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


 

Can soundtracks

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Trailer for Deep End (1970). Music: Mother Sky.

I’ve been listening to a lot of Can over the past week, and thinking—not for the first time—about their erratic soundtrack career. Their soundtrack music is very familiar from their second album, Soundtracks, and the recent Lost Tapes collection which unearthed a few pieces that were previously only available in films or TV episodes. Much less familiar is the films and TV episodes themselves so here’s a look at some of the available material. Deep End and Alice in the Cities are both acclaimed (and highly recommended) feature films available on DVD. Everything else in this collection has been less visible outside Germany.

Update: Added Das Millionenspiel.

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Das Millionenspiel (1970). Music: Millionenspiel.

A film for German television based on a science-fiction story (The Prize of Peril, 1958) by Robert Sheckley about a reality-TV manhunt game. IMDB has Irmin Schmidt listed as the uncredited composer but the theme was a Can production.

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Trailer for Mädchen mit Gewalt (1970). Music: Soul Desert and Desert.

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Trailer for Deadlock (1970). Music: Deadlock and Tango Whiskeyman.

Another of the strange Westerns (or Western-like films) that flourished in the early 70s.

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Weekend links 295

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Untitled (2014) by Lola Dupré. Via.

Announcement of the week (if not the month/year) is the news that the BFI will be releasing all of the BBC dramas directed by Alan Clarke on DVD/Blu-ray in May. In addition to the long-awaited appearance on disc of Penda’s Fen (1974) we can expect a previously unseen director’s cut of Clarke’s last TV film, The Firm (1989), the DVD premier of Baal (1982) with David Bowie, plus many other works including some from the 1960s that were believed lost. (And it should be noted that this isn’t everything of Clarke’s; he also worked occasionally for ITV and later directed feature films for Channel 4.)

The BFI attention is a tribute to an exceptional director that’s overdue. Clarke has long been a cult figure among the British actors who worked with him, and among directors such as Harmony Korine and Gaspar Noé, but the tendency of TV to give one-off dramas a single screening has meant that much of his best work has been unavailable for years outside old VHS tapes. Clarke is important for having persistently chosen difficult subjects which he directed with a flair and intensity usually only found in cinema. When he died in 1990 the BBC repeated a handful of his films but the only ones given repeated DVD release have been the violent dramas with the big names attached: Scum (1979, with Ray Winstone), Made in Britain (1982, with Tim Roth), and The Firm (with Gary Oldman). Clarke’s oeuvre is much more than a parade of nihilistic villains, as will become evident later this year.

• A psychedelic video directed by Peter Strickland for Liquid Gate (ft. Bradford Cox) by Cavern of Anti-Matter. The debut album from Cavern of Anti-Matter, Void Beats/Invocation Trex, will be out later this month.

Celebrating Dusseldorf, the city that birthed Krautrock. (Article loses points for not mentioning producer Conny Plank.)

All Rivette’s features might be regarded as different kinds of horror films; Céline et Julie vont en bateau is his first horror comedy. The anxiety and despair of Paris Nous Appartient and La Religieuse, L’Amour Fou and Spectre seem relatively absent, yet they perpetually hover just beyond the edges of the frames. We still have no privileged base of ‘reality’ to set against the fictions, each of which is as outrageous as the other; and along with Borges, we can’t really say whether it’s a man dreaming he’s a butterfly or a butterfly dreaming he’s a man—although we may feel, in either case, that he and we are just on the verge of waking.

Jonathan Rosenbaum on work and play in the house of fiction: Jacques Rivette’s Out 1 and Céline and Julie Go Boating

• Mixes of the week: Finders Keepers Radio Show Krautrock Special, and The Ivy-Strangled Path Vol. XV by David Colohan.

• At Dangerous Minds: Super strange sculptures (by Shary Boyle) only the dark and demented could love.

• Beautiful Brutalites: S. Elizabeth questions Arabella Proffer about her paintings.

KTL is a musical collaboration between Peter Rehberg and Stephen O’Malley.

• Why study art when you can make it? The strange world of…This Heat.

Sarah Galo on the explicitly sexual female artists that feminism forgot.

Irmin Schmidt‘s favourite music (this week).

• LSD: My life-saving drug by Eric Perry.

The Occult Activity Book

Twenty Tiny Cities

Der LSD-Marsch (1970) by Guru Guru | Krautrock (1973) by Faust | Düsseldorf (1976) by La Düsseldorf

 


Mea Culpa, a film by Bruce Conner

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More David Byrne. Artist Bruce Conner made two films in 1981 using pieces of music from Byrne & Eno’s My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts album: America Is Waiting and Mea Culpa. The latter is the more abstract of the two, with the drums and fragmented voices matched to dancing particles from science films. Watch it here.

Previously on { feuilleton }
The South Bank Show: Talking Heads
The Catherine Wheel by Twyla Tharp
Moonlight in Glory
My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts

 


The South Bank Show: Talking Heads

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Like many UK arts documentaries, The South Bank Show seldom repeated its films so you had to watch them when they were broadcast or you might never see them at all. This Talking Heads feature from 1979 is one that I missed, a great portrait of the band shortly after the release of their third album, Fear Of Music. Shots of the group performing songs from the first three albums are intercut with interviews and montages of American TV. You also get to see a very young-looking David Byrne writing (or attempting to write) some lyrics. The most revelatory aspect of the film now is the discussion of the ordinariness of both the band and their lyrics. In 1979 being resolutely mundane had become a radical position.

 


Shadowland covers

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Not the horror magazine, this is an earlier American title that ran from 1919 to 1923. Shadowland covered the arts in general with a preference for stage and film. The thing that immediately sets it apart from other film magazines of the period is the cover art by AM Hopfmuller; many of the paintings resemble theatre backdrops or backgrounds for animated films. The Internet Archive doesn’t have a complete run, unfortunately—the examples here are from volumes 1, 7 and 8—but more of Hopfmuller’s work may be found on other sites. The magazine interiors are also worth a browse for their colour plates and art photographs. (Thanks to Kristian for the tip!)

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Penda's Fen by David Rudkin