Weekend links 230

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Cover art by Arik Roper.

Peter Bebergal’s Season of the Witch: How the Occult Saved Rock and Roll was published this week. Articles about rock music’s occult preoccupations have been a recurrent feature of music magazines, especially around Halloween, but Bebergal’s book is the first attempt at a wide-ranging, full-length study. Despite the subtitle, the scope goes beyond the familiar—David Bowie’s Golden Dawn references, Jimmy Page’s Aleister Crowley obsession—to take in the pagan nature of the blues, pre-Beatles rock’n’roll, and the byways of electronic music. My old employers, Hawkwind, provide a title (Space Ritual) for one section, and I was pleased to see the Krautrock scene receiving some attention: years ago you couldn’t have counted on this from an American music study. As Bebergal notes, Can’s Aumgn on Tago Mago (1971) isn’t the hippy Aum/Om but originates in a mantra defined in Crowley’s Magick in Theory and Practice.

• “We don’t just have skeletons in our cupboard, we have an ossuary.” Another week, another Alan Moore interview, but Tim Martin‘s piece is as much a portrait of the man as a conversation about the usual subjects: art, science, magic, etc.

• “Europe’s history of penis worship was cast aside when the Catholic Church realized Jesus’s foreskin was too potent to control.” Stassa Edwards on venerated members.

Gays and horror actually have  somewhat of a lost history. FW Murnau, the director of Nosferatu, was openly gay. Frankenstein’s real creator, James Whale, was also out. Given the talent involved, and the illicit nature of the genre, amateur and professional critics have been divining queer themes from horror films for decades.

Patrick Rosenquist on Gory, Gay & Loving It: Why Homosexuals Heart Horror

• “I thought that fine art was fairly dishonest as an industry. It pretends to be about culture but it’s really about money.” Andy Butler interviews designer Neville Brody.

• Snapping, Humming, Buzzing, Banging: Richard B. Woodward on the creative partnership between David Lynch and sound-design genius Alan Splet.

• Also published this week: Discovering Scarfolk, Richard Littler’s guide to the occult-obsessed, rabies-infested English town.

• More rock music: When Art Rocked: San Francisco Music Posters, 1966–1971 by Ben Marks.

• The trailer for 808, a documentary about Roland’s celebrated drum machine.

• At The Millions: Devin Kelly on the collaborative art of words and images.

• More Crowley: Strange Flowers goes looking for Aleister Crowley’s Berlin.

• Mix of the week: Secret Thirteen Mix 130 by Gábor Lázár.

• Yello’s Boris Blank on his 10 favourite electronic records.

Richard Hirst‘s Top 5 Robert Aickman Stories.

I Put A Spell On You (1968) by Arthur Brown | I Put A Spell On You (1992) by Diamanda Galás | I Put A Spell On You (2004) by Queen Latifah

Weekend links 207

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Chthonic Cities by David Chatton Barker. One of a series of Folklore Tapes screenprints available from Bleep.

• The original version of Kenneth Anger’s Lucifer Rising, the one with the Jimmy Page soundtrack that was completed in 1973, has always been described as lost/stolen/buried or otherwise gone forever. So you’d think the news that a print had been discovered recently by Brian Butler would have received greater attention. There’s a screening in Los Angeles this Thursday. When do the rest of us get to see it?

Chris Marker: A Grin Without a Cat, an exhibition and series of Marker-related events at the Whitechapel Gallery, London. Related: The Encounter of M. Chat & Chris Marker as Told By Louise Traon.

• The trailer for The Gospel According to St Derek, a forthcoming documentary about Derek Jarman. Related: Carl Swanson on why Tilda Swinton is not quite of this world.

Maybe there’s just something conservative at the bedrock of American fiction. […] Or maybe it’s just another symptom of the creeping conservatism that’s infected so many aspects of the culture.

Eric Obenauf talks to author Jeff Jackson whose comments about cultural conservatism could equally be applied to the UK.

• Primitive graphics, inventive graphics, budget Surrealism, and some great theme tunes; it’s Trunk TV, Episode 1: Title Sequences.

• Mixes of the week: Secret Thirteen Mix 110 by Black To Comm, and Intro To Drone For Debcon 1, almost 7 hours of music!

Joseph Burnett reviews Ett, an album of electronic music by Klara Lewis.

The Delian Mode (2009), a film about Delia Derbyshire by Kara Blake.

• Extracts from Tokyo Reverse by Simon Bouisson and Ludovic Zuili.

Dan Piepenbring on The Haunting Illustrations of Alfred Kubin.

• At Strange Flowers: Photos of arcades by Germaine Krull.

• Fish, Fiends, and Fantasy: The Gothic Art of Ian Miller.

• At 50 Watts: Richard Teschner and His Puppets.

• Sonic Foam: Ian Penman on Kate Bush and Coil.

Bits and Pieces

Lucifer (1968) by The Salt | Experiment IV (1986) by Kate Bush | Methoxy-N, N-Dimethyl (5-MeO-DMT) (1998) by Coil

Weekend links 111

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The Fox (1968). Design by Bill Gold, art by Leo & Diane Dillon.

Mark Rydell’s The Fox may be regarded unfavourably now for its retrograde idea of a lesbian relationship but that’s still a great poster by the Dillons. Equally retrograde (well it was 1957) is Anders als du und ich, a film about wayward German youth directed by ex-Nazi propagandist Veit Harlan:

Klaus is a young man in post-war Berlin. He is drawn to his friend Manfred and, under the encouragement of their acquaintance, Dr. Winkler, explores the underground world of gay clubs and electronic music. His family begins to learn of his other life and do everything they can to set him straight.

