Weekend links 275

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A painting from the Projekt Babelturm series by Wessi.

• “The first thing I would say is that I have no idea what authentic psych music is, and I have no wish to pursue that either. To me the idea of real psych is a paradox. I can’t see how you can have such a thing as real psychedelia when the whole thing is based on a psychedelic drug that gives you hallucinations and illusions and layers and layers of unreality.” Rob Chapman talking to Ben Graham about his new book, Psychedelia And Other Colours.

Elsewhere in a rather psychedelic week: Rob Young reviewed Chapman’s book for the New Statesman; Dangerous Minds posted “Hypnotic video of how a psychedelic masterpiece is made“; and in Germany a homeopathy conference “ended in chaos in Germany after dozens of delegates took a LSD-like drug and started suffering from hallucinations.”

• Coming soon from Dark Entries (so to speak), another collection of Patrick Cowley‘s music for gay porn films.

Jonathan Barnbrook works some quotes from JG Ballard into the British Road Sign Project.

• “Sorcery is more popular than football in Morocco,” says writer and filmmaker Abdellah Taïa.

• “If you’re going to make something, you should try and be wild,” says Mica Levi.

• Coca-Cola Milanese: Patrick Ellis considers the state of the world’s fair in 2015.

• Hear two pieces from Collapse, the forthcoming album by Drew McDowall.

• Mix of the week: Secret Thirteen Mix 162 by Ketev (Yair Elazar Glotman).

Emptyset’s Signal transforms Earth’s ionosphere into sound art.

Paul Laffoley: The Force Structure of the Mystical Experience.

• Fuck off, Star Wars, Ben Wheatley’s High Rise is on its way.

Ideologic Organ

Psychedelic Ride (1967) by The Ides | Psychedelic Warlords (Disappear In Smoke) (1974) by Hawkwind | Psychedelic Sewing Room (1989) by Bongwater

Weekend links 273

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Byronic I by Boris Pelcer. Via Full Fathom Five.

• “Music determines everything in terms of our narrative. Music demands, music suggests. Whereas traditional Hollywood animation is all based on character development—you know, there’s Toy Story and it’s Tom Hanks’s voice pushing the thrust of the action. For us, décor is all part of it. It’s the objects, a sense of atmosphere, the stimmung (mood) of what’s happening in this landscape where the puppet is just, invariably, a tiny element.” The Brothers Quay talking to JW McCormack about their films, and about Quay, a short documentary by Christopher Nolan.

• Croissants with Cthulhu: Stephanie Gorton Murphy reports on the Cthulhu Prayer Breakfast at last week’s NecronomiCon. I didn’t attend this: abject silliness is the last thing I want at 8 o’clock in the morning.

• “…a light daze for the rest of the afternoon, detrimental to studying but advantageous for daydreaming.” Italo Calvino on his cinema-going youth.

Only in that brief moment of absolute uncertainty – when both options seem equally plausible and implausible, when neither thought can be accepted or rejected, when everything can be explained and nothing can be explained – only in that moment do we really have this horror of philosophy, this questioning of the principle of sufficient reason. It is for this reason that Todorov qualifies his definition by stating that the “fantastic occupies the duration of this uncertainty.”

Eugene Thacker in an extract from Tentacles Longer Than Night (Horror of Philosophy, vol. 3), Zero Books, 2015

• It’s always good to hear some new rumblings by Emptyset. The Guardian has a stream of side 1 of the latest release, Signal.

• David Rudkin’s Penda’s Fen receives a film screening at the Whitechapel Gallery, London, on Saturday, 5th September.

Sea Calls Me Home, another song from the forthcoming Julia Holter album.

• Digital visualizations of imagined future landscapes by Mike Winkelmann.

• Mix of the week: The Ivy-Strangled Path Vol. IX by David Colohan.

• Cherchez la femme: Women and Surrealism at Sotheby’s, NYC.

• At It’s Nice That: 50 years of A Humument by Tom Phillips.

April 16, 1963: Housewife on LSD

Tentaclii: a Lovecraft blog

Signal (1981) by Phew | Signals (1983) by Brian Eno with Daniel Lanois and Roger Eno | Signals (2010) by The Soundcarriers

Weekend links 262

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You’ll Never Be Alone, Even In Death (2014) by Stacey Rozich.

• “But the CD-R format, which eventually replaced the mix tape, turned out to be a technological letdown. ‘CD-Rs are just such an unstable format,’ Margolis says. ‘When you made 10 cassettes, the 10 cassettes generally played. If you made 10 CD-Rs, 8 of them played and 2 of ’em skipped. So that partially explains why people are going back to cassettes—it’s a cheap format that actually works.'” A huge article by Lisa Hix on the history and resilience of cassette tapes.

• “The word speculative comes from speculum, or mirror, and with speculative music the goal is to mirror the hidden processes of nature in sound.” David Metcalfe on Hawthonn, Coil and imaginal landscapes.

• Mixes of the week: FACT Mix 498 by The Cyclist, and Adventures In Sound And Music 28 May 2015 compiled by Joseph Stannard.

