Poster by Zdenek Ziegler for Marketa Lazarová (1966), a film by Frantisek Vlácil.
• I’ve spent the past couple of weeks watching a number of films by Béla Tarr, including his 432-minute masterwork, Sátántangó (1994). The latter was based on a novel by László Krasznahorkai, an author who not only worked with Tarr on the screenplay but helped with several of his other features. So this piece by David Schurman Wallace, about a more recent Krasznahorkai novel, Baron Wenckheim’s Homecoming, arrives at just the right moment.
• The Paris Review unlocked its Art of Fiction interview with Italo Calvino. William Weaver and Daniel Pettigrew ask the questions. And at the same site: Ivan Brunetti on the deceptive simplicity of Charles Schulz’s Peanuts.
• Halloween approaches so Sudip Bose suggests 10 pieces of orchestral music to set the mood. I made a similar list of my own in 2011. Related: Adam Scovell on 10 lesser-known folk horror films.
I thought, “When I grow up, I’m going to be in a group making this kind of music.” Slowly and Shirley, I did grow up and found myself in a group but they weren’t making that kind of music. It was a hole of longing in my guts that I needed to fix.
Andy Partridge, aka Sir John Johns, on his love of psychedelic music and the remixed reissue of the Dukes Of Stratosphear catalogue
• Faye Lessler on how the Internet Archive is digitizing LPs to preserve generations of audio.
• Photographing the Dark: Allison C. Meier on Nadar’s descent into the Paris Catacombs.
• At Wormwoodiana: Go Back at Once, Robert Aickman‘s unpublished second novel.
• Queen of the Flies: Mica Levi talks to Charlie Bridgen about her soundtrack music.
• At Dangerous Minds: Sex, Nazis, and classical music: Ken Russell’s Lisztomania.
• The first new Ghost Box recording artist of 2020 will be…Paul Weller.
• Mix of the week: There’s No Going Back by The Ephemeral Man.
• The Dead Travel Fast: The Gothic Ballad of Lenore in paint.
• Catacombs/Cum Mortuis In Lingua Mortua (1980) by Mussorgsky (George Solti/Chicago SO) | Fade In Hong Kong (1981) by Video Liszt | La Ballade De Lenore (1986) by Shub-Niggurath
“The Go-Go wonder of Paris — That’s space girl. Transistors never wear down, they just go on and on — Even her heart is made of vinyl — It’s a marvy life — With nothing else to do but dance — Why not? – Love? — Forget it, baby — Not for her —” From Mod Love (1967) by Michael Lutin and Michel Quarez.
• “Gay people are not advancing themselves in the (publishing) industry, they’re just regurgitating familiar territory. Of course, artists are always ahead of gatekeepers. That’s the way it works—artists innovate. But in order to fulfill your promise as an editor, agent, publisher or reviewer, you have to be a person who’s embracing the new and looking to elevate what is not yet known. And unfortunately, there’s not a discussion among publishing professionals about enhancing this aspect of people’s responsibilities. In fact, it goes the other way. So there needs to be a psychological revolution on behalf of the people who are controlling what information is allowed to be seen.” From an interview with Sarah Schulman at Lambda Literary.
• Jonathan Ross meets Jim Steranko. Also at the Guardian: Unearthing the truth about Alan Moore.
• Photographing an abandoned Art Deco skyscraper. From the people who photographed Neverland at night.
• Powers: “aural sculptures” by Andy Partridge inspired by the strange science fiction art of Richard M Powers.
La Paresse (Laziness) (1924) by George Barbier.
• Lautréamont’s poison-drenched pages. Roger Cardinal reviews a new edition of Les Chants de Maldoror and Poésies.
• The Wire‘s Top 50 Rhythms of All Time, a list from 1992. Some great recommendations but it’s impossible to imagine that being written now without a mention of Klaus Dinger. And where’s Fela Kuti?
• The Wire Salon at Cafe Oto, London, on August 5th presents Rob Young discussing his forthcoming book, Electric Eden: Unearthing Britain’s Visionary Music.
