Weekend links 657

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• Cover art for a new album by John Foxx which will be released on CD in March. This catches my attention for being based on Walter Benjamin’s compendious collection of esoterica, with the music being solo piano pieces. If the latter are anything like the albums Foxx recorded 20 years ago with Harold Budd then this is all very promising. Is the cover design by Jonathan Barnbrook? The typography and formal treatment of the photo suggest as much.

• “The new game was not providing access to everything but finding out how many expensively licensed properties you could cull from your service before people started to question how much they were paying a month.” Sam Thielman on the sudden unavailability of hundreds of classic Warner Brothers cartoons. Regarding his comment about the unplayability of Internet Archive videos: you download them and put them on a USB drive.

Frost Flowers on the Windows (1899) is a book that documents “the extraordinary power of windowpane frost to take ‘ice photographs’, images capable of expressing the ‘vital qualities’ of life forms close to the glass,” according to its author, Albert Alberg.

• New music: ev THe norTH, “a sound journey through the winter of the far north” by Lorenz Weber. (The encoding of the album title won’t display properly on this page.)

• RIP Yukihiro Takahashi, singer, songwriter and drummer with the fabulous Yellow Magic Orchestra. The space-disco video for YMO’s Rydeen never gets old.

• “I want an indescribable feeling”: composer Kali Malone on her search for the sublime.

• Old music: Roundtrip by Don Cherry & Jean Schwarz, a live performance in Paris, 1977.

• At Spoon & Tamago: Glass artist Genki Sudo crafts tentacle earbuds.

• At Unquiet Things: The Incandescent Otherworlds of Gervasio Gallardo.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Acid Westerns Day.

Arcade (1987) by Chris & Cosey | The White Arcades (1988) by Harold Budd | Arcade (2018) by Philip Jeck

Weekend links 656

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Mobius Strip II (1963) by MC Escher.

• Old music: Warp Records is reissuing two recent Jon Hassell discs later this year: The Living City (Hassell’s ensemble playing live in NYC, 1989) and Psychogeography (Zones Of Feeling) (remixes from City: Works Of Fiction), which will be available as standalone releases or bundled together as Further Fictions together with Hassell’s Atmospherics book.

• “His library is an immense and enviable wellspring, a demimonde of objects by murky creators who for decades have gnawed away at the inner organs of polite society.” Steven Heller talks to Glenn Bray about Library, an 800-page collection of scans from Bray’s trove of books, comics and print ephemera.

• New music: Tsathoggua, the latest in the Lovecraftian series of Cryo Chamber Collaborations which reminds me that I’m still missing the more recent entries. Also the non-Lovecraftian Coil by Ian Boddy.

• “Music is a way to express yourself beyond words,” says Hildur Gudnadóttir.

• See this year’s winners of the annual Close-up Photographer of the Year competition.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Spotlight on…Ishmael Reed The Last Days of Louisiana Red (1974).

• A few new photos of Michael Heizer’s City in the Nevada desert.

City Of Night (1994) by David Toop & Max Eastley | City As Memory (1995) by John Foxx | City Appearing (2013) by Julia Holter

 

Weekend links 528

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The Rhinoceros (after 1620) by Albrecht Dürer.

• “Today—Tolkien, Lovecraft, Miéville and M John Harrison!” Paul StJohn Mackintosh at Greydogtales explores HP Lovecraft’s lack of interest in fictional worldbuilding. The piece includes one of my book covers (ta!) plus a link to an earlier post I wrote about the cover designs of M. John Harrison’s Viriconium books. Since I’m connected to the thesis I’ll suggest that Lovecraft was resistant to the worldbuilding impulse in part because he was almost always writing horror stories. Having studied the genre at length he was well aware of the need to leave suggestive voids for the reader’s imagination.

• RIP Denise Johnson. All the obituaries mention the big names she worked with, notably New Order and Primal Scream, but being in the pool of Manchester session artists she also appeared on a couple of records by my colleagues at Savoy. Her voice is one of those you first hear on the PJ Proby cover of I’m On Fire, while with friend Rowetta she improvised her way through a Hi-NRG original (and a favourite of Anohni’s), the scurrilous Shoot Yer Load.

• At the BFI: Axel Madsen interviews Fritz Lang in 1967; Serena Scateni on where to begin with Nobuhiko Obayashi; and Roger Luckhurst reviews the spomenik-infested  Last and First Men by Jóhann Jóhannsson.

• “Be more aware of the rest of the world!” says Jon Hassell, talking to Alexis Petridis about a life spent making music.

John Boardley on the Renaissance origins of the printed poster. Worth it for the selection of engraved details alone.

• “What Ever Happened To Chicken Fat?” Jackson Arn on a tendency to over-abundance in Jewish humour.

Erik Davis has a new writing home at Substack that he calls The Burning Shore. Bookmarked.

• Mix of the week: The Ivy-Strangled Path Vol. XXII by David Colohan.

• Garry Hensey on The Strange World of John Foxx.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Sergei Parajanov Day.

