Weekend links 346

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Red Queen (no date) by Jo Brocklehurst.

• Happy birthday to Kenneth Anger, 90 years old this week. In 2008 Anger was interviewed by Nicolas Winding Refn at the National Gallery of Denmark, Copenhagen.

• “Fabeness be to the Auntie, and to the Homie Chavvie, and to the Fantabulosa Fairy”. “Church ‘regret’ as trainees hold service in gay slang.”

Andrew Male on Michael Chapman, an exceptional guitarist, and “the man who connects Elton, Bowie, Nick Drake and Sonic Youth”.

• A trailer for A Life In Waves a documentary about synth composer Suzanne Ciani by Brett Whitcomb and Bradford Thomason.

• The website for design company Barnbrook has been relaunched, as has the site for Jonathan Barnbrook‘s personal work.

• Mixes of the week: Secret Thirteen Mix 209 by Umwelt, and XLR8R Podcast 475 by Melina Serser.

Ryan Gilbey: “From Sean Connery to Harrison Ford: actors who secretly played roles gay.”

• Writer and editor Russ Kick is selling his huge book collection.

Lucifer Sam (1967) by Pink Floyd | Lucifer (1968) by The Salt | Lucifer Rising (2002) by John Zorn

Brion Gysin record covers

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Shots (1977) by Steve Lacy.

Continuing an occasional series about artists or designers whose work has been used on record sleeves. The life and work of Brion Gysin (1916–1986) is the subject of a new exhibition, Unseen Collaborator, that opened last week at October Gallery, London. The gallery page mentions Gysin’s connections to the music world: among other things, it was Gysin’s enthusiasm for the Master Musicians of Jajouka that gave those people and their music global prominence, with a little help from Brian Jones. But there are other connections, whether as a collaborator with Steve Lacy, or as a decorator of album covers. Some of these uses are posthumous but this small collection includes a few releases I’d not come across before.

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Troubles (1979) by The Steve Lacy Quintet.

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Orgy Boys (1982) by Brion Gysin.

A 12-inch single with Gysin reading from William Burroughs and his own writings. “Songs dedicated to his orgy pals: William S. Burroughs, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Iggy Pop, David Bowie, Fafa de Palaminy, Patti Smith, Allen Ginsberg and John Giorno…”

Continue reading “Brion Gysin record covers”

The Book of the Lost

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A recurrent feature of the music landscape of the late 80s and early 90s was the “soundtrack for an imaginary film”, a sub-genre that proved especially popular among the electronica crowd when DJs realised they needed a description to justify their collections of downtempo instrumentals. Two of my favourite examples were produced away from the dance world: John Zorn’s Spillane (1987), and Barry Adamson’s solo debut Moss Side Story (1989), both of which took their thematic cues from crime novels and film noir. The artists on the Ghost Box label haven’t gone down the imaginary film route but many of the tracks on the Belbury Poly and Advisory Circle albums are reminiscent of TV theme tunes from the 1970s. The closest you get to an imaginary film in the Belbury sphere is the unseen giallo horror in Peter Strickland’s Berberian Sound Studio with its score by Ghost Box allies Broadcast, and a title sequence by Julian House.

Given all of this, The Book of the Lost, a collaboration between Emily Jones and The Rowan Amber Mill, is a logical next step: a CD collection offering a theme from a forgotten TV series “shown on Sunday nights in the late ’70s and early ’80s” which broadcast four of the equally forgotten horror films upon which the accompanying songs are based. Between each song you hear a brief snatch of dialogue, just enough to whet the appetite without getting too involved. One of the films referred to, The Villagers, belongs to that current of British folk-horror that runs through Witchfinder General, and Blood on Satan’s Claw, to Ben Wheatley’s intoxicatingly weird A Field in England. Pastiching aside, all projects of this kind depend upon the quality of the music, and the folk-inflected songs here are very good, as is the Book of the Lost theme itself which is as spookily evocative as Jon Brooks’ Music for Thomas Carnaki.

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If that wasn’t enough, there’s a special numbered edition of the CD which comes packaged in a die-cut slipcase (above) containing cards giving details of each of the films. In addition to promotional artwork there’s also a synopsis, a production history and even a cast list. Other films are mentioned in passing—The House that Cried Wolf, Ghosts on Mopeds—that imply there was a lot more happening in Wardour Street in the 1970s than we previously suspected.

