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


 

02016

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Princess X (1916) by Constantin Brancusi.

Happy new year. 02016? Read this.

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The Melancholy of Departure (1916) by Giorgio de Chirico.

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Merry-Go-Round (1916) by Mark Gertler.

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A History of the Sky, a film by Ken Murphy

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This is a year-long time-lapse study of the sky. A camera installed on the roof of the Exploratorium museum in San Francisco captured an image of the sky every 10 seconds. From these images, I created a mosaic of time-lapse movies, each showing a single day. The days are arranged in chronological order. My intent was to reveal the patterns of light and weather over the course of a year.

I once filled out a three-hour VHS tape with a single shot of drifting clouds using my old video camera. I was thinking at the time of Brian Eno’s studies of the skies over Manhattan but the roofs of South Manchester can’t compete with those of New York City. Ken Murphy’s film is a slowly evolving mosaic that also serves to remind us northerners how quickly the night comes to California.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Mistaken Memories Of Mediaeval Manhattan

 


All About Being Loud

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Photo by Motorcycle Irene.

It was very loud. The crowd roared and some yelled “It’s not loud enough!” Lemmy said “Oh” and turned his amp up more, before they went into Keep Us On The Road which was very loud until Lemmy’s amp gave up its internal struggle and was replaced on the run while Eddie (Clarke, the guitarist) played the riff over and over. At the end of the number earlier complaints bellowed “Turn it up, it’s not loud enough!” to which Lemmy rejoined—”I can’t get it no damn louder, shut your trap”. Never the less, the new amp was miked up thru the P.A., so Lost Johnny was very, very loud and The Watcher was louder still. At the end of it Lemmy apologized for being so quiet and said the band were as disappointed as everyone else about not being louder. Then they played Iron Horse, which was as loud as a Tube train running through your inner ear or as loud as the First World War if they crammed the whole thing together and held it in a phone booth.

Paul Sutcliffe, gig review, Sounds

Paul Sutcliffe’s quote is on the back page of a Motörhead tour programme from 1978, a publication that’s also the source of the moody signed portrait above. Despite hanging around with metal-heads and bikers in my idle youth I never got to see Motörhead live, the tour programme—signed by all three band members, and aptly titled All About Being Loud—was a gift from a friend. Years ago I scanned the whole thing and turned it into a PDF to send to another friend so I’ve uploaded it here. Most tour programmes are rather pedestrian affairs but the Motörhead one shows the band’s sense of humour, being a collection of quotes testifying to the loudness of their shows with the page backgrounds filled out by ads for hearing aids. The Q&A notes for each band member are also revealing for mentioning three songs from the psychedelic 60s. Lemmy always spoke of his fondness for classic rock’n'roll (Motörhead covered Louie Louie in their early days) but it’s a surprise seeing him list Sour Milk Sea by Jackie Lomax as his favourite single. His album choice—Back In The USA by The MC5—is more the kind of thing you’d expect. Eddie Clarke’s favourite single is Purple Haze, while the late Phil Taylor has Itchycoo Park by The Small Faces listed with Anarchy In The UK.

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Art by Joe Petagno.

So I never got to see Motörhead play but in 1984 I did provide the cover art for Hawkwind’s Night Of The Hawks EP, a 12-inch single that featured Lemmy as guest bassist and vocalist on his first recording with the group after being sacked following a drug bust in 1975. I may no longer like the artwork but the EP was also dedicated to Barney Bubbles so it was a good thing to be involved with. As for Lemmy, everyone will be (and is) linking to Ace Of Spades but I’d offer Capricorn from the Overkill album as a memorial number. I always liked Jimmy Miller’s reverberant production, and the lyrics make it a musical self-portrait.

 


Moser’s Allegories

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Kopfleisten.

A few plates by Koloman Moser from Allegorien: Neue Folge (1896), a collection of allegorical drawings, graphics and emblems by a number of artists in Moser’s circle, including Gustav Klimt, Franz Stuck and Carl Otto Czeschka. I keep hoping someone might upload a complete set of these plates but this doesn’t seem to have happened yet. Publisher and editor Martin Gerlach later commissioned Die Quelle (1901), a book of patterns and designs by Moser, several of which prefigure the tessellations of MC Escher.

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Frühlingsmorgen.

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Jagd.

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Master musicians

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This year I’m seeing out December with (among other things) several albums by the Master Musicians of Bukkake, a Seattle group led by producer Randall Dunn. MMOB’s name started as a joke (and no doubt still catches unawares anyone unfamiliar with Japanese pornography) but now positions the ensemble as indigenous performers from an imaginary country, a persona reflected in the masks and robes the musicians wear, and in their music which blends chants, non-Western instruments, synthesizers and extended wah-wah guitar drones that wouldn’t be out-of-place on a German album from the 1970s. The music alone would be enough for me but there’s the added bonus of songs based on Borges texts, Tibetan references (Dunn is a Buddhist) and outfits borrowed from Jodorowsky films. Dunn and some of the other group members have connections with Seattle groups Earth and Sunn O))), and it’s possible to detect trace elements of both those bands in the MMOB sound, especially on live recordings.

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As usual I’ll be taking my winter break over the next few days so I’ll activate the blog archive and leave you with a tremendous 75-minute performance by the Master Musicians of Bukkake at Leoncavallo, Milan, in 2013. The stage is rather cramped for the group’s theatrics, and there’s only the one camera, but the band raise a considerable cone of power performing extended variations on numbers from their recent Far West album. Far West and its follow-up, the synth-oriented Further West Quad Cult, can be listened to on their own or played together in a mix of your own choosing. MMOB aren’t the first band to do this but I don’t know of any album or (albums) that sound so different in isolation. Perfect listening for the darkest weeks of the year.

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Penda's Fen by David Rudkin