Jean Giraud record covers

moebius17.jpg

Disc design for Eight Day Journal (1998) by Sam Rivers / Tony Hymas.

Continuing an occasional series about artists or designers whose work has appeared on record sleeves. I’ve used the artist’s full name (or his Earth name, if you prefer) in the title of this one to distinguish Moebius the comic artist and illustrator from Dieter Moebius of Cluster, Harmonia, et al. As with Harry Clarke, it’s taken a long time for Discogs to compile a substantial collection of these covers, and catalogue there is still incomplete thanks to a lack of credits on some of the sleeves. Unlike other artists whose cover work tends to be a repurposing of existing art, many of the Giraud/Moebius covers were created for the albums on which they appear.

moebius01.jpg

7 Colts Pour Schmoll (1968) by Eddy Mitchell.

moebius02.jpg

An album by a prolific French rock’n’roller. Giraud (as he was credited here) was no doubt hired on the strength of his Blueberry strips.

moebius03.jpg

Blueberry (1973) by Dadi.

And speaking of Blueberry… Jean Giraud drew the adventures of Jean-Michel Charlier’s Western anti-hero for 15 years under the name “Gir”. The character was very popular in France, hence this spin-off single by Marcel Dadi.

moebius04.jpg

Dadi’s Folks (1973) by Marcel Dadi.

moebius05.jpg

Jazz Septet (1973) by Ogoun Ferraille.

moebius06.jpg

Are You Experienced / Axis: Bold As Love (1975) by Jimi Hendrix.

moebius07.jpg

A gatefold sleeve for a series of four reissues of the Hendrix catalogue on the Barclay label. The other covers were by Philippe Druillet, Jean Solé and an artist unidentified on the link above but it looks to me like the work of Philippe Caza. I’ve got most of the music but I’d buy these for the covers alone.

Continue reading “Jean Giraud record covers”

Arzak Rhapsody

arzak1.jpg

The first appearance of Arzach in Métal Hurlant, 1975.

Arzak (or Arzach, or Harzak, or Harzakc, etc) is one of the oldest of the comic characters created by Moebius, and an enduringly popular one even though the amount of pages devoted to the character is small. Moebius returned to Arzak sporadically after the first strips appeared in Métal Hurlant in 1975, where the first panel of the first story establishes the principal ingredients: the stern and resourceful explorer navigating an alien world on the back of a large white bird. Arzak’s flying companion is often described as a pterodactyl but it’s really a Moebius bird whose ancestors or cousins may be seen elsewhere in the Moebius-verse, notably the character of Deepo from The Incal.

arzak2.jpg

Arzak Rhapsody is a late entry in the Arzak mythos, a series of 4-minute animated films made for French TV in 2002, all of which were written by Moebius. The animation is crude when compared to René Laloux’s Moebius-designed Time Masters (1982), but the Moebius aesthetic is present throughout, from the desert landscapes of his early strips to the glowing crystals of his later work. The stories recycle moments from the comics, most of which concern Arzak evading one of the many lethal hazards presented by the flora and fauna of the place named in the animations as “Desert B”. All 14 episodes may be viewed here with the superfluous narration translated into English. Now when do we get to see Time Masters on blu-ray?

arzak3.jpg

Previously on { feuilleton }
The Captive, a film by René Laloux
The horror
Chute Libre science fiction
Heavy Metal, October 1979: The Lovecraft Special

Topsychopor by Roland Topor

topor00.jpg

Published in Paris in 1964, “a game in the form of a psychological test produced by Topor with the help of Jean Suyeux”. A red box measuring 41 x 32 cm, containing 6 “decor boards” or stages which depict a street, a region of rocks, a cemetery, a bedroom, a plain and an island; plus two sheets of pre-cut characters: a fire, a clock, an eye, a shell, two Citroën autmobiles (a 2CV and a DS), a wolfman, a blind man, a baby, a naked man, Death, a sleeping woman, and a truncated man.

topor01.jpg

“Sans prétendre atteindre à la rigueur d’un vrai test psychologique, TOPSYCHOPOR en utilise les principes. Il comprend six planches-décors et treize personnages ou objets. Le jeu consiste à choisir un décor et à y placer un ou plusieurs éléments découpés. ll suffit alors de se reporter au tableau des interprétations pour découvrir—avec horreur ou ravissement—ce que ce choix signifie. Le personnage ou l’objet choisi en premier lieu indique la tendance dominante du caractère du joueur, les éléments choisis ensuite viendront nuancer et compléter la première interprétation, selon un ordre d’importance décroissant. Certains objets ou personnages paraîtront peut-êtrc étranges; cela ne doit pas étonner, ils ont été voulus tels afin de faciliter les interprétations. Vous verrez d’ailleurs que vous vous familiariserez vite avec TOPSYCHOPOR et bientôt vous ressentirez la tentation de jouer avec lcs personnages sans plus vous soucier de leur signification. Car ce jeu cache son jeu, un jeu auquel vous vous prendrez. Pour l’interprétation des récits que vous ferez alors, vous pourrez toujours consulter votre psychiatre habituel.”

