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


 

Covers for Der Orchideengarten

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I was going to finish the year with a post showing some of the handful of product designs I’ve done recently but since some the products in question still need to be photographed that’ll have to wait. After a peculiarly dark and grotesque year it seems more fitting to end with a post of dark and grotesque artwork from an earlier epoch. Der Orchideengarten has been the subject of several posts here in the past but it’s only this week that I’ve had the opportunity to see an entire run of the world’s first magazine devoted solely to fantastic art and literature. Der Orchideengarten ran for 51 issues from 1919 to 1921; the editors were Hans Strobl and Alfons von Czibulka, and the contents comprised original fiction, book reviews and reprints in German of notable works of weird literature.

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The interior graphics (previously) are in a style similar to those found in Jugend and other German magazines of the period (plus reprints of Beardsley, Doré, and the like), while the covers follow the Jugend template of being different in style and format for every issue. All of these covers are from the wonderful resource at the University of Heidelberg where every issue of Der Orchideengarten is available for download. Even if you can’t read German the magazine is worth browsing for its very European view of the fantastic, a view which tends to be darker and more adult than the American magazines that would soon overshadow it. Some of the covers are strange in a manner that Weird Tales seldom achieved, and many of them feature an orchid somewhere in the design.

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The George Dower Trilogy by KW Jeter

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My latest covers for Angry Robot are a return to the world of steampunk, and also a return to the novels of KW Jeter, the man who not only wrote some of the pioneering novels of the sub-genre but also invented the term steampunk in the first place. Infernal Devices was one of the pioneering texts, and it’s a book that’s been very good to me in its earlier Angry Robot edition, with a cover design that’s been well-received around the world. (It still pops up regularly on the front page of Goodreads.)

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The brief for the republication was to create fresh covers for Infernal Devices and for its two sequels; the second of these, Fiendish Schemes, was first published by Tor with (at the author’s request) another cover of mine that matched the Angry Robot design. Grim Expectations is a new novel which makes George Dower’s adventures in an alternate-history Britain into a trilogy. The request for the new designs was to avoid the detailed Victoriana of the earlier editions in favour of something that would suit the content but be a little more restrained. Mention was made of the Picador covers for Italo Calvino that Gary Day-Ellison designed with the Quay Brothers in the 1980s. Those covers are personal favourites so I was happy to use a similar vertical division with small illustrative elements, the details of which relate to the stories but without being too literal. My designs are a lot more florid in comparison to the Calvinos but then the content demanded a shift of emphasis. After having created a lot of steampunk art emblazoned with cogs of all shapes and sizes the one thing I didn’t want to do was use more cogs on these covers. So the background pattern for Infernal Devices is cog-like but is actually an abstract design I found in a book of 19th-century decoration. Similarly, the circle motifs at the top of each cover are also cog-like but are more Victorian embellishments.

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All three books will be published in June 2017; a long time to wait but there’s more about the new novel—and the series as a whole—at Tor.com.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Steampunk in the Tank
More vapour trails
Steampunk catalogued
Steampunk: The Art of Victorian Futurism
Steampunk Calendar
Words and pictures
Nathanial Krill at the Time Node
Fiendish Schemes
Ghosts in Gaslight, Monsters in Steam
Steampunk Revolution
The Bookman Histories
Aether Cola
Crafting steampunk illustrations
SteamPunk Magazine
Morlocks, airships and curious cabinets
The Steampunk Bible
Steampunk Reloaded
Steampunk overloaded!
More Steampunk and the Crawling Chaos
Steampunk Redux
Steampunk framed
Steampunk Horror Shortcuts

 


Weekend links 340

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Fly Carefully (1969) by Stanislaw Zagorski.

• Video of Tuxedomoon live in San Francisco, Rotterdam and Paris, 1983 (or try this copy), and a late-night German TV broadcast from 1985. The first Tuxedomoon album, Half-Mute, has been reissued by Crammed Discs with an accompanying album, Give Me New Noise: Half-Mute Reflected, featuring cover versions of the songs by various artists.

• More end-of-year reviews: Dennis Cooper’s recommendations are always eclectic (and thanks again for the blog shout!); not necessarily the best ambient and space music of 2016 by Dave Maier; a review of the year by graphic designer Jonathan Barnbrook; the 15 finalists of the 2016 Art of Building architectural photography competition.

The Complete Stories of Leonora Carrington will be published in April 2017 by Dorothy. Related: Letters, Dreams, and Other Texts by Remedios Varo will be published next year by Wakefield Press. Also of interest on that page is a new edition of Haschisch by Oscar AH Schmitz illustrated by Alfred Kubin.

• The week in Things (see this post): John Carpenter’s The Thing: The Story of an SF Horror Game-Changer. Ennio Morricone’s score will be infecting the vinyl world next year. Meanwhile, Matthew Thrift recommends “10 great films set in the Arctic and Antarctica”.

