Weekend links 621

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Holmes’s fog-horn apparatus, 1875.

• “Have scientists designed the perfect chocolate?” According to Betteridge, the answer would have to be “no”, even more so when the scientists only seem to have reinvented the Flake which Cadbury have been making since 1920. But the story does tell you something about “edible metamaterials” and even “edible holograms”.

• “In The Foghorn’s Lament, I talk about someone called The Fogmaster, who apparently used to do guerrilla foghorn performances…his ringtones are still available.” Jennifer Lucy Allan on foghorns past and present.

• “The story of Les Rallizes Dénudés is almost that of fan fiction. Fans know some basic details and the rest is conjecture and imagination.” Patrick St. Michel explores the occluded history of the Japanese rock band.

The Wharton completist may recognize some of the raw material for these stories in her earlier works. For instance, she used the Greek myth of Demeter and Persephone in a 1912 verse play before finding its subtle final expression in “Pomegranate Seed,” in which the ghostly letters keep the New York lawyer figuratively tethered to the underworld. And a 1926 volume of poems contained an experimental riff on a dead woman returning home on All Souls’ Day, published over a decade before Wharton revisited the holiday in her final short story. The ghost story form transforms both these familiar materials and her evergreen themes: Once some donnée becomes a ghost story, what may have been just an amusing character study acquires a participatory element, since readers must meet her halfway in becoming scared. To do so involves truly contemplating what exactly it is in these texts—and it is never the literal ghosts—that elicits a chill.

Krithika Varagur on Edith Wharton’s ghosts

Gaspar Noé’s favourite films. Elsewhere, Noé and Dario Argento talk about Noé’s latest feature, Vortex, while later this month Arrow are giving Enter the Void an overdue UK blu-ray release.

• Gay utopia: recent photographic portraits by Matthew Leifheit of Fire Island.

• Yogaville, 1993: more historic film of Alice Coltrane performing.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: The Maysles Brothers Day.

Sugar Chocolate Machine (1967) by The Beatstalkers | Chocolate Machine (1993) by Sandoz | Chocolate Jesus (1999) by Tom Waits

Weekend links 585

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Fox Woman (c. 1916) by Bertha Lum.

• “Apparently he had been walking though customs/arrivals with a large cube of weed stuck on the end of his silver Dr Martens and a foot long silver flashlight full of seed, but when they realised who he was, and that today was his 60th birthday, he was released with just a warning.” Radio Lancashire DJ Steve Barker remembers the late Lee “Scratch” Perry, and links to one of his shows with Perry (and Roger Eagle) here.

• “…it’s the chase itself that shapes the film’s distinctive aesthetic—the under-lit interiors and the sunless and frigid exteriors of the many locations across the city, sites that take the cops well beyond their usual beat, to places both above and below ground.” Chris McGinley explains how William Friedkin’s The French Connection reinvented (and exploded) the police procedural.

• “Toibin, who is himself gay, has always extended historical sympathy to sexual outsiders. As he’s written elsewhere, ‘There are no 19th-century ballads about being gay.'” Dwight Garner reviews Colm Toibin’s The Magician, a novel about Thomas Mann.

Here is the key point: to experience such marvels you have to risk an unsophisticated, even credulous love for corn, and part of that love involves a willingness to submit to what [Phil] Ford calls a “magical hermeneutics” capable of transforming marginal chunks of pop culture. As he writes in the wonderful 2008 essay that inspired the episode, exotica is “less a genre of music than a class of cultural objects that share a characteristic projection of the self across boundaries of space and time.” This makes it essentially psychedelic—“film music for daydreams”—and Ford draws out that historical connection in his essay, which argues that while the hippie movement that Nature Boys like Ahbez prophesied looks like a radical rejection of the space-age bachelor pad of ’50s consumerism, tendrils of transcendent yearning link the exotica imaginary to the earnest if stoned mysterioso to come.

Erik Davis on Eden Ahbez and Californian exotica

Edgar Froese interviewed on WSHU radio in 1974 where he talks about Tangerine Dream, live performance and the future of electronic music.

• At Dangerous Minds: A momentary lapse of reason…when Dario Argento interviewed Pink Floyd in 1987.

• It’s that man again: John Doran interviews Kevin Martin, aka The Bug.

David McKenna on The Strange World of France, La Nòvia & friends.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Tape deck.

Exotica (1958) by Martin Denny | Exotica Lullaby (1976) by Harry “The Crown” Hosono | Exotica (1979) by Throbbing Gristle

Juliet of the Spirits

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Cinematography by Gianni Di Venanzo; production design by Giantito Burchiellaro, Luciano Ricceri and Emanuele Taglietti; art direction and costume design by Piero Gherardi.

