Weekend links 388

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Still of an Alive Painting by Akiko Nakayama.

• “In what is a cross between performance art and installation, Nakayama uses a multitude of kitchen basters loaded with paint and water to add, mix, tilt, blow and add all sorts of extraneous effects to her paints, recording and projecting it all onto a large screen.” Continuously Changing “Alive Paintings” by Akiko Nakayama. There’s more performance video at the artist’s website.

• In January 2018 Song Cycle Records (UK) release Solaris, a “Collector’s Edition” of the Tarkovsky film and its soundtrack comprising vinyl/CD, blu-ray (no region details) and a book of photos, artwork and essays.

• Steve Davis may no longer be a snooker player but he’s still a Magma obsessive. This week he reviewed the new Retrospektiw collection for The Quietus.

What I was most thankful to TG for was leading me to Christopherson’s later band Coil with his partner, antagonist and lover John Balance (after they’d met in Genesis’ Psychic TV) whose music I fell for even harder. The arcane and homoerotic tragicomedy that underpinned their discography (and relationship) propelled me into new states, years before any first hand knowledge of the drug experiences they managed to intertwine so artfully with their music. Records like Scatology and Horse Rotorvator sexualised the male body for me for the first time—an awakening that’s hard not to find some amusement in when soundtracked by a romp called The Anal Staircase. From afar it seemed like their intense, exploration of electronic music as ritual was only possible as a result of the depth of the duo’s personal relationship and how it manifested spiritually, chemically and physically. The posture and machismo of the modern guitar music I listened to (and performed) with my friends could be tiring. The sound of Coil became a safe space in which to fantasise about manhood and Englishness and what it really meant, helping dismantle clichés I’d come to accept as reality. From medieval hymns to acid-house their music was unafraid and total. Though hard to define with any particular release I often play people their funereal takes on Tainted Love (of which all profits went to the Terrence Higgins Trust—a musical first in 1985 while AIDS was still very much taboo) and the Are You Being Served? theme tune, the basis of their transformative final track Going Up, completed by Christopherson after Balance’s death.

Fred Macpherson writing about Throbbing Gristle and Coil at new site The Queer Bible. This is the first appraisal of Coil I’ve seen on any site devoted to gay/queer issues, over ten years after the band expired following the death of John Balance. Better late than never, I suppose.

• Tom Phillips is helping support the National Campaign for the Arts by reworking a page of A Humument as a series of designs at CafePress.

• At Strange Flowers: The Secret Satan book list, a welcome alternative to the lists that fill the broadsheets at this time of year.

• Mixes of the week: Stephen O’Malley presents Acid Quarry Paris—A Hypnosis, and XLR8R podcast 517 by Davy.

• At the Internet Archive: 183 copies of Video Watchdog magazine (1990–2017).

• The TLS interview: Twenty Questions with M. John Harrison.

• At Unquiet Things: The solving of a family art mystery.

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The Hills Are Alive (1995) by Coil | Everyone Alive Wants Answers (2003) by Colleen | Only Lovers Left Alive (2014) by Jozef Van Wissem

Weekend links 382

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Raven (2015), a metal sculpture by Taiichiro Yoshida.

• “Lumia: Thomas Wilfred and the Art of Light [at the Smithsonian American Art Museum] restores Thomas Wilfred (1889–1968) to his rightful place in the history of modern art.”

• At Brown Noise Unit: a fascinating, lengthy interview by Philip Kaberry with Stephen O’Malley of Sunn O))) et al, with particular focus on O’Malley’s work with Japanese musicians.

• Erik Davis talks to scholar, writer, and mythographer William Rowlandson about Jorge Luis Borges, magical trees, Yankee mysticism, and the power of the weird and murky.

• The first issue of the world’s first magazine of fantastic art and literature, Der Orchideengarten (previously), has been reprinted in full with additional English translation.

• At Muddy Colors: the month in covers for September/October which includes my cover for Under the Pendulum Sun by Jeannette Ng (and which is on sale now).

• At 3:AM Magazine: Adam Scovell talks to horror author Ramsey Campbell about the ghost stories of MR James.

Paralysis: Live at Silent Night #8, a new release on (limited) cassette and digital by The House In The Woods.

• At Dangerous Minds: Jozef van Wissem buries the dead in his new video, Virium Illarum.

PKD Files — A podcast about the life and work of Philip K. Dick.

• Russell Cuzner on The Strange World of Nurse With Wound.

Clark Collis on the rise and fall of Fangoria.

• The North Star Grassman And The Ravens (1971) by Sandy Denny | Flight Of The Raven (1979) by Emerald Web | Kill The Great Raven (1979) by Snakefinger

Weekend links 295

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Untitled (2014) by Lola Dupré. Via.

Announcement of the week (if not the month/year) is the news that the BFI will be releasing all of the BBC dramas directed by Alan Clarke on DVD/Blu-ray in May. In addition to the long-awaited appearance on disc of Penda’s Fen (1974) we can expect a previously unseen director’s cut of Clarke’s last TV film, The Firm (1989), the DVD premier of Baal (1982) with David Bowie, plus many other works including some from the 1960s that were believed lost. (And it should be noted that this isn’t everything of Clarke’s; he also worked occasionally for ITV and later directed feature films for Channel 4.)

