The new album by Sarah Davachi, Cantus, Descant, reminded me I have a predilection for organ drones. The others here are Hymns Spheres (1976) by Keith Jarrett, Nine Songs From The Garden Of Welcome Lies (1997) by Paul Schütze, and Ceremony (2012) by Anna von Hausswolff.
Letter M from Abeceda (1942) by Jindrich Heisler.
• At the BFI: Matthew Thrift chooses 10 essential Ray Harryhausen films. “This is, I can assure the reader, the one and only time that I have eaten the actors. Hitchcock would have approved,” says Harryhausen about eating the crabs whose shells were used for Mysterious Island. Meanwhile, Alfred Hitchcock himself explains the attraction and challenges of directing thrillers.
“Although largely confined to the page, Haeusser’s violent fantasies were even less restrained, his writings littered with deranged, bloodthirsty, scatological scenarios.” Strange Flowers on Ludwig Christian Haeusser and the “Inflation Saints” of Weimar Germany.
• Death, Pestilence, Emptiness: Putting covers on Albert Camus’s The Plague; Dylan Mulvaney on the different design approaches to a classic novel.
• A trailer (more of a teaser) for Last and First Men, a film adaptation of Olaf Stapledon’s novel by the late Jóhann Jóhannsson.
• At Dennis Cooper’s: Spotlight on…James Purdy: The Complete Short Stories of James Purdy.
• Al Jaffee at 99: Gary Groth and Jaffee talk comics and humour.
• Steven Heller on Command Records’ design distinction.
• Czech Surrealism at Flickr.
• Solitude by Hakobune.
• Mysterious Semblance At The Strand Of Nightmares (1974) by Tangerine Dream | Mysterious Traveller (Dust Devils Mix) (1994) by System 7 | The Mysterious Vanishing of Electra (2018) by Anna von Hausswolff
French poster by Basha (Barbara Baranowska) for Andrzej Zulawski’s extraordinary Possession (1981).
• “Alive from Off Center, renamed Alive TV in 1992, was an American arts anthology television series aired by PBS between 1984 and 1996. Each week, the series featured experimental short films by a mixture of up-and-coming and established directors. Notable episodes included As Seen on TV, starring comic actor Bill Irwin as an auditioning dancer who becomes trapped in a television, wandering among daytime dramas, MTV, and PBS’s own Sesame Street and the atmospheric puppet melodrama Street of Crocodiles, adapted by the Brothers Quay from the Bruno Schultz story. […] Arguably the series’ best-known episode was What You Mean We? a short film written by, directed by, and starring Laurie Anderson, which aired in 1986.” Alive from Off Center, 11 episodes at Ubuweb.
• “[Count] Stenbock was a homosexual convert to Roman Catholicism and owner of a serpent, a toad, and a dachshund called Trixie. It was said that toward the end of his life he was accompanied everywhere by a life-size wooden doll that he believed to be his son. His poems and stories are replete with queer, supernatural, mystical, and Satanic themes; original editions of his books are highly sought by collectors of recherché literature.” Of Kings and Things: Strange Tales and Decadent Poems by Count Eric Stanislaus Stenbock will be published by Strange Attractor in March, 2018.
• Music news of the week (in this house, anyway) is a new song, The Mysterious Vanishing of Electra, by Anna von Hausswolff. A new album, Dead Magic, is due in March, and I’m doubly-thrilled to read that Randall Dunn of Master Musicians of Bukkake (and producer/engineer for Earth, Sunn O))), etc.) is involved.
• “Why do Texas prisons ban Freakonomics but not Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf?” asks Lauren McGaughy. On the banned list is the three-volume The Graphic Canon, edited by Russ Kick, which includes my adaptation of The Picture of Dorian Gray.
• “To understand how other planets are made, exogeologists are synthesizing those planets in miniature in the earthbound equipment in their labs.” BLDGBLOG on speculative mineralogy.
