Weekend links 431

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Postcard collage by Alex Eckman-Lawn.

• “He deserves to be a major figure not only in the history of Japanese music, but in popular music writ large.” Geeta Dayal on Haruomi Hosono, a musician whose solo albums from the 1970s are reissued this month by Light In The Attic.

Erica X Eisen reviews Black Light: Secret Traditions in Art since the 1950s, an exhibition of occult art at the Barcelona Contemporary Culture Centre. Related: Gary Lachman‘s talk from the same exhibition.

• Mixes of the week: Jesús Bacalão’s Light Entertainment Programme 2, Secret Thirteen Mix 265 by Alexander Tucker, and FACT Mix 672 by Rian Treanor.

Whenever horror is criticised, it is criticised for staging a dark carnival of physicality. Perhaps the only sort of media we moralise more than we do horror is that other mainliner of bodily response, pornography.

Horror’s historical ghettoisation has meant that weightier, smarter horror reliably gets labelled as something else. The finest films of our current golden age have been dubbed “elevated horror” and “post-horror”. In literary circles, works of horror seen as sufficiently cerebral get relabelled “Gothic”. It’s certainly true that great horror is always about more than gore. But we should be careful not to gentrify the genre by cleansing it of everything but the philosophy.

MM Owen on the perennial attractions of a perennially despised genre

• “Netflix is a woeful service,” says Jeremy Allen who prefers DVD/Blu-ray to streaming video (as do I). Related: The problem with film aspect ratio on Netflix.

• The Thought Gang album, a Twin Peaks-related collaboration between David Lynch & Angelo Badalamenti from 1993, will be released next month.

Tangerine Dream: Sound From Another World: a TV documentary from 2016. In German but with auto-translated subtitles.

The Thing’s Incredible! The Secret Origins of Weird Tales by John Locke.

Haute Macabre Staff Favorites: Tarot Decks

First Light (1980) by Harold Budd & Brian Eno | Blue Light (1993) by Mazzy Star | Black Light (1994) by Material

Weekend links 414

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Czech poster for Robert Bresson’s Une Femme Douce (1969) by Olga Polácková-Vyletalová. There’s more about Polácková-Vyletalová’s striking poster designs (and this one in particular) at Mubi. See also the Polácková-Vyletalová collection at Terry Posters.

• “I heard that in Japan the tendency is to hammer down the nails that stick out. I think that Haruomi Hosono is a nail that sticks out. And has maintained that.” Van Dyke Parks on Haruomi Hosono, best known in the West for being one third of Yellow Magic Orchestra but a prolific artist in his own right. Hosono’s early solo albums are being reissued by Light In The Attic later this year.

Hua Hsu on The Spectacular Personal Mythology of Rammellzee. “Rammellzee will always feel like part of the underground,” says Geeta Dayal in a review of the Rammellzee exhibition currently showing in New York.

• Mixes of the week: Hassell’s Children, a Fourth World mix by Ban Ban Ton Ton, The Island of Bright Tombs by SeraphicManta, and a Radio Belbury mix by The Advisory Circle.

• More Robert Aickman: The Fully-Conducted Tour, a complete short story. Related: Matthew Cheney reviews the new Aickman collection, Compulsory Games.

• Another Kickstarter bid, this time for a reprint of Art Nouveau designs and illustrations by Carl Otto Czeschka.

Oliver Burkeman reviews How to Change Your Mind: The New Science of Psychedelics by Michael Pollan.

Art/design/architecture magazines online at the International Advertising & Design Database.

• Tonedeaf in our nose: Gerri Kimber on the musicality of James Joyce’s writing.

• More William Hope Hodgson: Greydogtales examines Hodgson’s poetry.

• The Art of Elsewhere: Jed Perl on the world of Edward Gorey.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Records.

Beat Bop (1983) by Rammellzee vs. K-Rob | Equation (1989) by Material ft. Rammellzee | No Guts No Galaxy (1999) by Ramm Ell Zee & phonosycographDISK

Weekend links 344

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Axiom Dub – Mysteries Of Creation (1996), a Bill Laswell production. Art by James Koehnline.

