Body Shocks

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Presenting my latest cover design for Tachyon Publications, and one which it hardly needs stating is another collection of horror stories edited by Ellen Datlow. Body horror is the general theme but these aren’t all accounts of evisceration and dismemberment of the type that made the later Pan horror collections an increasingly dismal read. Several of the stories are outright science fiction, while the final entry, Tissue Ablation and Variant Regeneration: A Case Report by Michael Blumlein, is a Ballardian critique of a former US President that unnerves with its dispassionate medical tone.

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The cover design for this one went through many drafts before everyone was satisfied, the placing of the solitary eyeball being the crucial element. This is something of a stereotype on horror covers, a feature I’ve seen often enough to have it mentally tagged as “the Eyeball of Horror” (see above). But design stereotypes evolve because they serve their purpose so well, as this one does. Some of the earlier drafts incorporated anatomical diagrams but none of the results were really satisfying, especially when a large amount of text also needed to be placed on the cover. In the past I might have posted one or two of these early versions but I was dissuaded from doing this when Jonathan Barnbrook wrote about the gentle rebuke he received from David Bowie after he showed the preliminary stages of his cover design for Bowie’s The Next Day. Bowie’s attitude was that making public a working version changed the audience’s perception of the end result, a comment that comes to mind every time Spine has a new post showing drafts of recent cover designs.

Body Shocks will be published in October.

Previously on { feuilleton }
The Monstrous
Lovecraft’s Monsters unleashed
New work: Two forms of darkness

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

Weekend links 340

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Fly Carefully (1969) by Stanislaw Zagorski.

• Video of Tuxedomoon live in San Francisco, Rotterdam and Paris, 1983 (or try this copy), and a late-night German TV broadcast from 1985. The first Tuxedomoon album, Half-Mute, has been reissued by Crammed Discs with an accompanying album, Give Me New Noise: Half-Mute Reflected, featuring cover versions of the songs by various artists.

• More end-of-year reviews: Dennis Cooper’s recommendations are always eclectic (and thanks again for the blog shout!); not necessarily the best ambient and space music of 2016 by Dave Maier; a review of the year by graphic designer Jonathan Barnbrook; the 15 finalists of the 2016 Art of Building architectural photography competition.

The Complete Stories of Leonora Carrington will be published in April 2017 by Dorothy. Related: Letters, Dreams, and Other Texts by Remedios Varo will be published next year by Wakefield Press. Also of interest on that page is a new edition of Haschisch by Oscar AH Schmitz illustrated by Alfred Kubin.

• The week in Things (see this post): John Carpenter’s The Thing: The Story of an SF Horror Game-Changer. Ennio Morricone’s score will be infecting the vinyl world next year. Meanwhile, Matthew Thrift recommends “10 great films set in the Arctic and Antarctica”.

• Mixes of the week: FACT mix 581 by Pan Daijing, XLR8R podcast 468 by Jan Jelinek, and Secret Thirteen Mix 203 by Blood Sport.

A Year In The Country on Monumental Follies (1972), a book about architectural eccentricity by Stuart Barton.

• William Burroughs reads 23 random paragraphs from Naked Lunch each time you load this page.

• “The world is terrifying and destructive and dehumanising and tragic,” says Charlie Kaufman.

• Scents and sensuality: William Dalrymple on the perfumes of India, past and present.

• Brenda S G Walter on Hill House: The haunted soul of Shirley Jackson.

• A trailer for Dome Karukoski’s Tom of Finland. There’s more here.

Illustrating the Sixties: Paintings by Italian artists in London.

Michael Rother and Cavern Of Anti-Matter live in Berlin.

Cinemetal

Network 23 (1981) by Tangerine Dream | Exit 23 (1989) by Psychick Warriors Ov Gaia | Studio 23 (2012) by The Time And Space Machine

Weekend links 309

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From What is a Witch, “an illuminated manifesto on witchcraft” by Pam Grossman and Tin Can Forest.