Romantic Rhino (1981) by Ananda Shankar | The Lone Rhinoceros (1982) by Adrian Belew | Blastic Rhino (2000) by King Crimson

Weekend links 504

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Eric Burdon and the Animals, Mother Earth, Hour Glass; Fillmore Auditorium, October 19-21, 1967 by Bonnie MacLean.

• RIP Bonnie MacLean, another of the original San Francisco poster artists, and the only woman of note in the US psychedelic poster scene. (Not the only woman, however; in Europe we had Marijke Koger.) Related: Bonnie MacLean’s posters at Wolfgang’s. And RIP to illustrator Tom Adams, an artist whose exceptional covers for novels by Agatha Christie are only one part of a long and varied career.

The Litanies Of Satan (1982), the short but uncompromising debut album by Diamanda Galás, is reissued on Galás’s own label later this month. Further albums from her remarkable back catalogue will follow. Related: video of Galás performing The Litanies Of Satan in 1985.

• “Scorsese is amazed that United Artists didn’t touch one frame of Raging Bull, since it’s the first time in his life as a feature director that this has apparently occurred.” In 1981 Derek Malcolm talked to Martin Scorsese about his reasons for making a boxing picture.

“…in a post-AIDS world, its scenes of mass male-on-male decadence evoke a sense of the spiritual: Not to put so blunt a phrase on it, but the majority of the men we see in Cruising‘s bars would likely die within the next decade, victims of a very heterosexual genocide of neglect. These are blurred, melancholic memories locked forever within Cruising‘s celluloid; a phantasmagoria of men whose liberation was not legislatively delivered, but recovered in the privacy of leather bars and cruising joints. The film’s overt sexuality makes it hard to escape a sense of catastrophic loss.”

Jack King on William Friedkin’s Cruising

• The Pet Shop Boys’ eccentric feature film, It Couldn’t Happen Here (1988), is released on blu-ray and DVD in June. The video for You Were Always On My Mind gives an idea of the contents.

• “Orion being one of the brightest constellations makes it a lot of people’s favourites, and he was my favourite as a kid.” Ben Chasny on his history of stargazing.

• “You think the Holy Grail is lost? No. I have it on my piano.” John Boorman talks to Xan Brooks.

• Laura Cumming on the dark and haunting paintings of Belgian Symbolist Léon Spilliaert.

• Mix of the week: XLR8R Podcast 631 by Ondness.

Alistair Ryder chooses 10 great killer plant films.

Howl by John Foxx And The Maths.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Gleam.

The Litanies Of Satan (1969) by Ruth White | Grail (1971) by Grail | Plants’ Music (1981) by Ippu-Do

Weekend links 443

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• Yet more Gorey: Mark Dery’s biography of the artist prompted The New Yorker to unearth a piece of cover art that Edward Gorey submitted 25 years ago. In the same magazine Joan Acocella reviews Dery’s book and examines Gorey’s life and art. At Expanding Mind, Erik Davis talks with Mark Dery about Surrealism, the gay voice, Penny Dreadfuls, and the occult and Taoist influences in Gorey’s work.

Moving Through Old Daylight: Mark Fisher, Jim Jupp & Julian House of Ghost Box Recordings, and Iain Sinclair in conversation at the Roundhouse, Camden, London, 5 June 2010. Topics under discussion included Nigel Kneale, TC Lethbridge, John Foxx, BBC Radiophonic Workshop, alchemies of sound, the homogenisation of culture, imagining space and the impersistence of memory.

• “A radical retelling of our relationship with the cosmos, reinventing the history of astronomy as a new form of astrological calendar.” The Space Oracle by Ken Hollings.

There was a deliberate, almost prickly quality to Fisher’s writing and thinking that is rare nowadays, when criticism is more likely to involve open-minded rationalizing than steadfast refusal. He was not one to frolic in ambiguity or irony. “Just because something is current doesn’t mean it is new,” he writes in K-Punk, as he wonders if a time traveller from the nineties would find any contemporary music as radical as post-punk or jungle had once seemed to him. When everything is cheerfully “retro,” Fisher argued, we lose our grasp on history—and, without a sense of why the past happened the way it did, our anything-goes embrace of “happy hybridities” is an empty gesture. “What pop lacks now is the capacity for nihilation, for producing new potentials through the negation of what already exists,” he writes.

Hua Hsu on Mark Fisher’s K-Punk

• At Wormwoodiana: Mark Valentine on The Wind Protect You (1946), a novel by Pat Murphy which Mark describes as a forgotten precursor of Watership Down.

• “At once tiny and huge: what is this feeling we call ‘sublime’?” Sandra Shapshay explores the Romantic aesthetic.

Dennis Cooper‘s favourite fiction, poetry, non-fiction, film, art, and internet of 2018. Thanks again for the link here!

• Mixes of the week: XLR8R Podcast 572 by Nastia, and FACT Mix 683 by Casino Versus Japan.

A Child’s Voice (1978) by David Thomson, an overlooked ghost story starring TP McKenna.

• Jean Cocteau’s Orphée returns from the underworld via BFI blu-ray next month.

Rated SAVX: The Savage Pencil Scratchbook

Orpheus (1967) by The Walker Brothers | Orpheus (1987) by David Sylvian | Overture To Orpheus (2003) by Colin Booth