Weekend links 566

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The Amida Falls in the Far Reaches of the Kisokaido Road. From the series A Tour of Waterfalls in Various Provinces (c. 1832) by Hokusai.

• New music: In Love With A Ghost by Kevin Richard Martin (aka Kevin Martin, The Bug, etc), a preview from his forthcoming alternative score for Andrei Tarkovsky’s Solaris (1972). In other hands I’d probably dismiss a further addition to the trend of creating new scores for films that don’t require them. Tarkovsky’s film certainly doesn’t need any new music, and we’ve already had an album-length homage from Ben Frost & Daníel Bjarnason. But I like Martin’s sombre atmospherics so he gets a pass with this one.

• “[Pauline] Oliveros wrote a piece for the New York Times in 1970 titled And Don’t Call Them Lady Composers, focusing on the difficulties of women being noticed and taken seriously in her field. It’s still online and could have been written yesterday.” Jude Rogers on Sisters With Transistors, a documentary about women in electronic music. Madeleine Siedel interviewed Lisa Rovner, the film’s director. Watch the trailer.

Submissions to the 16th number of Dada journal Maintenant will be open at the beginning of October, 2021, following an announcement of the theme of the new issue in September. All you would-be (or actual) Dadaists out there have the summer to plot your potential contributions.

Our reverence for originals takes an absurdly extreme form in the recent craze for NFTs (non-fungible tokens), where collectors and traders spend huge sums of money on unique ‘ownership’ of a digital artwork that anyone can download for free. Since there’s no such thing as the original of a digital file, the artist can now certify the file as the one and only ‘original copy’, and make a fortune. Time will tell whether this is a transient fad or a new way of establishing the feeling of a relationship to the mind of the digital artist.

But our reverence for originals isn’t universal. Treating the original as special and sacred is a Western attitude. In China and Japan, for example, it’s acceptable to create exact replicas, and these are valued as much as the original—especially because an ancient original might degrade over time, but a new replica will show us how the work looked originally. And, as mentioned, there are studios in China where artists are employed to create fakes. Perhaps our culture teaches us to respond to artworks by inferring the mind behind the art.

“Works of art compel our attention—but can they change us?” asks Ellen Winner

• “What Don basically did here is find a series of one or two bar riffs, or parts, that he liked, have me write them down, and then say, in essence, ‘make something out of this’.” John French (aka Drumbo) recalls the making of Trout Mask Replica.

• From 1988 (and relevant this week because I’m reading a Pynchon novel): Thomas Pynchon’s review of Love in the Time of Cholera.

• Andy Thomas on fusion legend Ryo Kawasaki, pioneer of the synth guitar.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Dimitri Kirsanoff Day.

Gareth Jones’ favourite music.

• RIP Monte Hellman.

The Sea Named “Solaris” (1978) by Tomita | Solaris (2014) by Docetism | Solaris Return (2019) by Jenzeits

Weekend links 464

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13 Circles by Julien Picaud.

• The 50th anniversary of the Apollo Moon landing is only two months away so it’s no surprise that Brian Eno’s Apollo: Atmospheres And Soundtracks is being reissued. The latest release will include an additional disc of new music by Eno with his collaborators from the original sessions, Daniel Lanois and Roger Eno. Related: the Apollo 11 Command Module as an explorable (and printable) 3D model.

• From the real Moon to the presence of the satellite in myth and history, the next book from Strange Attractor will be Selene: The Moon Goddess & The Cave Oracle, a volume which is also the final work by the late Steve Moore. With a foreword by Bob Rickard, and an afterword by Alan Moore.

• Guitar-noise maestro Caspar Brötzmann released a handful of thrilling albums in the 1990s then disappeared from view. Spyros Stasis talked to Brötzmann about his hiatus and his recent resurfacing on the Southern Lord label.

• A year late, but I didn’t know Paul Schrader had written an updated introduction to his 1972 study of Ozu, Bresson and Dreyer, Transcendental Style in Film. I love the idea of “The Tarkovsky Ring” as a directorial event horizon.

• “Nothing written is utterly without value, as I proved to myself by reading two random works.” Theodore Dalrymple on the lasting worth of “worthless” books.

