Summerisle souvenirs

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Presenting the second in what is now a series of travel posters for the fictional regions of Old Weird Britain. In 2012 I created a poster for the village of Milbury from Children of the Stones, a design derived from the London Transport posters of the 1920s promoting destinations outside the city. At the time I had a vague idea of maybe doing more in this style but it’s taken this long to produce something new.

Summerisle is an obvious choice but not necessarily an easy one. The popularity of The Wicker Man means that a small cottage industry of Summerisle souvenirs already exists, most of the products being concerned with the events of May Day 1973. A travel poster would represent a location rather than a single date so that wasn’t a problem, but I also wanted to avoid any Wicker Man silhouettes. The appearance of the Wicker Man at the end of the film is a secret being revealed, it’s not something the islanders would broadcast to the world, hence the concentration here on the village, the manor house and the standing stones. The sole nod to the island’s customs is the group of people lurking behind a wall. Another temptation would be to use the Nuada sun as seen in the film but others have already made use of that so I took a sun face from an old Tarot card.

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As with the Milbury poster, this is now a design available on a range of CafePress products. These are mostly paper goods for the time being; setting up new shops at CafePress becomes increasingly time-consuming as the company adds more yet clothing, phone cases and household goods. Among the new products, however, there’s a stainless steel flask which I wouldn’t usually add but which is perfect for a design promoting a Scottish island. I think I’ll have to order one for myself.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Wicker mania
Milbury souvenirs
Children of the Stones

Heaven and Hell calendar

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Painting from the poster art for The Highbury Working (2000) by Alan Moore & Tim Perkins.

Unlike last year, this year’s CafePress calendar arrives on time, its creation being eased by the fact that it’s a reworking on an earlier version. The idea with the previous Heaven & Hell calendar had been to alternate various pieces of infernal Cradle of Filth artwork with contrasting imagery; as things turned out I had more offerings for Hell than for Heaven—no surprise there—so the reality wasn’t very satisfying.

This year I’ve managed to fill out the Heaven sequence with more recent works, all of which have been slightly adjusted to fit the square page ratio required by CafePress. So even though these are old pieces many of them are unique to this printing. Larger copies of the pages may be seen here while the CafePress purchase page is here. As always, my thanks to everyone who buys these things.

And as before, the calendars for previous years are now available all year round; see the full range here. Note that this means you need to select January as the starting month if you want the months to run for a single year only.

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JANUARY: Variation of the poster art for Angel Passage (2001) by Alan Moore & Tim Perkins.

Angel Passage was Alan and Tim’s album about the life and work of William Blake. I designed the CD, a poster, and also produced a video for the multi-media performance of the piece at the Purcell Room, London, in February 2001.

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FEBRUARY: Cover for Bitter Suites To Succubi by Cradle of Filth (2001).

My first piece of Cradle of Filth art. I was a little surprised when working on this that they really did want the wings and horns; Dani loved that kind of imagery. I was even more surprised when this cover was subsequently showcased in an entire window in Tower Records’ main London shop in Piccadilly.

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Burroughs at 100

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Something from 1994 I found in an old sketchbook. Ink on paper with no preliminary drawing.

Happy birthday, Bill. To celebrate the Burroughs centenary I could have put together several very different mixes of Burroughs-related music—there’s been a lot of it, and he was blessed with some excellent collaborators—but in the end decided on a version of something I’ve been messing with on and off for about twenty years.

Seven Souls Resouled by Feuilleton on Mixcloud

Bill Laswell’s associations with William Burroughs go back to Laurie Anderson’s Mister Heartbreak (1984) album which Laswell played bass on and co-produced. Burroughs had a guest spot on the last track, Sharkey’s Night, and that session may have led to the 1989 album by Laswell’s Material project, Seven Souls, a seven-track album based around Burroughs’s readings of passages from The Western Lands. This has always been my favourite of all the albums which set Burroughs texts to music, not least because Laswell has always surrounded himself with exceptional musicians. I liked this album so much I used to try padding it out on cassette tape with other Laswell productions, many of which feature the same musicians, and even similar riffs and instrument sounds. I could never settle on a definitive mix, however, and even the one presented here doesn’t feel absolutely right although it works far better than all previous versions. Matters aren’t helped by there being much extraneous material (so to speak): Seven Souls was reissued in 1997 with remix tracks, and there’s also a related EP, The Road To The Western Lands, with further remixes. Then there are the many tracks which match the Seven Souls sound, not least on the 1994 Material album, Hallucination Engine, which also features a Burroughs reading. Laswell’s solo albums, and much of his Axiom label, is infected by Burroughs-like titles; for a while Axiom even promoted its world- and genre-spanning ethos with the slogan “Nothing is true; everything is permitted”. The Beatles may have put Burroughs’s face on the cover of the Sgt Pepper album but Bill Laswell has done far more to spread the virus of the man’s work. Below there’s a guide to the tracks followed by another visit to the Wild Boys.

