Weekend links 588

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Gerry Barney’s logo for British Rail. A page from the British Rail Corporate Identity Manual (1965).

• RIP Russ Kick, writer, editor, and founder of many websites/blogs such as Rare Erotica, Books Are People Too and (notoriously) the several iterations of The Memory Hole, a space dedicated to keeping visible information that successive US governments would have preferred to remain unseen. I’d known Russ remotely for many years, initially as a reviewer of the Savoy comics in Outposts. Savoy Books later helped find him a publisher for Psychotropedia: A Guide to Publications on the Periphery, a wide-ranging overview of alternative/underground print culture in the late 1990s. In 2004 his information activism gave him a fleeting taste of world-wide attention when he forced the Bush administration to make public the photos of flag-draped coffins returning from Iraq. The scandal put his name on the front pages of newspapers that should have been finding those photos for themselves instead of cheerleading the war. A run of books for Disinformation presented his archival researches for the general reader, then in 2012 he edited The Graphic Canon, a massive three-volume collection of comics and illustrations based on classic works of literature. I was among the many contributors to the latter with an adaptation of The Picture of Dorian Gray, and would have worked on the follow-up collection of crime stories if I hadn’t been busy with other things. I had hoped that we might work together again in the future.

• “‘The new mainstream has attempted to erase the innovations of the avant-garde from jazz history,’ the film declares.” Geeta Dayal reviews Fire Music, a documentary about the jazz innovations of the 1960s.

• I don’t have the hardware to play this but Sable is a new computer game from Raw Fury whose design owes much to the desert landscapes seen in comics by Moebius.

• New/old music: Stealing Sheep and The Radiophonic Workshop reimagine the score for René Laloux’s animated science-fiction film La Planète Sauvage.

• At Spine: Savannah Cordova on how to perfect your book cover’s typography. Having recently designed an all-type cover design this is timely.

• Mixes of the week: Isolatedmix 113 by Sunju Hargun, XLR8R Podcast 714 by Soela, and Holograficzne Widmo ze Bart De Paepe by David Colohan.

• “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Gerry Barney, designer of the British Rail logo, doesn’t like the green reworking of his design.

• Scottish lord goes blood simple: a teaser for The Tragedy of Macbeth by Joel Cohen and some bloke called William Shakespeare.

• “It’s unmanageable.” Ellen Peirson-Hagger on how the vinyl industry reached breaking point.

Macbeth (1973) by John Cale | Rail (1994) by Main | Logotone (2013) by Steve Moore

Weekend links 575

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La Belle Dame Sans Merci (1921) by George Barbier.

• “Organic Music Theatre goes beyond jazz into something else entirely—an ecstatic, openhearted melding of cultures. It is the first live recording of Don and Moki’s ‘organic music’ concept, a holistic blend of the arts and education. It is an album that everyone should own, an absolute marvel.” Geeta Dayal on Don and Moki Cherry’s Organic Music Theatre: Festival de jazz de Chateauvallon 1972.

DJ Food continues his dig into the history of London’s Middle Earth venue with an account of a Magical Mystery Tour that ended up being more mystery than magic.

The Lamp Magazine is running a Christmas Ghost Story contest with a first prize of publication in the Christmas issue of the magazine, plus $1000.

Dennis Cooper‘s favourite fiction, poetry, non-fiction, film, art, and internet of 2021 so far. Thanks again for the link here!

• From sport to sex: Louis Staples on how the jockstrap became part of gay culture.

• At Wormwoodiana: Mark Valentine on the weird fiction of AE Coppard.

• “How vinyl records are trying to go green.” Trying…

• Mix of the week: XLR8R Podcast 701 by 40 Winks.

• New music: Rushes Recede by Sarah Davachi.

Lisa Gerrard‘s favourite music.

• RIP Peter Zinovieff.

Organic (1982) by Philip Glass | Core (Organic) (1995) by Main | Organic Mango (1996) by HAT

Weekend links 568

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Dragon Rising to the Heavens (1897) by Ogata Gekko.

• “Electronic music of the past is often portrayed in a dreamy, magical light—a hazy historical landscape filled with misty, otherworldly sounds. But while the music of a bygone era may seem ineffable, it is not inaccessible.” Geeta Dayal reviews Reminded by the Instruments: David Tudor’s Music by You Nakai.

• Modular Therapy: Mute Records boss Daniel Miller and former snooker champ turned kraut-psych powerhouse Steve Davis discuss their love of modular synthesisers, ill-fated Jools Holland collaborations, commandeering Elton John’s ARP 2600 and more.

• “Some contemporary art is a little bit like an intellectual game…I’m not a big fan of this kind of stuff, because I’m a musician.” Ryoji Ikeda presents: point of no return.

One of the tunnels that Turrell has completed is 854 feet long. When the moon passes overhead, its light streams down the tunnel, refracting through a six-foot-diameter lens and projecting an image of the moon onto an eight-foot-high disk of white marble below. The work is built to align most perfectly during the Major Lunar Standstill every 18.61 years. The next occurrence will be in April 2025. To calculate the alignment, Turrell worked closely with astronomers and astrophysicists. Because the universe is expanding, he must account for imperceptible changes in the geometry of the galaxy. He has designed the tunnel, like other features of the crater, to be most precise in about 2,000 years. Turrell’s friends sometimes joke that’s also when he’ll finish the project.