Cinemagician: Conversations with Kenneth Anger, a documentary by Carl Abrahamsson about the director/writer/magus.

• Mirror, Mirror: When Movie Characters Look Back at Themselves by Sheila O’Malley.

• From Susan Sontag to the Met Gala: Jon Savage on the evolution of camp.

• Mix of the week: Secret Thirteen Mix 289 by Mondkopf.

• Portrait of the Artist as a Consumer: Anne Billson.

• A video by IMPATV for Religion by Teleplasmiste.

Obscure Sound ~ Cosmic: a list.

Mira Calix‘s favourite records.

Transcendental Overdrive (1980) by Harald Grosskopf | Transcendental Moonshine (1991) by Steroid Maximus | The Transcendent (1999) by Jah Wobble

Weekend links 388

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Still of an Alive Painting by Akiko Nakayama.

• “In what is a cross between performance art and installation, Nakayama uses a multitude of kitchen basters loaded with paint and water to add, mix, tilt, blow and add all sorts of extraneous effects to her paints, recording and projecting it all onto a large screen.” Continuously Changing “Alive Paintings” by Akiko Nakayama. There’s more performance video at the artist’s website.

• In January 2018 Song Cycle Records (UK) release Solaris, a “Collector’s Edition” of the Tarkovsky film and its soundtrack comprising vinyl/CD, blu-ray (no region details) and a book of photos, artwork and essays.

• Steve Davis may no longer be a snooker player but he’s still a Magma obsessive. This week he reviewed the new Retrospektiw collection for The Quietus.

What I was most thankful to TG for was leading me to Christopherson’s later band Coil with his partner, antagonist and lover John Balance (after they’d met in Genesis’ Psychic TV) whose music I fell for even harder. The arcane and homoerotic tragicomedy that underpinned their discography (and relationship) propelled me into new states, years before any first hand knowledge of the drug experiences they managed to intertwine so artfully with their music. Records like Scatology and Horse Rotorvator sexualised the male body for me for the first time—an awakening that’s hard not to find some amusement in when soundtracked by a romp called The Anal Staircase. From afar it seemed like their intense, exploration of electronic music as ritual was only possible as a result of the depth of the duo’s personal relationship and how it manifested spiritually, chemically and physically. The posture and machismo of the modern guitar music I listened to (and performed) with my friends could be tiring. The sound of Coil became a safe space in which to fantasise about manhood and Englishness and what it really meant, helping dismantle clichés I’d come to accept as reality. From medieval hymns to acid-house their music was unafraid and total. Though hard to define with any particular release I often play people their funereal takes on Tainted Love (of which all profits went to the Terrence Higgins Trust—a musical first in 1985 while AIDS was still very much taboo) and the Are You Being Served? theme tune, the basis of their transformative final track Going Up, completed by Christopherson after Balance’s death.

Fred Macpherson writing about Throbbing Gristle and Coil at new site The Queer Bible. This is the first appraisal of Coil I’ve seen on any site devoted to gay/queer issues, over ten years after the band expired following the death of John Balance. Better late than never, I suppose.

• Tom Phillips is helping support the National Campaign for the Arts by reworking a page of A Humument as a series of designs at CafePress.

• At Strange Flowers: The Secret Satan book list, a welcome alternative to the lists that fill the broadsheets at this time of year.

• Mixes of the week: Stephen O’Malley presents Acid Quarry Paris—A Hypnosis, and XLR8R podcast 517 by Davy.

• At the Internet Archive: 183 copies of Video Watchdog magazine (1990–2017).

• The TLS interview: Twenty Questions with M. John Harrison.

• At Unquiet Things: The solving of a family art mystery.

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The Hills Are Alive (1995) by Coil | Everyone Alive Wants Answers (2003) by Colleen | Only Lovers Left Alive (2014) by Jozef Van Wissem

Weekend links 360

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Threshold (2008) by Roku Sasaki.

• A previously unseen interview with Angela Carter from 1979 in which she talks to David Pringle about her evolution as a writer, literary influences and genre fiction.

• Among the highlights in the latest edition of Wormwood there’s Doug Anderson on Panacea by Robert Aickman, a “vast unpublished philosophical work”.

