Weekend links 442

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Orgasm Addict (1977). Design by Malcolm Garrett; collage by Linder.

• RIP Pete Shelley, Buzzcock and Homosapien. Shelley is celebrated for being in the vanguard of Britain’s punk movement, of course. (Buzzcocks’ Spiral Scratch was the UK’s first independent single.) But he also loved Can, recorded an album of electronic drones (Sky Yen), and in 1983 successfully blended home-computer graphics with his own brand of superior electronic pop music. Related: Malcolm Garrett’s Buzzcocks band logo at Fonts In Use; B’dum, B’dum: Tony Wilson in 1978 talking to Pete Shelley and Howard Devoto about Buzzcocks and Magazine.

• Winter demands ghost stories so Adam Scovell suggests 10 great winter ghost films. Related: Alexandra Heller-Nicholas presents an A–Z of Women’s Horror Filmmaking.

Carey Dunne on the rise of underground LSD guides for psychotherapy. Related: “Psychedelics change the perception of time,” says Shayla Love.

• Ex-Neu! guitarist Michael Rother receives the box-set treatment early next year when the Groenland label reissues his early solo albums.

Jodorowsky, an exhibition devoted to the writer and director, will be staged at El Museo del Barrio, New York, from February next year.

• “From Georges Méliès to Bill and Ted, movie hells remain seriously in hock to the Judeo-Christian playbook,” says Anne Billson.

The Owl’s Legacy, Chris Marker’s 13-part documentary series on Greek culture, receives its debut DVD release.

Topic II (1989), a short film by Pascal Baes of pixilated dancers in the night streets of Prague.

• Mix of the week: Secret Thirteen Mix 274 by Koray Kantarcioglu.

• We are the first humans to hear the winds of the planet Mars.

• Patrick Magee reads The Third Policeman by Flann O’Brien.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Jean-Louis Trintignant Day.

• Mongolian biker rock: Wolf Totem by The HU.

The Quietus albums of the year.

Hell (2001) by Techno Animal ft. Dälek | Hell’s Winter (2011) by Earth | Hell A (2017) by The Bug vs. Earth

Weekend links 372

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Battistero della Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, Bergamo (2017) by Mattia Mognetti.

• “Mumbo Jumbo: a dazzling classic finally gets the recognition it deserves.” Jonathan McAloon on Ishmael Reed’s unique novel being reissued as a Penguin Modern Classic.

• Amanda Gefter talks to Donald D. Hoffman, professor of cognitive science at the University of California, about “the evolutionary argument against reality”.

• Geeta Dayal on composer Raymond Scott. A new compilation, Three Willow Park, collects more of Scott’s electronic music from the 1960s.

Nagle critiques the follies of campus identity politics and social media liberalism not from the right, but as a left-leaning feminist. As she elucidates point after reasonable point, it feels as if a grown-up has finally entered the room. Like Mark Fisher, the Marxist critic who was savaged by his putative comrades for decrying “the stench of bad conscience and witch-hunting moralism” of the online left, Nagle has no sympathy for Twitter/Tumblr liberalism’s “cult of fragility and victimhood mixed with a vicious culture of group attacks, group shaming, and attempts to destroy the reputations and lives of others”. It is reassuring to find a self-described feminist disdaining the “hysterical” liberal call-out culture, and acknowledging that it has produced “a breeding ground for an online backlash of irreverent mockery and anti-PC”. Without joining the forces of reaction or losing sight of the vileness of the alt-right, she writes of “the deep intellectual rot of contemporary political progressivism”; “the moral self-flattery of … a tired liberal intellectual conformity”; and “the hysteria and faux-politics of liberal Internet culture”.

Rob Doyle reviewing Kill All Normies by Angela Nagle

• Mixes of the week: XLR8R Podcast 501 by Ryan Elliott, and ReMelodiya vol. 1 by Laurent Fairon.

Sumit Paul-Choudhury on the slime mould instruments that make sweet music.

