Ennio Morricone, 1995

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David Thompson made this 40-minute Ennio Morricone documentary for the BBC in 1995. I taped it at the time but haven’t watched it since so it was good to find again. The highlight is the lengthy interview with the man himself but there are also contributions from Christopher Frayling, Brian de Palma, Bernardo Bertolucci, Gillo Pontecorvo and others.

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Weekend links 521

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Au Lion d’or (1965) by Mimi Parent.

• After the recent announcement of Jon Hassell’s health issues it’s good to see he has a new album on the way at the end of July. Seeing Through Sound (Pentimento Volume Two) follows the form of the first volume, Seeing Through Pictures (2018), in reworking elements of earlier recordings into new forms. Not remixes, more reimaginings, and a process that Hassell has been applying to his own work for many years, most notably on his collaboration with Peter Freeman, The Vertical Collection (1997). The latter is an album which is impossible to find today and really ought to be reissued, together with more scarcities from the Hassell catalogue.

• Death of a typeface: John Boardley on Robert Granjon’s Civilité, a type design intended to be the national typeface of France but which fell out of favour. It wasn’t completely forgotten however; I was re-reading Huysmans’ À Rebours a couple of weeks ago, and Civilité is mentioned there as being a type that Des Esseintes chooses for some of his privately-printed books.

• At Plutonium Shores: Kurosawa versus Leone in A Fistful of Yojimbo. Christopher Frayling makes a similar analysis in his landmark study, Spaghetti Westerns (1981), but I didn’t realise that Leone had based so many of his shots on Kurosawa’s film.

• More lockdown art: Seen from Here: Writing in the Lockdown is a collection of new writing edited by Tim Etchells and Vlatka Horvat. A PDF book whose sales will go to support the Trussell Trust, a UK food bank charity.

• The week’s culture guides: Ben Cardew on where to start with the back catalogue of Miles Davis, and Hayley Scanlon on where to begin with the films of Yasujiro Ozu.

• “We can no longer ignore the potential of psychedelic drugs to treat depression,” says Robin Carhart-Harris.

• At Dangerous Minds: Laraaji returns with a new album, Sun Piano, and a preview of the same, This Too Shall Pass.

• Mixes of the week: The Ivy-Strangled Path Vol. XXI by David Colohan, and XLR8R Podcast 647 by The Orb.

Penelope Rosemont on the humorous Surrealism of Mimi Parent.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Jeff Jackson presents Free Jazz Day.

The Golden Lion (1967) by Lomax Alliance | Dread Lion (1976) by The Upsetters | Gehenna Lion (1982) by Chrome

The South Bank Show: Dracula

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While illustrating Dracula earlier this year I was listening to Wojciech Kilar’s soundtrack to Francis Coppola’s Dracula to sustain the vampiric mood. I also watched Coppola’s film again, it’s an adaptation I enjoy a great deal despite its flaws. (This post detailed some of the plus points.) The South Bank Show‘s programme devoted to Dracula on page and screen was broadcast in early 1993, timed for the opening of Coppola’s film in the UK. I watched this when it was first shown, and remembered it being a good one but neglected to go searching for it back in January. I also remembered it being more about Coppola’s film than it is, although there’s still enough to make it a substantial promo piece.

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The territory here may be familiar but the evolution of Stoker’s novel is contextualised by some expert commentators—Leonard Wolf, Elaine Showalter (with a copy of Bram Dijkstra’s Idols of Perversity at her side) and Christopher Frayling—while discussion of the film adaptations includes Christopher Lee, Francis Coppola, James V. Hart (the screenwriter of Coppola’s film), Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder and others. Among the film clips there are several scenes from Count Dracula, Gerald Savory’s 1977 adaptation for the BBC. This is surprising since The South Bank Show was screened by the BBC’s rival, ITV. But Savory’s Count Dracula is still the most faithful screen adaptation that I’ve seen (and possibly the most faithful to date) so it’s a worthwhile choice, and one whose naturalism makes a sober contrast to Coppola’s Sturm und Drang.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Illustrating Dracula
Illustrating Frankenstein
Dracula and I by Christopher Lee
The Dracula Annual
Nightmare: The Birth of Horror
Albin Grau’s Nosferatu
Count Dracula
Symbolist cinema

Weekend links 386

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Lynd Ward again, and one of his illustrations for Frankenstein (1934).

