Weekend links 639

alphaville.jpg

Japanese poster for Alphaville (1965).

Peter Bogdanovich: I think we’d better have your thoughts on Godard.

Orson Welles: Well, since you’re so very firm about it. He’s the definitive influence if not really the first film artist of this last decade, and his gifts as a director are enormous. I just can’t take him very seriously as a thinker—and that’s where we seem to differ, because he does. His message is what he cares about these days, and, like most movie messages, it could be written on the head of a pin. But what’s so admirable about him is his marvellous contempt for the machinery of movies and even movies themselves—a kind of anarchistic, nihilistic contempt for the medium—which, when he’s at his best and most vigorous, is very exciting.

• RIP JLG. I was watching Alphaville again just two weeks ago after a DVD turned up in the local charity shop. Still the only Godard film I like 100% but “liking” seems beside the point. His influence today is everywhere, so fully absorbed into the language of cinema that people barely notice it.

• “The things that cause my gaze to linger are usually the portraits or landscapes that spark a feeling of unease, disquiet and discomfort. A shadow amongst the summer trees, a lurking silhouette reflected in a perfect blue iris, a vibrant flower in the early stages of decay.” S. Elizabeth talking to Beautiful Bizarre about her new book, The Art of Darkness: A Treasury of the Morbid, Melancholic and Macabre.

• Allow John Waters (again) to dictate your film viewing with a Letterboxd list of his favourite films, based on comments in his writings and interviews. On the subject of Godard, Waters’ Crackpot book contains a whole chapter about Hail Mary.

• Astor’s Electrical Future: Iwan Rhys Morus explores a vision of the year 2000 recounted in A Journey in Other Worlds (1894), a “scientific romance” by John Jacob Astor IV, with illustrations by Daniel Carter Beard.

• Strange Attractor has announced a Kickstarter campaign to fund the publication of an Austin Osman Spare Tarot deck.

• At Wormwoodiana: The Parrot, the Unicorn and the Golden Dragon: Some 17th Century Booksellers’ Signs.

• At Bandcamp: Andy Thomas on Chris Watson‘s post-Cabaret Voltaire career in nature recordings.

• A new outlet for cinematic obscurities: Radiance Films.

Alphaville (1978) by Klaus Schulze | Alphaville (1979) by The Monochrome Set | Alphaville (1999) by Scanner

Weekend links 634

chaffee.jpg

Cover for Amazing Stories, October 1992, by Douglas Chaffee. A delightfully strange painting that suggests a no doubt unintentional homoerotic scenario when divorced from its original context. Via.

• “The most curious aspect of Buckminster Fuller’s arc is that he became a counterculture icon while entrenched in the very things that betrayed its spirit.” Pradeep Niroula on Buckminster Fuller (again) whose self-importance is deflated in a new biography, Inventor of the Future: The Visionary Life of Buckminster Fuller by Alec Nevala-Lee.

• “I love both King Diamond and Weird Al. Lana del Rey and Anna von Hausswolff. Golden age illustrations of elegantly levitating fairies in a lush vibrant summer garden and the gothic charcoal rendering of melancholy moth singed by a candle’s flame.” S. Elizabeth talking to Luna Luna Magazine about inspirations and The Art of Darkness.

• “I’m writing this from my office which has a record player, currently about eight thousand records, and just one CD.” Vinyl-head Jonny Trunk talking to Norman Records about the finding and releasing of rare music.

A painter’s brilliant achievements, the unique traits of his particular style, rest on an abiding substratum of coordinated specialized crafts, a body of knowledge and practice safeguarded by a tradition upheld by the guilds. Beneath the glimmer and foreground of art history, like a powerful underground river, flow the patterns of training and production developed in the crafts. Art history is centred on individual talents romantically bringing forth their creations on their own, out of nothing. Craft is collective and anonymous. Someone had to weave the pieces of cloth that form the giant canvas of Las Meninas. Someone had to sew them together so that the stitching would show as little as possible. Someone had to cut and to assemble the struts for its support and then nail to them a canvas which in fact is not of the highest quality. It seems that Velázquez enjoyed the roughness of a surface that favoured his subtle veils and ambiguities. The loose manner of painting developed in Venice is linked to the quality of the pigments that could be purchased there, as well as to the oil medium and the thick, porous quality of a cloth that allowed subtle veils and ambiguities that are impossible to achieve on the surface of a wood panel.

Antonio Muñoz Molina on the materiality of painting, and its highest expression in the art of Diego Velázquez

• The films of Japanese director Kinuyo Tanaka are criminally overlooked, says James Balmont.

Winners of the Nature TTL Photographer of the Year 2022.

• From 2012: The Disappeared by Salman Rushdie.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Standish Lawder Day.

• New music: Octopus by Sunfear.

Come Sta, La Luna (1974) by Can | Fontana Di Luna (1978) by Michael Rother | La Luna En Tu Mirada (2003) by Ry Cooder & Manuel Galbán

Weekend links 611

ltpf.jpg

Let The Power Fall (1981) by Robert Fripp. A postcard included with the original vinyl release of the Let The Power Fall album.

