Weekend links 563

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Cover art by Jeffrey Schrier for the 1975 reissue of Zero Time by Tonto’s Expanding Head Band.

• RIP Malcolm Cecil, electronic musician, and producer of Stevie Wonder, among many others. The term pioneer is over-used when discussing electronic artists, but it’s an accurate one when applied to Cecil and his partner in Tonto’s Expanding Head Band, Robert Margouleff. The first Tonto album, Zero Time (1971), was a collection of fully-realised all-electronic compositions recorded in the days when “electronic music” in the rock sphere usually meant rock-band-plus-synth-burbles. As I said in a post about Tonto’s debut album a few years ago, “Jetsex sounds like an outtake from Kraftwerk’s Autobahn (albeit three years early) while Timewhys wouldn’t have been out of place on The Human League’s Travelogue album almost a decade later”. Cecil may be seen in this short film showing off the bespoke synth gear that comprised The Original New Timbral Orchestra (aka TONTO), while he talks at length about his career in issue 4 of Synapse magazine here. Cecil and Margouleff parted company in the mid-70s shortly after releasing a second album, It’s About Time (1974), a collection of jazzy instrumentals that’s overdue a proper reissue.

• “Every film production company they showed it to said it was ‘too weird’ to ever be made. ” Next month Strange Attractor publishes The Otherwise, a script by Mark E. Smith and Graham Duff for an unmade horror film.

• More horror: Predator’s Ball by Uni; music video as horror scenario in which you can play spot-the-reference: Alice in Wonderland, Rocky Horror, Leigh Bowery (?), Pasolini’s Salò (?)…

• At Bibliothèque Gay: Narkiss by Jean Lorrain, another homoerotic classic newly translated into Spanish, and with new illustrations.

• The week in Gary Panter: Nicole Rudick on Gary Panter’s Punk Everyman, and the man himself writing about his life and art.

• At Wormwoodiana: Mark Valentine investigates the connections between Charles Williams and Sax Rohmer.

• At Dangerous Minds: New Age Steppers, “the only ever post-punk supergroup”.

• Mix of the week: XLR8R Podcast 689, a feast of funk compiled by Steve Arrington.

• At Public Domain Review: Agostino Ramelli’s Theatre of Machines (1588).

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Pier Paolo Pasolini Day.

Valentina Magaletti’s favourite music.

Louvre site des collections

Narcissus Queen (1958) by Martin Denny | Narciso (1974) by Pierrot Lunaire | Narkissos (2006) by Sadistic Mikaela Band

Weekend links 562

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Teenage Lightning (Les Éclairs au-dessous de quatorze ans) (c. 1925) by Max Ernst.

• “There has never been another director who has lain in wait for us with the same wrath or disgust. He is so complicated that finally he became the very thing he was nervous of admitting, a true artist best measured in the company of Patrick Hamilton, Francis Bacon, or Harold Pinter. He saw no reason to like us or himself.” David Thomson on why Alfred Hitchcock’s films still feel dangerous.

• New music: “Habitat, an environmental music collaboration by Berlin based composer Niklas Kramer and percussionist Joda Foerster, is inspired by the drawings of Italian architect Ettore Sottsass. Each of the eight tracks represents a room in an imaginary building.”

• “You could describe Lambkin’s work as a rich sort of ambient music, but largely without the synthetic textures that ambient music often possesses.” Geeta Dayal reviews Solos, a collection of recordings by Graham Lambkin.

Tom of Finland: Pen and Ink, 1965–1989 is an exhibition at the David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles, which runs to 1st May. The website includes a virtual tour.

• More revenant gay art: Bibliothèque Gay reviews a new Spanish translation of Baiser de Narcisse by Jacques d’Adelswärd-Fersen.

• Introducing Ark Surreal: “Surreal collages by Allan Randolph Kausch. Some cute and sweet, others dark and intriguing.”

• At Artforum: Albert Mobilio on Extra Ordinary: Magic, Mystery, and Imagination in American Realism.

• At Spoon & Tamago: Shizuoka is installing monuments inspired by their plastic model industry.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Jordan Belson Day.

Museum of Everything Else

• RIP Bertrand Tavernier.

Teenage Lightning 2 (1991) by Coil | Teenage Lightning (1992) by Skullflower | Teenage Lightning (Surgeon Remix) (2001) by Coil

Weekend links 561

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The next release on the Ghost Box label, Painting Box is a collaborative seven-inch single by Beautify Junkyards and Belbury Poly, the A-side of which is a cover of a song by The Incredible String Band. Available on 30th April. Design, as always, is by Julian House.

• “What is good for you as a person is often bad for you as a writer. People will tell you that this not true, and some of the people who will tell you that are also writers, but they are bad writers, at least when they try to convince you, and themselves, that the most important thing for a fiction writer to have is compassion.” Brock Clarke on the case for meanness in fiction.

• The week in non-human intelligence: “Life beyond human has to play by the rules of natural selection,” says David P. Barash, and Thomas Moynihan on dolphin intelligence and humanity’s cosmic future.