Rules of the game (autotranslated): “Without claiming to achieve the rigor of a real psychological test, TOPSYCHOPOR uses its principles. It includes six decor boards and thirteen characters or objects. The game consists of choosing a decor and placing one or more cut elements in it. It is then enough to refer to the table of interpretations to discover—with horror or delight—what this choice means. The character or object chosen in the first place indicates the dominant tendency of the player’s character, the elements then chosen will come to qualify and complete the first interpretation, in order of decreasing importance. Some objects or characters may appear strange; that should not surprise, they were wanted such in order to facilitate the interpretations. You will see that you will quickly become familiar with TOPSYCHOPOR and soon you will feel the temptation to play with the characters without worrying about their meaning. Because this game hides its game, a game that you will take. For the interpretation of the stories that you will then make, you can always consult your usual psychiatrist.”

topor02.jpg

I don’t have a copy of this, unfortunately (and please don’t tell me you have one to sell). Picture searches kept turning up links to film festivals which was a little confusing until I realised that there’s a short film by Antonin Peretjatko, Mandico et le TOpsychoPOR, about a man encountering the game.

topor03.jpg

Continue reading “Topsychopor by Roland Topor”

Jiri Barta: Labyrinth of Darkness

barta1.jpg

A new purchase. It’s excessive and wasteful to order DVDs from South Korea but when this is the only available option you have no choice. Jiri Barta: Labyrinth of Darkness is a Korean clone of a deleted disc that was originally released in the US by Kino, and which I’d managed to miss when it was still easy to find. The collection gathers all of the Czech animator’s short films from 1978–89 plus his 53-minute masterwork, The Pied Piper (1986), a film whose Expressionist puppets and decor steal the familiar folk tale away from picture-book cuteness and return it to its darker roots. The subtitle “Labyrinth of Darkness” suggests that all the films tend towards horror which isn’t really the case, although anyone disturbed by animated shop mannequins may be unnerved by Club of the Discarded (1989). Barta’s films can be dark but they’re also wry or quirky: The Design (1981) is a wordless fable about the imposition of social uniformity by contemporary architecture, while The Extinct World of Gloves (1982) cleverly uses anthropomorphism to pastiche a range of cinematic genres. Barta is still active today but most of his recent films have been advertising commissions and a child-friendly feature, Toys in the Attic, the marketplace being resistant to animation that’s too strange or personal. I still hope we might one day see his feature-length film of The Golem but there’s been no news about this since a preview was released in 2002:

“Everyone is expecting a fairytale about that legend. Our interpretation is a little bit different, because we start from another point of view, which is Gustav Meyrink’s Golem…It is much more interesting, but I think that this is the reason why we have not moved forward, why the whole project has stopped, why some producers have disappeared, appeared and disappeared again.” (via)

barta2.jpg

The unavailability of the Kino disc of Barta’s films is part of a worrying trend for those of us who like to own physical copies of scarce films. Many DVDs released ten or more years ago are now deleted and—in the case of my precious Piotr Kamler collection—impossible to find, while the films they contain are of such minority interest there’s little hope of seeing them on blu-ray any time soon. In the hierarchy of cinematic value, feature-length dramas always receive the most attention while documentaries, shorts, animations and experimental films are subject to the greatest neglect. Yes, “everything is now on YouTube” (except when it isn’t), but invariably compromised by low resolution, a lack of subtitles, or blighted by TV watermarks. And everything on YouTube is only there for as long as the uploader maintains their channel or until someone files a copyright complaint; previous posts here are filled with links to videos that are now deleted, so the Koreans are doing everyone a service by keeping Barta’s films in circulation. The same goes for the great René Laloux whose science-fiction features, Time Masters (1982) and Gandahar (1987), are currently available with English subs only from South Korea. The quality of this Jiri Barta disc leaves much to be desired but it’s still better than YouTube.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Jiri Barta’s Pied Piper
Gloves
More Golems
Barta’s Golem

L’Autoportrait d’un Pornographe

pornographe1.jpg

L’Autoportrait d’un Pornographe (1972) is a short film co-written by director Robert Swaim and Roland Topor in which Topor’s Surrealist cruelties and black humour are tempered to present a sardonic and sentimental tribute to a dying breed, the small-time Parisian pornographer. Daniel Langlet is the photographer who also sells his views of unclothed women from a coat whose lining is pocketed with prints.

pornographe2.jpg

Swaim and Topor compare this declining trade to the vanished street merchants of the city; the film dates from a time when “le sex shop” was a new arrival on the streets of Paris, and a competitor with which a purveyor of black-and-white soft porn could never hope to compete. Topor himself makes a cameo appearance, and there’s a possible reference to Cocteau’s Orphée (and another vanishing trade) in the glass cutter we see in the street.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Les Temps Morts by René Laloux