Wil S. Hylton on an exclusive visit to James Turrell’s astronomical art complex at Roden Crater, Arizona. Related: 147 Orbiting 1 Through 6 for 5, Music for Roden Crater by Paul Schütze (with free download of an excerpt from the 5-hour piece)

• New music: The Black Mill Tapes, Volume 5 by Pye Corner Audio, and Interreferences by Richard Chartier.

• At Spoon & Tamago: Dense pencil drawings of retro-future worlds by Yota Tsukino.

“‘I’m bursting with fiction’: Alan Moore announces five-volume fantasy epic”.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Lindsay Anderson Day.

Beverly Glenn-Copeland’s favourite music.

Volcano Diving (1989) by David Van Tieghem | Crater Scar (1994) by Main | Eye Of The Volcano (2006) by Stereolab

Drone month

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October is drone month. July is often drone month as well, if the heat rises to a degree that I can’t bear to listen to anything more taxing than Main, On Land, or the Paul Schütze recordings that feature thunderstorms. But October owns the drone because it also owns Halloween, as I noted in this Halloween playlist. The first entry there, Zeit by Tangerine Dream, is such a perennial favourite that it’s one of the few albums I can imagine writing about for the 33 1/3 books. But this year Zeit has been competing for haunted airtime with the Cthulhu album from Cryo Chamber, a label devoted to the darker end of the ambient spectrum, where choral throngs in colossal chambers are scoured by the katabatic winds that howl through vast subterranean chasms while Thrones of Darkness brood with Amorphous Abominations in the Illimitable Void etc etc. The Cthulhu album is the first in a series of Lovecraft-themed collaborations by Cryo Chamber artists, with each release taking a Cthulhu Mythos god as its subject. I still find this one to be the best of the series so far, not least because the character of Lovecraft’s tentacled monstrosity is more clearly defined than the other gods which lends more definition to the musical illustration. There are no separate tracks on these albums, all the pieces are mixes that cover the sides of one or more compact discs, blending the contributions of the different artists into a single work. The Cthulhu drones are suitably sub-oceanic, like Eric Holm’s Barotrauma with added cosmic horror, a suite of restless stirrings from the Thing that lies dreaming at Point Nemo. Towards the end the Thing awakens to wreak havoc upon the upstart human world, but not before we’ve heard a mutant voice daring to speak aloud the invocation from The Call of Cthulhu.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Hodgsonian vibrations

Weekend links 118

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The Garden of Urban Delights (2010) by Marcin Owczarek.

His protagonists are misfits: alienated, implicitly gay, longing for love, frequently hard to be around, always fixated on small pleasures that compensate for an essential feeling of not belonging. […] His patroness Edith Sitwell termed him “that rare being, a born writer.” William Burroughs dedicated The Place of Dead Roads to him, declaring Welch “certainly the writer who most directly influenced my work.” John Waters has called In Youth is Pleasure “so precious, so beyond gay, so deliciously subversive, [it] is enough to make illiteracy a worse social crime than hunger.”

Sadie Stein on Denton Welch, a writer I’m embarrassed about still not having read. Edith Sitwell and William Burroughs had a famously disputatious correspondence in the pages of the TLS over The Naked Lunch. An appreciation of Welch’s work was one of the few things they had in common.

• Don’t mention guitars: Robert Hampson on acousmatic music, the curse of Loop and the rebirth of Main.

• No Straight Lines: A Collection Of Queer Comics part one, part two, part three. A history by Justin Hall.

Pieces Of Gold by The Aikiu: shots from gay porn videos repurposed via some smart editing.

• RIP Ilhan Mimaroglu, electroacoustic composer. Ubuweb has a selection of his recordings.

“A good ground rule for writing in any genre is: start with a form, then undermine its confidence in itself,” he says. “Ask what it’s afraid of, what it’s trying to hide – then write that.” For Harrison, the most satisfying writers are “at odds with their cultural context. They’re trying to fit in and failing, or they’re trying to remove themselves and failing. The attempt to resolve the conflict is an angle – a frame or a context – in itself.”

The Guardian’s A Life in Writing profiles M. John Harrison. His new novel, Empty Space, was published on Thursday. There’s also this recent video interview with Arc magazine.

• Stephen Usery interviews editor Russ Kick about The Graphic Canon: Volume One.

At home with Prince Zaleski, the “most decadent and imperial detective in fiction”.

• A Visit with Magritte: photographs by Duane Michals.

Loitering airships could dispense drones on demand.

• Creating a Forever Object: Ian Schon’s Pen Project.

• A Tumblr for the late, lamented Arthur Magazine.

• “Few cities can boast a railway line for the dead.”

The Lost Tapes by Can: An Oral History.

Space Reflex (1963) by Dick Hyman & Mary Mayo | Space Is Deep (1972) by Hawkwind | Space Is The Place (1973) by Sun Ra | Space Moment (1995) by Stereolab | Space Pong (2006) by T++