Weekend links 511

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Design by Romek Marber, 1963.

• The death of Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki prompted so many “Shining composer” headlines you have to wonder what kind of notices he might have received if his early work hadn’t been purloined by Hollywood. György Ligeti always seemed ambivalent about having his music used as cinematic illustration (Kubrick annoyed him by altering some of it without permission) but Penderecki worked as a composer for Polish films in the 1960s, not only providing a score for The Saragossa Manuscript (1965) but also (surprisingly) writing music for a number of short animations. I’ve been listening to his music for almost 40 years, after a chance discovery of the stunning Threnody For The Victims Of Hiroshima led me to seek out more. I have to admit that the appeal of his recordings lay in their ability to thrill and terrify—qualities that musicologists seldom address—and I’ve never paid any attention to Penderecki’s later work which was less of an assault on the senses. At The Quietus James Martin argues for listening to the entire oeuvre, not just the early works. For more about the composer’s life and work, Culture.pl has a number of good articles, eg: Mazes, Notes & Dali: The Extraordinary Life of Krzysztof Penderecki, and Music Is Not for Everyone: An Interview with Krzysztof Penderecki.

• The late Romek Marber (1925–2020) was a designer/illustrator whose name is familiar to collectors of Penguin books via the Marber Grid, the template he created in the early 1960s for the Penguin Crime series, and which was later extended across the entire paperback range. Marber talked about this period of his work in Penguin by Illustrators in 2009. Elsewhere: Rick Poyner on Marber’s design, and a suggestion for how the Marber Grid was designed.

• “…you’ll see Lego and children’s toys, but also Rawlplugs, tile spacers, Monopoly houses, cigarillo tips, curtain hooks, biofilters, Smarties tube lids, fishing beads, broken security seals, razor parts, bits of toothbrushes, roofing screw caps, medical lancets, golf tees, false teeth, plastic soldiers, posties’ rubber bands, bungs and stoppers.” Beachcomber Tracey Williams talks to Andrew Male about the undying ubiquity of plastic waste.

• “Thanks to Bookshop, there is no reason to buy books on Amazon anymore,” says Alex Lauer. The caveat is that the service is limited to the USA. I order books direct from publishers or from eBay and Abe; the latter may be Amazon-owned but you’re still paying most of the money to the individual sellers.

• Mixes of the week: Radio Belbury 19: Family Fun Time, and Through A Landscape Of Mirrors Vol. VII – France IV by David Colohan.

• “[Amanda Sewell’s] Wendy Carlos: A Biography is a great work of scholarship,” says Geeta Dayal.

• “Part of me expects to go on forever.” David Barnett on Michael Moorcock at 80.

• “What is the point of a critic if not to tell the truth?” asks Rachel Cooke.

John Boardley on medieval road-trips and the invention of print.

Anna Bogutskaya on where to begin with the Weird West.

• Inside Tove Jansson’s private universe by Sheila Heti.

• Memory Of Hiroshima (1973) by Stomu Yamash’ta’s Red Buddha Theatre | Hiroshima Mon Amour (1977) by Ultravox! | Hiroshima (1982) by Borsig

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 330

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Summer Passing (2013) by Laura Battle.

• The Marquis de Sade’s enduringly contentious The 120 Days of Sodom has been republished by Penguin Books in a new translation by Will McMorran and Thomas Wynn. “[De Sade] described his novel as ‘the most impure tale ever written since the world began’ and, for all the hyperbole, his description still holds true even now,” says Will McMorran, exploring the history and reputation of the book.

• From the Cutting Room Floor: Rick Klaw talks to Bruce Sterling about the current state of US (and world) politics. Sterling’s Futurist novel Pirate Utopia (which I’ve designed and illustrated) will be published by Tachyon next month.

• New from Strange Attractor: In Fairyland: The World of Tessa Farmer, edited by Catriona McAra, and Of Shadows: One Hundred Objects from The Museum of Witchcraft and Magic by Sarah Hannant and Simon Costin.

• Mix of the week: Programme No. 16 in the long-running Radio Belbury series is a guest presentation by The Pattern Forms (Jon Brooks, Edward Macfarlane and Edward Gibson).

The Book of Three Gates by Simon Berman, “An Esoterica of HP Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos”, is seeking funding.

• Occultist Phil Hine discusses Richard Payne Knight and phalluses at the Conway Hall, London, later this month.

• “My goal is to make music that is transcendent and isn’t specific of a certain time,” says Earth’s Dylan Carlson.

• Kiss the sky: psychedelic posters of the 60s and 70s from the collection of the late Felix Dennis.

Radionics Radio: An Album Of Musical Radionic Thought-Frequencies.

Madeleine LeDespencer on the occult bookshops of London.

