Weekend links 434

klint.jpg

Group X, No. 1, Altarpiece (1915) by Hilma af Klint.

“Like Kandinsky, and other pioneers of abstract art, af Klint was deeply immersed in theosophy and anthroposophy. But she seems to have taken that interest much further than her male counterparts, participating in (and later leading) séances with a group of women friends. Whatever the spirits said, af Klint did.” Nana Asfour on pioneering abstract painter, Hilma af Klint.

• Four electronic artists reflect on the influence of composer Laurie Spiegel. Spiegel’s The Expanding Universe (1980) is reissued by Unseen Worlds next month. Related: Laurie Spiegel in 1977 playing the Bell Labs Digital Synthesizer.

• At Expanding Mind: Gurdjieffean writer and DuVersity director Anthony Blake talks with Erik Davis about dialogue, synergy, mind between brains, the trouble with teachers, and the gymnasium of beliefs in higher intelligence.

• Mixes of the week: Flashing Noise Mix by Tim Gane, Secret Thirteen Mix 268 by Bérangère Maximin, and Samhain Séance Seven: A Very Dark Place – Prologue by The Ephemeral Man.

Geeta Dayal on Broken Music (1989), a book about sound art edited by Ursula Block and Michael Glasmeier which is now available in a new edition from Primary Information.

• The Sainsbury Archive showcases the graphic design of several decades of the supermarket chain’s products.

• More of the usual suspects: Michael Moorcock and Alan Moore in 2006 discussing Moorcock’s career.

• “Karloff the Uncanny”: Joe Dante talks to Stephanie Sporn about the attraction of old film posters.

Mexico City, another preview (and a psychedelic one) of Randall Dunn’s forthcoming solo album.

• At Haute Macabre: Timeless Phantom Interludes: The Photography of Jason Blake.

Mark Valentine on the current state of Britain’s secondhand book shops.

• At I Love Typography: Unicorns, Frogs and the Sausage Supper Affair.

• “I never wanted to be a cult film-maker,” says John Waters.

• Artist Arik Roper chooses some favourite album covers.

Broken Head (1978) by Eno, Moebius, Roedelius | Broken Horse (1984) by Rain Parade | Broken Aura (2000) by Coil

Weekend links 307

chew.jpg

Demon (2014) from the Witch Series by Camille Chew.

• Released next month, Machines Of Desire is the first album of new music by Peter Baumann since Strangers In The Night in 1983. Baumann’s first two solo albums, Romance 76 (1976) and Trans Harmonic Nights (1979), are exceptional works of analogue electronica that frequently outmatch his former colleagues in Tangerine Dream. Both albums have been unavailable for over 20 years so it’s good to know that Cherry Red are reissuing them at the end of May (see here and here).

• RIP Jenny Diski whose death from cancer wasn’t a surprise when she’d been writing about her condition for many months. Linked here in 2013 was this pre-diagnosis meditation on death that takes in Nabokov, Beckett and Francis Bacon (philosopher, not artist). “Jenny offered a living example of how, sometimes, compassion can be born of misanthropy,” says Justin EH Smith. The LRB’s archive of Diski writings is currently free to all.

Murder by Remote Control, a graphic novel by artist Paul Kirchner and writer Janwillem van de Wetering that “resembles a Raymond Chandler-esque noir ‘whodunnit,’ viewed through the psychotropic lens of filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky”.

Inspired by Gore Vidal’s 1968 satirical novel, Myra Breckinridge which was denounced as obscene by conservatives, [Boyd] McDonald embarked on a radically, offensive publication, one that avoided the sexless influence of middle class gay mores that sought to whitewash the homosexual experience in order to present a more palatable image of assimilated gays to the general society. This political strategy was successful in achieving gay marriage and more tolerance, but, in the opinion of McDonald, came at a cost. Straight to Hell was in fact the first queer zine. Utilizing erotic photos, interviews and news, McDonald saw it as a “newsletter for us,” the small group of deviates who were its earliest subscribers.

Walter Holland reviewing True Homosexual Experiences: Boyd McDonald and Straight to Hell by William E. Jones

• “HP Lovecraft’s…fascination with all things tentacular and aquatic is unmistakably imprinted on Evolution“, a new film by Lucile Hadzihalilovic. Watch the trailer.

• At Dangerous Minds: Broken, the notorious Nine Inch Nails video collection with “snuff movie” interludes by Peter Christopherson, is available online (again).