• The London Review Bookshop podcast: Marina Warner and Chloe Aridjis discuss Leonora Carrington.

The prose works, conversely, read like surrealist poetry. They were written according to a compositional method Roussel called le procédé (the procedure), in which a complicated system of puns rather than traditional narrative logic determines the progression of the story. In Locus Solus, the mad scientist Martial Canterel takes his colleagues on a tour of his country estate—“the lonely place” of the title—to show them the bizarre inventions generated by Roussel’s procédé. These include a device that constructs a mosaic made out of human teeth; a water-filled diamond in which a dancer, a hairless cat, and the head of Danton are suspended; and a series of corpses Cantarel has brought back to life with the fluid “ressurectine,” which compels them to act out the most important event of their former lives, to the scientists’ astonishment.

Ryan Ruby on Raymond Roussel, The Accidental Avant-Gardist

• The latest manifestation of paranormal electronica by The Electric Pentacle is entitled Black Ectoplasm.

Sergey Bessmertny‘s account of working as a camera technician on Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker.

• City Of Fallen Angels: The Bug vs. Earth. In conversation with Kevin Martin and Dylan Carlson.

• Sex and art by the Grand Canal: Judith Mackrell on Peggy Guggenheim in Venice.

• A Guide Through the Darkened Passages of Dungeon Synth.

• Mix of the week: XLR8R Podcast 489 by Samuel Rohrer.

• The late Mika Vainio/Panasonic live in 1996.

Xan Brooks on Cary Grant’s 100 acid trips.

Resurrection (1968) by Steppenwolf | Resurrection (1975) by Master Wilburn Burchette | Resurrection (1987) by Demons Of Negativity

Weekend links 347

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Dream Animal (1903) by Alfred Kubin.

• The week in Finland: A set of Finnish emojis includes icons for notable cultural exports such as Tom of Finland and Moominmamma. Tove Jansson’s creations have received fresh attention this month with the debut release of the electronic soundtrack music for The Moomins, an animated TV series made in Poland in 1977, and first broadcast in the UK in 1983. Andrew Male talked to Graeme Miller and Steve Shill about creating Moomins music with rudimentary instrumentation.

• Russian company Mosfilm has made a new copy of Andrei Tarkovsky’s science-fiction masterpiece, Stalker (1979), available on their YouTube channel. Tarkovsky’s films have been blighted by inexplicable flaws in their home releases, as Stalker was when reissued on a Region B Blu-ray last year. The new Mosfilm upload looks better than my old DVD so for the moment this is the one I’ll be watching.

• Before straight and gay: the discreet, disorienting passions of the Victorian era. Deborah Cohen reviews A Very Queer Family Indeed by Simon Goldhill. Related: Kevin Killian reviews Murder in the Closet: Essays in Queer Clues in Crime Fiction Before Stonewall, edited by Curtis Evans.

• “How many graphic designers owe their introduction to typography to a teenage encounter with the typefaces and lettering found on album covers?” asks Adrian Shaughnessy.

• Mixes of the week: Secret Thirteen Mix 210 by Ascion, FACT Mix 587 by Seekersinternational, and The Séance, 4th February 2017.

Pankaj Mishra on Václav Havel’s lessons on how to create a “parallel polis”. Related: The Power of the Powerless by Václav Havel.

Hans Corneel de Roos on Dracula‘s lost Icelandic sister text: How a supposed translation proved to be much more.

• “I live outside the world in a universe I myself have created, like a madman or a holy visionary.” — Michel de Ghelderode.

• The Metropolitan Museum of Art makes 375,000 images of public art freely available under Creative Commons Zero.

Richard H. Kirk on Thatcherite pop and why Cabaret Voltaire were like The Velvet Underground.

Emily Gosling on what David Lynch’s use of typography reveals (or doesn’t).

White Noise Sounds of Frozen Arctic Ocean with Polar Icebreaker Idling.

John Gray on what cats can teach us about how to live.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Day of the Mellotron (Restored).

The Warburg Institute Iconographic Database.

Sastanàqqàm by Tinariwen.

Tanz Der Vampire (1969) by The Vampires of Dartmoore | Dracula (1983) by Dilemma | Vampires At Large (2012) by John Zorn