Weekend links 95


Seven Songs (1982) by 23 Skidoo. Sleeve by Neville Brody.

The first volume of The Graphic Canon will be published in May by Seven Stories Press, a collection of comic strip adaptations and illustrations edited by Russ Kick. The anthology has already picked up some attention at the GuardianWestern canon to be rewritten as three-volume graphic novel—and Publishers’ WeeklyGraphic Canon: Comics Meet the Classics. I know someone who’ll bristle at the lazy use of “graphic novel”. The Graphic Canon isn’t anything of the sort, it’s a three-volume voyage through world literature presented in graphic form with a list of contributors including Robert Crumb, Will Eisner, Molly Crabapple, Rick Geary, and Roberta Gregory. My contribution is a very condensed adaptation of The Picture of Dorian Gray that will appear in volume 2. More about that closer to the publication date.

• LTM Records announces a vinyl reissue for Seven Songs (1982) by 23 Skidoo, an album produced by Ken Thomas, Genesis P Orridge & Peter Christopherson that still sounds like nothing else. Related: an extract from Tranquilizer (1984) by Richard Heslop, cut-up Super-8 film/video with audio collage by 23 Skidoo.

• New exhibitions: Another Air: The Czech–Slovak Surrealist Group, 1991–2011 at the Old Town City Hall, Prague (details in English here), and Ed Sanders – Fuck You / A Magazine of the Arts 1962–1965 at Boo-Hooray, NYC.

• “…we have a situation where the banks seem to be an untouchable monarchy beyond the reach of governmental restraint…” Alan Moore writes for the BBC about V for Vendetta and the rise of Anonymous.

Announcing Arc: “a new magazine about the future from the makers of New Scientist“. Digital-only for the time being, as they explain here. Their Tumblr has tasters of the contents.

• From another world: Acid Mothers Temple interviewed. Also at The Quietus: Jajouka or Joujouka? The conflicted legacy of the Master Musicians.

• More from Susan Cain on introverts versus extroverts. Related: Groupthink: The brainstorming myth by Jonah Lehrer.

Ten Thousand Waves, an installation by Isaac Julien.

Afterlife: mouldscapes photographed by Heikki Leis.

• The book covers of Ralph Steadman. And more.

• “James Joyce children’s book sparks feud

Arkitypo: the final alphabet.

Book Aesthete

Kundalini (1982) by 23 Skidoo | Vegas El Bandito (1982) by 23 Skidoo | IY (1982) by 23 Skidoo

Crush Depth by Chrome Hoof


Chrome Hoof photographed by Steve Bliss.

How to describe London’s Chrome Hoof? A difficult proposition but that hasn’t stopped people trying. The BBC labels them a “10+ piece glam clad death disco outfit” which isn’t a bad start. Their record label offers more detail:

Cathedral bassist Leo Smee started a bass and drums duo under the moniker Chrome Hoof with his brother Milo at the turn of the millennium to celebrate their shared love of mid-seventies funk and disco. Like sequined pied pipers, they recruited everywhere they played, building an army of multi-instrumentalists, including a full horn and string section, generating a devoted cult following with their legendary live shows. A veritable orchestra of musicians perform, decked out in futuristic monks’ robes, kicking it like some unholy hybrid of Sun Ra, ESG, Goblin, Parliament-Funkadelic and Black Sabbath, complete with choreographed dancers, actors taking vaudeville interludes, and a twelve-foot tall metallic ram dominating the dancefloor.


Crush Depth (2010). Design by Fergadelic.

Crush Depth is their latest album and the cover graphic here doesn’t convey the mirrored grooviness of the metallic gatefold package. Inside you get thirteen tracks with titles such as Witch’s Instruments and Furnaces and Anorexic Cyclops. Musically it’s like a collision between Magma, Igor Wakhévitch, Acid Mothers Temple and, I dunno…X-Ray Spex? The Androids of Mu? With disco rhythms…and riffs…and Mellotrons…and squalling synths…and harps…and violins…and Cluster! (Yes, Moebius & Roedelius Cluster). The Cluster-embellished track, Deadly Pressure, even manages to make a reference to “Old Ones” waking from their sleep in the depths of the sea, so I suppose we can throw Cthulhu’s squamous bulk into the mix as well. Chrome Hoof are so far beyond the legions of characterless indie clones they’re not even on the same planet. It makes a real change finding a band with this level of musical imagination and the technical authority to deliver the goods. One of the albums of the year, without a doubt.