BEAK> (Geoff Barrow & Billy Fuller) make “claustrophobic, hypnotic music, drawing…on krautrock, post-punk and Interstellar-Overdrive psychedelia”.

• Mixes of the week: Bacchus Beltane 3 : The Age of Abrasax by The Ephemeral Man, and Secret Thirteen Mix 183 by December.

Tease by Jan Rattia, photographs of male strippers on display at ClampArt, NYC.

Wu Zei (2010), a sea-monster sculpture by Huang Yong Ping.

• “I was born weird,” says Robert Crumb.

Sacred Revelation by Susanna

Broken Head (1978) by Eno, Moebius & Roedelius | Broken Horse (1984) by Rain Parade | Broken Harbours (Part 1) (2001) by Stars Of The Lid

Weekend links 269

cluster.jpg

Grosses Wasser (1979) by Cluster. Cover art by Dieter Moebius.

• RIP Dieter Moebius: one half of Cluster (with Hans-Joachim Roedelius), one third of Harmonia (with Roedelius and Michael Rother), and collaborator with many other musicians, including Brian Eno and Conny Plank. Geeta Dayal, who interviewed Moebius for Frieze in 2012, chose five favourite recordings. From 2008: Cosmic Outriders: the music of Cluster and Harmonia by Mark Pilkington. At the Free Music Archive: Harmonia playing at ATP, New York in 2008. Live recordings of Cluster in the 1970s have always been scarce but in 1977 they played a droning set at the Metz Science-Fiction Festival, a performance that was broadcast on FM radio (the Eno credit there seems to be an error).

• “I’ve since had the feeling that, if the attacks against The Satanic Verses had taken place today, these people would not have defended me, and would have used the same arguments against me, accusing me of insulting an ethnic and cultural minority.” Salman Rushdie on the fallout from the Charlie Hebdo killings.

• “The effect of these memories is to make you think you know the film better than you do, and wonder what it’s like actually to sit down and watch it.” Michael Wood on rewatching Orson Welles’ Touch of Evil (1958). Related: Tipping My Fedora on the film’s source novel, Badge of Evil (1956).

“To me, it’s simple,” he says. “Fantasy became as bland as everything else in entertainment. To be a bestseller, you’ve got to rub the corners off. The more you can predict the emotional arc of a book, the more successful it will become.

“I do understand that Game of Thrones is different. It has its political dimensions; I’m very fond of the dwarf and I’m very pleased that George [R R Martin], who’s a good friend, has had such a huge success. But ultimately it’s a soap opera. In order to have success on that scale, you have to obey certain rules. I’ve had conversations with fantasy writers who are ambitious for bestseller status and I’ve had to ask them, ‘Yes, but do you want to have to write those sorts of books in order to get there?’”

Michael Moorcock talking to Andrew Harrison about fantasy, science fiction, the past and the present.

• “Architects love Blade Runner, they just go bonkers. When I was working on the film, it was all about, let’s jam together Byzantine and Mayan and Post-Modern and even a little bit of Memphis, just mash it all together.” Designer and visual futurist Syd Mead talking to Patrick Sisson.

• “Lucian of Samosata’s True History reads like a doomed acid trip,” says Cecilia D’Anastasio, who wonders whether or not the book can be regarded as the earliest work of science fiction.

• Mixes of the week: A Tribute to Dieter Moebius by Vegan Logic, and another by Totallyradio.

• The Phantasmagoria of the First Hand-Painted Films by Joshua Yumibe.

Islamic Geometric: calligraphic tessellations by Shakil Akram Khan.

Michael Prodger on The Dangerous Mind of Richard Dadd.

A chronological list of synth scores and soundtracks.

Touch Of Evil (Main Theme) (1958) by Henry Mancini | Badge Of Evil (1982) by Cabaret Voltaire | Touch Of Evil (2009) by Jaga Jazzist

Weekend links 99

moebius.jpg

From the Crystal Saga portfolio (1986) by Moebius. Via Quenched Consciousness.

