Weekend links 491

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The Weirdness is Coming, an illustration by Robert Beatty for an NYMag feature about the near future.

• I’m slightly late to this news, but better late than never: The Doll’s Breath is a 22-minute animated film by the Brothers Quay, shot on 35mm film and with a soundtrack by Michèle Bokanowski. It may take a while before it’s available to view outside the festival circuit but it’s good to know it’s in the world. Related: Filip Lech on the Polish inspirations of the Brothers Quay.

• More from Swan River Press: Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu’s disturbing horror tale, Green Tea, is published in a 150th anniversary edition, with an introduction by Matthew Holness, two essays and a CD containing a theatrical adaptation of the story by the Wireless Mystery Theatre.

• Luca Guadagnino, Olivia Laing and Sandy Powell, Tilda Swinton and John Waters choose favourite pieces of writing by Derek Jarman. Related: Protest!, a Jarman exhibition at the Irish Museum of Modern Art.

Fairport [Convention]’s revolutionary impact came in doing precisely the opposite of what the folklorists had intended when they began collecting the songs. By taking the old songs and setting them down on paper, they had largely believed they were preserving them in the form in which they must remain, ignoring the fact that songs passed through generations orally will always evolve. Fairport, though, played extremely fast and loose with the source material, matching tunes from one source with lyrics from another. As Rob Young put it in his book Electric Eden: “It threw into question the spurious ‘authenticity’ of the folk versions studiously set in stone by the Victorian and Edwardian collectors. Fairport’s electrifying act preserved and restored the guts and spontaneous vigour to the folk continuum.”

Michael Hann on the 50th anniversary of Fairport Convention’s Liege & Leaf

• More Patrick Cowley: PC’s megamix of Hills Of Kat Mandu by Tantra. And the mix of the week: a Patrick Cowley tribute from 1981 by DJ Jim Hopkins.

• The seventh edition of Wyrd Daze—”The multimedia zine of speculative fiction + extra-ordinary music, art & writing”—is out now.

5 Mishaps: A 32-page hardbound handmade book of short stories by Tamas Dobozy, with collage illustrations by Allan Kausch.

• At Dangerous Minds: Lovely Bones: The transfixing skeletons and dreamlike nudes of Belgian painter Paul Delvaux.

• From 1979: a very early TV appearance by Virgin Prunes (their first?) on Ireland’s The Late Late Show.

• Fists of fear: Anne Billson on 10 films featuring severed (and frequently vengeful) hands.

Adrian Curry at MUBI selects his favourite film posters of the 2010s.

Tea For Two (1956) by Duke Ellington | Tea For One (1976) by Led Zeppelin | Tea In The Sahara (2001) by Simon Shaheen & Qantara

Weekend links 458

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Photo by Dezo Hoffmann, 1968.

If there’s one thing everyone can agree on about the late Scott Walker it’s that his career was not only improbable but almost impossible in its range and trajectory. My mother saw the Walker Brothers perform in Blackpool 52 years ago, headlining a touring bill that featured Cat Stevens (the artist she most wanted to see) and the soon to be very famous Jimi Hendrix. She enjoyed good pop songs and big orchestras, so even though she’s never expressed a preference for the Walker Brothers or Walker solo I’m sure she could listen to an album or two. But she wouldn’t be able to stand more than a minute of Walker’s output from Tilt (1995) onwards, and even the four watershed tracks on Nite Flights (1978) would be deemed unacceptable. Walker’s progress inverted the stereotype of the 20th-century pop career, the all-too-common descent into blandness and irrelevance, by following a course closer to that taken by painters and literary artists. He walked the walk.

• When Scott Walker’s Climate Of Hunter was announced in 1984, Richard Cook persuaded its introverted creator to talk to the press for the first time in many years. Cook and Walker met again in 1995 when Tilt was released. From 2008: Sean O’Hagan talking to Scott Walker two years after the release of The Drift; at The Wire again: a recording of Rob Young discussing Walker’s career; at the BFI: Scott Walker’s selection of some favourite films; at The New Yorker: Amanda Petrusich on the weird and vast and periodically devastating music of Scott Walker.

• At The Paris Review: Jane Alison suggests meanders, spirals, radials, fractals and cells as alternative to the narrative arc, while Peter Bebergal argues for seeing belief and disbelief in a superposition when it comes to art and the occult.

Sarasota Half in Dream, a feature-length documentary by Derek Murphy and Mitchell Zemil about a decaying Florida suburb.

• Chris Marker, Always Moving: Max Nelson on a Paris exhibition, Chris Marker, les 7 vies d’un cinéaste.

• There’s a little more Scott Walker, inevitably, in this interview with Stephen O’Malley of Sunn O))).

Michael Moorcock talking to The Austin Chronicle about his long association with Hawkwind.

M. John Harrison chooses favourite stories for Jonathan Gibb’s Personal Anthology series.

• Rat Cunning and Bloodshed: An interview with Simon Sellars by Lee Rourke.

In Search of the Seas of Pleiades, a free download by Jenzeits.

• Rammstein are back with a video epic: Deutschland.

Sex Magick is Satanic doo-wop by Twin Temple.

Time, Forward! by Georgi Sviridov.

Orpheus (1967) by The Walker Brothers | Lullaby (By-By-By) (2000) by Ute Lemper | Darkness (2006) by Scott Walker

The art of James Marsh

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Laughing Stock (1991).