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The album covers archive

Previously on { feuilleton }
A cluster of Cluster
Chrome: Perfumed Metal
Metabolist: Goatmanauts, Drömm-heads and the Zuehl Axis
The music of Igor Wakhévitch

Heaven and Hell Calendar


It was only a week ago I announced a new calendar for 2009 and now here’s an additional CafePress creation which manages to offer more than another collection of Lovecraft illustrations. This is a sampling of my work from the past few years gathered under the vague rubric of Heaven and Hell. A couple of pieces are variations on earlier designs reworked so as to fit the square page format. Details follow below.


1: Angel Passage (CD cover)
2: The Lucid View (detail; book cover)
3: MBV Arkestra (magazine cover)
4: Emissaries (CD cover)
5: Snakes and Ladders (CD cover)
6: Salomé
7: Fallen Angel
8: The Highbury Working (CD cover)
9: Acid Mothers Temple (poster design)
10: Steps of Descent (CD cover)
11: Metal Sushi (detail; book cover)
12: “Mirage in time—image of long-vanish’d pre-human city” (detail)

Previously on { feuilleton }
Coulthart Calendar 2009

Design as virus 2: album covers


Electric Funk by Jimmy McGriff (1969).

Okay, so the graphical similarity between Jimmy McGriff’s album sleeve and Nick Drake‘s, which appeared a year later, is probably coincidence but I couldn’t help noting it. Electric Funk was released on the Blue Note Records label which was highly regarded for its sleeve design so it wouldn’t be too surprising if someone at Island Records had seen it.


Bryter Later by Nick Drake (1970).

The album below by Japanese band Boris is a copy of Nick Drake’s, of course, a pastiche technique they’ve adopted for a couple of their other releases. The Japanese seem to be especially fond of this approach, Kawabata Makoto and Acid Mothers Temple (also below) having released many CDs which work playful riffs on western rock history.


Akuma No Uta by Boris (2003).


Hot Rats by Frank Zappa (1969); Hot Rattlesnakes by Kawabata Makoto and the Mothers of Invasion (2001).

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The album covers archive

Previously on { feuilleton }
Design as virus 1: Victorian borders

Boredoms in Manchester


Anyone who subscribes to the stereotype about Japanese people always being quiet and unassuming has never seen a Japanese rock band. Last time I returned from a gig with my ears ringing the way they are now was after seeing Acid Mothers Temple a few years ago. Tonight it was the turn of Boredoms who drummed up an absolute storm in a sweaty, airless dungeon under the Student’s Union. Boredoms have been active since the mid-Eighties in various shapes and sizes, more recently working under variations on their name. Early albums were always experimental but tended to be nastily noisy with it. They really caught my attention at the end of the Nineties with Super Ae (1998) and Vision Creation Newsun (2000), a pair of drum-powered albums that owe a great deal to the “kosmische” atmosphere of the best Krautrock, especially Amon Düül II circa Yeti.


Tonight we had a great deal of the thundering cross-patterns of drum rhythms amended by some of the piercing extended crescendos found on VCN. Very loud and very powerful. There was some unusual instrumentation involved as well, including what appeared to be hand-held lightbulbs triggering samples and harmonised feedback, and also a rack of guitar necks (above) with what I assume must be open tunings given the way these were used as percussion devices. It was difficult to tell who was doing what (or using what) for much of the time due to the density of the crowd. But such details are beside the point, this was a tremendous performance that was overwhelmingly intense at times. It’s rare indeed to find a band still working at this peak after 21 years. Along with the very different performance by Machinefabriek in May, best gig of the year so far.