A saving grace is the conspicuous deployment of Oskar Sala’s Trautonium. They’re deviants—of course they like weird electronic music! Sala’s instrument was his own invention which means it has a unique pre-Moog sound, famously used by Alfred Hitchcock in the score for The Birds. YouTube has a collection of the electronica moments from Anders als du und ich. Wait for the wrestling scene…

Netherwood: Last Resort of Aleister Crowley by A Gentleman of Hastings. Related: Jimmy Page’s Lucifer Rising sessions part 1 and part 2.

• “This coming 16 June, [BBC] Radio 4 will be a wall-to-wall Joycefest, kicking off at 9am and running until midnight.”

A World Where Architecture is the Driving Force Behind Society, Core77 on the Cités Obscures of François Schuiten.

• At The Hooded Utilitarian an examination of the thorny problem of adapting Lovecraft for the comics medium.

• Plates from La Plante et ses Applications Ornementales (1897–1900) by Eugene Grasset.

• Coilhouse found a rough copy of Todd Haynes’ Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story.

Three Quick Ways to Introduce Yourself to the Work of Harlan Ellison.

Daniel Buren’s Monumenta 2012 at the Grand Palais, Paris.

Our Sorrows, a new video from Julia Holter.

I, Cyclops: Monocularity in a 3-D World.

JG Ballard: The Concordance.

• RIP Pete Cosey.

• Pete Cosey with Miles Davis et al, November 1973: Ife | Turnaroundphrase

Weekend links 100

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How to become a mermaid and dissolve into sea foam in just seven surgical operations (2010) by Carla Bedini.

D.I.Y. Magic was a regular feature in the late Arthur Magazine that’s now become a book by Anthony Alvarado: “Think of it as jail-breaking the iPhone of your mind. Teaching it to do things that its basic programming was never set up for. Advanced self-psychology.” A first edition letterpress silver foil cover is limited to 1000 copies. | More magic: Jimmy Page’s unused soundtrack for Kenneth Anger’s Lucifer’s Rising finally gets an official release on March 20th.

Julia Holter‘s tremendous new album, Ekstasis, has been rocking my world this week. She’s interviewed at FACT where you can also hear the opening track, Marienbad, which receives extra points for being derived from that film. And there’s more: Ritual Music, a live performance at Sea & Space Gallery in Los Angeles, and Fur Felix, a film by Eric Fensler.

Brute Ornament, an exhibition of new work by Seher Shah and Kamrooz Aram opens at the Green Art Gallery, Dubai, on Monday. While the UAE is out of reach for most of us, the gallery site has samples of the work on display.

• This week’s mixtape arrives courtesy of BUTT magazine: Rock Bottom Mix by Cesar Padilla, a blend of acid, glam, grunge, punk, surf and stoner rock. Elsewhere, Richard Norris lists his 20 favourite UK psychedelic records.

the name is BURROUGHS ? Expanded Media at ZKM, the Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe, is a comprehensive exhibition presenting for the first time in Germany the artistic output of William Burroughs.

Boneland by Alan Garner will be published in August, a new novel that concludes a narrative thread begun with The Weirdstone of Brisingamen in 1960.

• Coming soon (so to speak) on BFI DVD, The Erotic Films of Peter de Rome, more gay obscurities receiving quality attention.

The Northampton Chronicle reports on Alan Moore’s forthcoming novel about the town, Jerusalem.

Susan Cain is playing my tune (again): Why the world needs introverts.

• Techniques of terror: Carl Dreyer‘s Danish Gothic dissected.

• NASA has the latest map of Everything.

The male sex toy revolution.

Lucifer Rising Sessions (1972) by Bobby Beausoleil.

William Burroughs interviews

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With William Burroughs: A Report from the Bunker (1982) by Victor Bockris. Design by Neville Brody.

If it’s interviews you want, some of the most entertaining are in Victor Bockris’s collection of conversations between El Hombre Invisible and the various New York notables ferried round to sit at Burroughs’ table in his Bowery Bunker. The British edition published by Vermilion was always preferrable for its Neville Brody cover design beside which the US original looks very dull indeed. The encyclopedic Burroughs site Reality Studio has copious lists of earlier Burroughs interviews. They also note the occasions when he put on his journalist hat and went out to interview someone equally famous, usually at the behest of a music magazine. A couple of those pieces are online thanks to the diligence of various fans.

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Diamond Dogs (1974), a blend of Lou Reed, George Orwell and William Burroughs.

One such is the 1974 interview with David Bowie for Rolling Stone in which Bowie discusses Burroughs as an influence while Burroughs informs the singer that the heroes of his latest novel, The Wild Boys, favour the Bowie knife as a weapon:

Bowie: Nova Express really reminded me of Ziggy Stardust, which I am going to be putting into a theatrical performance. Forty scenes are in it and it would be nice if the characters and actors learned the scenes and we all shuffled them around in a hat the afternoon of the performance and just performed it as the scenes come out. I got this all from you Bill… so it would change every night.

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A year later Burroughs got together with Jimmy Page for Crawdaddy magazine where the discussion circles around some of the same subjects, notably the writer’s obsession with sound as a weapon. There’s also this comment from Burroughs which is the kind of thing that always gets my neurons firing:

Antony Balch and I collaborated on a film called Cut-Ups, in which the film was cut into segments and rearranged at random. Nicolas Roeg and Donald Cammell saw a screening of the film not long before they made Performance.

Roeg later directed Bowie, of course, and is one of the dinner guests in With William Burroughs, while Jimmy Page and Donald Cammell both appear in Kenneth Anger’s Lucifer Rising. The connections go round and round… Read the whole piece in a post I made a few years ago at the late, lamented Arthur magazine site.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Soft machines
Burroughs: The Movie
William S Burroughs: A Man Within
The Final Academy
William Burroughs book covers
Towers Open Fire