Weekend links 606


An alphabet by Tina Smith.

• Coming in March from Warp records: reissues of three Broadcast releases that were previously only available in limited quantities, Microtronics, Volumes 1 & 2, and Mother Is The Milky Way. The latter is an EP which makes a perfect companion to Witch Cults Of The Radio Age, and while its reissue means I’ll no longer be able to brag about owning one of the rare originals it really ought to have been more widely available. In addition, Warp will be releasing the group’s first live album, BBC Maida Vale Sessions, a collection of performances for radio. All these releases are packaged in new cover designs by Julian House.

• “Nature Boy was the conduit through which vegetarian ideals, nonconformism and notions of living in harmony with nature began to filter into US culture.” Jon Savage on the exotic world of Eden Ahbez.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Two booklets of Austin Osman Spare: Earth: Inferno (1905), The Book of Pleasure (Self-Love) (1913).

Joyce refused to fix the meaning of the words on the page and left the reader to fend for themselves. So the content may not be actually shocking, but the book feels exciting—as though it might turn shocking any second. Anything might stir in the body or consciousness of a character, in the body or consciousness of the reader. My mother was right to consider it a dangerous text. The thing the censors worried about were the uncensored workings of their own minds.

More than any other book, Ulysses is about what happens in the reader’s head. The style obliges us to choose a meaning, it is designed to make us feel uncertain. This makes it a profoundly democratic work. Ulysses is a living, shifting, deeply humane text that is also very funny. It makes the world bigger.

Anne Enright on Ulysses at 100

• At Aquarium Drunkard: occult scholar Mitch Horowitz on the Transmissions podcast.

• 5th Dimension: DJ Food examines a piece of psychedelic Op-art by Michael English.

• New music: Möbius by Jonathan Fitoussi/Clemens Hourrière.

• At Spoon & Tamago: Hiraku Suzuki’s Constellations.

• The month in type at I Love Typography.

Wyrd Daze Six Star.

Nature Boy (1975) by Big Star | Nature Boy (1980) by Manu Dibango | Nature Boy (1999) by Jon Hassell

Weekend links 605


UFO Mk2 (1967), a poster for the UFO club by Hapshash and the Coloured Coat (Michael English & Nigel Waymouth).

• Link of the week without a doubt is Yuka Fujii’s raw video footage of the sessions for David Sylvian’s solo debut, Brilliant Trees, which includes appearances by Jon Hassell, Holger Czukay and Ryuichi Sakamoto. Czukay’s contribution to this and other albums in the 1980s included the use of a second-hand IBM Dictaphone, a machine which was often credited on album sleeves but seldom discussed in interviews beyond Czukay’s claims that it was a superior sound-sampling tool. You can see the mysterious “instrument” in this film and discover (at last!) more about the machine here. Big thanks to Colin for the tip!

• “Part of what makes watching it so compelling now is Berger’s fascinated immersion in the culture of images itself.” Olivia Laing on 50 years of Ways of Seeing by John Berger.

• At The Wire: David Toop on what happens when the performance of music is extended over long durations, from all night concerts to sacred rituals that last for weeks.

• At Bandcamp: Tony Rettman profiles Audion magazine and its editors, indefatigable Krautrock experts Alan & Steve Freeman.

• New music: W by Boris, a remix of Laurie Anderson’s Big Science by Arca, and a cover of King Crimson’s Red by Hedvig Mollestad.

• The latest exploration of psychedelic graphics by DJ Food is a collection of posters for London’s UFO Club.

• Wolf Moon: Nina MacLaughlin has some questions for our ancient satellite.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Frank’s Box: The Real Telephone to the Dead.

• Mix of the week: XLR8R Podcast 731 by Anthea.

• At Strange Flowers: 22 books for 2022.

UFO (1970) by Guru Guru | UFO Over Paris (1978) by Steve Hillage | El UFO Cayó (2005) by Ry Cooder

Weekend links 590


Understanding Mu (1970) by Hans Stefan Santesson. Cover art by Ron Walotsky. Via.

• “I have never believed Chariots of the Gods?—it takes faith, so what I mean is that I’ve never believed in it—but it has still held my affection for decades.” Patrick Allington on ancient aliens, unidentified aerial phenomena, and the unhinged pleasures of speculative nonfiction. I still have a stash of paperbacks in what I call “The Crank Box”, a collection of the more far-out titles that proliferated in the 1970s in the wake of the bestselling (and very egregious) Erich von Däniken. There aren’t many books about ancient astronauts or flying saucers in the box because they were so plentiful, I was always on the lookout for more outlandish volumes: lost continents, yes, but not the all-too-common Atlantis; Lemuria or Mu were more like it. So too with Hollow Earths and mysterious realms as detailed in Shambhala: Oasis of Light by Andrew Tomas, or The Lost World of Agharti: The Mystery of Vril Power by Alec MacLellan. The attraction wasn’t that any of this speculation might be true, more that these books operate as bargain-basement equivalents of the Borges conceit in which metaphysics is regarded as a branch of fantastic literature. Weird fiction by other means.

Collecting these books was a fun thing to do in the 1980s when the crank publications of the previous decade had washed up on the shelves of secondhand bookshops. The shine began to wear off in the 1990s when the emergence of the internet empowered a new breed of hucksters (and worse) pushing all of this stuff as though it was “hidden knowledge”. It’s hard to get excited about a battered paperback brimming with pseudo-science and pseudo-archaeology when similar ideas proliferate on YouTube channels catering to credulous hordes.

• Absolutely elsewhere (and linked here on a regular basis): An archive of the endlessly fascinating Absolute Elsewhere, a website created by the late RT Gault in order to present “a bibliography of visionary, occult, new age, fringe science, strange and even crackpot works published between 1945 and 1988”. The listings are accompanied by an informed, sceptical and often enlightening commentary, and also include a fair amount of weird fiction. Mr Gault had the right attitude.