Nabokov was an intimate writer. His reticences, his formal estrangements, his denial of interest in any reality beyond the text all need to be measured against that. Maximum closeness: not the closeness of ostentatious empathy but the closeness of one mind addressing another in the most thrilling terms. He speaks into the ear, sometimes dripping a little poison. He contrives to have a reader identify intimately with a protagonist or narrator, but even that is not enough; the reader receives secret handshakes from the author himself, behind a narrator’s back.

Michael Dirda quoting from Nabokov in America by Robert Roper

• Books old and new: The Encyclopedia of the Dead by Danilo Kis, and Stranger Days by Rachel Kendall.

• At Dangerous Minds: Il caso Valdemar (1936), a short Italian adaptation of the Edgar Allan Poe story.

Lustpiel is “a new online magazine for gay, lustful literature”. And a fair amount of art and porn.

• “Q: Is there any subject that is never acceptable to joke about?” No, says Curtis Brown.

Machines Are Obsolete, a new piece by Pye Corner Audio for the Ghost Box label.

• Ishbelle Bee (see yesterday’s post) is interviewed at SFFWorld and Book Swoon.

Laura June on the life of Djuna Barnes, stunt reporter and shocking modernist.

• Stream the debut LP from Ghost Harmonic, a new John Foxx project.

• Portraits of the BDSM community by Natasha Gornik.

Rainer Werner Fassbinder: 10 essential films

Loplop

Mirrorball (2009) by John Foxx & Robin Guthrie | Mirror (2012) by Emptyset | Mirrored (2013) by Silje Nes

Weekend links 235

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Shadows (1974) by Pawel Nolbert & Lukasz Murgrabia, one of three images recreating Francis Bacon’s Triptych–August 1972.

Breaking the Code (1996), a BBC film by Herbert Wise based on Hugh Whitemore’s stage play about Alan Turing. Wise’s film has been linked here before but it’s relevant again thanks to the release of The Imitation Game. Derek Jacobi played Turing on stage and screen, and Whitemore’s script managed to deal with Turing’s life and work without insulting the man or the intelligence of its audience.

• “…if you listen to A Beacon From Mars by Kaleidoscope or if you listen to some Turkish taxim then something starts happening.” Robert Plant talking to Julian Marszalek about the music that excites him.

• “CGI has become wearingly dull and clichéd. Can its deep weirdness be recovered and filmgoers’ minds stretched again?” asks Jonathan Romney.

The cult of the Thirty-Seven Nats is unique to Burma. […] The junta’s attempts to subdue nat worship had an unintended effect: the role of the nat wife was embraced by an already marginalized group. Homosexuality is illegal in Burma and has been since its British colonizers instituted a late-nineteenth-century ban on “intercourse against the order of nature”. Government restrictions opened a professional vacuum, says scholar Tamara C. Ho. Becoming a nat kadaw offered the achauk—a Burmese term for gay and transgender men—both “a vocation and queer visibility”.

After the Green Death by Will Boast

• “Cat memes and other frivolities aren’t the work of an Internet culture. They’re the work of an American one, ” says Caitlin Dewey.

• Hear the cavernous reverb of Berlin’s Kraftwerk captured by Emptyset’s James Ginzburg and Yair Elazar Glotman.

• Take part in the first #psychedelicpride photoshoot in central London on Saturday, December 13th.

• Mix of the week: FACT Mix 470 by Jonny Trunk who also appears in the list of vinyl hoarders below.

• Queer Noise: Abigail Ward on the history of LGBT music and club culture in Manchester.

More photos of the steampunk exhibition at 751 D-Park, Beijing, China.

A chronological list of synth scores & soundtracks.

• Animated photography by Julien Douvier.

• A Third Ear Band archive at SoundCloud.

The secret lives of vinyl hoarders.

Taxim (1968) by Kaleidoscope | Water (1970) by Third Ear Band | Love Is The Devil (1998) by Ryuichi Sakamoto

Recent signals

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Signals (2014): vinyl front cover. Photo by Nico Hogg.

Seeing as my design for the recent Signals album by Wen has been deemed one of the best covers of the year so far I thought I ought to mention some of the other albums I’ve worked on over the past few months. I tend to give the most attention here to my book designs and illustrations but I’m still working on music releases, albeit with less regularity.

One reason the book work receives more attention is that there’s more of my input involved. Almost all these recent releases have begun as picture selections from the artist which it’s been my job to work into a printable form then place the relevant information in a suitable typeface. This isn’t to downplay the work involved: the careful placing of type becomes more critical the more the design tends to minimalism, and even the best photo can be ruined by clumsy typesetting or an unsympathetic typeface. The challenge of working in a more minimal direction can be a refreshing one when much of the work I do tends to visual excess.

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Signals (2014): vinyl labels. Photos by Nico Hogg.

Wen’s album for Keysound Recordings is a collection of dark urban rhythms for which Nico Hogg provided some suitable views of nighttime London. The numbers on the vinyl labels are lift buttons from a high-rise block, while the abstract scene below is a photo of the Thamesmead housing estate.

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Signals (2014): CD interior. Photo by Nico Hogg.

Continue reading “Recent signals”