Unknown Pleasures waveform gif generator

Sade Masoch (1968) by Bobby Callender | Confessional (Give Me Sodomy Or Give Me Death) (1991) by Diamanda Galás | The Sodom And Gomorrah Show (2006) by Pet Shop Boys

Weekend links 191

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Two cover designs from Eliash Strongowski’s 30 Days—30 Covers project.

My thanks once again to Dennis Cooper for placing this blog on his end-of-year lists. Meanwhile. one of the albums I designed earlier this year, Cold Mission by Logos, made the 30 Best Album Covers of 2013 list at FACT.

• “Many of their more outlandish ideas never saw fruition: an organ powered by an entire factory, an electro-acoustic orchestra mounted on a fleet of airplanes.” Colin McSwiggen reviews Sound in Z: Experiments in Sound and Electronic Music in Early 20th Century Russia by Andrey Smirnov.

Queer Pagan Punk, a major film retrospective of the work of Derek Jarman, will take place in February and March 2014 at the BFI Southbank, London.

• “For over forty years, Iain Sinclair’s work has combined obsessive myth-making with urban despair. But what do we know about him?” asks Fatema Ahmed.

• “Rather than trying to intercept alien communications, perhaps we should go looking for alien artefacts.”

• Mix of the week: Radio Belbury Programme 12, and Winter Hours, the Cafe Kaput 2013 winter mix.

BEEP BEEP. BLOOP BLEEP: Road Runner cartoons soundtracked by a Eurorack synthesizer.

Historia Discordia: Documenting the Origins, History & Chaos of the Discordian Society.

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Pink Boy by Melinda Gebbie.

Suffered From The Night: Queering Stoker’s Dracula edited by Steve Berman.

• At Dangerous Minds: An interview with soundtrack composer Cliff Martinez.

Sarah Schoenfeld puts recreational drugs under the microscope.

• Powerplant Art-déco, a set of photos by Romain Veillon.

Adrian Curry chooses the best film posters of 2013.

Portent’s Content Idea Generator

Tarkovsky at Pinterest

The Sea Named Solaris (1977) by Tomita | Is That What Everybody Wants? (2002) by Cliff Martinez | Reyja (2011) by Ben Frost & Daníel Bjarnason

Weekend links 183

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La table qui tourne (1943) by Robert Doisneau.

In [Gödel, Escher, Bach], Hofstadter was calling for an approach to AI concerned less with solving human problems intelligently than with understanding human intelligence—at precisely the moment that such an approach, having borne so little fruit, was being abandoned. His star faded quickly. He would increasingly find himself out of a mainstream that had embraced a new imperative: to make machines perform in any way possible, with little regard for psychological plausibility.

The Man Who Would Teach Machines to Think by James Somers.

Whenever the latest pronouncements about the imminent arrival of artificial intelligence are being trotted out I wonder what Douglas Hofstadter would have to say on the matter. You don’t hear much about Hofstadter despite his having been involved for decades in artificial intelligence research. One reason is that he’s always been concerned with the deep and difficult problems posed by intelligence and consciousness, subjects which don’t make for sensational, Kurzweilian headlines. Hofstadter’s essays on AI (and many other topics) in Metamagical Themas: Questing for the Essence of Mind and Pattern (1985) are essential reading. James Somers’ lengthy profile for The Atlantic is a welcome reappraisal.

• The end of October brings the spooky links: When Edward Gorey illustrated Dracula |Paula Marantz Cohen on Edgar Allan Poe | Yasmeen Khan revisits Werner Herzog’s Nosferatu | Roger Luckhurst on horror from the Gothics to the present day, and Michael Newton on Gothic cinema.

•  Magic Words: The Extraordinary Life of Alan Moore is a biography of the Northampton magus by Lance Parkin. The author talks about his book here, and also here where if you look carefully you can see my Lovecraft book on his shelf.

• A crop of Halloween mixes: Boo, Forever by Jescie | Samhain Seance 2: Hex with a Daemon by The Ephemeral Man | Wizards Tell Lies & The Temple of Doom by The Curiosity Pipe | Radio Belbury’s Programme 11.

The Book of the Lost is an album by Emily Jones & The Rowan Amber Hill presenting music from imaginary British horror films. Release is set for Halloween. More details here.

Laura Allsop on Derek Jarman’s sketchbooks. Jarman’s Black Paintings are currently showing at the Wilkinson Gallery, London.

Magick is Freedom! Existence Is Unhappiness: Barney Bubbles vs. Graham Wood.

• Soho Dives, Soho Divas: Rian Hughes on sketching London’s burlesque artists.

Jenny Diski on the perennial problem of owning too many books.

Equus through the years by Clive Hicks-Jenkins.

Virgin Records: 40 Years of Disruptions

• At BibliOdyssey: Chromatic Wood Type

Witches at Pinterest

The Witch (1964) by The Sonics | My Girlfriend Is A Witch (1968) by October Country | You Must Be A Witch (1968) by The Lollipop Shoppe