Weekend links 566

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The Amida Falls in the Far Reaches of the Kisokaido Road. From the series A Tour of Waterfalls in Various Provinces (c. 1832) by Hokusai.

• New music: In Love With A Ghost by Kevin Richard Martin (aka Kevin Martin, The Bug, etc), a preview from his forthcoming alternative score for Andrei Tarkovsky’s Solaris (1972). In other hands I’d probably dismiss a further addition to the trend of creating new scores for films that don’t require them. Tarkovsky’s film certainly doesn’t need any new music, and we’ve already had an album-length homage from Ben Frost & Daníel Bjarnason. But I like Martin’s sombre atmospherics so he gets a pass with this one.

• “[Pauline] Oliveros wrote a piece for the New York Times in 1970 titled And Don’t Call Them Lady Composers, focusing on the difficulties of women being noticed and taken seriously in her field. It’s still online and could have been written yesterday.” Jude Rogers on Sisters With Transistors, a documentary about women in electronic music. Madeleine Siedel interviewed Lisa Rovner, the film’s director. Watch the trailer.

Submissions to the 16th number of Dada journal Maintenant will be open at the beginning of October, 2021, following an announcement of the theme of the new issue in September. All you would-be (or actual) Dadaists out there have the summer to plot your potential contributions.

Our reverence for originals takes an absurdly extreme form in the recent craze for NFTs (non-fungible tokens), where collectors and traders spend huge sums of money on unique ‘ownership’ of a digital artwork that anyone can download for free. Since there’s no such thing as the original of a digital file, the artist can now certify the file as the one and only ‘original copy’, and make a fortune. Time will tell whether this is a transient fad or a new way of establishing the feeling of a relationship to the mind of the digital artist.

But our reverence for originals isn’t universal. Treating the original as special and sacred is a Western attitude. In China and Japan, for example, it’s acceptable to create exact replicas, and these are valued as much as the original—especially because an ancient original might degrade over time, but a new replica will show us how the work looked originally. And, as mentioned, there are studios in China where artists are employed to create fakes. Perhaps our culture teaches us to respond to artworks by inferring the mind behind the art.

“Works of art compel our attention—but can they change us?” asks Ellen Winner

• “What Don basically did here is find a series of one or two bar riffs, or parts, that he liked, have me write them down, and then say, in essence, ‘make something out of this’.” John French (aka Drumbo) recalls the making of Trout Mask Replica.

• From 1988 (and relevant this week because I’m reading a Pynchon novel): Thomas Pynchon’s review of Love in the Time of Cholera.

• Andy Thomas on fusion legend Ryo Kawasaki, pioneer of the synth guitar.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Dimitri Kirsanoff Day.

Gareth Jones’ favourite music.

• RIP Monte Hellman.

The Sea Named “Solaris” (1978) by Tomita | Solaris (2014) by Docetism | Solaris Return (2019) by Jenzeits

Weekend links 516

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Bats in space: an illustration by Henrique Alvim Corrêa from a 1906 edition of The War of the Worlds.

• Auf wiedersehen to Florian Schneider. Until he left Kraftwerk in 2009 (or 2006 or whenever it was), Schneider had been the group’s longest-serving member, keeping things running for the few months in 1971 when Ralf Hütter was absent. The brief period when Kraftwerk was Schneider plus soon-to-be-Neu! (Michael Rother, guitar, and Klaus Dinger, drums) fascinates aficionados over-familiar with the later albums. The music they produced was a wild and aggressive take on the rock idiom but Scheider maintained the link with Kraftwerk before and after, not only instrumentally but with his ubiquitous traffic cones, as noted in this post. There’s no need for me to praise Kraftwerk any more than usual, this blog has featured at least one dedicated post about them for every year of its existence, and besides, the group itself is still active. Elsewhere: Simon Reynolds on how Florian Schneider and Kraftwerk created pop’s future; A Kraftwerk Baker’s Dozen Special; Dave Simpson attempts to rank 30 Kraftwerk songs (good luck getting anyone to agree with this); Jude Rogers with ten things you (possibly) don’t know about Kraftwerk; Dancing to Numbers by Owen Hatherley; Pocket Calculator in five languages; Florian Schneider talks about Stop Plastic Pollution.

Intermission is a new digital compilation from Ghost Box records featuring “preview tracks from forthcoming releases and material especially recorded for the compilation during the global lockdown”. In a choice of two editions, one of which helps fund Médecins Sans Frontières.

• How groundbreaking design weirdness transformed record label United Artists, against all odds. By Jeremy Allan.

Sex in an American suburb is not quite the same phenomenon as sex in, say, an eastern European apartment block, and sex scenes can do a great deal to illuminate the social and historical forces that make the difference. All of which is to say that sex is a kind of crucible of humanness, and so the question isn’t so much why one would write about sex, as why one would write about anything else.