• As noted earlier, the great Bill Laswell has made some of his sprawling back catalogue available at Bandcamp, news of which has prompted Vinyl Factory to put together a recommended listening guide. Judging by the comments I’m not the only Laswell-head deploring the absence of the masterpiece from Material, Hallucination Engine. Linked here before, and happily still being updated, the comprehensive Bill Laswell discography at Silent-Watcher. Related: An ESP-Disk Primer by Marc Masters.

Listen to the Voice of Fire, a symposium concerning alchemy in sound art, takes place at the National Library of Wales at the beginning of March. Phil Legard offers some thoughts on alchemy, music and John Dee.

• The guilty cinematic pleasures of John Carpenter. Related: Director and actor Alice Lowe chooses seven favourite horror films.

The Broomway, Essex, a tidal path known as “The Doomway” for its reputation as the most dangerous walk in Britain.

• Mixes of the week: K-Punk presents Return to the Fourth World, and FACT Mix 584 by Lawrence English.

• “There was more to the late John Berger than that TV series and art book”, says Richard Turney.

• “Music’s cassette-tape revival is paying off,” says John Paul Titlow.

Diamanda Galás announces two new albums.

Bob Dylan paints a Blackpool pier.

• Pixel art by Uno Moralez

One Letter Words

Reduction (1980) by Material | Ghost Light/Dread Recall (1996) by Material | No Guts No Galaxy (1999) by Material (feat. Ramm Ell Zee & phonosycographDISK)

Konx om Pax

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Not the musician but the book of “Essays in Light” published by Aleister Crowley in 1907. I’ve been familiar with this for years but only via the many reprints. It was only recently that I discovered the striking cover design of the first edition which, we’re told, was designed by Crowley himself during a hashish bout. I’ve not been able to find the source for this piece of information but it’s not in the chapter of his autobiography where he discusses the writing of the book. (Matters aren’t helped by Konx om Pax not being listed in the index.) If anyone has the relevant details then please leave a comment.

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In design terms this cover might seem radical for 1907 but if Crowley did design it I’d guess he was thinking of a quite common geometric variation of Kufic script. Crowley travelled East as far as China, and had an abiding interest in languages of all kinds. Konx om Pax opens with a quote in Arabic from the Qur’an which is followed by a succession of quotes in different languages including Hebrew, Chinese, Ancient Greek, Sanskrit and hieroglyphic Egyptian.

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Konx om Pax (2011) by Fredrik Söderberg.

Crowley’s lettering turns up much later in this painting by Fredrik Söderberg. The phrase was also referenced during the 1990s on many of Bill Laswell’s recordings, often by cryptic phrasing on CD stickers. The name forms part of one of the tracks on Laswell’s Axiom Ambient album from 1994, an album which includes a sample of Crowley’s voice. Also in the 1990s, Laswell was making frequent use of what MacGregor Mathers claimed was the English translation of the Egyptian origin of the phrase: “Khabs am Pekht” or “Light in extension”. One of Laswell’s many dub projects, Divination, released two compilation albums called Light In Extension, while the phrase “Khabs am Pekht” (which had me mystified for years) appears on the back of Material’s magnificent Hallucination Engine (1994). One of my favourite albums, which also includes a portion of a Crowley Tarot card in its James Koehnline artwork.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Burroughs at 100
Aleister Crowley: Wandering The Waste
Brush of Baphomet by Kenneth Anger
Rex Ingram’s The Magician
The Mysteries of Myra
Aleister Crowley on vinyl

Burroughs at 100

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Something from 1994 I found in an old sketchbook. Ink on paper with no preliminary drawing.

Happy birthday, Bill. To celebrate the Burroughs centenary I could have put together several very different mixes of Burroughs-related music—there’s been a lot of it, and he was blessed with some excellent collaborators—but in the end decided on a version of something I’ve been messing with on and off for about twenty years.