The Wire Salon: an audience with photographer and writer Val Wilmer.

Simon McCallum‘s list of 10 great lesser-known British LGBT films.

Zaria Gorvett on the ghostly radio station that no one claims to run.

S. Elizabeth reposted her Coilhouse interview with me from 2010.

• “Boys are selling sex in Japan. Who is buying?” Boys For Sale

• At Spoon & Tamago: Ando Tadao’s Hill of Buddha.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Gisèle Vienne Day.

Sun Ra is now on Bandcamp.

Shaolin Buddha Finger (1994) by Depth Charge | Atomic Buddha (1998) by Techno Animal | Psycho Buddha (2001) by Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso U.F.O.

Weekend links 223

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Step Up (2014) by Angelica Paez.

• Lots of attention this week for Kevin Martin whose latest album as The Bug, Angels And Devils, is out now on Ninja Tune. The previous Bug release, London Zoo (2008), was a fierce collection that stood apart from the Grime pack not only for its guest vocalists but also for being informed by Martin’s broad range of influences: industrial and extreme electronics, heavyweight dub, metal and avant-garde jazz. Martin was interviewed by The Quietus and FACT who also asked other musicians to choose their favourite Martin recordings. Elsewhere, The Wire has Swarm, a track not included on the album.

Related: Martin’s four superb compilation albums for Virgin Records have been deleted for years but are worth seeking out: Ambient 4: Isolationism, Macro Dub Infection Volume One & Volume Two, and Jazz Satellites Volume 1: Electrification (Virgin cancelled volume 2). From the NME, 1995: Kevin Martin’s Ten Commandments For All Time.

• “…it never becomes quite clear why two grown men would want to write to each other in the guise of a horse and a cat.” Henry Giardina reviews The Animals: Love Letters Between Christopher Isherwood and Don Bachardy, edited by Katherine Bucknell.

Shufflepoems: A Deck of Poetry by Lydia Swartz. “100 cards, four suits, one stanza per card. Shuffle for a new adventure every time.” The project needs a last-minute push to gain Kickstarter funding so if this sounds interesting go, go, go!

The Haxan Cloak’s favourite heavy metal albums. Metallica’s Master Of Puppets still gets my vote. More from The Quietus: David Stubbs on the Werner Herzog soundtracks of Popol Vuh.

• At Strange Flowers: Waking the witch, a remembrance of occult artist Rosaleen Norton and other characters from Sydney’s Kings Cross area, with news of a planned Norton documentary.

• A nine-note motif has for decades signalled “Asian” in popular music. Kat Chow looks at the history of a musical stereotype.

Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness is the subject for entrants in the Folio Society’s latest illustration competition.

• Irradiating the Object: Rhys Williams talks to writer M. John Harrison.

Does the Sea Serpent Really Look Like an Art Nouveau Oar-fish?

Schrödinger’s cat caught on quantum film.

70s sci-fi art: a Tumblr.

Demodex Invasion (1995) by Techno Animal | Piranha feat. Toastie Taylor (2001) by Techno Animal | Poison Dart feat. Warrior Queen (2008) by The Bug

Burroughs at 100

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Something from 1994 I found in an old sketchbook. Ink on paper with no preliminary drawing.

Happy birthday, Bill. To celebrate the Burroughs centenary I could have put together several very different mixes of Burroughs-related music—there’s been a lot of it, and he was blessed with some excellent collaborators—but in the end decided on a version of something I’ve been messing with on and off for about twenty years.

