A mix for Halloween: Subtexts

Presenting the thirteenth Halloween playlist, and another mix of my own. This year I thought I’d try a mix of material wholly taken from Subtext Recordings, an excellent label for whom I still provide design work now and then. Subtext releases have featured on some of the previous mixes in this series, and while the music (or sounds) on these albums isn’t necessarily horror-oriented much of it would work well as soundscapes in a David Lynch scenario. The material ranges from tracks with an acknowledged source—a telegraph pole north of the Arctic circle (Eric Holm), recordings made deep underwater (Eric Holm again), sounds recorded in a building with a reputation for being haunted (Emptyset)—to music whose origin is a complete mystery. See the Subtext Soundcloud page for more of the label’s output.

This is the running order (some of the symbols in the title of Paul Jebanasam’s piece are missing due to encoding issues; the full track titles are here):

Roly Porter—Atar (2011)
Eric Holm—Andøya (2014)
Emptyset—Divide (2012)
Eric Holm—Surface Detail (2016)
Blessed Initiative—Out With The Old, In With The New Flesh (2016)
FIS—Treat Inner Eris (2016)
FIS And Rob Thorne—Wooden Lung (2017)
Paul Jebanasam—depart as | air dx stop ??/? /dt somewhere = +??(? sigma*(y waiting -x) v)=0 ??/dy/dt for = you x dim (2016)
Joshua Sabin—Eki (2017)

Previously on { feuilleton }
Macabre mixes
A mix for Halloween: Analogue Spectres
A mix for Halloween: Teatro Grottesco
A mix for Halloween: Unheimlich Manoeuvres
A mix for Halloween: Ectoplasm Forming
A playlist for Halloween: Hauntology
A playlist for Halloween: Orchestral and electro-acoustic
A playlist for Halloween: Drones and atmospheres
A playlist for Halloween: Voodoo!
Dead on the Dancefloor
Another playlist for Halloween
A playlist for Halloween

Subtextual

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Études (2015) by Yair Elazar Glotman.

The work section of this website is still lacking the addition of some recent commissions but I have managed this week to get the albums section up to date. If I don’t talk about my work in the music world very much that’s because it’s been scaled down in recent years. I am still working regularly for the Subtext label, however, and the releases shown here are all the recent designs bar the latest one which will be out in February.

Almost all my work for Subtext involves preparing artwork I’ve been sent, and applying the relevant text information (or “label copy” as the big record companies prefer to call it). That’s generally easy work but the minimal style of Subtext means that some designs go through several iterations before everyone is happy with the results. The Signal album by Emptyset required the careful cropping and adjusting of James Ginzburg’s photos to get something that sat well in the square of the album sleeve. Almost all the artwork here was selected by the artists; if it wasn’t then it was prepared with their approval. The individual web pages show the full layouts, and also have all the necessary artwork credits.

As to the audio content, Subtext releases operate in the nebulous intersection between noise, drones, sound design and ambient music. The albums by Paul Jebanasam and FIS were featured this month on a list of the Top 30 Drone Records of 2016. See the label’s Soundcloud page for samples.

I’ll be posting another work update—if I get round to it!—next week.

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Emptyset (2015 reissue) by Emptyset.

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Signal (2015) by Emptyset.

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Continuum (2016) by Paul Jebanasam.

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Frenzy (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) (2016) by Cevdet Erek.

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Barotrauma (2016) by Eric Holm.

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From Patterns To Details (2016) by FIS.

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Blessed Initiative (2016) by Blessed Initiative.

Weekend links 314

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Avebury Kite (2006) by David Alderslade.

• “Klaus Mann, son of Thomas Mann, author of Mephisto, was one of the first in Germany to write gay novels and plays.” Walter Holland reviews Cursed Legacy: The Tragic Life of Klaus Mann by Frederic Spotts.

The Pale Brown Thing, a shorter/alternate version of Fritz Leiber’s supernatural masterwork, Our Lady of Darkness, is given a limited reprinting by Swan River Press next month.

• “Not only is metal not directly harmful to adolescent minds, as the thinking goes, it may actually be helpful.” Christine Ro on the reappraisal of a once-suspect musical genre.

Something of that tension between past and future is visible in Beardsley’s work. It is the art of a dying era peering, with a mixture of excitement and trepidation, into the next. For all the prancing and bravado, Beardsley’s art was really about finding something in which to believe—and if Beardsley came to believe in anything it was the deep black line. Shading held little interest for Beardsley, and color fascinated him not at all. The black line and white space were all he needed.

Morgan Meis on Aubrey Beardsley

• More of my art for Bruce Sterling’s forthcoming Dieselpunk novella, Pirate Utopia, has been revealed. Tachyon will be publishing the book in November.

• “Secretly, though, I frequent junk shops because I am wishing for some kind of transcendence,” says Luc Sante.

• Mixes of the week: Gizehcast #28 by Christine Ott, and a mix for The Wire by Asher Levitas.

• “It took centuries, but we now know the size of the Universe.” Chris Baraniuk explains.

Barnbrook Studios creates identity for Kubrick exhibition at Somerset House.

• Watch a haunting video from Subtext Recordings and Eric Holm.

• Folklore Tapes: A Rum Music Special by Joseph Burnett.

Brion Gysin’s Dreamachine is on sale again.

Rhys Chatham’s favourite albums.

A Guide to Occult London

Skulls and Bones

Zero Time (1979) by Chrome | Zero-Gravity (1996) by Sidewinder |  Zero Moment (2016) by Contact

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”

Weekend links 208

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The Blue Girl (2013) by Sungwon.

• “Meanwhile, in her parents’ room [Max] Ernst painted aardvarks eating ants and big human hands around the windows. ‘Sexual connotations, I think,’ she says shyly.” Agnès Poirier talks to Cécile Eluard about her childhood among the Surrealists.

• “Thrilling and prophetic”: why film-maker Chris Marker‘s radical images influenced so many artists. Sukhdev Sandhu, William Gibson, Mark Romanek and Joanna Hogg on the elusive director.

• At Dangerous Minds: Throbbing Gristle live in Manchester in 1980, and Brian Butler talks about the rediscovered early print of Kenneth Anger’s Lucifer Rising. There’s a trailer!

• From 1981: The Art of Fiction No. 69 at The Paris Review, an interview with Gabriel García Márquez. Related: Thomas Pynchon reviewed Love in the Time of Cholera in 1988.

• “Seven years ago, a stolen first edition of Borges’s early poems was returned to Argentina’s National Library. But was it the right copy?” Graciela Mochkofsky investigates.

• “What was Walter Benjamin doing with his shirt off in Ibiza?” Peter E. Gordon reviews Walter Benjamin: A Critical Life by Howard Eiland & Michael W. Jennings.

• A video by Marcel Weber for Måtinden, a track from Eric Holm’s Andøya album. Another album on the Subtext label that I helped design.

• More Ian Miller: Boing Boing has pages from his new book, The Art of Ian Miller, and there’s an interview at Sci-Fi-O-Rama.

Outrun Europa, a free compilation of 80s-style electronic music. There’s a lot more along those lines here.

• Praise Be! Favourite religious and spiritual records chose by writers at The Quietus.

Ralph Steadman illustrated Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in 1973.

British Pathé is uploading 85,000 of its newsreel films to YouTube.

• Drawings by Lebbeus Woods at The Drawing Center, New York.

• At Pinterest: Ian Miller and Kenneth Anger.

Lucifer Sam (1967) by Pink Floyd | The Surrealist Waltz (1967) by Pearls Before Swine | Which Dreamed It (1968) by Boeing Duveen And The Beautiful Soup