Weekend links 523

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One of Ian Miller‘s drawings from the illustrated edition of Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles, 1979.

• “I always said we were kind of an electronic punk band, really. We were never New Romantics, I don’t like it when we get lumped in with that.” Dave Ball of Soft Cell and The Grid talking to Duncan Seaman about his autobiography, Electronic Boy: My Life In and Out of Soft Cell. I’ll now be waiting impatiently for the unreleased Robert Fripp/Grid album to appear.

• “[Patricia] Highsmith’s writing—often eviscerating, always uncomfortable—has never been more relevant,” says Sarah Hilary.

• Ron Peck’s debut feature, Nighthawks (1978), is “a nuanced look at gay life in London,” says Melissa Anderson.

And then there are those figures who seem to flit around the edges of movements without ever being fully involved in any of them, who pursue their own eccentric paths no matter what is going on around them. These are the writers who make up the secret history of literature, the hidden history that’s not easily reduced to movements or trends, and who always waver on the verge of invisibility until you stumble by accident onto one of their books and realize how good they actually are, and wonder, Why wasn’t I told to read this before? But of course you already know the answer: You were not told because it doesn’t fit smoothly into the story those in authority made up about what literature is—it disrupts, it can’t be reduced to the literary equivalent of a meme.

That’s the kind of writer Pierre Klossowski (1905–2001) is. He is not a joiner. He has his own particular and often peculiar concerns, and pursues them. He does not particularly welcome you in. The content of his writing, too, has the feel of a gnostic text, as if you are reading something that, if only you were properly initiated, you would understand in a different way. In that sense his work has an esoteric or occult quality to it—and likewise in the sense that it returns again and again to the intersection of religion and pornography, the sacred and the profane.

Brian Evenson on The Suspended Vocation by Pierre Klossowski

• Chad Van Gaalen creates a psychedelic animation for Seductive Fantasy by the Sun Ra Arkestra.

• More sneak peeks from the forthcoming The Art Of The Occult by S. Elizabeth.

• More Robert Fripp: Richard Metzger on Fripp’s sui generis solo album, Exposure.

Pamela Hutchinson on the pleasures of David Lynch’s YouTube channel.

• Mix of the week: a second Jon Hassell tribute mix by Dave Maier.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Ferdinand presents…Dark Entries Day.

15 fascinating art documentaries to watch now.

Soft Power by Patten.

• RIP Milton Glaser.

hauntología

Aquarium (1992) by The Grid (with Robert Fripp) | Soft Power (2005) by Ladytron | The Martian Chronicles (2007) by Dimension X

Weekend links 293

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Red Petals by Sarah Meyohas.

• “For MMoB, I want it to be like a [Werner] Herzog movie, so at our concerts the people on stage aren’t necessarily people who are named. We’re trying to create an entity that is beyond music and relates visually and sonically with everything in a way that’s different.” Randall Dunn talks to Simona Mantarlian and Daniel Jones about the Master Musicians of Bukkake and his production work for other artists.

• “Is reel-to-reel tape the new vinyl?” asks FACT mag. It’s certainly better than cassette tape (if less convenient) but it was always a niche format for albums, even in the 1970s. Rene Chun made a similar argument for an emerging trend last October. Those expensive machines do look tempting… Early adopters should start collecting here before prices rise.

Airwaves: Songs From The Sirens is a new release of spectral audio transmissions by A Year In The Country: “…a gathering of scattered signals plucked from the ether, cryptograms that wander amongst the airwaves…” Physical versions come with the usual plethora of monochrome artefacts.

A vivid memory to his friends, Litvinoff was one of those people whose performance was their life. His most lasting achievement was the profound influence he had on Performance – the hallucinatory film directed by Nic Roeg and Donald Cammell, and starring Mick Jagger, which captured the London of the late 1960s, merging pop stardom, violent criminality, illegal drugs, gender-blurring, the occult and Jorge Luis Borges.

Jon Savage on David Litvinoff

• Virgin Prunes “are THE #1 most underrated group of the post-punk era” says Richard Metzger. I’d say that honour goes to The Passage but the Virgin Prunes were unique even if they’re too often dismissed as a freak footnote in the U2 story.

Magic, Witches & Devils in the Early Modern World is a free exhibition at the John Rylands Library, Manchester, that will run until August 2016. Related: “John Dee painting originally had circle of human skulls, x-ray imaging reveals.”

• “What I’m seeing now is an awful lot of people just following things. We tried to find our own thing and ask, ‘What else is there?'” Charles Hayward on the past and present of post-punk band This Heat.

• “I’ve never been tempted to write anything that was not essentially nightmarish.” Thomas Ligotti in a comprehensive profile (originally run in 2010) at Dennis Cooper’s blog.

• Mixes of the week: An introduction to Stereolab by Jon Dale, and Silent Radio Transmission Jan 2016 by SilentServant.

• Kicked Toward Saintliness: Max Nelson on the dark erotics of Jean Genet’s Our Lady of the Flowers.