If you’re very selective with the screen-grabs you can make it seem like Fellini’s psychodrama is a lost horror film by Dario Argento: Juliet of the Suspiriorum. The next step would be to stitch together a handful of clips then add a Goblin soundtrack…

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Continue reading “Juliet of the Spirits”

Weekend links 534

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Beautiful night – moon and stars, Miyajima Shrine (1928) by Kawase Hasui.

• One announcement I’d been hoping for since last summer was the news of a second box of Tangerine Dream albums to follow the excellent In Search Of Hades collection. The latter concentrated on the first phase of the group’s Virgin recordings, up to and including Force Majeure. This October will see the release of a new set, Pilots Of Purple Twilight, which explores the rest of the Virgin period when Johannes Schmoelling had joined Froese and Franke. Among the exclusive material will be a proper release of the soundtrack for Michael Mann’s The Keep (previously a scarce limited edition), together with the complete concert from the Dominion Theatre, London. Also out in October, Dark Entries will be releasing a further collection of recordings from the recently discovered tape archive of Patrick Cowley. The new album, Some Funkettes, will comprise unreleased cover versions, one of which, I Feel Love by Donna Summer, is a cult item of mine that Cowley later refashioned into a celebrated megamix.

• “Did you know that Video Killed The Radio Star was inspired by a JG Ballard story?” asks Molly Odintz. No, I didn’t.

Casey Rae on the strange (musical) world of William S. Burroughs. Previously: Seven Souls Resouled.

• “And now we are no longer slaves”: Scott McCulloch on Pierre Guyotat’s Eden Eden Eden at fifty.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Frank Jaffe presents…Dario Argento and his world of bright coloured blood.

• At Wormwoodiana: The Serpent Calls. Mark Valentine on a mysterious musical instrument.

• At Spoon & Tamago: Long-Exposure Photographs of Torii Shrine Gates by Ronny Behnert.

• Mix of the week: mr.K’s Soundstripe vol 4 by radioShirley & mr.K.

• Rising sons: the radical photography of postwar Japan.

• The illicit 1980s nudes of Christopher Makos.

• RIP Diana Rigg.

Garden Of Eden (1971) by New Riders Of The Purple Sage | Ice Floes In Eden (1986) by Harold Budd | Eden (1988) by Talk Talk

Weekend links 429

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• Julia Holter’s next album, Aviary, will arrive next month with a cover design bearing astrological symbols (a cryptic message?) and what looks like a grimoire page in the background, although I may be reading too much into this. Whatever the esoterics signify, the album is a double, and going by the sound of new song I Shall Love 2 it’s going to be a good one. Aviary will be released on 26th October just in time for the witch season.

Donna Ferguson talks to Oscar Wilde’s grandson, Merlin Holland, about the manuscript for The Picture of Dorian Gray which includes more openly homoerotic sentences than were included in the printed versions. A facsimile of the manuscript is now available in a limited, numbered edition from SP Books.

• The final single in the excellent Other Voices series from the Ghost Box label is released later this month. Something Out Of Nothing is by Sharron Kraus and Belbury Poly.

…we’re still trying to operate this new, paranoid society on what amounts to a psychedelic substrate—with little or no awareness of how our sets and settings are determining our results. The set and setting of the advertiser yield addictive behavioral design and persuasive technologies. The set and setting of the investor lead to algorithmic trading and winner-takes-all, extractive businesses. The set and setting of the military lead to drone warfare. The set and setting of the politician lead to targeted propaganda and digital fascism.

America is unconsciously living in a psychedelic landscape and having a bad trip. We don’t realize that we are living in a media environment that offers us an unprecedented capacity over reality. The world may have always been a consensual hallucination to some extent, but never before have we built our world so completely.

The internet is acid, and America is having a bad trip, says Douglas Rushkoff

Photographia Erotica Historica is a tiny leatherbound collection of antique pornography from Goliath Books.

Why is the Federal Government threatening an indie book publisher with $100,000 in fines?

• Undead, undead: my illustrations for Dracula are featured at Dangerous Minds. Thanks!

• The Vinyl Factory meets Japanese composer and musician Midori Takada.

• Exploring HP Lovecraft’s Gothic roots by Dr Xavier Aldana Reyes.

• From 2013: Dario Argento discussing his films with Alan Jones.

• Aurora Mitchell on Electro pioneer Doris Norton.

• Mix of the week: XLR8R Podcast 558 by DJ T.

Aviator (1970) by Michael Chapman | Aviation (2000) by Fluxion | Aviation (2001) by Monolake