Weekend links 657

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• Cover art for a new album by John Foxx which will be released on CD in March. This catches my attention for being based on Walter Benjamin’s compendious collection of esoterica, with the music being solo piano pieces. If the latter are anything like the albums Foxx recorded 20 years ago with Harold Budd then this is all very promising. Is the cover design by Jonathan Barnbrook? The typography and formal treatment of the photo suggest as much.

• “The new game was not providing access to everything but finding out how many expensively licensed properties you could cull from your service before people started to question how much they were paying a month.” Sam Thielman on the sudden unavailability of hundreds of classic Warner Brothers cartoons. Regarding his comment about the unplayability of Internet Archive videos: you download them and put them on a USB drive.

Frost Flowers on the Windows (1899) is a book that documents “the extraordinary power of windowpane frost to take ‘ice photographs’, images capable of expressing the ‘vital qualities’ of life forms close to the glass,” according to its author, Albert Alberg.

• New music: ev THe norTH, “a sound journey through the winter of the far north” by Lorenz Weber. (The encoding of the album title won’t display properly on this page.)

• RIP Yukihiro Takahashi, singer, songwriter and drummer with the fabulous Yellow Magic Orchestra. The space-disco video for YMO’s Rydeen never gets old.

• “I want an indescribable feeling”: composer Kali Malone on her search for the sublime.

• Old music: Roundtrip by Don Cherry & Jean Schwarz, a live performance in Paris, 1977.

• At Spoon & Tamago: Glass artist Genki Sudo crafts tentacle earbuds.

• At Unquiet Things: The Incandescent Otherworlds of Gervasio Gallardo.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Acid Westerns Day.

Arcade (1987) by Chris & Cosey | The White Arcades (1988) by Harold Budd | Arcade (2018) by Philip Jeck

Weekend links 600

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My kind of window. From a collection of machine-learning images by Unlimited Dream Co. Via Bruce Sterling.

• “I will never call myself a queer. That word is one of the things that I detest that has happened, and it’s almost being forced now. For me, you cannot separate that word from the hatred and violence that once accompanied it. When I read it being used in The New York Times, I think, ‘It’s their word and they can fucking have it all they want.’ I will never use ‘queer.’ It’s an ugly word.” John Rechy, still active at the age of 90, talking to Jeff Weiss about hustling, social opprobrium, and his pioneering books.

• “At a time when we are being constantly told that humanity is destroying the planet, it is somehow comforting to see nature not merely outlasting, but triumphing over humanity’s constructions—as nature does in many of Piranesi’s Views of Rome.” Alasdair Palmer on Piranesi’s peerless renderings of Roman ruins.

• “The magical aspect of Get Back is its total refusal to adhere to the standard tropes of music documentaries. There are no talking heads commenting on the Beatles’ greatness, no continual barrage of quick edits and highlights.” Geeta Dayal on Peter Jackson’s resurrection of the Fab Four.

But men are not traditionally meant to be objects of art. “Men look at women,” John Berger wrote. “Women watch themselves being looked at.” When men look at men, however, they break rules. “I didn’t set out to be radical,” says Miller. “But I was at a fair and I had a huge nude on a stand by Michael Leonard. I’d only been open ten minutes and a woman started having a go and saying it’s filth. What I found fascinating is she’d walked past a whole span of female nudes. I think society is just immune to female nudity. People don’t see it. If you take this to the straight world of an art fair, it provokes reactions other dealers don’t get. There isn’t anyone else like me.”

Tony Wilkes talks to Henry Miller, owner of an art gallery devoted to the male form

• “I imagine men with starched collars, horrified by an animal with no hard edges to grab onto, no solidity to venerate. Something low, lateral, creeping.” Fiona Glen on “Devil Fish”, Cthulhu and cephalomania.

• I like glowing things so Brian Eno’s glowing record turntable has an immediate appeal. A shame it’s a very limited production which is almost certainly sold out by now.

• The next release on the Ghost Box label will be A Letter from TreeTops by Pneumatic Tubes.

• At Dangerous Minds: A Sight for Sore Eyes Vol. 1, a visual history of The Residents.

• At Wormwoodiana: Mark Valentine on the supernatural thrillers of Archie Roy.

• Mix of the week: A reflection on 2021 at A Strangely Isolated Place.

Swan River Press looks back over a year of book production.

• New music: Spherical Harmonics by Joseph Hyde.

Octopus’s Garden (1969) by The Beatles | The Kraken (2006) by Hans Zimmer | Kraken (2017) by Dave Clarkson

Weekend links 572

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L’Insolite (1980) by Jean-Marie Poumeyrol.

• “As we move down the ladder of prestige into the world of unvetted tweets, we observe an increasing difficulty, among people with very strong opinions, in exercising that basic critical competence of distinguishing between the authorial creation of a character, and the author’s affirmation of that character’s every moral trait and political view.” Justin EH Smith on the HR managers of the human soul.

• “When is a Didone not a Didone? How far must an exemplar Didone, like a Didot or a Bodoni, be altered before it loses its ‘Didoneness’?” John Boardley on the vexed question of font classification, and the need for an alternative to the present system.

• “Birds with Human Faces and Birds with Human Souls share shelf space with The Book of Owls and Expert Obedience Training for Dogs…” Joanna Moorhead visits the Casa Estudio Leonora Carrington in Mexico City.

