Weekend links 334

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Pixel Forest (2016) by Pipilotti Rist.

• “Think about it: gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender people were almost completely invisible in the movies or on television, or even in newspapers and magazines. It wasn’t until LGBT people started producing their own media that we started to see consistent, positive images. But it would take until very recently for TV and cinema to catch up with what happened in books and magazines decades ago. In other words, nearly all LGBT culture only existed in print or at the bar. So when the queer bookstore disappears, where else can you find 40+ years of LGBT culture? (Hint: it’s not on Netflix.)” Ken White on starting Query Books and republishing classic LGBT literature.

• Related to the above: David Shariatmadari reviews a new edition of Coming Out, Jeffrey Weeks’ history of gay emancipation in the UK; Modern Harmonic is reissuing Love Is A Drag, a collection of “love songs by men, for men”, first released in 1962; Your Daily Male 2017: 52 international artists, 365 pages of full-colour male art; erotic portraits of Yukio Mishima by Eikoh Hosoe.

A Year In The Country revisits The Touchables (1968), a film about four Swinging Sixties girls who live in a huge plastic bubble in the countryside (must be a nightmare in winter); the quartet kidnap a rock star as “a temporary solution to the leisure problem”. Script by Ian La Frenais from a story by David & Donald Cammell. No DVD but it’s on YouTube.

• Mixes of the week are still in the Halloween zone: FACT mix 575 by Fenriz, and Resting Lich Face by SeraphicManta.

• War, love and weirdness: Brian Dillon on Powell & Pressburger’s A Matter of Life and Death, 70 years on.

• Bringing back the magic: a conversation with Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions.

David Toop listens, finally, to the legendary John Latham recordings of Pink Floyd.

The Synth Sounds of John Carpenter: Halloween, The Fog, Assault on Precinct 13.

• “Creep or craftsman? Hitchcock was both,” says Tom Shone.

The Dazzling Designs for a New York That Never Existed

Photography by Harry Gruyaert

The Untouchables (1959) by Nelson Riddle | The Touchables (All Of Us) (1968) by Nirvana (UK) | The Touchables (1980) by The Human League

Listen to the Colour of Your Dreams: Part Three

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Continuing the psychedelic mega-mix based on Jon Savage’s list of “100 mind-expanding masterpieces” (see this post). The third of the six mixes is the final visit to the UK, with songs from the years 1967 to 1969. As before, the selections from the Savage 100 are in bold, and I’ve added a few notes about my additions or amendments.

By late 1968 different musical trends were becoming apparent in pop music, all of which would develop into distinct movements of their own in the 1970s. Some of the strands are evident here, notably heavy rock, progressive rock, and the first stirrings of electronic music. Savage didn’t include any electronic songs in his UK listing but I had to have something from White Noise, an obscure group at the time whose first album, An Electric Storm, has since proved very influential. That album is infused with the psychedelic spirit, especially on Your Hidden Dreams, one of the many songs of the period that conflates dreams with drug experiences. An earlier version of this mix did include Your Hidden Dreams but I’ve ended up going with Love Without Sound, the first piece the group recorded.

The most surprising entry in all six mixes is probably the song by Cilla Black, an artist whose name seldom (if ever) appears in discussions of psychedelia. This was a discovery via another list for Mojo magazine compiled by Rob Chapman, a collection of novelty hits, comedy songs (Dick Shawn’s Love Power from The Producers), and various obscurities. Cilla’s song was included for featuring yet more lyrics that may or may not be about drugs. The faux-Arabian arrangement is by George Martin. If I ever track down all of Chapman’s songs I may upload them as well.

UK Psychedelia, Part Three by Feuilleton on Mixcloud

The Rolling Stones — 2000 Light Years From Home (The Stones at their most cosmic.)
The Nice — Flower King Of Flies (The Savage 100 has Diamond Hard Blue Apples Of The Moon, a B-side that’s also very badly recorded, hence this substitute.)
Status Quo — Pictures Of Matchstick Men
Big Boy Pete — Cold Turkey
The Pretty Things — Talkin’ About The Good Times (Another marvellous single from a group at the peak of their powers.)
Julie Driscoll with Brian Auger and The Trinity — This Wheel’s On Fire (Julie Driscoll also did a great cover of Donovan’s Season Of The Witch. This gets included for the modish phasing and for being the theme song for Absolutely Fabulous on which Driscoll also sings.)
Nirvana (UK) — Rainbow Chaser
The Rokes — When The Wind Arises (An English band recording for the Italian market.)
Boeing Duveen & The Beautiful Soup — Which Dreamed It? (Hank Wangford in an earlier guise. A Lewis Carroll poem set to music, this was the dreamy B-side of the group’s Jabberwocky single.)
The Mirror — Faster Than Light
Fairport Convention — It’s Alright Ma, It’s Only Witchcraft
The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown — Fire
Pink Floyd — Jugband Blues
Cilla Black — Abyssinian Secret
The Jimi Hendrix Experience — 1983 (A Merman I Should Turn to Be)
White Noise — Love Without Sound
The Apple — The Other Side
Kaleidoscope (UK) — Faintly Blowing
Jason Crest — Black Mass (A Satanic obscurity that pre-empts Black Sabbath by several months.)
The Open Mind — Magic Potion (By late 1969 it was much too late to still be writing drug songs but that’s what you have here. The heavy riff points to the future.)
Blind Faith — Can’t Find My Way Home

