Weekend links 325

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08-30-16 from the Everydays series by Beeple.

• “Monsieur de Bougrelon is a unique character: loquacious, proud, a leftover from an earlier age, wearing garish outfits and makeup that drips. To his speechless audience, he waxes nostalgic about his life as an exile in Holland, as well as what he calls “imaginary pleasures” – obsessions with incongruous people, animals, and objects. These obsessions are often sexual or border on the sexual, leading to shocking, surreal scenes. Monsieur de Bougrelon also enthuses over his beautiful friend Monsieur de Mortimer, making this novella one of the rare works of the nineteenth century to broach homosexuality in a meaningful way, years before Jean Cocteau and Jean Genet.” Monsieur de Bougrelon (1897) by Jean Lorrain will receive its first English publication by Spurl Editions in November.

• “…The Future seems in retrospect to have been no more than a spectacle, created by the optimistic few for the optimistic many, the readily gulled multitudes who had faith in technological seers just as an earlier generation had had faith in Great Men.” Jonathan Meades reviews Last Futures: Nature, Technology and the End of Architecture by Douglas Murphy.

In the Woods & On the Heath is a collection of 48 pieces of erotic prose and poetry by 24 writers, all of them illustrated by Van Rijn.

Borneman was widely read in European literature and, once settled in London, wasted no time bringing himself up to speed with developments in English-language writing, discovering a particular affinity with Hemingway and Joyce, not to mention American crime writers such as Carroll John Daly and Dashiell Hammett. This presumably explains the distinctive, sometimes highly eccentric style of The Face on the Cutting-Room Floor, which despite being set in an English film studio of the 1930s (which evokes images, perhaps, of genteel musical comedies performed in perfect RP accents), combines laconic, hardboiled dialogue with extended stream-of-consciousness passages, all filtered through the skewed phraseology of someone whose acquisition of English was still, to some extent, a work in progress.

Jonathan Coe on the mysteries of The Face on the Cutting-Room Floor, a novel by “Cameron McCabe” (Ernest Borneman)

• How Oscar Wilde paved the way for gay rights in the arts. Wilde will be honoured with a major exhibition in Paris later this month.

Noisy Rain is a free online publication dedicated to “artists working with the male figure and homo-eroticism”.

Dennis Cooper’s blog returns. The truth about Google’s deletion of the Blogspot account has finally emerged.

Peel Away The Ivy by The Pattern Forms will be release number 26 on the Ghost Box label in October.

• Glam Rock & Yorkshire Occult: Ben Myers on his novel Turning Blue.

• Mix of the week: Secret Thirteen Mix 195 by Jake Meginsky.

• At Phantasmaphile: Unarius: We Are Not Alone.

Blokdust is a browser-based musical instrument.

• Official trailer for David Lynch: The Art Life.

Future Dub (1994) by Mouse On Mars | Future Proof (2003) by Massive Attack | Future Past Perfect pt 01 by Carsten Nicolai

Zone music

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Undulating terrain: Stalker (1979).

Marking the boundaries of an obsession, this post follows the discovery last week of the Sine Fiction soundtracks for science fiction novels, one of which was five tracks by Jos Smolders for Arkady and Boris Strugatsky’s Roadside Picnic. That album set me wondering what other recordings might have been inspired by that bounded region known as the Zone, whether derived from the Strugatskys’ novel, from Andrei Tarkovsky’s 1979 film Stalker (for whom the Strugatskys provided a screenplay) or even from the real-life Zone around the irradiated Chernobyl disaster site in Ukraine.

The cult status of the book and film can be measured by the following list which I’m sure will have many omissions, not least because searching music sites for “stalker”, “zone” and “roadside picnic” yields multiple results; all three of those terms happen to also be the names of musical artists or groups, as well as the names of labels, albums and individual recordings. (I’ll skip over the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series of computer games. All have music but since I’ve not played any of them I can’t say much about them.)

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The stalker’s dream from Stalker.

The first release is of course the haunting film theme by Edward Artemyev, a mere five minutes of music which nonetheless adds a great deal to Tarkovsky’s unforgettable images. Artemyev also provided music for Tarkovsky’s Solaris (1972) and Mirror (1975) yet nothing else I’ve heard by the composer resembles this piece which wouldn’t be out-of-place on a compilation of German Kosmische music from the 1970s.

While that long camera shot over waterlogged objects is still in mind, there’s the following from Nova Swing (2006) by M. John Harrison, a science fiction novel which riffs on both Stalker and Roadside Picnic:

Upstairs, Emil Bonaventure was propped upright against the pillows like a corpse, his skin yellow in the streetlight from the window, his old ribs slatted with shadows. The energy had drained out of his smart tattoos and he was breathing ever so lightly. Edith watched the pulse in his neck. She could almost see the life through the skin, the thoughts in his head, and what were they but the dreams he couldn’t any longer have? Shallow water over cracked chequerboard tiles and cast-off domestic objects, books, plates, magazines, empty tunnels smelling of chemicals, a black dog trotting aimlessly round him in his sleep on some dirty waterlogged ground neither in nor out of anything you could think of as the world, while a woman’s voice mourned open-throat from a house not far enough in the distance.

Nova Swing will be available in a new edition later this year.

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Stalker (1995) by Robert Rich & B. Lustmord.

The doomy atmospherics which have become the hallmark of Zone music begin with this album by Robert Rich and B. Lustmord. Seven tracks take Tarkovsky’s film as an inspiration with vaguely allusive titles—Undulating Terrain—and occasional snatches of dialogue buried in the mix. A superb piece of late-night listening even without the associations.

Continue reading “Zone music”