William S. Burroughs – Word Falling, Photo Falling (1960s)
One of the numerous tape recordings from the 1960s which are like audio equivalents of the books Burroughs was writing at the time. This one is from Nothing Here Now But The Recordings (1981).

Material – Ineffect (1989)
The first track from Seven Souls.

Ginger Baker – Dust to Dust (1986)
Bill Laswell produced two Ginger Baker solo albums, Horses and Trees (1986), from which this track is taken, and Middle Passage (1990). Both feature Laswell’s core group of Material musicians including Nicky Skopelitis, Bernie Worrell and Aiyb Dieng. Baker was a member of a later incarnation of Material, and appears on the Live In Japan (1993) album.

Material – Seven Souls (1989)
The second track from Seven Souls.

Material – Ruins (Submutation Dub by Bill Laswell) (1994)
From Material’s other masterwork, the mighty Hallucination Engine.

Material – Soul Killer (1989)
The third track from Seven Souls.

Ginger Baker – Under Black Skies (1990)
From Baker’s Middle Passage album.

Material – The Western Lands (1989)
The fourth track from Seven Souls.

Mandingo – Lanmbasy Dub (Kora in Hell Mix by Bill Laswell) (1993)
A slight deviation from the Seven Souls tracklist. The first four Burroughs tracks were followed by two very different pieces: Deliver, featuring the voice of Gambian musician and kora player Foday Musa Suso, and Equation which combined a rock riff with Rammellzee’s vocals. Foday Musa Suso is another floating member of Material who also released an album, New World Power (1990) on Laswell’s Axiom label under the name Mandingo. This track is an extended remix of the first track from New World Power.

Bill Laswell (with William S. Burroughs, Techno Animal, Iggy Pop) – The Western Lands (1999)
Hashisheen : The End Of Law is one of many one-off Laswell projects, this one featuring a collection of readings about Hassan i Sabbah set to music. Burroughs appears briefly two years after his death reading what may have been a Seven Souls outtake. Iggy Pop then reads a piece from The Western Lands.

Material feat. Rammellzee & phonosycographDISK – No Guts No Galaxy (1999)
In place of Equation from Seven Souls there’s this rap number from Material’s Intonarumori album.

Bill Laswell – Flash Of Panic [Pipes Of Pan / Up Above The World / Under Black Skies / Out Of The Ether] (1994)
Part of a track from the Axiom Ambient album which blends some of Laswell’s recording of the pan pipes at Jajouka with strings from a Jonas Hellborg album, and Omar Faruk Tekbilek’s ney from Under Black Skies.

Material – Soul Killer (Remote Control Mix by Terre Thaemlitz) (1997)
The reissue of Seven Souls featured three remixes of which this has always been my favourite. Terre Thaemlitz subjects Burroughs’s voice to some granular distortion then cuts-up his words.

Material – The End of Words (1989)
The seventh and final track from Seven Souls.

Continue reading “Burroughs at 100”

Steampunk Calendar

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This one arrives two months late, the months of October and November being overly preoccupied with other work. I chose a steampunk theme for this year since this has been a productive area recently. The idea was one of those simple notions—rework some book covers into calendar pages—that in practice ended up taking much longer than anticipated. Larger copies of the pages may be seen here while the CafePress purchase page is here. My thanks to everyone who’s been buying things recently.

For those who dislike over-decorated 19th-century science fiction but may still want a Coulthart calendar there’s the Cthulhu Calendar (still a popular item), the Psychedelic Wonderland calendar, and the Through the Psychedelic Looking-Glass calendar. Note: Calendars at CafePress can now be purchased throughout the year so make sure that you select January as the starting month if you want the months to run for a single year only.

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Cthulhu Labyrinth

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Something I was working on last August when I was putting together new pictures for the Cthulhu calendar, I’d actually forgotten about this until this week. The idea was to do something that was more of an abstract design than the rest of the art; having got this far I was undecided whether I wanted to try and incorporate the labyrinth shape into a larger picture. With time running out and nothing resolved I ended up using the Keep Calm Cthulhu design which, looking back, I feel this alone could easily have replaced. (They both share the same Cthulhu glyph.) As it is I may make this one available as another CafePress design since it’s more suited to T-shirts and things. If it needs a justification then consider the story of The Call of Cthulhu as a labyrinthine investigation which reveals Cthulhu dreaming at its centre.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Cthulhu Calendar
S. Latitude 47°9′, W. Longitude 126°43′
Resurgam variations
De Profundis
Cthulhoid and Artflakes
Cthulhu for sale
Cthulhu God
Cthulhu under glass
CthulhuPress
Cubist Cthulhu