• American Pictorial Photography, 1912–1955. Another astonishing picture set at Golden Age Comic Book Stories.
• The Beats: Pictures of a Legend. Edmund White on a new exhibition of Allen Ginsberg’s photographs. Related: the trailer for Howl.
• The Dream Machine is a point-and-click adventure game made using hand-crafted animation.
• Fuck yeah Francisco Lachowski: Brazilian model cutie has many Tumblr fans.
• Polly Morgan’s wings of desire. The taxidermy artist interviewed.
• Thomas Dolby’s solar-powered boat studio.
• Rückstoss Gondoliere (1971) by Kraftwerk: pt. 1 | pt. 2
25 O’Clock (1985). Andy Partridge’s great cover design.
The DUKES say it’s time…it’s time to visit the planet smile…it’s time the love bomb was dropped…it’s time to eat music…it’s time to kiss the sun…it’s time to drown yourself in SOUNDGASM and it’s time to dance through the mirror. The DUKES declare it’s 25 O’CLOCK.
It was twenty-five years today…April 1st, 1985…that Virgin Records released what was supposed to be a reissue of a lost psychedelic album from the late 1960s, 25 O’Clock by The Dukes of Stratosphear. The catalogue number was WOW 1 and the vinyl label was printed with the old black-and-white Virgin logo by Roger Dean even though Virgin Records wasn’t founded until 1972. No one was supposed to know that the album was really a pastiche project by XTC but I don’t recall anyone actually being fooled by this, all the reviews acknowledged XTC as the originators, and band members Andy Partridge and Colin Moulding were happy to give interviews enthusing about their musical obsessions. As well as being incredibly successful artistically the album was a surprising commercial success which led the bemused record label to ask for a sequel. Psonic Psunspot followed two years later and the Dukes’ vibe infected XTC’s own work for a while, with their 1988 album, Oranges & Lemons, pitched somewhere between the pastiches and the group’s more customary sound .
Psonic Psunspot (1987). Design by Dave Dragon and Ken Ansell.
Continue reading “The Dukes declare it’s 25 O’Clock!”
His music is described as a metal sock, an action painting and a mad, giant watch—yet it has inspired bands from Talking Heads to the White Stripes. John Harris gets to grips with Captain Beefheart
Friday August 4, 2006
IN THE 1980s, American researchers found that the average album was played 1.6 times. Given the new practice of impatiently scouring a CD for one or two highlights and then discarding it, the iPod age has presumably seen that figure tumble, but the basic point remains: most of the music we buy lies pretty much unplayed – either because it is rubbish, or because it says a lot more about our vanity than what we actually like. On the latter score, history’s most shining example may be Trout Mask Replica by Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band, an allegedly classic album that must surely sit undisturbed in thousands of households. Playing it—or rather, attempting to—is a bit like being in one of those cartoons in which the principal characters cagily open a door, only to find all hell – elephants, possibly, or a speeding train – breaking loose behind it, whereupon they slam it shut again. Its opening moments let you know what you’re in for: a discordant racket, all biscuit-tin drums and guitars that alternately clang and squall, eventually joined—apparently by accident—by a growling man complaining that he “cannot go back to your land of gloom”. Skipping through the remaining 27 tracks does not throw up anything much more uplifting. Indeed, one song finds the same voice rather distastefully evoking the Holocaust: “Dachau blues, those poor Jews/ Dachau blues, those poor Jews/ One mad man, six million lose.”
When this kind of experience happens to a rock critic, it can easily bring on a chill feeling of inadequacy. After all, Beefheart—those in the know rarely use the “Captain”—remains a gigantic influence on so much rock music that has claimed to stand as something more than mere entertainment, from the post-punk likes of Pere Ubu, Talking Heads, Gang of Four and Public Image Limited, through names as varied as Tom Waits and Happy Mondays, and on to such talents as PJ Harvey, Franz Ferdinand and the White Stripes. Equally importantly, he is a crucial part of the gnomic culture through which those people (men, mostly) whose lives have been hopelessly afflicted by music commune with one another. It’s not in the film, but the Jack Black character in High Fidelity was surely a Beefheart obsessive.