• New music: Raum by Tangerine Dream, a preview of the new album, Probe 6–8, which will be released next year; new/old music: a reissue of Marine Flowers (Science Fantasy) by Akira Ito.

• “He had been honest about himself, and shockingly honest about his parents, but about his work he had spun me a tale.” Carole Angier on the elusive WG Sebald.

• At The New Criterion: Two stray notes on Moby-Dick by William Logan; on contemporary reviews of Moby-Dick and Melville’s journey on the Acushnet.

• “Perhaps what’s most extraordinary about Kollaps is that it was made at all.” Jeremy Allen on Einstürzende Neubauten’s thrilling debut album.

• At Culture.pl: a podcast about Czech film director Vera Chytilová and her masterpiece of Surrealist anarchy, Daisies.

• At Perfect Sound Forever: Part 2 of a Jon Hassell tribute which talks to friends and musical collaborators.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Spotlight on…William S. Burroughs The Ticket That Exploded (1962).

• At Wormwoodiana: Mark Valentine unearths a medieval recipe for gingerbread.

• Mix of the week: Death’s Other Dominion by The Ephemeral Man.

MU-UR (2000) by Coil | Mu (2005) by Jah Wobble | Mu 1 (2015) by Acronym

Weekend links 582


Illustration by Gustave Doré from L’Espagne (1874) by Jean Charles Davillier.

• Warp Records has announced the forthcoming publication of Atmospherics by Jon Hassell, a short book collecting the diary extracts, composition notes and other ephemera that Jon compiled as an evolving appendix for his website. I was involved with the first iteration of the Atmospherics when we were working on his site in 2004, and for me this section was always the most interesting part of the project, comprising unique, personal material. The book will be published in October.

• “Almost everything in his book would be dismissed by today’s streaming behemoths as ‘too quirky, too local, too slow, too dry, too difficult, too weird’.” Sukhdev Sandhu reviewing The Magic Box, a history of British TV from the 1950s to the 1980s by Rob Young.

• New music: Cobalt Desert Oasis by Marco Shuttle, Angel’s Flight (AD 93) by Biosphere, and The Shildam Hall Tapes: The Falling Reverse by Stephen Prince, a sequel to an earlier release by A Year In The Country which includes an accompanying novella.

• Mix of the week, month and year: Sentimental Ornament: A Broadcast Rarities Mix by Aquarium Drunkard. First posted almost a year ago, I only discovered it last week; Aquarium Drunkard is now added to my RSS feed to avoid further neglect.

• I didn’t post anything for Bloomsday this year but if I’d seen these caricatures by Craig Morriss back in June I would have linked to them at the time.

• At Unquiet Things: The Eerie Moods and Pulpy Frights of Henri Lievens.

• Whole lotta rarities: the strangest Led Zeppelin artwork.

• Old music: A Willow Swept By Train by Janet Beat.

Instant Lettering Database

Atmospheres (1967) by Wimple Winch | Atmospheric Lightness (2018) by Brian Eno | Ligeti: Atmosphères (2019) by Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France; Alan Gilbert

Weekend links 581


The back cover of Oz 33, February 1971. Art by Norman Lindsay.

Walker Mimms looks back 50 years to the trial of the editors/publishers of Oz magazine, in which the trio were accused of “conspiracy to corrupt public morals” following the appearance of Oz 28, the “Schoolkids Issue”, in May 1970. Elsewhere: corrupt your own morals by reading the offending issue; then see Hugh Grant in a hippie wig in The Trials of Oz, a BBC dramatisation of the courtroom drama; after which you can watch the real editors—Richard Neville, Jim Anderson and Felix Dennis—discuss the whole affair with other interested parties 20 years on (and also see Germaine Greer shame Jonathan Dimbleby into saying the word “cunt” on live TV).

• New music: Caves – A Compilation Of Silences by Other People (“This collection of silences and music can be used as timers for cooking, meditation, running, walking, sleeping or anything you want”), and Vaganten by ToiToiToi, the next release on the Ghost Box label.

Chris Carter‘s favourite albums. I think I own more of the albums listed here (including the ABBA) than any other entry in this long-running series. Which isn’t really surprising…

What I would say about that in general is what I’ve written in the new introduction to Teenage, which is that the 60s youth culture that we’ve been talking about, the progressive, critical side of it came as a complete surprise to adults. And once they identified what was going on, they were incredibly hostile, and authorities were incredibly hostile to it. And from the Thatcher government in the 80s you have a series of measures, a series of laws, a series of attitudes, a series of structures put in place to make sure that that never happens again. So youth itself has been deliberately depoliticised and also had a lot of the opportunities for any kind of autonomy taken away from it. That is, it has been a deliberate government policy right the way through, including Blair, and definitely with the current lot.

Echoes of the Oz debate in this discussion between Jon Savage and Owen Hatherley

• At Perfect Sound Forever: RIP Jon Hassell: honouring a one-of-kind musician/composer.

• At Spoon & Tamago: Edward Luper’s 36 Views of the BT Tower (after Hokusai).

• At Unquiet Things: Doorways into Awareness: An interview with Century Guild.

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

• Ghost notes: Michio Kurihara‘s favourite guitar solos.

• “Future space travel might require mushrooms.”

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Alexander Hammid Day.

Wyrd Daze Lvl.4 FIVE STAR is live.

Like A Tear (1968) by The World Of Oz | Return To Oz (2004) by Scissor Sisters | Il Pavone Di Oz (Praslesh Remix) (2014) by Verrina & Ventura