The BFI attention is a tribute to an exceptional director that’s overdue. Clarke has long been a cult figure among the British actors who worked with him, and among directors such as Harmony Korine and Gaspar Noé, but the tendency of TV to give one-off dramas a single screening has meant that much of his best work has been unavailable for years outside old VHS tapes. Clarke is important for having persistently chosen difficult subjects which he directed with a flair and intensity usually only found in cinema. When he died in 1990 the BBC repeated a handful of his films but the only ones given repeated DVD release have been the violent dramas with the big names attached: Scum (1979, with Ray Winstone), Made in Britain (1982, with Tim Roth), and The Firm (with Gary Oldman). Clarke’s oeuvre is much more than a parade of nihilistic villains, as will become evident later this year.

• A psychedelic video directed by Peter Strickland for Liquid Gate (ft. Bradford Cox) by Cavern of Anti-Matter. The debut album from Cavern of Anti-Matter, Void Beats/Invocation Trex, will be out later this month.

Celebrating Dusseldorf, the city that birthed Krautrock. (Article loses points for not mentioning producer Conny Plank.)

All Rivette’s features might be regarded as different kinds of horror films; Céline et Julie vont en bateau is his first horror comedy. The anxiety and despair of Paris Nous Appartient and La Religieuse, L’Amour Fou and Spectre seem relatively absent, yet they perpetually hover just beyond the edges of the frames. We still have no privileged base of ‘reality’ to set against the fictions, each of which is as outrageous as the other; and along with Borges, we can’t really say whether it’s a man dreaming he’s a butterfly or a butterfly dreaming he’s a man—although we may feel, in either case, that he and we are just on the verge of waking.

Jonathan Rosenbaum on work and play in the house of fiction: Jacques Rivette’s Out 1 and Céline and Julie Go Boating

• Mixes of the week: Finders Keepers Radio Show Krautrock Special, and The Ivy-Strangled Path Vol. XV by David Colohan.

• At Dangerous Minds: Super strange sculptures (by Shary Boyle) only the dark and demented could love.

• Beautiful Brutalites: S. Elizabeth questions Arabella Proffer about her paintings.

KTL is a musical collaboration between Peter Rehberg and Stephen O’Malley.

• Why study art when you can make it? The strange world of…This Heat.

Sarah Galo on the explicitly sexual female artists that feminism forgot.

Irmin Schmidt‘s favourite music (this week).

• LSD: My life-saving drug by Eric Perry.

The Occult Activity Book

Twenty Tiny Cities

Der LSD-Marsch (1970) by Guru Guru | Krautrock (1973) by Faust | Düsseldorf (1976) by La Düsseldorf

Weekend links 286

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One of Faig Ahmed‘s melted Azerbaijani rugs.

• “I asked [William Burroughs] about the future of typography and he said that letterforms would go back to hieroglyphs, similar to the ancient Egyptians.” Jonathan Barnbrook discussing the thinking behind his design for blackstar, the new David Bowie album.

• “…a thick, yellow fog fills the air, sinks, crawls on the very ground; at 30 paces a house or a steam-ship look like ink-stains on blotting paper.” PD Smith review London Fog, a history of the capital’s lethal pea-soupers by Christine Corton.

• At Rue Morgue: Dejan Ognjanovic asks seven writers and editors why HP Lovecraft is still relevant. Related: big thanks to Paul Gallagher for plugging my Lovecraft calendar at Dangerous Minds.

• Some end-of-year weirdness from Moon Wiring Club: Into The Chattering Ground, a sample of the new releases available at the MWC website.

Elaine Lustig Cohen: accidental graphic designer. Related: book covers and other designs by Elaine Lustig Cohen.

• The tomb that architect John Soane built for his wife inspired the shape of Gilbert Scott’s red telephone box.

• Mix of the week: Stephen O’Malley at the controls of Stuart Maconie’s Freak Zone on BBC Radio 6.

• At Dirge Magazine: S. Elizabeth talks to Alice Rogers about art and occultism.

Simon Callow on taking 25 years to write a three-volume life of Orson Welles.

Todd Haynes on Cate Blanchett, Saul Leiter and Queer Cinema.

Le Freak (1978) by Chic | Freak (2003) by LFO | Jovan Freak (Rune Lindbaek Nomaden Mix) (2012) by Georges Vert

Films by Gast Bouschet & Nadine Hilbert

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Tempestarii.

Another tip from Ibrahim R. Ineke (thanks again!). Gast Bouchet’s photography will be familiar to anyone who’s seen the cover of Soused, last year’s minatory release from Scott Walker and Sunn O))). Stephen O’Malley of Sunn O))) has been collaborating recently with Bouschet and partner Nadine Hilbert, providing live soundtracks to screenings of the pair’s occult-inflected short films. The examples linked here are mostly brief but they give a flavour of the oeuvre which is encapsulated on Bouschet & Hilbert’s website with the legend “Sorcery, Politics and the Ecstasy of Dust“. A new version of Tempestarii will be screening at the Bozar Electronic Arts Festival, Palais des Beaux Arts, Brussels, Belgium on October 9, 2015, with live music from Stephen O’Malley.

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Metamorphic Earth.

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Preparatory sketches and notes for Metamorphic Earth.