• Mixes of the week: FACT mix 581 by Pan Daijing, XLR8R podcast 468 by Jan Jelinek, and Secret Thirteen Mix 203 by Blood Sport.

A Year In The Country on Monumental Follies (1972), a book about architectural eccentricity by Stuart Barton.

• William Burroughs reads 23 random paragraphs from Naked Lunch each time you load this page.

• “The world is terrifying and destructive and dehumanising and tragic,” says Charlie Kaufman.

• Scents and sensuality: William Dalrymple on the perfumes of India, past and present.

• Brenda S G Walter on Hill House: The haunted soul of Shirley Jackson.

• A trailer for Dome Karukoski’s Tom of Finland. There’s more here.

Illustrating the Sixties: Paintings by Italian artists in London.

Michael Rother and Cavern Of Anti-Matter live in Berlin.

Cinemetal

Network 23 (1981) by Tangerine Dream | Exit 23 (1989) by Psychick Warriors Ov Gaia | Studio 23 (2012) by The Time And Space Machine

 


Subtextual

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Études (2015) by Yair Elazar Glotman.

The work section of this website is still lacking the addition of some recent commissions but I have managed this week to get the albums section up to date. If I don’t talk about my work in the music world very much that’s because it’s been scaled down in recent years. I am still working regularly for the Subtext label, however, and the releases shown here are all the recent designs bar the latest one which will be out in February.

Almost all my work for Subtext involves preparing artwork I’ve been sent, and applying the relevant text information (or “label copy” as the big record companies prefer to call it). That’s generally easy work but the minimal style of Subtext means that some designs go through several iterations before everyone is happy with the results. The Signal album by Emptyset required the careful cropping and adjusting of James Ginzburg’s photos to get something that sat well in the square of the album sleeve. Almost all the artwork here was selected by the artists; if it wasn’t then it was prepared with their approval. The individual web pages show the full layouts, and also have all the necessary artwork credits.

As to the audio content, Subtext releases operate in the nebulous intersection between noise, drones, sound design and ambient music. The albums by Paul Jebanasam and FIS were featured this month on a list of the Top 30 Drone Records of 2016. See the label’s Soundcloud page for samples.

I’ll be posting another work update—if I get round to it!—next week.

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Emptyset (2015 reissue) by Emptyset.

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Signal (2015) by Emptyset.

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Continuum (2016) by Paul Jebanasam.

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Frenzy (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) (2016) by Cevdet Erek.

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Barotrauma (2016) by Eric Holm.

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From Patterns To Details (2016) by FIS.

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Blessed Initiative (2016) by Blessed Initiative.

 


Weekend links 339

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Untitled (2011) by Roger Hiorns. Photograph by Kate Green.

• “Most surprising and troubling of all is the status of a series of new paintings, also depicting naked male bodies. The figures look archaic, painted using latex and molten and folded plastic. They have sex with each other and with themselves. Extra penises float about, and fill any otherwise unoccupied orifice. There’s a lot of rogering going on, anal and oral, the figures consumed entirely by the act.” Adrian Searle reviews Roger Hiorns’ latest show at the Ikon Gallery, Birmingham.

• “At the heart of magical belief is the belief in your own free will, in your ability to make changes and influence the world. It wasn’t accepting your circumstances, it was working to understand and directly change them.” Jessa Crispin on the women of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.

Addison Nugent on William Hope Hodgson: “The Forgotten Bodybuilding, Shark-Fighting Sailor who Invented Cosmic Horror (and annoyed Houdini)”. I’d quibble with the “forgotten”—Hodgson is sometimes overlooked but not exactly unknown—but the appraisal is welcome.

• More end-of-year lists: The Quietus posts its Albums of the Year, Bandcamp does the same, while Adrian Curry at MUBI announces his favourite film posters of the year.

Callum James has devised The Quite Difficult Book Quiz for those who’d like a challenge (and a donation to charity) over Christmas.

• “A profoundly poetic anomaly”: Kenan Malik on the Tantric paintings that pre-empt Modernist abstraction.

Patricia M’s Flickr albums contain a wealth of antique graphic design, advertising art and undigitised letterforms.

• “Cronky, shonky, soggy, knackered”: Simon Reynolds on ten years of Moon Wiring Club.

Michael LePointe on the delightful mysteries of The Voynich Manuscript.

Veloelectroindustrial: Wandering the wastelands of former industry.

• Mix of the week: Secret Thirteen Mix 202 by JG Biberkopf.

• “Was Edmund Wilson jealous of Lolita?” asks Alex Beam.

• “Research finds MP3s drain your music of emotion.

Richard H. Kirk‘s favourite albums.

Pavel Banka‘s surreal abstractions.

Dennis Cooper‘s Alan Clarke Day.

Cosmic Surfin’ (1978) by Yellow Magic Orchestra | Cosmic Meditation (1991) by Moondog | Cosmic Call (2006) by The Evpatoria Report

 


 



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