• “The other strand of influence for me from dance music was a production house called Savoy in Manchester, England. They were a super underground publishing house that printed cartoons and comic books, and they also released a series of underground dance records. And they were always being shut down by the police and all their stuff was being confiscated, because it was considered ‘anti-society’ in England.” Anohni giving a shout to my colleagues at Savoy Books in a new interview.

Belladonna of Sadness (1973), a feature-length animated film by Eiichi Yamamoto, has been restored, and is being given a premier release in the US. There’s a review here and a trailer here. No news as yet of a UK release but Finders Keepers has the soundtrack album.

Alejandro Jodorowsky talks to Daniel Kalder about his new novel, Albina and the Dog-Men, while Jodorowsky’s comic-book collaborator, Ladrönn, talks to Smoky Man about their new graphic novel, The Sons of El Topo.

Pretty little watercolours these are not. Made by bulldozers and dynamite instead of a paintbrush and easel, the works—often sited on baking sandscapes—fuse minimalism and modern industrial aesthetics to evoke the otherworldly structures of ancient civilisations, from Stonehenge to Mayan temples and the Egyptian pyramids.

Alex Needham on America’s land artists. A few years ago I tracked down some of the structures he describes using Google Maps.

• In every dream home a heartache: High Rise director Ben Wheatley on adapting Ballard, practical special effects and ’70s parenting.

Tom Phillips: From Prequel To Sequel, an exhibition of pages from A Humument at Shandy Hall Gallery.

• From fresh food to magic mushrooms: Michael Pollan probes the medicinal uses of psychedelic drugs.

• “Let’s not forget graphic design is an artistic discipline,” says Jonathan Barnbrook.

Supervert discusses censorship and related matters at SomethingDark.

• “I’ve sung gospel music when in great despair,” says Diamanda Galás.

• Mix of the week: FACT Mix 550 by James K.

Boy Club is a new gay magazine.

Gospel Trane (1968) by Alice Coltrane | The Gospel Comes To New Guinea (1981) by 23 Skidoo | Gospel Train (1990) by African Head Charge

Weekend links 304

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One of ten new stamps designed by The Chase for the Royal Mail’s Shakespeare celebrations.

• “I basically had this problem with bombast and intensity. And I started to feel like it was a nuclear arms race.” Tim Hecker talking to Rick Moody about loud sounds, Icelandic elves and Minimalism. Hecker’s new album, Love Streams, features contributions from Ben Frost and Jóhann Jóhannsson.

• “He joked in a letter to Edmund Wilson that he had ‘managed to get into Harvard with a butterfly as my sole backer.'” Laura Marsh on Nabokov the lepidopterist.

• The brutal musical legacy of JG Ballard by Tim Noakes. Ballard’s own musical taste, as revealed in his choice for Desert Island Discs, was mostly nostalgic.

One outcome of this sense that homosexual people existed in large numbers while still remaining more or less invisible to the naked eye was the suspicion that when they got together they were likely to engage in something more, something even worse than the indulging of a perversion. Notoriously, the networks of homosexuality seemed to transcend many more formal social and political boundaries, reifying crossovers not only between national and ethnic cultures, but between high society and the demi-mondes of bohemian artists, and so forth. The Homintern certainly helped cross-fertilise the arts.

Gregory Woods on the gay artists and writers who changed the world

• Mixes of the week: FACT Mix 544 by Tim Gane, Abs’s Cornerhouse Classics by Abigail Ward, and Secret Thirteen Mix 181 by Broken Bone.

I Can’t Give Everything Away: Jonathan Barnbrook’s text-and graphics video for the song by David Bowie.

• “Chernobyl is spooky, in the manner of all disowned places.” Simon Parkin enters the Zone.

Osman Ahmed on why Doreen Valiente is “the mother of modern witchcraft”.

• The camera obscura art of Abelardo Morell.

An oral history of Taxi Driver.

Swiss graphic design in CSS

• RIP Tony Conrad

Lady Macbeth (1972) by Third Ear Band | In The Back Of A Taxi (1984) by Penguin Cafe Orchestra | Butterfly Mornings (2001) by Hope Sandoval & The Warm Vibrations