Weekend links 526

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La Cathédrale Engloutie (1952) by Ithell Colquhoun.

• Many of the recent lists of “where to start with the music of [x]” aren’t filling an urgent requirement, but in the case of Sun Ra—whose discography runs to 95 albums—any guide is a useful one: Sean Kitching chooses 10 recordings from the Ra galaxy. I’m not unacquainted with Sun Ra’s music but there’s so much of it that almost all these suggestions are news. Related: Namwali Serpell on the life and work of a cosmic visionary.

• Coming soon from Strange Attractor, Ithell Colquhoun: Genius of The Fern Loved Gulley by Amy Hale, the first book-length study of the life and work of the British Surrealist and occult artist.

• I doubt I’ll get to see it but I’m pleased to know that the prematurely shuttered Aubrey Beardsley exhibition is returning to Tate Britain. You’ll need a Decadent face-mask.

• And speaking of music lists, Alexis Petridis compiles a ranking of all the songs by a little-known post-punk band from Manchester.

The Last Arcadian (Process Mix): more psychotropic nougat from Moon Wiring Club.

• Kill Me Again… Ken Hollings on Ennio Morricone and the music of the future.

Mervyn Peake‘s visual archive has been acquired by the British Library.

Anitra Pavlico on the fantastic world (and music) of Maurice Ravel.

Stanley Stellar‘s photos of the New York gay scene in the 1980s.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Fetish.

• RIP Judy Dyble.

Wikidelia

Chelsea Morning (1968) by Fairport Convention | I Talk To The Wind (1968) by Giles, Giles & Fripp feat. Judy Dyble | Morning Way (1970) by Trader Horne

Fractures

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Fractures is the latest musical anthology from A Year In The Country, and having been listening to an advance copy for the past couple of weeks I can say it’s as fine a collection as the label’s previous opus, The Quietened Village. The latter album encouraged a variety of artists to create pieces around the theme of lost or abandoned villages; the theme for Fractures fixates on a year rather than a location:

Fractures is a gathering of studies and explorations that take as their starting point the year 1973; a time when there appeared to be a schism in the fabric of things, a period of political, social, economic and industrial turmoil, when 1960s utopian ideals seemed to corrupt and turn inwards. […] Fractures is a reflection on reverberations from those disquieted times, taking as its initial reference points a selected number of conspicuous junctures and signifiers: Delia Derbyshire leaving The BBC/The Radiophonic Workshop and reflecting later that around then “the world went out of time with itself”. Electricity blackouts in the UK and the three day week declared. The Wicker Man released. The Changes recorded but remained unreleased. The Unofficial Countryside published. The Spirit Of Dark And Lonely Water released.

Track list:
1) The Osmic Projector/Vapors of Valtorr – Circle/Temple
2) The Land Of Green Ginger – Sproatly Smith
3) Seeing The Invisible – Keith Seatman
4) Triangular Shift – Listening Center
5) An Unearthly Decade – The British Space Group
6) A Fracture In The Forest – The Hare And The Moon ft Alaska/Michael Begg
7) Elastic Refraction – Time Attendant
8) Ratio (Sequence) – The Rowan Amber Mill
9) The Perfect Place For An Accident – Polypores
10) A Candle For Christmas/311219733 – A Year In The Country
11) Eldfell – David Colohan

This isn’t the first time a year has been isolated as a basis for a musical anthology but prior examples such as Jon Savage’s Meridian 1970 are invariably concerned with the musical scene alone. Fractures is different for trying to seize the essence of the year itself even if a number of the musicians involved may not have been alive in 1973.

The year has a resonance for me that I recounted in the memorial post for David Bowie. That summer was significant (and therefore memorable) for being warm, carefree and positioned between the end of junior school and the beginning of secondary school. The years after those few weeks were increasingly bad on a personal level so 1973 for me spells “fracture” in more ways than one. None of this can be communicated by Fractures, of course, the contents of which have more of a cultural focus: A Fracture In The Forest by The Hare And The Moon sets readings from Arthur Machen to music, while The Land Of Green Ginger by Sproatly Smith draws in part upon a TV film of the same name that was broadcast in the BBC’s Play For Today strand. As those Plays For Today recede in time they seem increasingly like a dream of Britain in the 1970s, reflecting back in a concentrated form much more of the nation’s inner life than you get from today’s Americanised fare. Another Play For Today, Penda’s Fen, was being filmed in the fields of England in the summer of 1973 so we can add the crack in the church floor to the catalogue of fractures. (And for an additional musical entry, I’d note the astonishing Fracture by King Crimson, not released until 1974 but most of the track was a live recording from Amsterdam in November of the previous year.)

Fractures is available from the usual sources such as Bandcamp but hard copies are also being distributed via the Ghost Box Guest Shop.

Weekend links 253

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A painting by Stephen Mackey.

• “Creativity is visual, not informed thought. Creativity is not polite. It barges in uninvited, unannounced—confusing, chaotic, demanding, deaf to reason or to common sense—and leaves the intellect to clear up the mess. Above all else, creativity is risk; heedful risk, but risk entire. Without risk we have the ability only to keep things ticking over the way they are.” Revelations from a life of storytelling by Alan Garner. Related: Tygertale on Garner’s Elidor (1965), “the anti-Tolkien”. The BBC’s 1995 adaptation of Elidor remains unavailable on DVD but may be watched on YouTube.

• “One of my revelations was to reverse everything I’d been taught. Making lettering as illegible as possible falls into that way of thinking.” Psychedelic artist and underground cartoonist Victor Moscoso talks to Nicole Rudick about a life in art and design. Related: “I’ve gotten a lot of bad write-ups in newspapers over the years and they like to refer to my stuff as ‘kitsch’…Well, my stuff is way fuckin’ kitsch. It’s kitsch to an abstract level, you understand. It’s fuckin’ meretricious.” I love it when Robert Williams kicks the art world.

