Weekend links 303

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Design by Julian House.

• The last major release by Ghost Box recording artists Belbury Poly was The Belbury Tales in 2012, so news of a new album is most welcome. New Ways Out by The Belbury Poly (that definite article is a fresh addition) will be released next month. The Belbury Parish Magazine has links to larger copies of Julian House’s artwork for this and the recent release from Hintermass, The Apple Tree.

But before New Ways Out appears there’s a compilation album from A Year In The Country released at the end of April. The Quietened Village is “a study of and reflection on the lost, disappeared and once were homes and hamlets that have wandered off the maps or that have become shells of their former lives and times. Audiological contents created by Howlround, Time Attendant, The Straw Bear Band, Polypores, The Soulless Party, The Rowan Amber Mill, Cosmic Neighbourhood, A Year In The Country, Sproatly Smith, David Colohan and Richard Moult.” I’ve been fortunate to hear an advance copy, and it’s an excellent collection.

• “London’s architecture has become laughably boorish, confidently uncouth and flashily arid,” says Jonathan Meades in a review of Slow Burn City: London in the Twenty-First Century by Rowan Moore.

I feel very ill, physically and mentally ill when I hear Christmas carols. I feel so angry, so much like getting out a sniper’s rifle when I hear that kind of music. And Broadway shows with their sentimental songs, those kinds of things are terrifying for me because they call up memories from far back and I don’t necessarily know what they are but they just break me, they break my heart, they break my soul. Iannis Xenakis, the great Greek composer, he said the same thing. He couldn’t listen to the music his mother had played to him when he was young, because it was akin to thinking of someone who was disemboweled. And so for me, if I do a song that’s what you’d say is pretty, my interpretation takes it to another place because it shows the death of the virgin, the animal that goes out in the spring and then gets shot by a hunter. It is prettiness that is very alarming to me, so I tend to do a juxtaposition of something that might be pretty with something that is harsh, just because I feel that they occur in life together.

Diamanda Galás talking to Louise Brown about her work

The Fantastical Otherworlds of Adam Burke: S. Elizabeth talks to the artist behind Nightjar Illustration.

• “I try to frighten myself”: Master musician and curator David Toop on his extraordinary cassette tape archives.

• Silver Machine: Hawkwind’s Space Rock Journey throughout Science Fiction and Fantasy by Jason Heller.

• Mixes of the week: Secret Thirteen Mix 179 by Mesmeon, and a new Italian Occult Psychedelia Festival Mix.

• Offset Identities: Kenneth FitzGerald on graphic designer Barney Bubbles.

The Cine-Tourist lists some of the many cats in the films of Chris Marker.

John Patterson on Ran (1985), Akira Kurosawa’s last great masterpiece.

• Britain’s scarecrows photographed by Colin Garratt.

Strange Flowers explores the city of Turin.

The Museum of Talking Boards

Giallo-themed playing cards

Origami bookmarks

Silver Machine (1972) by Hawkwind | Silver Machine (1973) by James Last | Silver Machine (1988) by Alien Sex Fiend

Victor Vasarely album covers

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Terretektorh / Nomos Gamma (no date; late 60s) by Iannis Xenakis.

Xenakis and Victor Vasarely are paired again on this album cover from the late 1960s. Given how often record companies have used abstract artwork on the sleeves of classical recordings, especially those by 20th-century composers, you’d expect there to be more examples. There may well be but Discogs (always the easiest place to search) only turns up the following examples.

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Chamber Concerto For 11 Instruments / Symphonic Variations (no date) by
Neils Viggo Bentzon / The Royal Danish Orchestra conducted by Jerzy Semkow.

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Kontakte For Electronic Sounds, Piano And Percussion / Refrain For Three Instrumentalists (1968) by Aloys Kontarsky, Christoph Caskel, Karlheinz Stockhausen.

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David Bowie (1969) by David Bowie.

