More Things to Come

things01.jpg

The organisers of the Things to Come exhibition at the Petach Tikva Museum of Art, Israel, sent me their photos of the show earlier this week. As with the other recent exhibitions that I haven’t managed to attend it’s good to see how everything looks in situ, and also see some of the other exhibits.

things02.jpg

The art pieces are all related to science fiction old and new, with my airship illustration (as seen in The Steampunk Bible) and a couple of other works representing the old (or new-as-old) side of things. I’m not used to seeing my work enlarged to such a huge size so this was a treat. The only larger reproductions have been a window display for one of the Cradle of Filth album covers which filled a whole window of Tower Records, London, in 2001, and stage backdrops for Cradle of Filth and Melechesh. I can’t identify any of the other exhibits until the catalogue arrives but I really like the iridescent metal construction that’s lying on the gallery floor. All the photos are by Elad Sarig, and are shown courtesy of the Petach Tikva Museum of Art. My thanks again to Doreet LeVitte Harten for selecting my work, and to Avshalom Suliman for dealing with the printing and other details.

things14.jpg

Continue reading “More Things to Come”

The Tidal Path by Watch Repair

tidal1.jpg

When it comes to my work for the music world, this week has ranged from one pole to the other. On Tuesday Enki , the album whose cover I designed last year for Melechesh, was released in the US on multiple formats including coloured vinyl and (if you want the expensive option) a CD with bundled T-shirt; on Wednesday local musicians Watch Repair released The Tidal Path, a hand-crafted CD-R limited to 100 copies for which I designed the Risographed insert.

tidal2.jpg

Musically you can’t compare these releases, and it would be unwise to do so, they’re both operating in very different areas. Watch Repair (who otherwise prefer to remain anonymous) have for the past two years been producing a distinct form of improvised music that combines acoustic instruments, ambient recordings and treated/processed sounds. The predominant atmosphere on The Tidal Path is winter, frozen water and icy wastes, hence the choice of an old map of the northern polar regions for the insert artwork. The map also features a few surreptitious references to related works by other artists but I’ll leave it to informed listeners to detect those. The Tidal Path is a release on Manchester’s Ono label which may be ordered from Piccadilly Records.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Watch Repair

Weekend links 245

htbag.jpg

First English-language edition of Hard to Be a God, 1973. Cover design by Alan Peckolick.

A group of scientists is sent to the planet Arkanar to help the local civilization, which is in the Medieval phase of its own history, to find the right path to progress. Their task is a difficult one: they cannot interfere violently and in no case can they kill. The scientist Rumata tries to save the local intellectuals from their punishment and cannot avoid taking a position. As if the question were: what would you do in God’s place?

Hard to Be a God is a 170-minute Russian science-fiction film based on a novel by Arkady & Boris Strugatsky, the authors of Roadside Picnic. The film was the magnum opus of director Aleksey German (1938–2013) who died shortly before post-production was complete. German’s wife and son finished the film.

“…the wonder about this exhausting, astonishing film is not that it took so long to make, it’s that it got made at all,” says Gabriel Winslow-Yost; “one of the most consistently disgusting films ever made,” says Glenn Kenny, “…not only an unforgettable individual masterpiece but probably one of the capital-G Great Films.”; “There are no bones to be made about it, Hard to Be a God is a modern masterpiece,” says Matt Thrift.

This pushes all of my cinematic buttons, of course, so now I’m itching to see it. YouTube has trailers, and (if you must) you can also find the entire film without subtitles. I’d rather wait for a disc version. Meanwhile, Chicago Review Press have republished the novel with a new translation by Olena Blumberg and a foreword by Hari Kunzru.

• At the Guardian John Doran recommends new Middle Eastern and North African music; the playlist includes a song from the forthcoming album by Melechesh which features my cover art. At the Quietus this week Doran explored Manchester’s urban wastelands with local musician Julie Campbell aka Lonelady.

• “Research into psychedelics, shut down for decades, is now yielding exciting results,” says Michael Pollan. Related: Ryan Cooper on why the [US] government should be funding mass scientific studies of Ecstasy, magic mushrooms, and LSD, and “Early humans used magic mushrooms, opium“.

Dad combined porn with all manner of genre fiction. He wrote pirate porn, ghost porn, science-fiction porn, vampire porn, historical porn, time-travel porn, secret-agent porn, thriller porn, zombie porn and Atlantis porn. An unpublished Old West novel opens with sex in a barn, featuring a gunslinger called Quiet Smith, without doubt Dad’s greatest character name. By the end of the decade, Dad claimed to have single-handedly raised the quality of American pornography.

Chris Offutt on the prolific writing career of his father, Andrew Jefferson Offutt V

The Sound Repository 2 by Wizards Tell Lies, a free collection of “rare tracks, demos, early and alternative versions” at Bandcamp.

Jennifer Rothwell‘s new fashion collection uses prints based on Harry Clarke’s stained-glass windows.

• Mix of the week: My Body Full Of Stars, an Afrofuturism mix by Oyinboy.

Terry Gilliam’s title sequence for Cry of the Banshee (1970).

Endless Endless: Kraftwerk at Tumblr.

Sehr Kosmisch (1974) by Harmonia | Walky-Talky (1975) by Harmonia | Sometimes In Autumn (1976) by Harmonia 76

Enki by Melechesh

enki.jpg

Another album cover, and this time the artwork is my own, being my third cover for metal band Melechesh. The album won’t be released until February but the record label, Nuclear Blast, revealed the cover earlier this week so I thought I may as well post it myself. See a larger copy here. Note that other copies in circulation at the moment show a temporary title design (not my doing) which will probably be changed by release time.

This is my third cover for the band whose songs are preoccupied with Sumerian mythology, as should be evident from the symbolism. The artwork was also one of two elaborate (unconnected) designs I’d been working on over the autumn. The other one may be revealed next week so watch this space.

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The album covers archive

Previously on { feuilleton }
The Epigenesis by Melechesh

Athanasius Kircher’s Tower of Babel

babel1.jpg

Here’s a picture whose myriad details I’ve wanted to scrutinise for many years. Lieven Cruyl was the draughtsman and Coenraet Decker the etcher while the picture itself appears as an illustration in Athanasius Kircher’s (deep breath) Turris Babel, Sive Archontologia Qua Primo Priscorum post diluvium hominum vita, mores rerumque gestarum magnitudo, Secundo Turris fabrica civitatumque exstructio, confusio linguarum, & inde gentium transmigrationis, cum principalium inde enatorum idiomatum historia, multiplici eruditione describuntur & explicantur. The book was published in 1679 and, among other speculations, features Kircher’s eye-popping illustration (below) showing how tall the Tower of Babel would have to be in order to reach the Moon. I used part of the big illustration in a cover design for metal band Melechesh in 2006.

babel6.jpg

The copies here are from a scanned volume at the University of Heidelberg where the pages have suffered slightly from bookworm. But the resolution is high enough to explore a picture crawling with tiny details, from the bristling scaffolding at the top of the structure, and the houses (for the workers?) built on the ramps lower down, to a procession of camels and other beasts being led towards the main entrance. In the background there are smaller towers and a few pyramids (Kircher explored the latter elsewhere in the book), and also a harbour with beast-headed sailing ships. The full-size picture may be explored here.

babel2.jpg

Continue reading “Athanasius Kircher’s Tower of Babel”