Ilia Rogatchevski speaks with historian Juliane Fürst about her new history of Soviet hippies and the counterculture of the former USSR.

• Mushroom with a view: Karen Schechner at Bookforum talks with Bett Williams about her mycological journey.

• Retro instinct versus future fetish: Fergal Kinney on Stereolab’s Emperor Tomato Ketchup 25 years on.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Spotlight on…JG Ballard: The Atrocity Exhibition (1970).

This is Hexagon Sun: A feature-length video on Boards of Canada.

• Mix of the week: The Ides by The Ephemeral Man.

• New music: Gyropedie by Anne Guthrie.

Paintbox (1967) by Pink Floyd | Orgone Box (1989) by Haruomi Hosono | God Box (1996) by Paul Schütze & Andrew Hulme

Weekend links 560

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The Fallen Angels Entering Pandemonium, from ‘Paradise Lost’, Book 1 (c.1841) by John Martin.

• “Hergé’s heirs sue artist over his Tintin/Edward Hopper mashups.” The complaint is that the paintings of Xavier Marabout besmirch Tintin’s character by making him seem…human? Silly. I’d sooner complain that Hergé’s ligne claire drawing style is an awkward match for Hopper’s realism. And besides which, isn’t Tintin gay? There’s a lot of wish-fulfilling slash art showing Tintin and Captain Haddock in a closer relationship than Hergé ever would have wanted. This Canadian magazine cover by Normand Bastien dates from 1987.

• “Everyone wanted to make products that looked fast and angry and maybe wanted to lay eggs in your brain.” Alexis Berger tells S. Elizabeth how she avoided years stuck in a design office by becoming a jeweller instead.

• New music: Chiaroscuro by Alessandro Cortini, and Frequencies For Leaving Earth Vol. 4 (One-Hour Loop) by Kevin Richard Martin & Pedro Maia.

The Willows is less a flight of fancy and more an attempt to articulate the ways in which what we dubiously still call “nature” is at once an object of human systems of knowledge and yet also something that undermines those same systems. Thus if The Willows is indeed a classic of “supernatural horror” (as HP Lovecraft would famously note), we might also be justified in calling it “natural horror” as well. In Blackwood’s wonderfully slow, patiently constructed scenes of atmospheric suspense, there is the sense of an impersonal sublime, a lyricism of the unhuman that shores up the limitations of anthropocentric thinking, as well as evoking the attendant smallness of human beings against the backdrop of this deep time perspective.

Eugene Thacker on how Algernon Blackwood turned nature into sublime horror

• Women of Letters: John Boardley talks to Lynne Yun, Deb Pang Davis, Coleen Baik and Duong Nguyen about their typographic designs.

• At Google Arts & Culture: Music, Makers & Machines: A brief history of electronic music.

• At The Public Domain Review: The Universe as Pictured in Milton’s Paradise Lost (1915).

• Beyond the Perseverance drone: Chloe Lula on the sounds of space.

• At Wormwoodiana: Colour magazine (1914–1932).

Wyrd Daze Lvl.4 FOUR STAR is here.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Hell.

O Willow Waly (1961) by Isla Cameron And The Raymonde Singers | Cool Iron (1972) by The Willows | The Willows (2005) by Belbury Poly

Weekend links 559

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Cover art by Toshiyuki Fukuda for the Japanese edition of the new novel by Kazuo Ishiguro.

• “The story here is how between 1978 and 1982, this impulse shed its novelty genesis and its spoils were divvied up between gay producers making high-energy soundtracks for carnal abandon, and quiet Hawkwind fans smoking spliffs in Midlands bedrooms.…this excellent compilation offers fresh understandings of a period in sonic history where the future was up for grabs.” Fergal Kinney reviews Do You Have the Force? Jon Savage’s Alternate History of Electronic Music, 1978–82.

DJ Food continues his history of mini CDs with Oranges And Lemons, the 1989 album by XTC which was released in the usual formats together with a limited edition of three small discs in a flip-top box. The cover art by Dave Dragon is a good example of the resurrected groovy look.

• “If Austin Osman Spare, William Burroughs, Mary Butts and Kathy Acker got together for a séance, the transcript could well look like this.”

• How Leonora Carrington used Tarot to reach self-enlightenment: Gabriel Weisz Carrington on his mother’s quest for mythic revelations.

• Mixes of the week: Sounds Unsaid at Dublab with Tarotplane, and To Die & Live In San Veneficio by SeraphicManta.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: 5strings presents…Solve et Coagula: An introduction to Israel Regardie.

• The Joy of Silhouettes: Vyki Hendy chooses favourite shadow-throwing cover designs.

Emily Mortimer on how Lolita escaped obscenity laws and cancel culture.

Freddie deBoer has moved his writing to Substack.

• New music: Wirkung by Arovane.

• Children Of The Sun (1969) by The Misunderstood | Children Of The Sun (1971) by Hawkwind | Children Of The Sun (2010) by The Time And Space Machine