Weekend links 388

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Still of an Alive Painting by Akiko Nakayama.

• “In what is a cross between performance art and installation, Nakayama uses a multitude of kitchen basters loaded with paint and water to add, mix, tilt, blow and add all sorts of extraneous effects to her paints, recording and projecting it all onto a large screen.” Continuously Changing “Alive Paintings” by Akiko Nakayama. There’s more performance video at the artist’s website.

• In January 2018 Song Cycle Records (UK) release Solaris, a “Collector’s Edition” of the Tarkovsky film and its soundtrack comprising vinyl/CD, blu-ray (no region details) and a book of photos, artwork and essays.

• Steve Davis may no longer be a snooker player but he’s still a Magma obsessive. This week he reviewed the new Retrospektiw collection for The Quietus.

What I was most thankful to TG for was leading me to Christopherson’s later band Coil with his partner, antagonist and lover John Balance (after they’d met in Genesis’ Psychic TV) whose music I fell for even harder. The arcane and homoerotic tragicomedy that underpinned their discography (and relationship) propelled me into new states, years before any first hand knowledge of the drug experiences they managed to intertwine so artfully with their music. Records like Scatology and Horse Rotorvator sexualised the male body for me for the first time—an awakening that’s hard not to find some amusement in when soundtracked by a romp called The Anal Staircase. From afar it seemed like their intense, exploration of electronic music as ritual was only possible as a result of the depth of the duo’s personal relationship and how it manifested spiritually, chemically and physically. The posture and machismo of the modern guitar music I listened to (and performed) with my friends could be tiring. The sound of Coil became a safe space in which to fantasise about manhood and Englishness and what it really meant, helping dismantle clichés I’d come to accept as reality. From medieval hymns to acid-house their music was unafraid and total. Though hard to define with any particular release I often play people their funereal takes on Tainted Love (of which all profits went to the Terrence Higgins Trust—a musical first in 1985 while AIDS was still very much taboo) and the Are You Being Served? theme tune, the basis of their transformative final track Going Up, completed by Christopherson after Balance’s death.

Fred Macpherson writing about Throbbing Gristle and Coil at new site The Queer Bible. This is the first appraisal of Coil I’ve seen on any site devoted to gay/queer issues, over ten years after the band expired following the death of John Balance. Better late than never, I suppose.

• Tom Phillips is helping support the National Campaign for the Arts by reworking a page of A Humument as a series of designs at CafePress.

• At Strange Flowers: The Secret Satan book list, a welcome alternative to the lists that fill the broadsheets at this time of year.

• Mixes of the week: Stephen O’Malley presents Acid Quarry Paris—A Hypnosis, and XLR8R podcast 517 by Davy.

• At the Internet Archive: 183 copies of Video Watchdog magazine (1990–2017).

• The TLS interview: Twenty Questions with M. John Harrison.

• At Unquiet Things: The solving of a family art mystery.

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The Hills Are Alive (1995) by Coil | Everyone Alive Wants Answers (2003) by Colleen | Only Lovers Left Alive (2014) by Jozef Van Wissem

Weekend links 220

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Untitled painting by Aleksandra Waliszewska.

• Ben Wheatley’s forthcoming film of High-Rise by JG Ballard now has its own Tumblr. This will no doubt be spoilerific so I won’t keep on visiting but it’s there if you require it. More Ballardianism: “Worshipping the Crash” at BLDGBLOG.

• “Aickman wandered through the sixties fantasy landscape like some curmudgeonly fetch, returning from the fin de siècle heyday of the ghost story.” Boyd Tonkin profiles Robert Aickman, writer of peerless “strange stories”.

• At Dangerous Minds: “Raise a glass to Cthulhu at the Lovecraft Bar”. Looks more like a Captain Nemo bar to me (not that there’s anything wrong with that) but I appreciate the gesture.

But to demand that a work be “relatable” expresses a different expectation: that the work itself be somehow accommodating to, or reflective of, the experience of the reader or viewer. The reader or viewer remains passive in the face of the book or movie or play: she expects the work to be done for her.

Rebecca Mead on The Scourge of Relatability

• “Space as a paranoid, static rumble featuring: 20jfg, Ben Frost & Daníel Bjarnason, Coil & Eduard Artemiev”. 20 Jazz Funk Greats on the pleasures of the Solaris soundtrack.

• What do Hawkwind, Harry Nilsson, Stereolab and The Supremes have in common? David Stubbs examines the legacy of Neu! and Klaus Dinger’s “Dingerbeat”.

• A reminder that A Year in the Country features a host of worthwhile links and associations for the Hauntologically persuaded.

Rouge Louboutin, an ad by David Lynch. Related: An improptu biscuit ad by the Eccentronic Research Council.

• Mix of the week (a year old but no matter): JG Ballard Zoom Lens Mix by Bernholz.

• At 50 Watts: More illustrated sheet music covers by Einar Nerman.

Five book cover designers and the books that inspire them.

Tove Jansson would have been 100 this week.

Pangaea with modern borders

Solaris: Dream (1990) by Edward Artemyev [sic] | Solaris (2000) by Photek | Simulacra I (2011) by Ben Frost & Daníel Bjarnason

Weekend links 136

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Der Triumph des Tintenfisches from Meggendorfer-Blätter (c. 1900). Via Beautiful Century.

Much dismay this week at the news that Coilhouse—the web and print magazine founded in 2008 by Nadya Lev, Meredith Yayanos and Zoetica Ebb—was closing its doors for the foreseeable future. I always loved what they were doing, and was delighted when S. Elizabeth interviewed me for the website two years ago. Looking at the list of their featured articles is like seeing the contents of my head laid bare. Have a browse and see what you may have missed. And fingers crossed they return soon.

• “I think we are just used to seeing naked women because they are used as objects of desire in advertisements and TV. Naked men are not that common—we are not used to seeing a penis. I think that is the main problem for people.” The shock of the (male) nude.

Michael Clarke asks “What Can Publishers Learn from Indie Rock?” Also: Michelle Dean on the value of used books.

Queers find themselves on both sides of the free speech question. Those of us who are writers want the freedom to write and say what we want. I know I do. Yet a preponderance of LGBT people have become part of the larger wave of those who would limit free speech. Because while we want to be able to say whatever we want about “them,” we do not want “them” to say whatever they want about us.

Victoria Brownworth on The Case Against Censorship

• Caspar Henderson re-reads The Book of Imaginary Beings by Jorge Luis Borges.

One hundred classic minimalism, electronic, ambient and drone recordings.

• BLDGBLOG visits the Chand Baori stepwell in Abhaneri, India.

Brion Gysin’s Dreamachine is launched in the UK.

Ken Hollings visits Ludwig II’s Venus Grotto.

• A guide to Meredith Monk‘s music.

• RIP Boris Strugatsky.

Maldorora: a Tumblr.

Stalker: Meditation (1979) by Edward Artemiev | Undulating Terrain (1995) by Robert Rich & B. Lustmord | Stalker (2004) by Shackleton.