The Book of the Lost isn’t officially released until January but it’s available for purchase now at the project website.

Previously on { feuilleton }
The Outer Church
The Ghost Box Study Series
A playlist for Halloween: Hauntology
The Séance at Hobs Lane
Ghost Box

A mix for Halloween: Ectoplasm Forming

Ectoplasm Forming by Feuilleton on Mixcloud

Presenting the eighth Halloween playlist, and this year I decided it was time to finally make a proper mix of my own. Reluctance in years past has been mainly a result of the time it takes me to put things like this together, hours spent pondering the order of the tracks, and fine-tuning transitions.

This year’s mix is rather heavy on the drones and eldritch atmospherics with little in the way of songs. There are some rhythms, however. I’ve also taken the opportunity to highlight the ongoing excellence of Emptyset, some of whose recordings I’ve been helping design recently. Their Medium album involved installing a quantity of electronic equipment in an allegedly haunted building, a process similar to that undertaken by the unfortunate doctor in The Legend of Hell House, albeit with better results.

The tracklist is on the Mixcloud page but I’m repeating it here with dates added for each recording. One likes to be thorough.

The Legend of Hell House – Dialogue (1973)
Emptyset – Demiurge: Of Blackest Grain To Missive Ruin (Paul Jebanasam Variation) (2012)
Arne Nordheim – Solitaire (1969)
David Lynch – The Air Is On Fire Pt. 7 (2007)
Ben Frost – The Carpathians (2009)
The Wyrding Module – Subtemple Session II (edit) (2013)
:Zoviet*France: – On The Edge Of A Grain Of Sand (1996)
John Zorn – Lucifer Rising (2002)
Jarboe – A Sea Of Blood And Hollow Screaming… (2009)
The Haxan Cloak – Excavation (Part 1) (2013)
Emptyset – Medium (2012)
Jon Brooks – Experiments With A Medium (2011)
Wendy Carlos – Visitors (2005)
The Advisory Circle – Eyes Which Are Swelling (2007)
Bernard Szajner – Chant Funèbre (1981)
Emptyset – Function: Vulgar Display Of Power (Roly Porter Variation) (2012)

Previously on { feuilleton }
A playlist for Halloween: Hauntology
A playlist for Halloween: Orchestral and electro-acoustic
A playlist for Halloween: Drones and atmospheres
A playlist for Halloween: Voodoo!
Dead on the Dancefloor
Another playlist for Halloween
A playlist for Halloween

Interzone: A William Burroughs Mix

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Interzone is a selection of William Burroughs recordings mixed with electronic music and other pieces such as extracts from Howard Shore & Ornette Coleman’s Naked Lunch soundtrack:

A tribute to ‘El Hombre Invisible’. It features some of my favourite readings, to which I’ve added music by John Zorn (from his Burroughs-inspired work), Tod Dockstader, Arne Nordheim and others. Also in the mix are radio recordings and vocal cut-ups by the man himself.

The curator is Mixcloud user Timewriter, one of whose mixes I linked to last Halloween. I was surprised to find I’d already downloaded the Burroughs mix from the Timewriter blog, Include Me Out, but hadn’t managed to listen to it. Better late than never. This week seems a good time to draw attention to both the mix and that blog in general which features among its posts a quantity of Burroughs-related ephemera. Many of the mix readings are from the albums of Burroughs’ tape recordings from the 1960s, including Nothing Here Now But The Recordings, the collection of tape experiments released by Industrial Records in 1981. The latter is essential listening for anyone who appreciates Burroughs’ early novels; some of its pieces such as Last Words of Hassan Sabbah sound less like readings of the author’s work than actual artefacts from the books themselves.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Sine Fiction
The Ticket That Exploded: An Ongoing Opera
Burroughs: The Movie revisited
Zimbu Xolotl Time
Ah Pook Is Here
Jarek Piotrowski’s Soft Machine
Looking for the Wild Boys
Wroblewski covers Burroughs
Mugwump jism
Brion Gysin’s walk, 1966
Burroughs in Paris
William Burroughs interviews
Soft machines
Burroughs: The Movie
William S Burroughs: A Man Within
The Final Academy
William Burroughs book covers
Towers Open Fire