Weekend links 377

czukay.jpg

Holger Czukay by Ursula Kloss, from the cover of Czukay’s Moving Pictures (1993). (The painting is a pastiche of Holbein’s portrait of Georg Gisze.)

• RIP Holger Czukay. The obituaries have emphasised his role as the bass player for Can, of course, but he was just as important to the band as a sound engineer and producer: it was Czukay’s editing skills that shaped many of their extended jams into viable compositions. Post-Can he recorded 20 or so albums by himself or with collaborators, several of which can be counted among the best of all the Can solo works. Geeta Dayal and Jason Gross remembered their encounters with Czukay, while FACT reposted their 2009 interview. Czukay’s final interview was probably last year when he talked to Ian Harrison for Mojo magazine.

For my part, I was astonished when Czukay phoned me out of the blue one day in 1997 to thank me for sending him a video I’d made in the 1980s. This was a scratch production created with two VCRs that set 300 clips from feature films to Hollywood Symphony, the final piece on Czukay’s Movies album. Years later, MTV showed a couple of similar video collages that Czukay had made for Can so I sent a copy of my effort to Spoon Records thinking he might be amused. His public persona was often one of a wacky mad professor but the jokiness was allied to an impressive technical skill and curiosity. Most of our brief conversation was taken up with my answering his questions about my primitive video recording.

• “Every pebble can blow us sky-high”: A reconsideration by J. Hoberman of The Wages of Fear, directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot.

• Dario Argento’s masterpiece of horror cinema, Suspiria, is 40 years old. Martyn Conterio looks at five of its influences.

Mark Korven’s Apprehension Engine: an instrument designed to play the music of nightmares.

• The mystery of the Voynich Manuscript solved at last? Nicholas Gibbs thinks so.

• At Dangerous Minds: The macabre and disturbing sculptures of Emil Melmoth.

Jonathan Meades reviews A Place for All People by Richard Rogers.

• Mix of the week: Secret Thirteen Mix 229 by Erin Arthur.

• The ten creepiest objects in the Wellcome Collection.

Rob Chapman’s essential psychedelia reading list.

It’s Just A Fear (1966) by The Answers | Fear (1992) by Miranda Sex Garden | Constant Fear (2002) Bohren & Der Club Of Gore

Weekend links 187

delia.jpg

Delia Derbyshire (2007) by Iker Spozio.

Whatever you think of Doctor Who, Delia Derbyshire’s recording of Ron Grainer’s theme tune is a landmark piece of electronic music. Those glassy electronic tones still sound unique today, not least for their having been created using rudimentary oscillators and much laborious tape editing. In Radiophonic Workshop: the shadowy pioneers of electronic sound, Joe Muggs looks at the history of the BBC’s electronic composers. If you’re a Radiophonic-head then the Alchemists of Sound TV documentary from 2003 is essential viewing.

There’s more (there’s always more): Delia Derbyshire – Sculptress of Sound: part one of a seven-part radio documentary about the great electronic music composer, and Blue Veils and Golden Sands, Martyn Wade’s radio play about Delia. Related: Delia-Derbyshire.org, Delia Derbyshire: An audiological chronology and A History of the Doctor Who theme. And don’t miss: Silence Is Requested In The Ultimate Abyss (1969) by Welfare State and White Noise, an incredible slice of electro-psychedelia from the John Peel Presents Top Gear album.

• “Why don’t books for grown-ups have illustrations any more?” asks Christopher Howse. Some of them do, this past week I’ve been finishing a new series of illustrations for a story anthology.

• From 2006: Ian Penman on cigarettes, espionage, and the masterful (and superior) television adaptation of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.

It was Malcolm [McLaren] who suggested that the main characters be a boy who looks like a girl who looks like a boy and vice versa. What was strange was that, actually, in 1985 this was nobody’s vision of the fashion industry. Since then, fashion and fascism have crept closer: you’ve got John Galliano doing his promotional bits for the Third Reich, you’ve got Alexander McQueen killing himself, you’ve got Versace and that horrible, violent stalker coming for him. Since it was written, almost all of it has come true apart from the nuclear winter, but I think we’re working on that. The actual society that the story happens in is much more like the society we have now than culture was in 1985.

Alan Moore on Fashion Beast, Situationism, and why he hates superheroes.

• KW Jeter talks about his latest novel, Fiendish Schemes, and the “cultural juggernaut” that is steampunk.

• Grit and Social Dynamics in Smoke Ghost: Elwin Cotman on the weird fiction of Fritz Leiber.

The Secret Lives of the Vatican’s Gay Cardinals, Monks, and Other Clergy Members.

Don Cherry & Organic Music Theatre, live in the RAI TV studios, 1976.

• Otherworldly Art and Photography: Mlle Ghoul finds the best things.

• From 1998: Rahma Khazam on composer Bernard Parmegiani.

• Mix of the week: Marshland: The Mix by Hackneymarshman.

• “Let’s colonize the clouds of Venus,” says Ian Steadman.

J. Hoberman on David Cronenberg’s Visual Shock.

The Delian Mode (1968) by Delia Derbyshire | Tom Baker (1981) by The Human League | Doctor Who? (1984) by Doctor Pablo & The Dub Syndicate

Weekend links 123

niceron.jpg

La Perspective Curieuse (1663) by Jean François Nicéron. From Curious Perspectives at BibliOdyssey.

1612 Underture is a forthcoming album by The Eccentronic Research Council and Maxine Peake which extends the electronics + occult concept to encompass Kraftwerk and the Pendle Witches. The Quietus has a review of their album, and an interview and report about a recent live performance (I missed the latter, unfortunately), while the Guardian’s interview with the splendid Ms Peake reveals that “musically, her tastes range from Japanese black metal, garage rock and folk, to techno and psychobilly.” The famous Lancashire witches also happen to be the subject of Jeanette Winterson’s latest novel, The Daylight Gate.

• Yet more Marker: The Owl’s Legacy: Chris Marker’s 13-Part Search for Western Culture’s Foundations in Ancient Greece, and J. Hoberman on The Lost Futures of Chris Marker.

Dr Oliver Sacks talks about how hallucinogenic drugs helped him empathize with his patients.

Paulo Coelho’s ill-judged Joyce-bashing has made him a butt of scorn this week, but he’s a safe target because, with books that multitask a little too openly as self-help manuals, he’s not so clubbable. Unlike, say, Ian McEwan, who not-that-differently declared against “the dead hand of modernism“, for all the world as if the dominant literary mode in post-war England was Steinian experimentation or some Albion Oulipo, against which young Turks hold out with limpidly observed interiority, decodable metaphors, strained middle-class relationships and eternal truths of the human condition(TM).

China Miéville on the always contentious future of the novel.

The Foliate Head: a new book by Marly Youmans with illustrations by Clive Hicks-Jenkins.

Hysterical Literature: Session Two: Alicia reads from Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman.

Dreaming in Dirigibles: The Airship Postcard Albums of Lord Ventry.

The Art of the Literary Fake (with Violin) by Jeff VanderMeer.

RIP Neil Armstrong, first human on the Moon.

Macho Man: Morgan Meis on Robert Hughes.

• Book covers by Hannes Bok.

This Is Now!

Squid Moth

Lunar Rhapsody (1947) by Dr Samuel J. Hoffman | Lunar Musick Suite (1976) by Steve Hillage | Back Side Of The Moon (Steve Hillage’s Under Water Deep Space Remix) (1991) by The Orb.