Seven Souls Resouled by Feuilleton on Mixcloud

Bill Laswell’s associations with William Burroughs go back to Laurie Anderson’s Mister Heartbreak (1984) album which Laswell played bass on and co-produced. Burroughs had a guest spot on the last track, Sharkey’s Night, and that session may have led to the 1989 album by Laswell’s Material project, Seven Souls, a seven-track album based around Burroughs’s readings of passages from The Western Lands. This has always been my favourite of all the albums which set Burroughs texts to music, not least because Laswell has always surrounded himself with exceptional musicians. I liked this album so much I used to try padding it out on cassette tape with other Laswell productions, many of which feature the same musicians, and even similar riffs and instrument sounds. I could never settle on a definitive mix, however, and even the one presented here doesn’t feel absolutely right although it works far better than all previous versions. Matters aren’t helped by there being much extraneous material (so to speak): Seven Souls was reissued in 1997 with remix tracks, and there’s also a related EP, The Road To The Western Lands, with further remixes. Then there are the many tracks which match the Seven Souls sound, not least on the 1994 Material album, Hallucination Engine, which also features a Burroughs reading. Laswell’s solo albums, and much of his Axiom label, is infected by Burroughs-like titles; for a while Axiom even promoted its world- and genre-spanning ethos with the slogan “Nothing is true; everything is permitted”. The Beatles may have put Burroughs’s face on the cover of the Sgt Pepper album but Bill Laswell has done far more to spread the virus of the man’s work. Below there’s a guide to the tracks followed by another visit to the Wild Boys.

William S. Burroughs – Word Falling, Photo Falling (1960s)
One of the numerous tape recordings from the 1960s which are like audio equivalents of the books Burroughs was writing at the time. This one is from Nothing Here Now But The Recordings (1981).

Material – Ineffect (1989)
The first track from Seven Souls.

Ginger Baker – Dust to Dust (1986)
Bill Laswell produced two Ginger Baker solo albums, Horses and Trees (1986), from which this track is taken, and Middle Passage (1990). Both feature Laswell’s core group of Material musicians including Nicky Skopelitis, Bernie Worrell and Aiyb Dieng. Baker was a member of a later incarnation of Material, and appears on the Live In Japan (1993) album.

Material – Seven Souls (1989)
The second track from Seven Souls.

Material – Ruins (Submutation Dub by Bill Laswell) (1994)
From Material’s other masterwork, the mighty Hallucination Engine.

Material – Soul Killer (1989)
The third track from Seven Souls.

Ginger Baker – Under Black Skies (1990)
From Baker’s Middle Passage album.

Material – The Western Lands (1989)
The fourth track from Seven Souls.

Mandingo – Lanmbasy Dub (Kora in Hell Mix by Bill Laswell) (1993)
A slight deviation from the Seven Souls tracklist. The first four Burroughs tracks were followed by two very different pieces: Deliver, featuring the voice of Gambian musician and kora player Foday Musa Suso, and Equation which combined a rock riff with Rammellzee’s vocals. Foday Musa Suso is another floating member of Material who also released an album, New World Power (1990) on Laswell’s Axiom label under the name Mandingo. This track is an extended remix of the first track from New World Power.

Bill Laswell (with William S. Burroughs, Techno Animal, Iggy Pop) – The Western Lands (1999)
Hashisheen : The End Of Law is one of many one-off Laswell projects, this one featuring a collection of readings about Hassan i Sabbah set to music. Burroughs appears briefly two years after his death reading what may have been a Seven Souls outtake. Iggy Pop then reads a piece from The Western Lands.

Material feat. Rammellzee & phonosycographDISK – No Guts No Galaxy (1999)
In place of Equation from Seven Souls there’s this rap number from Material’s Intonarumori album.

Bill Laswell – Flash Of Panic [Pipes Of Pan / Up Above The World / Under Black Skies / Out Of The Ether] (1994)
Part of a track from the Axiom Ambient album which blends some of Laswell’s recording of the pan pipes at Jajouka with strings from a Jonas Hellborg album, and Omar Faruk Tekbilek’s ney from Under Black Skies.

Material – Soul Killer (Remote Control Mix by Terre Thaemlitz) (1997)
The reissue of Seven Souls featured three remixes of which this has always been my favourite. Terre Thaemlitz subjects Burroughs’s voice to some granular distortion then cuts-up his words.

Material – The End of Words (1989)
The seventh and final track from Seven Souls.

Continue reading “Burroughs at 100”