Weekend links 506

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• The late David Roback was a musician who would have been called “enigmatic” for his refusal of the interview treadmill, preferring instead to let his music speak for itself. I wouldn’t label myself a “fan” (a word I dislike at the best of times) but over the years I’ve collected just about everything that Roback was involved in, from the early Rain Parade albums (he co-wrote my favourite song of theirs, No Easy Way Down), to Opal (his collaboration with Kendra Smith and others), and Mazzy Star (with Hope Sandoval), the group whose songs perfected the somnolent blend of blues, country and rock that Roback had been aiming at all along. Some concerts:

Mazzy Star, The Black Sessions, Maison De La Radio, Paris, October 25, 1993
Mazzy Star at the The Metro, Chicago, November 12, 1994
Mazzy Star, KROQ Radio, Los Angeles, December 10, 1994

• “Like other early-modern architects, Lequeu’s drawings explore analogies between bodies and buildings and the erotic, multisensory dimensions of architectural design. In his annotations, he often describes in compulsive detail not only how buildings look but also how they feel, smell, and even taste.” Meredith Martin on the architecture of Jean-Jacques Lequeu.

• “She talks avidly about using pigs’ heads, plastic doll parts, fake blood, and real blood, recollecting with relish a performance where she transformed into a Statue of Liberty that projectile-vomited gore onto the audience…” Geeta Dayal on the performance art of Johanna Went.

Schütte teases out the many ambiguities in these concepts: trains, autobahns, radioactivity, men-machines. All have distinct negative connotations within Germany in particular. Yet Kraftwerk proposed a positive view. Their rigorous determination to deny autobiography forced listeners to focus on the ideas and the music, where apparent contradictions—local/global,  human/machine, past/future—were resolved in a sparkling, crystal-clear sound-world. This was not submission but interaction: as they said, “we are playing the machines, the machines play us”.

Jon Savage reviews Kraftwerk by Uwe Schütte

• “…it was clear that Miles wasn’t sure what he wanted…but he knew what he didn’t want. He didn’t want anything like what he had done before.” John McLaughlin on the recording of Bitches Brew by Miles Davis.

• “His panels are littered with figures standing on the edge of crowds, watching.” Toby Ferris on the paintings of Pieter Bruegel.

Alex Barrett on 100 years of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.

A Boy Called Conjuror by Teleplasmiste.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Fires.

Smithsonian Open Access

• Picture P. Brueghel “Winter” / Solaris (1972) by Edward Artemyev | The Dream Dance Of Jane And The Somnambulist (1981) by Bill Nelson | St. Elmo’s Fire (1998) by Uilab

Weekend links 434

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Group X, No. 1, Altarpiece (1915) by Hilma af Klint.

“Like Kandinsky, and other pioneers of abstract art, af Klint was deeply immersed in theosophy and anthroposophy. But she seems to have taken that interest much further than her male counterparts, participating in (and later leading) séances with a group of women friends. Whatever the spirits said, af Klint did.” Nana Asfour on pioneering abstract painter, Hilma af Klint.

• Four electronic artists reflect on the influence of composer Laurie Spiegel. Spiegel’s The Expanding Universe (1980) is reissued by Unseen Worlds next month. Related: Laurie Spiegel in 1977 playing the Bell Labs Digital Synthesizer.

• At Expanding Mind: Gurdjieffean writer and DuVersity director Anthony Blake talks with Erik Davis about dialogue, synergy, mind between brains, the trouble with teachers, and the gymnasium of beliefs in higher intelligence.

• Mixes of the week: Flashing Noise Mix by Tim Gane, Secret Thirteen Mix 268 by Bérangère Maximin, and Samhain Séance Seven: A Very Dark Place – Prologue by The Ephemeral Man.

Geeta Dayal on Broken Music (1989), a book about sound art edited by Ursula Block and Michael Glasmeier which is now available in a new edition from Primary Information.

• The Sainsbury Archive showcases the graphic design of several decades of the supermarket chain’s products.

• More of the usual suspects: Michael Moorcock and Alan Moore in 2006 discussing Moorcock’s career.

• “Karloff the Uncanny”: Joe Dante talks to Stephanie Sporn about the attraction of old film posters.

Mexico City, another preview (and a psychedelic one) of Randall Dunn’s forthcoming solo album.

• At Haute Macabre: Timeless Phantom Interludes: The Photography of Jason Blake.

Mark Valentine on the current state of Britain’s secondhand book shops.

• At I Love Typography: Unicorns, Frogs and the Sausage Supper Affair.

• “I never wanted to be a cult film-maker,” says John Waters.

• Artist Arik Roper chooses some favourite album covers.

Broken Head (1978) by Eno, Moebius, Roedelius | Broken Horse (1984) by Rain Parade | Broken Aura (2000) by Coil

Weekend links 365

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Il Fascino Della Morte (1988) by Albin Brunovsky.

• One of the forthcoming books featuring my cover art is Behold! Oddities, Curiosities, & Undefinable Wonders, a story collection due to be published next month by Crystal Lake Publishing. Bleeding Cool talked to editor Doug Murano about the collection and its contributors.

Six episodes of Tom Keating on Painters, a TV series from 1983 presented by Britain’s most well-known art forger. In six further episodes Keating examines the work of the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists.

• Opening at the Guggenheim, NYC, at the end of this month: Mystical Symbolism: The Salon de la Rose+Croix in Paris, 1892–1897.

The most potent form of gatekeeping is religion. When certain beliefs are deemed sacred, they are put beyond questioning. To challenge such beliefs is to commit blasphemy. The accusation of cultural appropriation is a secular version of the charge of blasphemy. It’s the insistence that certain beliefs and images are so important to particular cultures that they may not appropriated by others.