• “…a cerebral, challenging, visually stunning piece of 1970s American science fiction that enweirds the human perspective by challenging it with a nonhuman one.” Adam Mills on the inhuman geometries of Saul Bass’s Phase IV.

• “[Delia Derbyshire] taught me everything I knew about electronic music.” David Vorhaus talks to David Stubbs about White Noise and why he prefers the latest technology to old synthesizers.

• Costumes from Alla Nazimova’s film of Salomé (1923) have been discovered in a trunk in Columbus, Georgia.

• Mix of the week: The Ivy-Strangled Path Vol. I, “music for a residual haunting” by David Colohan.

• At Dangerous Minds: Queer, boho or just plain gorgeous: photographs by Poem Baker.

Grimm City, a speculative architectural project by Flea Folly Architects.

Mad Max: “Punk’s Sistine Chapel” – A Ballardian Primer.

In Search of Sleep: photographs by Emma Powell.

Drains of Manchester

Road Warrior (1985) by The Dave Howard Singers | Warriors Of The Wasteland (Original 12″ mix, 1986) by Frankie Goes To Hollywood | Drive It Mad Max (Super Flu Remix, 2009) by Marcus Meinhardt

Weekend links 224

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Zona: concept art by Alex Andreyev for a planned TV series based on Roadside Picnic by Arkady & Boris Strugatsky.

The Black Sessions are a long-running series of concerts by international artists recorded for radio station France Inter. UK group Broadcast were recorded by the station in May, 2000. While copies of the shows can be often be hard to find, files of the Broadcast concert may be downloaded here. A fantastic performance, especially the white-hot psychedelic freakout at the end.

• Further investigations from the radio age: Invention for Radio No. 1: The Dreams (43 mins, 1964): “an attempt to re-create in five movements some sensations of dreaming—running away, falling, landscape, underwater and colour”. Voices recorded by Barry Bermange with Radiophonic manipulation by Delia Derbyshire.

• “…in his first description of Cthulhu he gives you a list of four things that Cthulhu isn’t quite like.” Nick Talbot talks to Alan Moore about HP Lovecraft. Related: one of my depictions of Azathoth appears in this list of “gods who have forsaken you”.

• Tracking the locations of JG Ballard’s Super-Cannes: an investigation by Rick Poynor. Related: houseboats, architecture and eco-disaster; Justin Sullivan photographs California’s extreme drought.

• “As her writing career existed outside the realm of respectable ‘high-lit’ fiction, she cast herself as an outsider icon.” Chris Kraus on I’m Very Into You, a collection of Kathy Acker’s emails.

• Cover design inspiring fiction: Susan Coll on how a photo of a Bauhaus chair on the cover of her new novel, The Stager, made her alter her text at the last minute.

• “People were either taken by it or felt it was the Antichrist.” MetaFilter on Clair Noto’s unmade science-fiction film, The Tourist.

The Norwood Variations is a new album by Drew Mulholland (Mount Vernon Arts Lab et al).

• Thought Maybe has a collection of the television essays made by Adam Curtis.

• From 1974: How To Make Magic, a children’s handbook of the occult.

• Mix of the week: Secret Thirteen Mix 126 by Mira Calix.

One Minute Blasts Rising To Three And Then Diminishing (2000) by Mount Vernon Arts Lab | Dashwood’s Reverie (2001) by Mount Vernon Arts Lab | Warner’s Reverie (2002) by Mount Vernon Astral Temple

Weekend links 207

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Chthonic Cities by David Chatton Barker. One of a series of Folklore Tapes screenprints available from Bleep.

• The original version of Kenneth Anger’s Lucifer Rising, the one with the Jimmy Page soundtrack that was completed in 1973, has always been described as lost/stolen/buried or otherwise gone forever. So you’d think the news that a print had been discovered recently by Brian Butler would have received greater attention. There’s a screening in Los Angeles this Thursday. When do the rest of us get to see it?

Chris Marker: A Grin Without a Cat, an exhibition and series of Marker-related events at the Whitechapel Gallery, London. Related: The Encounter of M. Chat & Chris Marker as Told By Louise Traon.

• The trailer for The Gospel According to St Derek, a forthcoming documentary about Derek Jarman. Related: Carl Swanson on why Tilda Swinton is not quite of this world.

Maybe there’s just something conservative at the bedrock of American fiction. […] Or maybe it’s just another symptom of the creeping conservatism that’s infected so many aspects of the culture.

Eric Obenauf talks to author Jeff Jackson whose comments about cultural conservatism could equally be applied to the UK.

• Primitive graphics, inventive graphics, budget Surrealism, and some great theme tunes; it’s Trunk TV, Episode 1: Title Sequences.

• Mixes of the week: Secret Thirteen Mix 110 by Black To Comm, and Intro To Drone For Debcon 1, almost 7 hours of music!

Joseph Burnett reviews Ett, an album of electronic music by Klara Lewis.

The Delian Mode (2009), a film about Delia Derbyshire by Kara Blake.

• Extracts from Tokyo Reverse by Simon Bouisson and Ludovic Zuili.

Dan Piepenbring on The Haunting Illustrations of Alfred Kubin.

• At Strange Flowers: Photos of arcades by Germaine Krull.

• Fish, Fiends, and Fantasy: The Gothic Art of Ian Miller.

• At 50 Watts: Richard Teschner and His Puppets.

• Sonic Foam: Ian Penman on Kate Bush and Coil.

Bits and Pieces

Lucifer (1968) by The Salt | Experiment IV (1986) by Kate Bush | Methoxy-N, N-Dimethyl (5-MeO-DMT) (1998) by Coil