Exposures 1977–1983 is the title of another wallet-busting CD/DVD/blu-ray box which will be released by DGM at the end of May. Unlike the previous King Crimson sets this one will be devoted to Robert Fripp’s first run of solo releases, covering the albums that emerged from the artistic campaign he described at the time as “The Drive to 1981”: Exposure (1979), God Save The Queen/Under Heavy Manners (1980), The League Of Gentlemen (1981), and Let The Power Fall (1981). If you’re as interested as I am in this period of Fripp’s career then this is all very exciting. Exposure has been reissued several times over the years, and exists in three different “editions” featuring alternate mixes and song variations, but the other albums have been unavailable in any form for decades, possibly as a result of the turmoil caused by the mismanagement and eventual collapse of the EG label. In addition to the reissues the box will include live recordings, a League Of Gentlemen Peel session plus a substantial quantity of Frippertronics material, including the loops that were recorded for Eno & Byrne’s My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts. Fripp retained a credit for his contribution to Regiment but the results are so far down in the mix that they’re easy to miss. Related: The Drive to 1981: Robert Fripp’s Art-Rock Classic Exposure.

• Galerie Georges-Philippe & Nathalie Valloisin, Paris, is currently creeping out visitors to Strange Aeons—We will meet you there, an exhibition by Peybak (Peyman Barabadi and Babak Alebrahim Dehkordi) that borrows its title from HP Lovecraft and includes a number of creatures, “neither embryos nor chimeras”, which may be found prostrate and breathing on the gallery floor.

• New music: Sub Zero, in which Kevin Richard Martin returns to the subterranean/subaqueous/subarctic zones he charted on his Isolationism and Driftworks compilations in the 1990s; plus The Carrier by Large Plants, an album of “psych rock belters” coming soon on the Ghost Box label.

• Science fiction as revolution: Joe Banks talks to Iain McIntyre, co-editor of Dangerous Visions and New Worlds—Radical Science Fiction, 1950–1985, about the flourishing of the New Wave of SF in the 1960s and 70s.

• “We know from his letters that Joyce sent a Greek flag to Nutting for him to colour-match. So, he was aiming for ‘Greek’ blue.” It’s that book again. Cleo Hanaway-Oakley on Ulysses, blindness and blue.

• Intermittent Eyeball Fodder: More visual delights gathered by S. Elizabeth.

• Steven Heller’s font of the month is Nicholas.

• Galerie Dennis Cooper presents…Liz Larner.

Let The Power Fall (1971) by Max Romeo | Minor Man (1981) by The League Of Gentlemen ft. Danielle Dax | Heptaparapashinokh (1981) by The League Of Gentlemen

Weekend links 608

timlin.jpg

The Temple, an illustration from The Ship that Sailed to Mars (1923) by William Timlin.

• “With the grotteschi, Piranesi produced hybrid forms of ornament juxtaposed in an array without regard to single-point perspective. With his capricci, he brought disparate structures into a landscape that existed only within the borders of the plate. Perhaps because of his early fidelity to accuracy and the long tradition of printmaking as a medium for the measured representation of antique forms, Piranesi’s capricci take on a particularly fantastic aura.” Susan Stewart on the ruinous fantasias of Giovanni Battista Piranesi, one of whose etchings happens to be providing the page header this month.

• At Dangerous Minds: 23rd Century Giants, the incredible true story of Renaldo & The Loaf! Oliver Hall conducts a long and very informative interview with two of Britain’s strangest music makers.

• New music: Nightcrawler by Kevin Richard Martin, recommended to anyone who enjoys the nocturnal doom of Bohren & Der Club Of Gore; and Murmurations by Lea Bertucci & Ben Vida.

“Throughout the book, McCarthy writes as if he knows something that more conventional historians aren’t always keen to accept: that the past doesn’t always make sense, that it’s often cruel and irrational, and that some things aren’t so explainable. History is not a book waiting to be opened so much as a Pandora’s box that might curse us and leave us chastened by what we find inside.”

Bennett Parten on Cormac McCarthy’s baleful masterpiece, Blood Meridian

• “Inside me are two wolves and they are both paintings by Kazimierz Stabrowski.” S. Elizabeth‘s latest art discoveries.

• At Wormwoodiana: Mark Valentine on Arthur Machen and the mysteries of the Grail.

• RIP Betty Davis and Douglas Trumbull.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Tobe Hooper Day.

Temple Bells (1959) by Frank Hunter And His Orchestra | Temple Of Gold (1960) by Les Baxter | Temple (2018) by Jóhann Jóhannsson

Weekend links 602

hightimes.jpg

High Times, May 1980. Cover art by Frank Frazetta.

• Desperately Seeking Mothman: “The Scythian Lamb, after all, was equal parts Venus flytrap and baby lamb, a mysterious woolly gourd,” says Tara Isabella Burton, on the trail of cryptids old and new.

• “In my youth of course I indulged in such stunts as bringing forth a Boramez, or a so-called vegetable lamb.” It’s that lamb again, in a translation of pages from The Voynich Manuscript.

• “2022: Be willing to be dazzled,” says S. Elizabeth. Also, follow her blog because she’s always turning up strange and wonderful things.

• “Why do we count down to the New Year?” Alexis McCrossen explores the history of countdowns, from Fritz Lang to the present day.

• “Snow coats reality in a fresh layer of strangeness,” says Charlie Fox.

• Spending the War Without You: Laurie Anderson’s Norton Lectures.

• New music: Our Hands Against The Dusk by Rachika Nayar.

• Mix of the week: Fact Mix 840 by Time Is Away.

• Galerie Dennis Cooper presents…Piet Zwart.

Does It Matter Irene? (1979) by The Mothmen | Tardis (Sweep Is Dead, Long Live Sweep) (1981) by The Mothmen | Mothman (1981) by The Mothmen