Moebius: A while ago, [science fiction] was filled with monstrous rocket ships and planets; it was a naive and materialistic vision, which confused external space with internal space, which saw the future as an extrapolation of the present. It was a victim of an illusion of a technological sort, of a progression without stopping towards a consummation of energy. But we’ve completely changed that vision. It’s been a sharp, radical change, and somewhat brutal.
HM: Why brutal?
Moebius: Because all those beautiful projects we believed in are gone. But the real sense of science fiction is the discovery that the voyage is interior, and the real energy, the rockets of the past, is what is contained in people’s spirits.
HM: One doesn’t have to read other people’s visions then, one can make the discovery oneself?
Moebius: Well, that, and also the fact that the “new planet” of old science fiction is right here: it’s the Earth.

The Moebius Interview by Diana K. Bletter, Heavy Metal, August 1980.

RIP Jean Giraud, aka Moebius, one of the great artists of the 20th century. My approach to drawing comics was almost wholly derived from the illustrational style of the French, Belgian and other artists being published in Heavy Metal magazine in the late 1970s/early 1980s. Many of the stories were appearing in English for the first time, and for me they revitalised a medium in which (undergrounds aside) I’d lost all interest. It wasn’t only the exceptional artwork that was attractive. The narratives of Moebius, Druillet, Bilal and co. presented a more sophisticated approach to science fiction and fantasy than the simple-minded fare filling the superhero titles or the pages of 2000 AD. Moebius’s work was wittier, sexier and far more imaginative than any American comics I’d seen up to that time. Some of the stories read like graphic equivalents of New Worlds-era science fiction so it came as no surprise to find Moebius drawing a strip called The Airtight Garage of Jerry Cornelius (the title was later amended at Moorcock’s request) while Druillet in his September 1980 Heavy Metal interview mentioned enjoying books by William Burroughs, Michael Moorcock and Thomas Disch, and singled-out Ballard’s Crash as a favourite novel. Without the examples of Druillet and Moebius (and the intoxicating inspiration of the October 1979 issue of Heavy Metal) I wouldn’t have spent 17 months adapting The Call of Cthulhu as a comic strip.

Hasko Baumann’s 2007 documentary, Moebius Redux: A Life in Pictures (some of which can be seen on YouTube) is a good place to start when trying to appraise Jean Giraud’s extensive career. The film is now available on DVD.

Update:
The hour-long cut of Moebius Redux has been posted to Vimeo
An obituary by Kim Thompson at The Comics Journal
The Moebius posts at But Does It Float

moebius2.jpg

From Les Yeux du Chat (1978) by Jodorowsky & Moebius. Via Quenched Consciousness.

• “Naked Lunch,” Ballard wrote later, “was a grenade tossed into the sherry party of English fiction.” The criss-crossing careers of JG Ballard and William Burroughs are examined in detail at RealityStudio. Related: The Discipline of D.E. (1982) by Gus Van Sant and The Unlimited Dream Company (1983) by Sam Scoggins.

• Dr John’s forthcoming album, Locked Down, has been produced by The Black Keys‘ Dan Auerbach. Those of us who favour the Doctor’s voodoo-inflected early albums are hoping this might mean he gets groove back after wandering for years in an MOR swamp. One of the new recordings, Revolution, sounds promising.

I don’t think sexuality is fixed anymore. I think more from the gay male side than the lesbian side, there is often a wish for things to be fixed. I heard Lady Gaga’s Born This Way and I don’t know why they like it. Maybe, they need more certainty than girls do. For me, it’s like why do you care anyway? Maybe you were, maybe you weren’t. What’s the big deal? I can’t connect to that emotionally, so it baffles me.

Jeanette Winterson talks to Sassafras Lowrey.

• “In [Jacob’s Room], [Virginia] Woolf makes the subject matter not Jacob himself but the ways in which we know and don’t know each other – the gaps in our knowledge.” Alexandra Harris on Modernism in art and literature.

• The Northwest Film Forum in Seattle hosts Magick in Cinema on 5th April, an evening of occult-themed short films which includes a rare screening of Curtis Harrington’s Wormwood Star.

• John Bertram’s Lolita cover competition from 2009 is due to appear in June as a book-length study entitled Recovering Lolita. Bertram previews the contents here.

• “Erotic fiction is having a steamy renaissance and its hottest authors are women.”

LSD helps to treat alcoholism.

• The other Moebius (Dieter): News (1980) by Moebius & Plank | Tollkühn (1981) by Moebius & Plank | Conditionierer (1981) by Moebius & Plank.

Crush Depth by Chrome Hoof

chrome_hoof1.jpg

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.

chrome_hoof2.jpg

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