Weekend links 195

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Untitled painting (c. 1920–1933) by Ethel le Rossignol depicting “the Sphere of the Spirit”. An exhibition of  Ethel le Rossignol’s channelled paintings takes place at the Horse Hospital, London, next month.

• “It’s always disconcerting to discover a favourite writer was kind of a jerk. How does this realization effect our understanding of Walter Benjamin’s work?” asks Morgan Meis.

• Mixes of the week: Georges Vert (aka Jon Brooks) presents The Pan-Europa Mix. Mr Brooks also unveiled another seasonal mix which he calls Winter Velvet.

Knopheria by Chrome Hoof ft. Shingai Shoniwa. A video from the band’s latest album.

Without sci-fi trappings of any kind, The Metamorphosis forces us to think in terms of analogy, of reflexive interpretation, though it is revealing that none of the characters in the story, including Gregor, ever does think that way. There is no meditation on a family secret or sin that might have induced such a monstrous reprisal by God or the Fates, no search for meaning even on the most basic existential plane. The bizarre event is dealt with in a perfunctory, petty, materialistic way, and it arouses the narrowest range of emotional response imaginable, almost immediately assuming the tone of an unfortunate natural family occurrence with which one must reluctantly contend.

David Cronenberg on Franz Kafka’s story.

• “I was very much into now-ism.” Laraaji talks to Bobby Barry about his music.

The Edge Question for 2014: “What scientific idea is ready for retirement?”

Storybook Apocalypse: Beasts, Comets, and Other Signs of the End Times.

• Return of the wunderkammer: Philip Hoare on cabinets of curiosities.

• Birditis: Ian Penman on the “full catastrophe” of Charlie Parker.

Rick Poynor on The Compulsively Visual World of Pinterest.

• RIP psychedelic poster artist Gary Grimshaw.

• At PingMag: The automaton clocks of Tokyo.

Dust & Grooves: Vinyl music culture.

Wunderkammern at Pinterest.

Ligeti: String Quartet No. 1 “Metamorphoses nocturnes” (recorded 1978) The Arditti Quartet | Thru Metamorphic Rocks (1979) by Tangerine Dream | Metamorphosis (2012) by Demdike Stare

Weekend links 185

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L’uomo che piantava gli alberi (2013) by Sofia Rondelli. Via Form Is Void.

• I’m looking forward to hearing the new album by Chrome Hoof, a band whose ambition and attitude makes many of their contemporaries seem lukewarm at best. Mick Middles gets to grips with Chrome Black Gold here. John Doran interviewed the group in 2010, a piece which includes a Chrome Hoof mix of tracks by other artists.

Jay Roberts: “I was a young Marine scout sniper, definitely his type. And for a single, unforgettable afternoon, Orange County’s most notorious serial killer coaxed me into a place from which many didn’t escape.”

Jonathan Meades: “Why I went postal … and turned my snaps into postcards.” “Meades isn’t your average architectural fanboy,” says Rachel Cooke who went to talk to him at his home in Marseille.

“Faced with a Nabokov novel,” Zadie Smith writes, “it’s impossible to rid yourself of the feeling that you’ve been set a problem, as a chess master sets a problem in a newspaper.” Certainly, while Humbert asks the reader “not to mock me and my mental daze”, the suspicion is that the power dynamic in his tale is a little different.

Tim Groenland on the difficulties of writing, publishing and reading Lolita.

Cosmic Machine is a double-disc collection of French electronic music from the 1970s & 1980s. Justice enthuse about the music here where you can also preview the tracks.

The Midnight Channel, Evan J. Peterson’s horror-poetry homage to the VHS era, is available now from Babel/Salvage. There’s a trailer here.

• “Our age reveres the specialist but humans are natural polymaths, at our best when we turn our minds to many things,” says Robert Twigger.

• Another musical Chrome: Richard Metzger on newly resurrected recordings by one of my long-time cult bands.

• Hermes Trismegistus and Hermeticism: An interview with Gary Lachman.

• A stunning set of photos of London in the sweltering summer of 1976.

Pye Corner Audio live at The Outer Church, Madrid, November 2013.

Judee Sill, the shockingly talented occult folk singer time forgot.

• Designer Jonathan Barnbrook answers twenty questions.

• Don’t trust the painting: Morgan Meis on René Magritte.

Laurie Anderson’s farewell to Lou Reed.

Philippe Druillet at Pinterest.

• The Chrome Plated Megaphone Of Destiny (1968) by The Mothers of Invention | March Of The Chrome Police (1979) by Chrome | Chrome (1981) by Debbie Harry

Crush Depth by Chrome Hoof

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Chrome Hoof photographed by Steve Bliss.

How to describe London’s Chrome Hoof? A difficult proposition but that hasn’t stopped people trying. The BBC labels them a “10+ piece glam clad death disco outfit” which isn’t a bad start. Their record label offers more detail:

Cathedral bassist Leo Smee started a bass and drums duo under the moniker Chrome Hoof with his brother Milo at the turn of the millennium to celebrate their shared love of mid-seventies funk and disco. Like sequined pied pipers, they recruited everywhere they played, building an army of multi-instrumentalists, including a full horn and string section, generating a devoted cult following with their legendary live shows. A veritable orchestra of musicians perform, decked out in futuristic monks’ robes, kicking it like some unholy hybrid of Sun Ra, ESG, Goblin, Parliament-Funkadelic and Black Sabbath, complete with choreographed dancers, actors taking vaudeville interludes, and a twelve-foot tall metallic ram dominating the dancefloor.

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Crush Depth (2010). Design by Fergadelic.

Crush Depth is their latest album and the cover graphic here doesn’t convey the mirrored grooviness of the metallic gatefold package. Inside you get thirteen tracks with titles such as Witch’s Instruments and Furnaces and Anorexic Cyclops. Musically it’s like a collision between Magma, Igor Wakhévitch, Acid Mothers Temple and, I dunno…X-Ray Spex? The Androids of Mu? With disco rhythms…and riffs…and Mellotrons…and squalling synths…and harps…and violins…and Cluster! (Yes, Moebius & Roedelius Cluster). The Cluster-embellished track, Deadly Pressure, even manages to make a reference to “Old Ones” waking from their sleep in the depths of the sea, so I suppose we can throw Cthulhu’s squamous bulk into the mix as well. Chrome Hoof are so far beyond the legions of characterless indie clones they’re not even on the same planet. It makes a real change finding a band with this level of musical imagination and the technical authority to deliver the goods. One of the albums of the year, without a doubt.

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The album covers archive

Previously on { feuilleton }
A cluster of Cluster
Chrome: Perfumed Metal
Metabolist: Goatmanauts, Drömm-heads and the Zuehl Axis
The music of Igor Wakhévitch