• “What does the Bardo sound like?” Lauria Galbraith on Éliane Radigue‘s Trilogie de la Mort, three hour-long electronic compositions based on The Tibetan Book of the Dead.
• And speaking of Earth, Joseph Stannard talked to Dylan Carlson (Earth) and Kevin Martin (The Bug) about their recent collaboration.
• The League’s seven deadly sins: Reese Shearsmith on the cinematic influences behind The League of Gentlemen’s TV series.
• Donnie & Laurie, a jam from the late 1970s with Laurie Spiegel on Electrocomp 101 synthesizer, and Don Christensen on drums.
• Guests and dates for the Dublin Ghost Story Festival have been announced.
• David Bowie sang for Devo, and Mark Mothersbaugh might have the tapes.
• The albums of the year according to The Quietus.
• At Dennis Cooper’s: Isabelle Adjani Day.
At the mountains of madness, fragment I (2014–16) by Céli Lee.
• Spirits of Place, edited by John Reppion: new writings from Bryndís Björgvinsdóttir, Vajra Chandrasekera, Maria J. Pérez Cuervo, Warren Ellis, Alan Moore, Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Kristine Ong Muslim, Dr. Joanne Parker, Mark Pesce, Iain Sinclair, Gazelle Amber Valentine and Damien Williams.
• “Are we wrong to neglect [Jean Cocteau]? We are.” Kevin Jackson reviews Jean Cocteau: A Life, a biography by Claude Arnaud that’s finally available in an English edition (translated by Lauren Elkin & Charlotte Mandell). Related: Jean Cocteau speaks to the year 2000.
• Void Beats / Invocation Trex by Cavern of Anti-Matter has been one of my favourite music releases this year. Tim Gane talks about the inadvertent origin of the group, and there’s also the welcome news of a reissue for the scarce first album, Blood Drums.
• Pauline Oliveros: 1932–2016; Geeta Dayal looks back on the life of US composer Pauline Oliveros, including reflections from, amongst others, Betsey Biggs, Fred Frith, Terry Riley, and Morton Subotnick.
• New from Mute Records: Richard H. Kirk #7489 (Collected Works 1974–1989) and Sandoz #9294 (Collected Works 1992–1994).
• Drawings by Austin Osman Spare are on display for the next two weeks at the Atlantis Bookshop, London.
• The Architecture of the Overlap: Sir John Soane’s Museum, London, scanned in three dimensions.
• “No one has the slightest idea what is and isn’t cultural appropriation,” says Fredrik deBoer.
• I’m never keen on end-of-year lists but I’ll read any list that John Waters writes.
• “The Driller Killer and the humanist behind the blood and sickening crunch”.
• More Lovecraft: Stories to make you say UGH! by Pete Von Sholly.
• Pale Fire is Nabokov’s “great gay comic novel,” says Edmund White. A surprising but not inappropriate reappraisal. White has noted in the past that Nabokov “hated homosexuality” despite having a gay brother and uncle. The portrayal of Charles Kinbote in Pale Fire isn’t unsympathetic if you overlook his being delusional, and possibly insane…
• At Folk Horror Revival: details of the charity donations raised by sales of the Folk Horror Revival books, the first of which featured my David Rudkin essay. A one-day Folk Horror Revival event takes place later this month at the British Museum, London.
• Mixes of the week: The Bug presents Killing Sound Chapter 2: Inner Space, a 2-hour blend of “sci-fi scores, expansive atmospheres and synthesized psychedelia”; Decoded Sundays presents Scanner; Secret Thirteen Mix 197 is by LXV.
• Robert Aickman’s only novel, The Late Breakfasters (1964), is being given its first US publication by Valancourt Books.
• “Don’t dream it, bet it.” Evan J. Peterson on 40 years of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
• Anna von Hausswolff’s sister, Maria, directs a video for Come Wander With Me / Deliverance.
• RIP Michael O’Pray, film writer and curator of many festivals of experimental cinema.
• Oli Warwick talks to electronic musicians about the influence of the late Don Buchla.