a duet between Rother and Liebezeit, with Rother playing all instruments apart from the drums.
Oh Lord Give Us More Money (1979) by Holger Czukay.
In which Holger Czukay takes the Can song Hunters And Collectors, removes the vocals then extends and remixes the whole thing into a 13-minute collage blending the music with BBC sound effects and vocal samples taken from radio and TV. Samplers didn’t exist in 1979, this was all done with tape, and it’s incredible. I forget whether it was Jaki Liebezeit or Michael Karoli who said they didn’t recognise their playing afterwards (probably the latter) but Leibezeit’s drums sustain the entire piece. He also plays on the rest of the album. Movies is Czukay’s masterpiece, and more true to the questing, inventive spirit of Can than the albums the group made after Landed. Another track, Persian Love, samples Middle Eastern vocalists two years before My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts. Eno was paying attention.
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Jan 22, 2017
Axiom Dub – Mysteries Of Creation (1996), a Bill Laswell production. Art by James Koehnline.
• As noted earlier, the great Bill Laswell has made some of his sprawling back catalogue available at Bandcamp, news of which has prompted Vinyl Factory to put together a recommended listening guide. Judging by the comments I’m not the only Laswell-head deploring the absence of the masterpiece from Material, Hallucination Engine. Linked here before, and happily still being updated, the comprehensive Bill Laswell discography at Silent-Watcher. Related: An ESP-Disk Primer by Marc Masters.
• Listen to the Voice of Fire, a symposium concerning alchemy in sound art, takes place at the National Library of Wales at the beginning of March. Phil Legard offers some thoughts on alchemy, music and John Dee.
• The guilty cinematic pleasures of John Carpenter. Related: Director and actor Alice Lowe chooses seven favourite horror films.
• The Broomway, Essex, a tidal path known as “The Doomway” for its reputation as the most dangerous walk in Britain.
• Mixes of the week: K-Punk presents Return to the Fourth World, and FACT Mix 584 by Lawrence English.
• “There was more to the late John Berger than that TV series and art book”, says Richard Turney.
• “Music’s cassette-tape revival is paying off,” says John Paul Titlow.
• Diamanda Galás announces two new albums.
• Bob Dylan paints a Blackpool pier.
• Pixel art by Uno Moralez
• One Letter Words
• Reduction (1980) by Material | Ghost Light/Dread Recall (1996) by Material | No Guts No Galaxy (1999) by Material (feat. Ramm Ell Zee & phonosycographDISK)