Weekend links 649

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Niijima Floats: Mottled Blue Black Float with Silver Leaf (1991) by Dale Chihuly.

• “Blue whale songs fall below the range of human hearing. If you want to listen to one, to actually hear its ethereal patterns of wobbly pulses and haunting moans, you have to speed it up by at least two-fold. But according to Hildebrand and McDonald’s instruments, the tonal frequencies of the songs had been sinking to even greater depths for three straight years. ‘This is weird,’ Hildebrand thought. To figure out if it was just an anomaly or something more, Hildebrand and McDonald embarked on a quest to find some really old songs. Eventually they got their hands on some of the earliest known recordings, created by the Navy in the 1960s and stored on analog cassettes. They were floored. The frequencies had declined by 30 percent over 40 years.” Kristen French on a mysterious development in blue whale songs.

• “She didn’t see it as a game, or for divination, but as a model of the universe.” Joanna Moorhead on the Tarot designs of Leonora Carrington.

• “A collection of blogs about every topic”: ooh.directory. (Ta to whoever added this place to the list.)

• New music: Pop Ambient 2023 by Various Artists, and Aeolian Mixtape by Quinta.

• At Public Domain Review: The Tanzmasken of Lavinia Schulz and Walter Holdt.

• At Wormwoodiana: Mark Valentine on mazes and labyrinths. (Previously)

• At Spoon & Tamago: Paper-cut cityscapes by kirie artist Hiroki Saito.

• At Smithsonian Magazine: The Unrivaled Legacy of Dale Chihuly.

• Mix of the week: Neo-Medieval Mix by Moon Wiring Club.

• Old music: Back To The Woodlands by Ernest Hood.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Jacques Rivette Day.

Weyes Blood’s favourite music.

(Gorgeous Curves Lovely Fragments Labyrinthed On Occasions Entwined Charms, A Few Stories At Any Longer Sworn To Gathered From A Guileless Angel And The Hilt Edges Of Old Hearts, If They Do In The Guilt Of Deep Despondency.) (2004) by Akira Rabelais | The Private Labyrinth (2008) by The Wounded Kings | Labyrinths (2018) by Jonathan Fitoussi & Clemens Hourrière

Weekend links 641

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For mysterious and eldritch reasons the Republic of Palau has minted a Cthulhu-themed 20 dollar coin. Via.

• “Pre-gap tracks are a CD-specific phenomenon, paralleled only by DVD Easter Eggs, or hidden levels in a computer game. On the one hand, they’re only possible digitally, on the other, they seem to be an attempt to add some mystique to a circle of plastic.” Daryl Worthington on the 40th anniversary of the Digital Audio Compact Disc. Regular readers will know that CD has been, and remains, my favourite musical format for reasons I won’t bother arguing here. Related: Wikipedia’s list of albums with tracks hidden in the pregap. Also: “There’s endless choice, but you’re not listening”: fans quitting Spotify to save their love of music.

• “Meek’s use of sound effects and swathes of ghostly reverb, woven into seemingly innocuous pop songs and rock and roll instrumentals—as if the BBC Radiophonic Workshop was directed by Phil Spector—created a sense of the sublime and hinted at strange realities beyond our own.” Mark Pilkington explores the strange world of Joe Meek.

• “Structured as a ‘dream within a dream’, the narrative weaves together mythological, biblical, and occult references to construct a universe filled with ruinous landscapes and orgiastic celebrations.” Demetra Vogiatzaki on the enigmas, architectural and otherwise, presented by Hypnerotomachia Poliphili (1499).

The man who made this absurd noir was answerable neither to studio nor Shakespeare, but only his own monumental whims. Thus, Mr. Arkadin sends Citizen Kane (1941) through the looking glass—the action transposed to post–World War II Spain and given a spin somewhere between metaphysics and megalomania…

If Jean Cocteau’s Orpheus recast myth as pulp, Mr. Arkadin elevates pulp to myth. It is the most Borgesian of Welles’s movies. Writing in Cahiers du cinéma, the young Eric Rohmer compared Mr. Arkadin to Jules Verne and Fantômas: It creates something that is ­nearly impossible today: a romantic fiction that involves neither the future nor any removal from one’s usual surroundings…

J. Hoberman writing in 2006 about Orson Welles’ Mr. Arkadin (1955). I was rewatching the film earlier this week in its guise as Confidential Report, the version re-edited by its producer to try and create something with greater commercial appeal. I’ve yet to see the recent restoration but even in its butchered form it’s a fascinating piece of work

Early Cormac McCarthy interviews rediscovered: “Between 1968 and 1980, he gave at least 10 interviews to small local papers in Lexington, Kentucky and east Tennessee, a region where he lived and had friends.”

• New music: Perceptions by Model Alpha (Jonathan Fitoussi & Julie Freyri), and Epektasis by Nicklas Barker.

Dreams of Space: Books and Ephemera; “Non-fiction children’s space flight stuff 1945–1975”.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Roget Malot presents…Spirit Photography Day.

• Mix of the week: A mix for The Wire by FOQL.

Spirit (1978) by Frédéric Mercier | Spirit (1990) by Jah Wobble’s Invaders Of The Heart | Spirit Level (Lost In Space) (1992) by Horizon 222

Weekend links 616

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Illustration by Virgil Finlay for The Face in the Abyss by A. Merritt; Famous Fantastic Mysteries, October 1940.

• “The pier was completely outside of the gallery system, which David loved of course. People were just working on the walls, nothing was for sale, nothing could really be bought, although people were coming in and trying to chip things off the walls.” Cynthia Carr on the love letters and legacy of David Wojnarowicz.

• “In pursuit of Pure Form, the Polish artist known as “Witkacy” would consume peyote, cocaine, and other intoxicants before creating pastel portraits.” Juliette Bretan on the artful intoxications of Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz.

• Kino Kyiv: Christopher Silvester compiles a list of notable Ukrainian films. I’ve not seen all of these but Shadows of Our Forgotten Ancestors is a great favourite.

Onscreen for nearly the entire runtime, [Laura Dern] pulls off the remarkable feat of being in total control of a scenario organized by undermining her identity, obliterating her characterization, and so scrambling the distinction between Nikki and Susan that one eventually comes to view Inland Empire not as a maze to exit, a puzzle to solve, an ouroboros to gawk at, but rather as both a generalized treatise on the enigma of acting and a very specific, exquisitely perverse mash note to one of Lynch’s most formidable collaborators.

Nathan Lee on Laura Dern, David Lynch and Inland Empire. I’ve always thought Dern’s exceptional performance might have been recognised more widely if Lynch hadn’t filmed most of it on low-grade video.

• New music: Golden Air by Sun’s Signature, a new project from Elizabeth Fraser and Damon Reece.

• Miranda Remington explores The Strange World of…Stomu Yamash’ta.

• Steven Heller’s font of the month is Boucan.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Labyrinthine.

Labyrinth (2010) by Chrome Hoof | Labyrinths (2018) by Jonathan Fitoussi / Clemens Hourrière | The Seventh Labyrinth (2019) by Pye Corner Audio

Weekend links 606

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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