Weekend links 437

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Rawmarsh Road, Rotherham, 1975 by Peter Watson.

Steel Cathedrals (1985), a composition by David Sylvian (with Ryuichi Sakamoto, Kenny Wheeler, Robert Fripp & others) was originally available only on the cassette release of Sylvian’s Alchemy: An Index Of Possibilities, and a video cassette where the music accompanied views of Japanese industry by Yasuyuki Yamaguchi. The video hasn’t been reissued since but may be viewed here.

• “If, as Arthur C Clarke famously observed, any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, then can we accept that any sufficiently advanced magic is also indistinguishable from technology?” asks Mark Pilkington.

• “I didn’t like the idea of cartoons as just funny jokes, they had to have some relevant piece of observation in them to do with the society we are living in,” says Ralph Steadman.

I listen to music all the time, and I’ll often seek connections across quite disparate genres of that whatever I’m looking for. Sometimes it’s an aesthetic or a feeling, sometimes a pattern or structure, but it tends to cut across genres. The thing I liked about black metal and doom metal is the slowness and weightiness of it, it’s like deep time but in music. Sunn O))), Xasthur, and other bands captured this black gravity of sound. And they also tend to eschew the traditional vocal-lead guitar set-up, and everything is in the slow-moving wash and texture of sound.

I found that in other genres like noise music (especially Keiji Haino), the European avant-garde with composers like Ligeti, Scelsi, and Dumitrescu, dark ambient artists such as Lustmord or vidnaObmana, and contemporary works like Chihei Hatakeyama’s Too Much Sadness, Rafael Anton Irisarri’s A Fragile Geography, or Christina Vantzou’s No.4. There’s a lot to talk about in terms of music and forms of sorrow or grief, certainly every musical tradition has that—the funeral dirge, requiem, lamentation, or whatever.

Eugene Thacker listing a few favourite musicians and composers during a discussion with Michael Brooks about Thacker’s new book, Infinite Resignation

• The fourth edition of Wyrd Daze—”The multimedia zine of speculative fiction + extra-ordinary music, art & writing”—is out now.

• The Library of Congress has opened its National Screening Room, an online service for viewing films in the library’s collection.

The London Library discovered some of the books that Bram Stoker used for research when he was writing Dracula.

• “Oscar Wilde’s stock has never been higher,” says John Mullan, reviewing Oscar: A Life by Matthew Sturgis.

• Mixes of the week: RA Podcast 648 by Sarah Davachi, and Secret Thirteen Mix 269 by Sstrom.

• David Lynch directs a video for A Real Indication by Thought Gang.

• “Edward Gorey lived at the ballet,” says his biographer, Mark Dery.

• A new version of Blue Velvet Blues by Acid Mothers Temple.

• Photos of cooling-tower interiors by Reginald Van de Velde.

Aaron Worth on Arthur Machen: “the HG Wells of horror”.

• The Strange World of…Barry Adamson.

Glass And Steel No. 1 (1983) by Marc Barreca | Death Is The Beginning (1996) by Steel | Painless Steel (2000) by Bohren & Der Club Of Gore

Weekend links 369

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Untitled painting by Serbian Surrealist Ljuba Popovic (1934–2016). I missed the announcement of Popovic’s death last year.

Bryan Washington on the radical grace of Gengoroh Tagame: My Brother’s Husband and the tradition of gay manga. Where bara artists are concerned, I favour the work of Mentaiko Itto. Bruno Gmünder recently published a collection in English.

• At madrotter-treasure-hunt: Post punk from old tapes; “Some live recordings from concerts in Holland from Charles Hayward and from This Heat, Metabolist, Pere Ubu, Holger Hiller…”

Dennis Cooper‘s favourite fiction, poetry, non-fiction, film, music, art & internet of 2017 so far. (Thanks again for the nod to this blog!)

The Weird and the Eerie is an evocative and carefully-written short study in cultural aesthetics. Far from the familiar line-up of vampires, zombies, and demons, Fisher’s eclectic examples speak directly to one of the central themes of the horror genre: the limits of human knowledge, the metamorphic shapes of fear, and the blurriness of boundaries of all types. His simple conceptual distinction quickly gives way to reversals, permutations, and complications, ultimately refusing any notion of a monstrous or alien unhumanness “out there”; with Fisher, the unhuman is more likely to reside within the human itself (or as Lovecraft might write it, “the unhuman is discovered to reside within the human itself”).

Many books on the horror genre are concerned with providing answers, using varieties of taxonomy and psychology to provide a therapeutic application to “our” lives, helping us to cathartically purge collective anxieties and fears. For Fisher, the emphasis is more on questions, questions that target the vanity and presumptuousness of human culture, questions regarding human consciousness elevating itself above all else, questions concerning the presumed sovereignty of the species at whatever cost – perhaps questions it’s better not to pose, at the risk of undermining the entire endeavour to begin with.

Eugene Thacker reviewing The Weird and the Eerie by Mark Fisher. I’ve not read Fisher’s book yet (I’m intending to) but I was pleased to see one of my illustrations of R’lyeh accompanying the piece.

• At Dirge Magazine: Gwendolyn Nix on Twisted Labyrinths, Dark Mazes, and Ancient Methods of Reflection.

• Mixes of the week: XLR8R podcast 498 by Nicola Kazimir, and Secret Thirteen Mix 227 by Sculpture.

AO Scott reviews Endless Poetry, Alejandro Jodorowsky’s surreal self-portrait.

