Weekend links 492

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Cover art by Gahan Wilson for Monster (1980) by Herbie Hancock.

• RIP Gahan Wilson, a great cartoonist with a flair for horror, the macabre and grotesque. Many of his best cartoons are buried in back issues of The New Yorker, Playboy and National Lampoon but book collections of his work are worth seeking out. He also wrote regularly, and for several years was a film reviewer and columnist for The Twilight Zone Magazine, back issues of which may be found at the Internet Archive. Related: Gahan Wilson and the Comedy of the Weird, an interview with Wilson by Richard Gehr; The Beautifully Macabre Cartoons of Gahan Wilson by Michael Maslin.

• The Unanswered Question: Irmin Schmidt, the last surviving member of Can, interviewed by Duncan Seaman. The conversation is mostly about his solo work but he also mentions plans to release a collection of live Can recordings next year.

Valerie and Her Week of Wonders (1970), the Surrealist fable directed by Jaromil Jires, receives a welcome region-free blu-ray release by Second Run in January.

At its best, the true psychedelic experience is an analogue of psychotherapy: you are encouraged to lean in to something potentially rupturing or even disturbing, in an attempt to achieve deep personal resolution rather than simply mind-scrambling hedonism or entertainment (which, to be fair, the group can provide as well). […] Despite clear and longstanding links with the extreme worlds of black metal, power electronics, industrial, sludge metal and doom, Sunn O))) have created a space that now stands beyond any obvious scene signifiers. This zone of pure affect—and what they hope will be a healing experience—is welcome to all.

John Doran on the vibrational power of Sunn O)))

Neuland is an electronic collaboration by two ex-members of Tangerine Dream, Peter Baumann and Paul Haslinger.

• Flying teapots and electric Camembert: the story of Gong, prog’s trippiest band by Simon Reynolds.

• Conversations with Ursula: Clive Hicks-Jenkins answers some questions about his art.

• Mix of the week: Test Transmission Archive Reel 38 by Keith Seatman.

• Limitation of Life: Tim Pelan on John Frankenheimer’s Seconds.

Anthony Madrid on the most famous coin in Borges.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Jacques Tati Day.

Dutch Graphic Roots

The Magic Yard (1970) by Lubos Fiser | Valerie (2003) by Broadcast | Introduction (2007) by The Valerie Project

Weekend links 463

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Eye 98: Beatrice Display Black, Sharp Type, 2018, and a detail from an original drawing for Lexicon by Bram de Does, 1989.

Issue 98 of Eye, the international design journal, is out this month. The new issue is a typography special but also features my review of Mark Dery’s Born to be Posthumous: The Eccentric Life and Mysterious Genius of Edward Gorey. This is the second time I’ve written about Dery’s book, with the new piece focusing more on Gorey’s work as a designer/book creator, and his place in the history of illustration.

Portal is a new release by Slovakian metal band Doomas, the artwork of which adapts one of my illustrations for Lovecraft’s Monsters. The band also have a suitably Lovecraftian video.

• Reading recommendations by M. John Harrison: the old (the excellent Rogue Moon by Algis Budrys) and the new (Underland et al).

I first started drawing in my Wake to count the number of rivers mentioned in an episode, one page alone counting 85. Gradually, I would be so moved by a line or a character I would colour them in, the most obvious being the 28 Rainbow girls to the more obscure nebulae, railroad tracks, hidden mythical islands and turn of the century lightships. Themes began to emerge which demanded documentation and always the sad, ecstatic relief of finishing a chapter merited some sort of coloured tribute. By the time I finished four years later, I simply drew a leaf to reflect Joyce’s metaphor on the last page: my leaves have drifted from me. All. But one clings still.

Susie Lopez on Finnegans Wake at 80

• Old ghosts at The Paris Review: a preview of The Spectacle of Illusion by Matthew L. Tompkins.

• At Dangerous Minds: Malcolm McDowell and the making of Lindsay Anderson’s O Lucky Man!

Herbie Hancock: “I felt like I stood on the shoulders of giants and now it’s my turn”.

• Mix of the week: XLR8R Podcast 590 by Christian Löffler.

• The discography of Diamanda Galás is now at Bandcamp.

• RIP Quentin Fiore, graphic designer and book creator.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Haunted dolls.

Antique Doll (1967) by The Electric Prunes | The Doll’s House (1980) by Landscape | Voodoo Dolly (1981) by Siouxsie And The Banshees

Weekend links 320

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Palm Night (2016) by Nick Liefhebber.

• “Gortner includes reference to the little known Hollywood ‘sewing circles’ (code word for lesbian communities) of which Marlene became a part. This group included Ann Warner, Lili Damita, Claudette Colbert, and Dolores del Río.” Walter Holland reviewing Marlene, a “novelization” of the life of Marlene Dietrich by CW Gortner.

• “Challenges and all, Jerusalem ensures Moore’s place as one of the great masters of the English language.” Heidi MacDonald reviewing Alan Moore’s forthcoming novel. Photos of the slipcased paperback edition (a 3-volume set) appeared last week.

• “It’s unlikely that a gnawing sense of being unborn tops the neuroses of most writers these days, but I’d argue that Beckett’s Jungian insight is more commonly known today as anxiety.” Robert Fay on nihilism and the writing life.

• “So why would I be ‘great for this cover’? Good chance it’s because the book is aimed at a female audience and I am a female designer.” Jennifer Heuer on gendered book covers and being a woman designer.