In Defence of Cultural Appropriation by Kenan Malik

• Mixes of the week: FACT Mix 605 by Anthony Parasole, and Secret Thirteen Mix 224 by Fanny Kaplan.

• Artist Tom Phillips at 80: “I’m still reading books. Nothing changes and everything changes.”

Negative Chambers is a new album by Yair Elazar Glotman and Mats Erlandsson.

• “Pornhub is the Kinsey Report of our time,” says Maureen O’Connor.

• “Postmodernism is dead. What comes next?” asks Alison Gibbons.

Cat Street View

Mystic Eyes (1965) by Them | Mystical Dream (1965) by The Roland Kirk Quartet | Mystic Green (1985) by Rain Parade

Weekend links 307

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Demon (2014) from the Witch Series by Camille Chew.

• Released next month, Machines Of Desire is the first album of new music by Peter Baumann since Strangers In The Night in 1983. Baumann’s first two solo albums, Romance 76 (1976) and Trans Harmonic Nights (1979), are exceptional works of analogue electronica that frequently outmatch his former colleagues in Tangerine Dream. Both albums have been unavailable for over 20 years so it’s good to know that Cherry Red are reissuing them at the end of May (see here and here).

• RIP Jenny Diski whose death from cancer wasn’t a surprise when she’d been writing about her condition for many months. Linked here in 2013 was this pre-diagnosis meditation on death that takes in Nabokov, Beckett and Francis Bacon (philosopher, not artist). “Jenny offered a living example of how, sometimes, compassion can be born of misanthropy,” says Justin EH Smith. The LRB’s archive of Diski writings is currently free to all.

Murder by Remote Control, a graphic novel by artist Paul Kirchner and writer Janwillem van de Wetering that “resembles a Raymond Chandler-esque noir ‘whodunnit,’ viewed through the psychotropic lens of filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky”.

Inspired by Gore Vidal’s 1968 satirical novel, Myra Breckinridge which was denounced as obscene by conservatives, [Boyd] McDonald embarked on a radically, offensive publication, one that avoided the sexless influence of middle class gay mores that sought to whitewash the homosexual experience in order to present a more palatable image of assimilated gays to the general society. This political strategy was successful in achieving gay marriage and more tolerance, but, in the opinion of McDonald, came at a cost. Straight to Hell was in fact the first queer zine. Utilizing erotic photos, interviews and news, McDonald saw it as a “newsletter for us,” the small group of deviates who were its earliest subscribers.

Walter Holland reviewing True Homosexual Experiences: Boyd McDonald and Straight to Hell by William E. Jones

• “HP Lovecraft’s…fascination with all things tentacular and aquatic is unmistakably imprinted on Evolution“, a new film by Lucile Hadzihalilovic. Watch the trailer.

• At Dangerous Minds: Broken, the notorious Nine Inch Nails video collection with “snuff movie” interludes by Peter Christopherson, is available online (again).

BEAK> (Geoff Barrow & Billy Fuller) make “claustrophobic, hypnotic music, drawing…on krautrock, post-punk and Interstellar-Overdrive psychedelia”.

• Mixes of the week: Bacchus Beltane 3 : The Age of Abrasax by The Ephemeral Man, and Secret Thirteen Mix 183 by December.

Tease by Jan Rattia, photographs of male strippers on display at ClampArt, NYC.

Wu Zei (2010), a sea-monster sculpture by Huang Yong Ping.

• “I was born weird,” says Robert Crumb.

Sacred Revelation by Susanna

Broken Head (1978) by Eno, Moebius & Roedelius | Broken Horse (1984) by Rain Parade | Broken Harbours (Part 1) (2001) by Stars Of The Lid

Weekend links 222

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A self-portrait by Nadia Wicker from her Projectie series.

• “And boy, did that Rain Parade sleeve look cool with its picture of the insouciant band sitting in front of large hot-house (or glass palace), the sky behind them tinted a sickly shade of apocalypse pink…” Joe Banks on the Rain Parade’s finest moment, Explosions In The Glass Palace.

• “…there are pleasures to be had from books beyond being lightly entertained. There is the pleasure of being challenged; the pleasure of feeling one’s range and capacities expanding…” Rebecca Mead on the pleasure of reading to impress yourself.

• “If Gengoroh Tagame performed the acts he drew in his comics he’d probably be dead or in jail,” says Zac Bayly, interviewing Tagame for BUTT.

Crime does not fascinate James Joyce as it fascinates the rest of us—the suggestion of crime dismays him. He tells me that one of his handicaps in writing Work in Progress is that he has no interest in crime of any kind, and he feels that this book which deals with the night-life of humanity should have reference to that which is associated with the night-life of cities—crime. But he cannot get criminal action into the work. With his dislike of violence goes another dislike—the dislike of any sentimental relation. Violence in the physical life, sentimentality in the emotional life, are to him equally distressing. The sentimental part of Swift’s life repels him as much as the violence of some of his writing.

Padraic Colum attended Joyce’s 47th birthday party.

• I’m currently reading The Wanderer, “a weird document” by Timothy J. Jarvis, which is officially published this week.

The Changes, another remarkable children’s TV series from the 1970s, is out on DVD next week.

Sir Richard Bishop has made all 14 of his solo albums available as free downloads.

• “How long do CDs last? It depends, but definitely not forever,” says Laura Sydell.

• “Readers absorb less on e-readers than on paper, study finds

• Book designer Craig Mod wants to talk about margins.

• Mix of the week: a mix for The Quietus by Helm.

Ozu’s passageways

• The Rain Parade: No Easy Way Down (BBC TV, 1984) | No Easy Way Down (studio, 1984) | No Easy Way Down (Tokyo, 1984)