Seven Souls Resouled by Feuilleton on Mixcloud

Bill Laswell’s associations with William Burroughs go back to Laurie Anderson’s Mister Heartbreak (1984) album which Laswell played bass on and co-produced. Burroughs had a guest spot on the last track, Sharkey’s Night, and that session may have led to the 1989 album by Laswell’s Material project, Seven Souls, a seven-track album based around Burroughs’s readings of passages from The Western Lands. This has always been my favourite of all the albums which set Burroughs texts to music, not least because Laswell has always surrounded himself with exceptional musicians. I liked this album so much I used to try padding it out on cassette tape with other Laswell productions, many of which feature the same musicians, and even similar riffs and instrument sounds. I could never settle on a definitive mix, however, and even the one presented here doesn’t feel absolutely right although it works far better than all previous versions. Matters aren’t helped by there being much extraneous material (so to speak): Seven Souls was reissued in 1997 with remix tracks, and there’s also a related EP, The Road To The Western Lands, with further remixes. Then there are the many tracks which match the Seven Souls sound, not least on the 1994 Material album, Hallucination Engine, which also features a Burroughs reading. Laswell’s solo albums, and much of his Axiom label, is infected by Burroughs-like titles; for a while Axiom even promoted its world- and genre-spanning ethos with the slogan “Nothing is true; everything is permitted”. The Beatles may have put Burroughs’s face on the cover of the Sgt Pepper album but Bill Laswell has done far more to spread the virus of the man’s work. Below there’s a guide to the tracks followed by another visit to the Wild Boys.

William S. Burroughs – Word Falling, Photo Falling (1960s)
One of the numerous tape recordings from the 1960s which are like audio equivalents of the books Burroughs was writing at the time. This one is from Nothing Here Now But The Recordings (1981).

Material – Ineffect (1989)
The first track from Seven Souls.

Ginger Baker – Dust to Dust (1986)
Bill Laswell produced two Ginger Baker solo albums, Horses and Trees (1986), from which this track is taken, and Middle Passage (1990). Both feature Laswell’s core group of Material musicians including Nicky Skopelitis, Bernie Worrell and Aiyb Dieng. Baker was a member of a later incarnation of Material, and appears on the Live In Japan (1993) album.

Material – Seven Souls (1989)
The second track from Seven Souls.

Material – Ruins (Submutation Dub by Bill Laswell) (1994)
From Material’s other masterwork, the mighty Hallucination Engine.

Material – Soul Killer (1989)
The third track from Seven Souls.

Ginger Baker – Under Black Skies (1990)
From Baker’s Middle Passage album.

Material – The Western Lands (1989)
The fourth track from Seven Souls.

Mandingo – Lanmbasy Dub (Kora in Hell Mix by Bill Laswell) (1993)
A slight deviation from the Seven Souls tracklist. The first four Burroughs tracks were followed by two very different pieces: Deliver, featuring the voice of Gambian musician and kora player Foday Musa Suso, and Equation which combined a rock riff with Rammellzee’s vocals. Foday Musa Suso is another floating member of Material who also released an album, New World Power (1990) on Laswell’s Axiom label under the name Mandingo. This track is an extended remix of the first track from New World Power.

Bill Laswell (with William S. Burroughs, Techno Animal, Iggy Pop) – The Western Lands (1999)
Hashisheen : The End Of Law is one of many one-off Laswell projects, this one featuring a collection of readings about Hassan i Sabbah set to music. Burroughs appears briefly two years after his death reading what may have been a Seven Souls outtake. Iggy Pop then reads a piece from The Western Lands.

Material feat. Rammellzee & phonosycographDISK – No Guts No Galaxy (1999)
In place of Equation from Seven Souls there’s this rap number from Material’s Intonarumori album.

Bill Laswell – Flash Of Panic [Pipes Of Pan / Up Above The World / Under Black Skies / Out Of The Ether] (1994)
Part of a track from the Axiom Ambient album which blends some of Laswell’s recording of the pan pipes at Jajouka with strings from a Jonas Hellborg album, and Omar Faruk Tekbilek’s ney from Under Black Skies.

Material – Soul Killer (Remote Control Mix by Terre Thaemlitz) (1997)
The reissue of Seven Souls featured three remixes of which this has always been my favourite. Terre Thaemlitz subjects Burroughs’s voice to some granular distortion then cuts-up his words.

Material – The End of Words (1989)
The seventh and final track from Seven Souls.

Continue reading “Burroughs at 100”