• Reverse Engineering: Danny Hyde on Coil, Backwards and NIN.

Fuck Yeah! Anna von Hausswolff

Harry Flowers (1970) by Jack Nitzsche | Flowers In The Air (1970) by Sally Eaton | Darkness: Flowers Must Die (1972) by Ash Ra Tempel

Paul Laffoley, 1940–2015

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Alchemy: The Telnomic Process of the Universe (1973).

Another week, another incomparable artist gone. This small selection of Laffoley’s unique art and sculpture manages to combine references to (among other things) alchemy, William Blake, Charles Baudelaire, Oscar Wilde, HP Lovecraft, Mark of the Vampire, and Night of the Demon. And this is only a fraction of his work. Richard Metzger has a memorial post at Dangerous Minds together with more paintings and some video links. There’s more at the official website and Kent Fine Art. It’s good to read that the University of Chicago Press will be publishing The Essential Paul Laffoley in March, 2016.

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The Death and Life of Monsieur Sebastian Melmoth: Au Théâtre du Grand Guignol (2001–2003).

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The Solitron (1997).

Continue reading “Paul Laffoley, 1940–2015”

Weekend links 250

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Untitled artwork by Melinda Gebbie.

• “Johnny Rocket is like a Chaucerian epic retold by David Peace with music by Bruce Haack and The Focus Group for a music hall located in Hell.” John Doran talks to Maxine Peake and the Eccentronic Research Council about their “psychedelic ouija pop”.

Allison Meier looks at a new exhibition of Victor Moscoso’s psychedelic drawings. Related: Julia Bigham writing in Eye magazine in 2001 about London’s psychedelic poster scene.

• “Oh to eye the very enfilade through which that orchidaceous entity would make his stately progress…” Strange Flowers on the eccentric Count Stenbock.

Melinda Gebbie: What Is The Female Gaze? The artist is in conversation next month with Mark Pilkington and Tai Shani at the Horse Hospital, London.

Pamela Colman Smith: She Believes in Fairies. The Tarot artist and illustrator in a rare interview from 1912.

• Minimalist posters: “a lack of nuance disguised as insight,” says John Brownlee.

• Saturday night in the City of the Dead: Richard Metzger on the John Foxx-era Ultravox.

The Will Gregory Moog Ensemble plays the Brandenberg Concerto No. 3.

• “In a weird way”: a brief history of a phrase by Ivan Kreilkamp.

Die Hexe: An installation by Alex Da Corte.

• RIP Daevid Allen

Istaqsinaayok

You Can’t Kill Me (1971) by Gong | Master Builder (1974) by Gong | When (1982) by Daevid Allen

Weekend links 185

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L’uomo che piantava gli alberi (2013) by Sofia Rondelli. Via Form Is Void.

• I’m looking forward to hearing the new album by Chrome Hoof, a band whose ambition and attitude makes many of their contemporaries seem lukewarm at best. Mick Middles gets to grips with Chrome Black Gold here. John Doran interviewed the group in 2010, a piece which includes a Chrome Hoof mix of tracks by other artists.

Jay Roberts: “I was a young Marine scout sniper, definitely his type. And for a single, unforgettable afternoon, Orange County’s most notorious serial killer coaxed me into a place from which many didn’t escape.”

Jonathan Meades: “Why I went postal … and turned my snaps into postcards.” “Meades isn’t your average architectural fanboy,” says Rachel Cooke who went to talk to him at his home in Marseille.

“Faced with a Nabokov novel,” Zadie Smith writes, “it’s impossible to rid yourself of the feeling that you’ve been set a problem, as a chess master sets a problem in a newspaper.” Certainly, while Humbert asks the reader “not to mock me and my mental daze”, the suspicion is that the power dynamic in his tale is a little different.

Tim Groenland on the difficulties of writing, publishing and reading Lolita.

Cosmic Machine is a double-disc collection of French electronic music from the 1970s & 1980s. Justice enthuse about the music here where you can also preview the tracks.

The Midnight Channel, Evan J. Peterson’s horror-poetry homage to the VHS era, is available now from Babel/Salvage. There’s a trailer here.

• “Our age reveres the specialist but humans are natural polymaths, at our best when we turn our minds to many things,” says Robert Twigger.

• Another musical Chrome: Richard Metzger on newly resurrected recordings by one of my long-time cult bands.

• Hermes Trismegistus and Hermeticism: An interview with Gary Lachman.

• A stunning set of photos of London in the sweltering summer of 1976.

Pye Corner Audio live at The Outer Church, Madrid, November 2013.

Judee Sill, the shockingly talented occult folk singer time forgot.

• Designer Jonathan Barnbrook answers twenty questions.

• Don’t trust the painting: Morgan Meis on René Magritte.

Laurie Anderson’s farewell to Lou Reed.

Philippe Druillet at Pinterest.

• The Chrome Plated Megaphone Of Destiny (1968) by The Mothers of Invention | March Of The Chrome Police (1979) by Chrome | Chrome (1981) by Debbie Harry