Previously on { feuilleton }
Listen to the Colour of Your Dreams: Part Two
Listen to the Colour of Your Dreams: Part One
What Is A Happening?
My White Bicycle
Ogdens’ Nut Gone Flake
Tomorrow Never Knows
The Dukes declare it’s 25 O’Clock!
A splendid time is guaranteed for all

Listen to the Colour of Your Dreams: Part Two

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Carnaby Street circa 1967.

Continuing the psychedelic mega-mix based on Jon Savage’s list of “100 mind-expanding masterpieces” (see this post). The second of the six mixes is where British psychedelia is in full swing after shedding its R&B/Mod/Freakbeat origins: what was black-and-white a year before is now blazing colour. There’s much I enjoy about US psychedelic music but I’ve always favoured the British variety. The sound of US psychedelia is less adulterated than its British equivalent, and even the later examples are often little more than country or folks songs with suitably dreamy lyrics. The gravitational mass of The Beatles so overwhelmed the UK scene that the experimentation at Abbey Road was endlessly copied and refined by the younger groups, some of whom—like Pink Floyd and The Pretty Things—were working in the same studio with the same engineers.

It’s the adulteration of the sound that I enjoy, the audacity of recording an orchestra at great expense then feeding the result through a phaser, as Nirvana (UK) did on Rainbow Chaser. (See next week’s mix). The Who’s Armenia In The Sky is an excellent example of studio pyrotechnics. Pete Townshend had complained that some of The Beatles’ arrangements were slight so this song can be regarded as his riposte. At the end of the mix the Fab Four fire back with I Am The Walrus.

Everything here dates from 1967, and as before the listing is roughly chronological bold type indicating the selections from the Savage 100. Given the choice I’d take See Emily Play over Mathilda Mother—the former being a particular favourite—but Savage’s choice works very well as a melodic come-down after the cosmic racket of the Jimi Hendrix Experience. David McWilliams’ one-hit-wonder is an odd choice and not especially psychedelic but once again I defer to Savage’s selection. The Kinks are also notable by their absence although they never adopted any of the studio trickery that might have spoiled their exceptional songwriting.

UK Psychedelia, Part Two by Feuilleton on Mixcloud

The Fairytale — Guess I Was Dreaming (An obscure single that can be taken as being about dreams, drugs or both.)
The Rolling Stones — We Love You
The Small Faces — Itchycoo Park
The Jimi Hendrix Experience — Radio One
The Jimi Hendrix Experience — The Stars That Play With Laughing Sam’s Dice
Pink Floyd — Mathilda Mother
Traffic — Hole In My Shoe (Their other great psychedelic single.)
The Who — Armenia In The Sky (The Savage 100 has Relax but this is much more tripped out with surreal lyrics flying through squalls of backwards guitar.)
The Herd — From The Underworld
Svensk — Dream Magazine
Dantalian’s Chariot — Madman Running Through The Fields
Kaleidoscope (UK) — Flight From Ashiya
The 23rd Turnoff — Michaelangelo
The Hollies — King Midas In Reverse
David McWilliams — The Days Of Pearly Spencer
The Idle Race — Imposters Of Life’s Magazine
Eric Burdon & The Animals — San Franciscan Nights
The Troggs — Love Is All Around
Family — Scene Through The Eye Of A Lens (Savage has Me My Friend from their first album. This substitute is a mini-epic that was their first single.)
The Accent — Red Sky At Night (Their only release, and a song that turns up on many compilations.)
Simon Dupree & The Big Sound — Kites
The Pretty Things — Defecting Grey
Tintern Abbey — Vacuum Cleaner
The Beatles — I Am The Walrus

Previously on { feuilleton }
Listen to the Colour of Your Dreams: Part One
What Is A Happening?
My White Bicycle
Ogdens’ Nut Gone Flake
Tomorrow Never Knows
The Dukes declare it’s 25 O’Clock!
A splendid time is guaranteed for all