Jetpac (1983) by Ultimate Play The Game. Lunar Jetman was the superior sequel but Jetpac had the better loading screen.
• RIP Clive Sinclair. Products made by Sinclair Research Ltd. were among the first electronic gadgets I owned: the Sinclair Scientific calculator which compelled you to learn Reverse Polish notation before you could use it; the ZX Spectrum computer, of course; and the pocket TV that came bundled with the computer, a machine with such feeble reception that it only ever worked outdoors. I’ve still got my Spectrum computer, and it still worked the last time I plugged it in although it’s hardly worth keeping when emulators proliferate. Spectacol for Android is a good example of the latter. Related: World of Spectrum; the early stages of the Spectrum design process by Sinclair designer Rick Dickinson; XL-1 by Pete Shelley, electro-pop with Spectrum-generated lyrics and graphics.
• Mixes of the week: A Lee “Scratch” Perry tribute mix by Dennis Bovell, and Blood Tide Station 1: Breakaway plus Blood Tide Station 2: Force of Life by The Ephemeral Man.
• “It’s not an easy time to be daring,” says Dennis Cooper, talking to Barry Pierce about his new novel, I Wished.
• London under London: Adam Zamecnik interviews Tom Chivers about searching for London’s lost rivers.
• New music: Ode To The Blue by Grouper, and A Shadow No Light Could Make by Nathan Moody.
• At Public Domain Review: 700 years of Dante’s Divine Comedy in art.
• At Wormwoodiana: The Mushroom Man—A Note on EC Large.
• DJ Food trips out with a collection of psychedelic drug posters.
• Nodnol (1969) by The Spectrum | Spectrum (1969) by The Tony Williams Lifetime | Spectrum (1973) by Billy Cobham
UK poster, 1950. Cocteau’s film receives a UK blu-ray release this week.
• Into the Zone: 4 days inside Chernobyl’s secretive “stalker” subculture by Aram Balakjian. (Again. There’s an implication in Balakjian’s piece that illicit Chernobyl tourism is a new thing even though people have been doing this for a while now.) Related: Jonathan’s visit to the Chernobyl reactor control room, and photos of Soviet-era control rooms (plus a couple of stray American examples).
• “He’s a very interesting author: a disabled, gay writer during the Third Reich…who somehow survived only to be shot by a Red Army patrol days before the end of the war.” At the Edge of the Night (1933) by Friedo Lampe will receive its first English-language publication via Hesperus Press next month.
• “The tradition of the painted still life has been reinvented by contemporary photographers with pictures that pose a puzzle and slow the viewer down,” says Rick Poynor.
• Comic artist Matt Howarth has been writing short reviews of electronic music for many years. Sonic Curiosity is his archive site.
• Bauhaus at 100: what it means to me by Norman Foster, Margaret Howell and others.
• RIP Jonas Mekas. Related: a conversation between Jonas Mekas and Jim Jarmusch.
• Beyond the Buzzcocks: Geeta Dayal remembers Pete Shelley‘s electronic side.
• Where to begin with Jean Cocteau: Alex Barrett goes through the mirror.
• Mix of the week: Secret Thirteen Mix 278 by Sarah Louise.
• At Dennis Cooper’s: Jud Yalkut Day.
• Undulating Terrain (1995) by Robert Rich & B. Lustmord | Darkstalker (2000) by Bohren & Der Club Of Gore | Stalker Dub (2012) by John Zorn
Masayo Fukuda‘s octopus is cut from a single sheet of paper.
• “But in the title track, Homosapien contains a truly great song; four and a half minutes of bubbling synth and clever wordplay, atop which Shelley puts to one side the knowing coyness he’d frequently inserted into his contributions to the Buzzcocks catalogue, loosens his tie, and, as much as he ever committed to tape, is explicit in telling the listen exactly what he desires.” James McMahon on Pete Shelley’s first proper solo album.
• Kosmischer Läufer, the reissue project for East German kosmische music of the 1970s which may not be entirely authentic, has now reached its fourth volume. Authentic or not, the attention to detail is impressive.
• One of my favourite browsing places this month: NASA Image and Video Library.
• At Dangerous Minds: Eric Stanton and the History of the Bizarre Underground.
• Public domain artworks in high resolution at the Art Institute of Chicago.
• Mix of the week: FACT Mix 686 by the The Radiophonic Workshop.
• At Dennis Cooper’s: Les Blank Day.
• Art of the Poster 1880–1918.
• Interstellar Rock: Kosmische Musik (1974) by Cosmic Jokers | Sehr Kosmisch (1974) by Harmonia | Meine Kosmische Musik (1974) by Sternenmädchen
Orgasm Addict (1977). Design by Malcolm Garrett; collage by Linder.