• “Julio Mario Santo Domingo was a collector and visionary who filled his homes and warehouses with the world’s greatest private collection related to the subjects of drugs, sex, magic, and rock and roll: a library of more than 50,000 items…” Altered States: The Library of Julio Santo Domingo by Peter Watts catalogues some of the artefacts.

• “His vision of Gay Liberation was deeply, and uniquely, inflected by his study of, and belief, in anarchism.” More on the late Charles Shively: Michael Bronski remembers a pivotal figure in the gay liberation movement.

• William Friedkin’s Sorcerer was released on region-free blu-ray a couple of years ago but it’s being reissued again in the UK for its fortieth anniversary. Julian House has created a series of designs for the insert.

• Electronic musician and podcaster Marc Kate talks to Erik Davis about nihilism, horror movies, New Age music, and transmuting Nazi black metal into the ambient soundscapes of his latest album, Deface.

• “Beware the polished little man“: an extract from The Guesthouse at the Sign of the Teetering Globe by Franziska zu Reventlow which is available now from Rixdorf Editions.

• Another welcome blu-ray release, Sergei Parajanov’s The Colour of Pomegranates appears later this month in a special edition from Second Sight.

• Mixes of the week: FACT mix 626 by Sharp Veins, XLR8R Podcast 515 by Sammy Dee, and Secret Thirteen Mix 236 by Beta Evers.

The Witch Wave with Pam Grossman is a podcast for bewitching conversation about magic, creativity, and culture.

• Call me by the wrong name: Benjamin Lee on Hollywood’s perennial attempts to straight-wash gay films.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Spotlight on…Ronald Firbank Concerning the Eccentricities of Cardinal Pirelli (1926).

• Zoë Lescaze reviews Frankenstein: The First Two Hundred Years by Christopher Frayling.

• Angry Optimism in a Drowned World: A Conversation with Kim Stanley Robinson.

• Stewart Smith on The Strange World of…Linda Sharrock.

Colors (1969) by Pharoah Sanders | Frankenstein (1972) by The Edgar Winter Group | Pomegranate (2001) by Transglobal Underground

Psychetecture

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And speaking of architecture… I wouldn’t usually punish the spine of a scarce paperback by subjecting it to trial by flatbed scanner but not all of these drawings have found their way to the web. The artist is Gavin Stamp, here masquerading as “GM Sinclair” for illustrations used in the appendices of the aforementioned Necronomicon (1978), edited by George Hay. The book was published in hardback by occult specialists Neville Spearman, with a paperback following two years later from Corgi Books.

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For a purportedly real Necronomicon this one always struck me as more plausible than the US equivalent by Simon; Hay and his collaborators, Robert Turner and David Langford, go to some lengths to describe the sourcing of rare manuscripts from the British Museum, and the process of cryptographic decoding that follows. But the part of the book that made the greatest impression was the essay contributions by Christopher Frayling and Angela Carter, and Gavin Stamp’s accompanying illustrations. In 1980 unless you knew an older book collector (which I didn’t) serious writing about Lovecraft’s work was hard to find. Hay’s book and Stamp’s illustrations were one of several discoveries that pushed me towards illustrating Lovecraft myself.

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The pictures above are taken from the paperback while the ones below are lifted from David Langford’s site. I borrowed the pentagonal labyrinth from the title page for the cover of the NecronomiCon convention booklet: two Necronomicons joined, and a nod to a group of writers who helped me along the way.

Continue reading “Psychetecture”