And yet, of course, we are asked why we write about sex. The biggest surprise of publishing my first novel, What Belongs to You was how much people wanted to talk about the sex in a book that, by any reasonable standard, has very little sex in it. That two or three short scenes of sex between men was the occasion of so much comment said more about mainstream publishing in 2016, I think, than it did about my book. In fact, in terms of exploring the potential for sex in fiction, I felt that I hadn’t gone nearly far enough. I’ve tried to go much further in my second novel, Cleanness. In two of its chapters, I wanted to push explicitness as far as I could; I wanted to see if I could write something that could be 100% pornographic and 100% high art.

Garth Greenwell on sex in literature

James Balmont‘s guide to Shinya Tsukamoto, “Japan’s Greatest Cult Filmmaker”.

• A Dandy’s Guide to Decadent Self-Isolation by Samuel Rutter.

Maya-Roisin Slater on where to begin with Laurie Anderson.

• The Count of 13: Ramsey Campbell‘s Weird Selection.

Adam Scovell on where to begin with Nigel Kneale.

When John Waters met Little Richard (RIP).

RB Russell on collecting Robert Aickman.

Weird writers recommend weird films.

Campo Grafico 1933/1939.

Ruckzuck (1970) by Kraftwerk | V-2 Schneider (1977) by David Bowie | V-2 Schneider (1997) by Philip Glass

Weekend links 490

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An engraving from The Geometric Landscapes of Lorenz Stoer (1567).

• Curtis Harrington’s cult horror film, Night Tide (1961), receives a lavish blu-ray reissue from Powerhouse in January. The limited edition will include an extra disc of Harrington’s early short films which encompass Poe adaptations and also Wormwood Star, his portrait of occult artist (and actor in Night Tide) Marjorie Cameron.

• “He was the first American representative of an electronic sound that was largely coming from Europe, from bands like Kraftwerk, or producers like Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte…” Jude Rogers on Patrick Cowley.

Clive Hicks-Jenkins examines Hans Poelzig’s and Marlene Moeschke’s work on Paul Wegener’s 1920 film of The Golem. Wegener’s film is released this month in a restored blu-ray edition by Eureka.

• “Conrad was uncompromising in his beliefs until the end, sticking to his ideals with tenacious fervor.” Geeta Dayal on Tony Conrad: Writings, edited by Constance DeJong and
Andrew Lampert.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: 47 dead films. One of the films, Hu-Man (1975), a French science-fiction drama starring Terence Stamp, isn’t as dead as was assumed.

• The Danske Filminstitut has made a collection of Danish silent films available to watch for free online.

• The Last Time I Saw John Giorno, an Extraordinary Performance Poet by Mark Dery.

• “Like looking through butterfly wings”: Ira Cohen’s Mylar chamber—in pictures.

Callum James reviews the Early Poetical Works of Aleister Crowley.

• Drawing the Gaze: Revisiting Don’t Look Now by Jesse Miksic.

• Mix of the week: FACT Mix 745 by Visible Cloaks.

Mind Warp (1982) by Patrick Cowley | Go-Go Golem (1986) by Golem Orchestra | Night Tide (1995) by Scorn

Weekend links 157

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Elektrik Karousel, a new release on the Ghost Box label by The Focus Group. “For a clue to its moods, think Czech animation, Italian Giallo, early Radiophonics, HP Lovecraft stories, 1960s underground cinema, Lewis Carroll and baroque psych.” Julian House’s package design is “heavily inspired by 1960s underground press and conceived as a kind of mind altering DIY board game”.

Joseph Stannard of The Outer Church compiles a mix for Kit Records, and talks about rural psychedelia and malevolent lighthouses, among other things.

• At Sci-Fi-O-Rama: a sampling of Dan Nadel & Norman Hathaway’s Electrical Banana – Masters of Psychedelic Art (2012).

Stranger than Paradise: Tilda Swinton photographed by Tim Walker in the Surrealist Wonderland of Las Pozas, Mexico.

Whistler in Limehouse & Wapping: stunning etchings by the 25-year-old artist when he was newly arrived in London.

• The complete catalogue of Sunn O))) recordings is now on Bandcamp for preview and purchase.

La Danza de la Realidad: Alejandro Jodorowsky returns to his childhood in Tocopilla, Chile.

• Enjoy The Silence: Jude Rogers talks to Michael Rother about joy of quiet.

Dressing the Air, “the Bureau of Sensory Intelligence”, had a relaunch.

Fast forward – and press play again: Cassettes are back

The Lovecraft Expert: An Interview with S.T. Joshi

Book Graphics: an illustration blog.

Paint Box (1967) by Pink Floyd | Beat Box (1984) by Art of Noise | Glory Box (1994) by Portishead