I confess that until I began searching for Vasarely covers I hadn’t known that this was an early example. That’s partly down to David Bowie’s second album (the first in his official canon) having been reissued for years in a different cover with Bowie’s face filling the sleeve. The album reissues in 1999 restored the original design, one of the artist’s Folklore Planetaire series. The credit is to “Vaserelli”.

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Vasarely, a film by Peter Kassovitz

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I’ve always liked Victor Vasarely’s brand of Op-Art so this short film from 1960 would be of interest even without the addition of a score, Neg-Ale, by Iannis Xenakis. Considering the stature of the composer the music fails to add much at all so it’s no surprise to read at Ubuweb that Xenakis later withdrew it from his catalogue. Kassovitz’s film is worth watching for Vasarely’s artworks, however, especially some three-dimensional creations I hadn’t seen before.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Escher and Schrofer

Josef Albers album covers

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Provocative Percussion (1959) by The Command All-Stars.

You’d think that the handful of album cover designs produced by Bauhaus artist Josef Albers would have decorated something by Xenakis, or one of the composers experimenting with tape recording and electronics at the end of the 1950s. But no, it’s the easy listening cocktail music of Enoch Light and co. who received the benefit of his abstractions. The covers are smart solutions for how to embellish a collection of percussive instrumentals without resort to the thumping obviousness of a photograph of the artists or their instruments. Albers’ designs found their way into more American living rooms than they otherwise might have done, and established a trend which you still find being imitated today.

You’re The Top by The Command All-Stars

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Persuasive Percussion (1959) by Terry Snyder And The All Stars.

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Provocative Percussion Volume 2 (1959) by Enoch Light And The Light Brigade.

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Weekend links 85

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Group I (Convertible Series, 2010) by Monir Farmanfarmaian.

The four albums recorded by Bruce Gilbert and Graham Lewis under the name Dome are being reissued by Editions Mego together with Gilbert & Lewis’s Yclept album. I always preferred Gilbert & Lewis in their Dome incarnation (and Colin Newman solo) to the punk and post-punk stylings of their former band, Wire. Dome were (among other things) eccentric, awkward, noisy, hypnotic and experimental. Their recordings seemed to go largely unnoticed in the early 1980s so it’s good to see them being reissued.

A Children’s Treasury of American Cops Brutally Attacking Citizens: “…it takes quite a lot of tax money to keep a bunch of vicious thugs overfed and dressed like junior Darth Vaders with their portable hard-ons, on the off-chance some college kids might one day peacefully sit outside to protest this nation’s revolting descent.”

• “Stevenson, as has been said, was disarmingly candid about the material he borrowed for Treasure Island. One name, however, is missing from the extensive catalogue of self-confessed ‘plagiarisms’.” John Sutherland at the TLS.

• “Messiaen’s advice was revelatory. ‘You have the good fortune of being an architect and having studied special mathematics’, he told Xenakis. ‘Take advantage of these things. Do them in your music.'”

• “They always said punk was an influence. Tracey Emin, Damien Hirst, what a load of old shit that was. It’s Thatcherite art care of Saatchi & Saatchi.” And don’t ask Jamie Reid about the Sex Pistols.

Dennis Cooper is interviewed at Lambda Literary. I was surprised last week to find my recent post about William Burroughs’ The Wild Boys linked on a feature about the novel at Cooper’s blog.

Cosmic Geometry: The art of Monir Farmanfarmaian at The Paris Review. Related: Monir Farmanfarmaian at the Haines Gallery, San Francisco.

• Paleolithic phallic art suggests that many early European men scarred, pierced and tattooed their penises.

FACT mix 301 is a selection of dub tracks, dubstep pieces and Middle Eastern songs compiled by Kahn.

Who left a tree, then a coffin in the library?

The Little Journal of Rejections (1896).

Clive finished another painting.

The Great Salt Desert of Iran.

Keep Drawing.

• Troisième (1980) by Colin Newman | And Then… (1980) by Dome | The Red Tent pts I & II (1980) by Dome) | Jasz (1981) by Dome.