The paintings of James Marsh came to mind this week following news of the death of Talk Talk singer Mark Hollis. Marsh’s art was a feature of all the Talk Talk releases, singles as well as albums, but his work was equally prominent throughout the 1980s on a range of book covers, particularly the series he produced for Angela Carter and JG Ballard. The hard-edged, post-Surrealist style favoured by Marsh was a popular one in the 70s and 80s (among British illustrators, Peter Goodfellow and the late John Holmes worked in a similar manner), and I’ve often had to look twice to see whether a cover is one of his. But while the Magritte-like visual games may be replicated elsewhere, Marsh has a preoccupation with animals—birds and butterflies especially—that sets his paintings apart.

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The Bloody Chamber (1981).

I never saw Mark Hollis discuss Marsh’s work but the use of the paintings across all the Talk Talk releases has given the group’s output a coherent look lacking in many of their fashion-chasing contemporaries. The consistency also meant that the cover art was unlikely to overly influence prior perception of their music; there was little warning in 1988 of the musical gulf separating The Colour Of Spring from Spirit Of Eden until stylus met vinyl. Mark Hollis was remembered this week by Rob Young who interviewed him in 1998 when his one and only solo album was released. More from James Marsh’s prolific career may be seen at his website.

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The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman (1982).

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The Terminal Beach (1984).

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Talk Talk (laserdisc, 1984).

Continue reading “The art of James Marsh”

Weekend links 410

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William Hope Hodgson’s final Carnacki mystery, The Hog, received its first magazine publication in January 1947. The cover art by AR Tilburne may not have been originally created for Hodgson’s tale but it complements the story’s atmosphere of febrile dread.

• It’s still April so that means it’s still the month that saw the 100th anniversary of the death of William Hope Hodgson, bodybuilder, manacler of Harry Houdini, and the author of several novels of weird fiction that continue to entrance new generations of readers. The edition of Hodgson’s The House on the Borderland that I illustrated for Swan River Press would have been on sale this month but print problems have caused delays with the run as a whole; anyone interested is advised to contact the publisher for news. • Meanwhile, Jon Mueller (composer of the book’s accompanying soundtrack CD) and myself talked to Swan River Press about the attractions of Hodgson’s novel. • More Hodgsoniana: Greydogtales acknowledged the Hodgson centenary via a discussion with Hodgson scholar Sam Gafford, while Michael Dirda reviewed the new edition of The House on the Borderland and another SRP title, The Scarlet Soul (whose cover I also designed), for The Washington Post.

• “From the ashes of countless decayed Modernities comes Neo-Decadence, a profaned cathedral whose broken stained glass windows still glitter irregularly in the harsh light of a Symbolist sun. Behind this marvellously vandalised edifice, a motley band of revellers picnic in the graveyard of the Real, leaving behind all manner of rotting delicacies and toxic baubles in their wake.” Drowning in Beauty: The Neo-Decadent Anthology edited by Daniel Corrick & Justin Isis is published this month by Snuggly Books, an imprint whose catalogue of new books and first-time translations will be of interest to anyone who comes here for Decadence, Symbolism or anything related. Related to the above: A Neo-Decadence Day at Dennis Cooper’s.

• “Witches are change-makers. They’re transgressive beings who dwell on the fringes of society, and so they’re the perfect icon for rebels, outsiders, and rabble-rousers, especially those of the female persuasion.” Pam Grossman talks to Grimoire about witchcraft and related arts.

• Mixes of the week: Resident Advisor Podcast 621 by Grouper, and Bacchus Beltane 5: The Owl Service by The Ephemeral Man.

• Back in black: Publisher/translator James Conway and designer Cara Schwartz on the cover designs of Rixdorf Editions.

• I was talking again this week at The Writer’s Corner where JKA Short asked me about working as an illustrator.

All Gates Open: The Story of Can by Rob Young is published next week. The Wire has an extract.

• Delusional Albion: Brad Stevens on how foreign directors saw Britain in the Swinging Sixties.

• “There’s no book I love more than Derek Jarman’s Modern Nature,” says Olivia Laing.

Eden Tizard on Soliloquy For Lilith, the drone album by Nurse With Wound.

Owls (1969) by Ruth White | Decadent & Symmetrical (1995) by ELpH vs Coil | The Owls (2013) by Félicia Atkinson

Weekend links 398

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Untitled art by Felix D’Eon. Via Dangerous Minds.

• “The music inside lived up to the cover’s challenge: a collage of pop-culture nostalgia, hard-rock guitar, piano-driven melodies, stylised high vocals, strange musical structures and experimental sound pictures. Roxy Music’s eponymous album sounded like nothing else in 1971 and 1972—and like nothing else the group would ever attempt again.” Jon Savage on the creation of Roxy Music’s debut album.

• Behind the scenes of the BFI’s forthcoming Derek Jarman box-sets. Jarman appears in a rare acting role (not one of his strengths) in Dead Cat (1989) a short film by David Lewis which is only now being released on DVD.

• Rob Young’s long-awaited book about Cologne’s finest, Can, has finally been given a publication date. All Gates Open: The Story of Can will be published by Faber in May.

• At the Lever Gallery, London: UNCOVERED: Illustrating the Sixties and Seventies. Wallpaper magazine has a related feature about the exhibition.

Trim Tabroid [sic]: Yui Takada’s Instagram showing Japanese tabloid pages reduced to abstraction by careful pruning.

• On Fairy Tales: Carol Mavor and Marina Warner in discussion for the London Review Bookshop podcast.

• Mixes of the week: XLR8R podcast 527 by Peter Van Hoesen, and Secret Thirteen Mix 245 by Chikiss.

• Dubbing is a Must: Oli Warwick on the modern sound of leftfield dub.

This Book Is Bound in Lab-Grown Jellyfish Leather.

Cornelius’s Favourite Albums

Dubism (1976) by The Upsetters | Dub Fi Gwan (1979) by King Tubby | Dub Yalil (1995) by Natacha Atlas