• Mixes of the week: FACT mix 562 by M. Geddes Gengras, Secret Thirteen Mix 191 by Monica Hits The Ground, and a mix by Daniel Miller.

• Strange Flesh: The Use of Lovecraftian Archetypes in Queer Fiction, an ongoing series by The Punk Writer: part 1 | part 2 | part 3 | part 4.

• “For the Sake of the Prospect”: Lily Ford on the ways in which balloon flight transformed ideas about landscape in the 18th century.

• “Why did Google erase Dennis Cooper’s beloved literary blog?” asks Jennifer Krasinski.

• From Leeds to London: portraits of English cities in the 1970s by Peter Mitchell.

Phantasm is Dune

• RIP Jack Davis

Palm Grease (live, 1974) by Herbie Hancock & The Headhunters | Phantasm (1994) by Biosphere | Fizzy Flesh (1996) by Spacer

Weekend links 300

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Observatoire IX from the Observatoires series by Noemie Goudal.

• “Before Lady Raglan’s intervention, this figure had been anonymous. She gave him a name: the Green Man.” Josephine Livingstone on the persistence of a supposed figure from pagan folklore.

Ben Wheatley: “Financing a film as crazy as [High-Rise] takes good casting”. Related (in a Ballardian sense): the abandoned hotels of the Sinai Desert.

• “We were in danger of becoming full-time, paid up musicians…” Drew Daniel and Martin “MC” Schmidt of Matmos look back over their career.

Fahey didn’t make many new friends with his scything dismissal of the folk revival. He distrusted the way that folkies regarded music as a carrier for the correct political messages of the moment. As Lowenthal puts it: “To him, the student idealists had naïve worldviews and dreamed of unrealistic political utopias,” whereas Fahey “attempted to channel darkness and dread through his music.” For Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger devotees, the ideological message came first, with musical tone or trickery a distant second. As Fahey saw it, the dizzyingly strange source music they borrowed from and then built their careers on emerged as little more than a scrubbed-up ventriloquist’s doll, all the coarse grain and troubling metaphysic of its original voices jettisoned. He also detected high condescension and low reverse racism in how the folk-revival people preferred their old blues guys barefoot and wearing dungarees—even if they now usually dressed in sharp suits and often preferred to play amplified, electric urban blues.

Ian Penman on John Fahey

• “It’s amazing how quickly a sound can lose its moorings and float off into this kind of unchartered territory,” says Robin The Fog.

• Mixes of the week: FACT Mix 540 by Via App, and Secret Thirteen Mix 178 by BlackBlackGold.

Oliver Wainwright on Edward Johnston, designer of the typeface for the London Underground.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: DC’s: Spotlight on…The Free-Lance Pallbearers (1967) by Ishmael Reed.

Each drop of Hennessy X.O is an Odyssey: Nicolas Winding Refn makes an alcohol ad.

Wayne Shorter & Herbie Hancock pen an open letter to the next generation of artists.

Japan’s scariest manga artist (Junji Ito) loves Japan’s creepiest cosplayer (Ikura).

• “He was a sexual outlaw.” Jack Fritscher‘s love affair with Robert Mapplethorpe.

Peter De Rome: the RAF pilot who became “the grandfather of gay porn”.

The Strange Case of Mr William T. Horton

• RIP Big George Martin and Ken Adam.

Shortwave Radio World

Viriconium FAQ

Nine Feet Underground (1971) by Caravan | Green Bubble Raincoated Man (1972) by Amon Düül II | Betyárnóta (Outlaw Song, 1989) by Muzsikás

Weekend links 192

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“Chloromgonfus detectis, a dragonfly that can detect volatile pollutants.” A speculative insect by artist Vincent Fournier.

• “…a modern taxonomist straddling a Wellsian time machine with the purpose of exploring the Cenozoic era…” Butterflies tied together Vladimir Nabokov’s home, science, and writing, says Mary Ellen Hannibal.

• More ghosts: Kira Cochrane on the Victorian tradition of the Christmas ghost story, and Michael Newton on why Jack Clayton’s The Innocents (1961) remains one of the very best ghost films. No argument there.

• Should you require further persuasion, Daniel Barrow reviews I Am The Center: Private Issue New Age Music In America 1950-1990, an album still receiving heavy rotation in these quarters.

Swords, daggers—weapons with a blade—retained a mysterious, talismanic significance for Borges, imbued with predetermined codes of conduct and honor. The short dagger had particular power, because it required the fighters to draw death close, in a final embrace. As a young man, in the 1920s, Borges prowled the obscure barrios of Buenos Aires, seeking the company of cuchilleros, knife fighters, who represented to him a form of authentic criollo nativism that he wished to know and absorb.

The Daggers of Jorge Luis Borges by Michael Greenberg

The Junky’s Christmas (1993): a seasonal tale from William Burroughs turned into a short animated film by Nick Donkin and Melodie McDaniel.

• Mixes of the week: Secret Thirteen Mix 101 by Jan Jelinek, and The Conjuror’s Hexmas by Seraphic Manta.

• Meet the 92-year-old Egyptian [Halim El-Dabh] who invented electronic music.

The Mysterious Lawn Home of Frohnleiten, Austria.

The Peacock Room at Sammezzano Castle in Italy.

The Quay Brothers’ Universum.

Alan Bennett‘s diary for 2013.

Butterfly (1968) by Can | Butterfly (1974) by Herbie Hancock | Butterfly (1998) by Talvin Singh