“Indolent” is a funny way to characterize her natural state, which seems more like “incisive” to me, but I also have the unshakable sense—for myself—that writing can’t or shouldn’t look like staring into space or feel like not wanting to move from the couch. “A fraud is being perpetrated: writing is not work, it’s doing nothing,” she states in that first essay, from 1992. But she immediately counters with, “It’s not a fraud: doing nothing is what I have to do to live.” Listing a few more pertinent existential options, Diski ends with, “Or: writing is what I have to do to be my melancholy self.” The protoplasmic, chattering, melancholic “I” of these essays is, of course, the collection’s constant, its true subject. I can commiserate with her on every page even if emulation is out of reach.

Johanna Fateman on the incisive long-form criticism of Jenny Diski

• At Spine: Vyki Hendy identifies sunburst as a new trend in book cover design. I often think I overuse these things in my own cover designs which means I may be inadvertently (and fleetingly) trendy.

• At the Magnum Gallery, London: Metamorphoses, photographic studies by Herbert List of male bodies and Greek statuary.

• At Spoon & Tamago: A butterfly sipping moisture from puddles, sculpted entirely in wood by Toru Fukuda.

• At Dangerous Minds: Joseph Lanza on the easy listening side of psychedelic pop.

• At CounterPunch: Louis Proyect on thinking like an octopus.

• Mix of the week: Fact Mix 510 by Britton Powell.

Bye Bye Butterfly (1965) by Pauline Oliveros | Butterfly Mornings (2001) by Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions | Butterfly Caught (2003) by Massive Attack

Weekend links 272

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No Passing (1954) by Kay Sage.

• More Lovecraftiana: She Walks In Shadows, an illustrated all-woman Lovecraftian anthology, will be published in October. Related: “The octopus genome and the evolution of cephalopod neural and morphological novelties“, a study that’s been filtering through the press as “Do octopuses have alien DNA?”

• “The right to ‘subject each others’ fundamental beliefs to criticism’ is the bedrock of an open, diverse society,” says Kenan Malik in his TB Davie Memorial Lecture.

Sunn O))) with Attila Csihar at the Berlin Heimathafen. Related: Here’s what you missed at Sunn O)))’s sold out Berlin gig.

Caillois is fascinated by these “beveled buildings,” truly abundant in the Fifteenth, along with an unusually high incidence of blind walls, false façades, and merely ornamental windows, each beloved of his phantoms. In the parts of the arrondissement developed during the postwar period, Caillois’s attention is drawn instead to the ventilator shafts and drainage grates that dot the streets. These structures, built to clear away rainwater or aerate underground garages, have a secret function, according to him. Noting their uncanny similarity to some of the settings in the Weird Tales of HP Lovecraft, he speculates that they may have been constructed to provide the entry points for an extraterrestrial invasion of our planet.

Ryan Ruby on Roger Callois and the phantoms of the Fifteenth Arrondissement

• “I’m really into big moments,” says Julia Holter whose new album, Have You In My Wilderness, is released next month.

Adrian Utley talks to Peter Zinovieff, co-inventor of the EMS synthesizer. Related: What the Future Sounded Like.

• “Tarkovsky’s Solaris is the anti-2001: A Space Odyssey,” says Marissa Visci.

• Mix of the week: Gizehcast #17 by Rutger Zuydervelt.

Modernist architecture on film.

Thaumaturgy at Tumblr

The Call of Ktulu (1984) by Metallica | Cthulhu Dawn (2000) by Cradle of Filth | Cthulhu: A Cryo Chamber Collaboration (2014) by Various Artists

Weekend links 217

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Le Petit Journal, June 16, 1912. Via Beautiful Century.

Occult art by Nicomi Nix Turner, Daniel Martin Diaz, Amy Earles and William Crisafi. Related: Illustrations by Ernest M. Jessop for The Witches Frolic by Thomas Ingoldsby.

• “Our definition of ‘Industrial’ then was a very broad one, it’s definitely not so much now.” Chris Carter & Cosi Fanni Tutti on 20 Jazz Funk Greats by Throbbing Gristle.

• At Dangerous Minds: the Amok Assault Video (1988), an hour of the bizarre, the extreme and the outré which will probably get yanked from YouTube before too long.

I’ve always thought the exchange of words for money is no more and no less problematic than any other kind of prostitution—and it’s important that we prostitutes control a certain amount of our production (and reproduction, for that matter). If I’m writing a book and I’m warned, “Oh, this is unsaleable, you need to make it shorter,” or, “It has to be this, or that,” I’m proud to say I don’t pay attention.

Though this is becoming more difficult. As large publishers turn into monopolies, and the MBAs who are running them—maybe editors used to run them before—are steadily tightening the screws, they feel more and more that they get to call the shots.

Writers can do anything, says William T. Vollmann

• Mixes of the week: Over two hours of Coil and other artists sequenced by Surgeon, and Secret Thirteen Mix 122 by DJ Skirt.

Alan Moore calls for a boycott of the “wretched” new Hercules film on behalf of his friend Steve Moore.

Joe Orton‘s first play, Fred and Madge, will receive its world premier in September.

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Ned Raggett found the drawing of mine that’s part of the Tentacles exhibition currently showing at the Monterey Aquarium, California. Thanks, Ned! There’s a sepia-toned version of the drawing in my Cthulhu calendar.

• “Weird is a wayward word,” says Erik Davis in an exploration of weirdness old and new.

• More details about the forthcoming Scott Walker + Sunn O))) collaboration.

• A trailer for a reissue of Robert Wiene’s The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920).

A history of sex toys in pictures.

Books on Book Covers

Octopus’s Garden (1969) by The Beatles | The River (1970) by Octopus | Octopus (1970) by Syd Barrett