• RIP Pete Shelley, Buzzcock and Homosapien. Shelley is celebrated for being in the vanguard of Britain’s punk movement, of course. (Buzzcocks’ Spiral Scratch was the UK’s first independent single.) But he also loved Can, recorded an album of electronic drones (Sky Yen), and in 1983 successfully blended home-computer graphics with his own brand of superior electronic pop music. Related: Malcolm Garrett’s Buzzcocks band logo at Fonts In Use; B’dum, B’dum: Tony Wilson in 1978 talking to Pete Shelley and Howard Devoto about Buzzcocks and Magazine.
• Winter demands ghost stories so Adam Scovell suggests 10 great winter ghost films. Related: Alexandra Heller-Nicholas presents an A–Z of Women’s Horror Filmmaking.
• Carey Dunne on the rise of underground LSD guides for psychotherapy. Related: “Psychedelics change the perception of time,” says Shayla Love.
• Ex-Neu! guitarist Michael Rother receives the box-set treatment early next year when the Groenland label reissues his early solo albums.
• Jodorowsky, an exhibition devoted to the writer and director, will be staged at El Museo del Barrio, New York, from February next year.
• “From Georges Méliès to Bill and Ted, movie hells remain seriously in hock to the Judeo-Christian playbook,” says Anne Billson.
• The Owl’s Legacy, Chris Marker’s 13-part documentary series on Greek culture, receives its debut DVD release.
• Topic II (1989), a short film by Pascal Baes of pixilated dancers in the night streets of Prague.
• Mix of the week: Secret Thirteen Mix 274 by Koray Kantarcioglu.
• We are the first humans to hear the winds of the planet Mars.
• Patrick Magee reads The Third Policeman by Flann O’Brien.
• At Dennis Cooper’s: Jean-Louis Trintignant Day.
• Mongolian biker rock: Wolf Totem by The HU.
• The Quietus albums of the year.
• Hell (2001) by Techno Animal ft. Dälek | Hell’s Winter (2011) by Earth | Hell A (2017) by The Bug vs. Earth
One thing to note about the late Jaki Liebezeit is that everyone liked Can in the 1970s, which means that everyone liked Jaki Liebezeit’s drumming. When the music wars were raging in 1976, Can were one of the few groups from the hippy side of the barricade given a pass by the punks. Prog-heads liked Can because of the rock grooves and complex improvisations; punks enjoyed the muscular insistence of songs like Father Cannot Yell and Halleluwah. David Bowie liked Can; Brian Eno liked Can enough to let Jaki Liebezeit guest on Before And After Science (Eno also made this tribute video for the Can DVD); John Lydon when he was still Johnny Rotten played Halleluwah on his Capital Radio show in 1977 together with other favourite records; a year later, Pete Shelley wrote a sleeve note for a Can compilation (and the first Can album I bought), Cannibalism; Mark E. Smith liked Can (of course); Siouxsie called Jaki Liebezeit “the best drummer in the world,” while Jah Wobble would go on to work with Liebezeit on numerous recordings under his own name and as a guest on other albums. Some of the Wobble recordings appear below. If there’s a minimum of Can music in the following list that’s mainly because Mute/Spoon keep the back catalogue away from British users of YouTube. I don’t mind that; the absence of the prime stuff means I can draw attention to some examples of Jaki Liebezeit’s post-Can work which might otherwise be overlooked.
Mother Sky/Deadlock (1970) by Can.
Two numbers from the fantastic live set the group played on German TV for an audience of ecstatic/bored/stoned hippies.
Jaki Liebezeit drum solo (1970).
In the Can Book Liebezeit says he never played drum solos but he was forgetting about this example from the group’s early days.
Flammende Herzen (1977) by Michael Rother.
Michael Rother’s first solo album was also his best after leaving Neu! The album is essentially a duet between Rother and Liebezeit, with Rother playing all instruments apart from the drums.
Oh Lord Give Us More Money (1979) by Holger Czukay.
In which Holger Czukay takes the Can song Hunters And Collectors, removes the vocals then extends and remixes the whole thing into a 13-minute collage blending the music with BBC sound effects and vocal samples taken from radio and TV. Samplers didn’t exist in 1979, this was all done with tape, and it’s incredible. I forget whether it was Jaki Liebezeit or Michael Karoli who said they didn’t recognise their playing afterwards (probably the latter) but Leibezeit’s drums sustain the entire piece. He also plays on the rest of the album. Movies is Czukay’s masterpiece, and more true to the questing, inventive spirit of Can than the albums the group made after Landed. Another track, Persian Love, samples Middle Eastern vocalists two years before My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts. Eno was paying attention.
Continue reading “Jaki Liebezeit times ten”