Maze Of Love (1968) by The Dave Clark Five | Audiomaze (2000) by Tabla Beat Science | Into The Maze (2012) by Pye Corner Audio

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 197

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Posters by Jay Shaw for Ben Wheatley’s A Field in England which receives a US release this month.

Alvin Baltrop’s Gay New York: “the clandestine activities taking place under New York piers between 1975 and 1986”. AnOther samples some of the work on display at the Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool. Meanwhile, BUTT has some shots from Texas Porno Road Trip, a photo series by Mike McLeod. Related: HBO will show you anything but a male erection, says Justin Moyer.

• “[Robert] Desnos quickly proved himself to be one of the most gifted in these experiments – eventually known as ‘the period of sleeping fits’. He was capable of writing, speaking, drawing and composing entire fantastical narratives.” Eugene Thacker on the Surrealist séances of the 1920s.

• “It’s history, not a viral feed,” says Sarah Werner. A complaint about the way the ongoing decontextualisation of images is both pernicious and potentially lucrative.

His prose is a palimpsest of echoes, ranging from Eliot’s Preludes and Rhapsody on a Windy Night (lines like “Midnight shakes the memory / As a madman shakes a dead geranium” are Burroughsian before the fact) to Raymond Chandler’s marmoreal wisecracks and Herbert Huncke’s jive. I suspect that few readers have made it all the way through the cut-up novels, but anyone dipping into them may come away humming phrases. His palpable influence on JG Ballard, William Gibson, and Kathy Acker is only the most obvious effect of the kind of inspiration that makes a young writer drop a book and grab a pen, wishing to emulate so sensational a sound. It’s a cold thrill.

Peter Schjeldahl reviews Call Me Burroughs by Barry Miles.

• “Dance music was born in LGBT communities, but has this been forgotten?” Luis-Manuel Garcia on an alternate history of sexuality in club culture.

• Avant-Grade Hallucinogens: the Poetics of Psychedelic Perception in Moving Image Art by Stuart Heaney.

No Condition Is Permanent: weekly radio shows from Count Reeshard at LuxuriaMusic and iTunes.

The Golem: where fact and fiction collide. David Barnett on 100 years of Gustav Meyrink’s novel.

• Don’t Let Harlan Ellison Hear This: Nick Mamatas on a great writer.

• Mix of the week: the Ela Orleans Mix at A Sound Awareness.

Amon Düül II playing live on French TV, 1971 & 1973.

• A soundmap of London canals and minor rivers.

The Peculiar Underworld of Rare-Book Thieves.

• At Pinterest: William Burroughs and Phalluses.

Architecture of Doom

Hallucinations (1967) by Tim Buckley | Phallus Dei (1969) by Amon Düül II | Hallucinations (In Memory of Reinaldo Arenas) (1994) by Paul Schütze

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The BFI’s recent DVD release of Peter de Rome’s gay porn films has been mentioned here a couple of times already but I only bought a copy this week. It’s a remarkable release for a number of reasons, not least for showing how much attitudes towards pornography in Britain have changed in recent years. De Rome’s films are explicit enough to ensure that in the 1970s and 1980s anyone caught selling them in the UK might have been imprisoned. That you can now buy them uncut from a high street shop on a disc packaged with the usual care by the British Film Institute means another small part of our iniquitous past has gone for good. Among the extras there’s a documentary with the 88-year-old director discussing his work. This week he talked to BUTT magazine who also have one of his shorter films from the DVD, Hot Pants, on their site.

• “Reading this book, it is hard not to feel that the largest mental health problem – the really crazy thing – is society’s attitude to drugs in general and LSD in particular…” Phil Baker reviews Albion Dreaming: A Popular History of LSD in Britain by Andy Roberts.

• “Loved by aristocrats and immortalized in literature, Denham Fouts remains virtually unknown in his own hometown.” Richard Wall on The World’s Most Expensive Male Prostitute.

The very etiology of rabies is mythic: once the bite heals and the virus has traveled to the brain, “the wound will usually return, as if by magic, with some odd sensation occurring at the site.” Then there’s the fact that no definitive diagnosis can be made without taking a biopsy of the sick animal’s brain, leaving only one gory solution: decapitation.

Rabies is horror’s muse. In almost all iterations of the genre, those we most trust suddenly turn strange: a boyfriend morphs into a wolf at midnight, a fiancé turns out to be harboring a mad first wife in the attic, a friend is bit by a zombie and goes berserk.

Alice Gregory reviews Rabid: A Cultural History of the World’s Most Diabolical Virus by Bill Wasik and Monica Murphy.

• The Horror of Philosophy: Erik Davis talks to Eugene Thacker about Lovecraft, medieval mysticism, and thinking the world-without-us.

Eagle Scouts Returning Our Badges: A Tumblr for those protesting the current anti-gay stance of the Boy Scouts of America.

• His Father’s Best Translator: Lila Azam Zanganeh on the late Dmitri Nabokov.

Les Liaisons dangereuses: illustrations by Alastair (Hans Henning Voigt).

• Andrea Scrima looks at Robert Walser’s Der Spaziergang (The Walk).

10 Great Places to Meet Lesbians If You Have a Time Machine.

• Jesse Bering in Scientific American asks “Is Your Child Gay?

As Above, So Below (1981) by Tom Tom Club | Genius Of Love (1981) by Tom Tom Club | Mea Culpa (1981) by Brian Eno & David Byrne.