Weekend links 502

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The Byrds (1967) by Wes Wilson.

• RIP Wes Wilson, one of the first of the San Francisco psychedelic poster artists of the 1960s, and also one of the more visible thanks to the popularity of his compressed type designs, some of which were derived from a style developed by Alfred Roller for the Vienna Secession circa 1900. When Playboy magazine wanted a cover that reflected the psychedelic art trend in late 1967 it was Wilson they called. Related: Wes Wilson’s posters at Wolfgang’s.

• “In the ’70s, New Age music offered listeners, trapped in the urban rat-race, audio capsules of pastoral peace to transform their homes into havens. Today the Internet and social media form a kind of post-geographic urban space, an immaterial city of information whose hustle ‘n bustle is even more wearing and deleterious to our equilibrium.” 2010–19: Back To The Garden: The Return Of Ambient And New Age by Simon Reynolds.

• “This pointed-finger symbol goes by many names: mutton fist, printer’s fist, bishop’s fist, pointer, hand director, indicule, or most unimaginatively as ‘a hand’. Scholarly consensus has pretty much settled on the word ‘manicule’, from the Latin maniculum, meaning ‘little hand’.” John Boardley on the typographic history of the pointing hand.

Tales Of Purple Sally (1973) by Alex. All instruments by Alex Wiska apart from bass by Holger Czukay, and drums by Jaki Liebzeit. The latter pair also produced the album. Related: Jah Wobble talking to Duncan Seaman about working with Czukay and Liebeziet.

• “On Jan 25, 2020, tired of negative film lists on Twitter, I asked people for ‘obscure [or] underseen films you adore and think more people should know about.’ This was the result.”

Flash Of The Spirit by Jon Hassell & Farafina “hails from a time when the possibilities of music seemed less well-defined, and borders felt more open,” says Geeta Dayal.

The Art Of Computer Designing: A Black and White Approach (1993) by Osamu Sato. There’s more of Sato’s print work at the Internet Archive.

• At the Morgan Library: Jean-Jacques Lequeu: Visionary Architect. Drawings from the Bibliothèque nationale de France.

• New from Strange Attractor: Inferno: The Trash Project: Volume One by Ken Hollings.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Storm de Hirsch Day.

Celeste by Roger Eno & Brian Eno.

Ben Watt‘s favourite music.

The Inferno (1968) by The Inferno | Inferno (1990) by Jah Wobble’s Invaders Of The Heart | Inferno (1993) by Miranda Sex Garden

Turn, Turn, Turn, a film by Jud Yalkut

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I’m currently reading my way through Rob Chapman’s lysergic doorstop Psychedelia and Other Colours, a comprehensive study of a cultural phenomenon that’s well-represented on these pages. So expect more posts like this one which concerns another gem of abstract/psychedelic cinema. Turn, Turn, Turn (1966) is a collaboration between Jud Yalkut (visuals) and the Us Company aka USCO (sound). The latter receive several mentions in Chapman’s detailing of the early psych scene in San Francisco in the mid-60s; here they put a Byrds song through the mangler while Yalkut’s mechanical and other effects flicker and gyrate. The visuals are reminiscent in places of the film made by László Moholy-Nagy of his Light-Space Modulator, fittingly so when Chapman credits Moholy-Nagy’s machine with being one of the many forerunners of psychedelia in the art movements of the early 20th century.

The YouTube copy linked here has a bonus at the end with a truncated version of a later Yalkut collaboration with Nam June Paik, Beatles Electronique.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Mothlight, a film by Stan Brakhage
Walter Ruttmann’s abstract cinema
7362, a film by Pat O’Neill
Here and There, a film by Andrzej Pawlowski
Power Spot by Michael Scroggins
Kusama’s Self-Obliteration, a film by Jud Yalkut
OffOn by Scott Bartlett
The Flow III
Chris Parks
Len Lye
Matrix III by John Whitney
Symphonie Diagonale by Viking Eggeling
Mary Ellen Bute: Films 1934–1957
Norman McLaren
John Whitney’s Catalog
Arabesque by John Whitney
Moonlight in Glory
Jordan Belson on DVD
Ten films by Oskar Fischinger
Lapis by James Whitney

Listen to the Colour of Your Dreams: Part Five

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Haight Street hippies, San Francisco, Oct. 26, 1967. From the Charles W. Cushman Photograph Collection.

Continuing the psychedelic mega-mix based on Jon Savage’s list of “100 mind-expanding masterpieces” (see this post). The fifth of the six mixes is the second visit to the USA, and features songs from the years 1967 to 1968 arranged in chronological order. As before, the selections from the Savage 100 are in bold, and I’ve added notes about my additions or amendments.

Savage’s selections for the USA can be more arguable than those in the UK list. As I noted earlier, UK singles are easily identifiable for being effects-heavy studio creations. The US scene evolved out of the dance halls of San Francisco, the same halls that also fuelled the demand for all the trend-setting psychedelic poster art. Some of the bands could be just as adventurous in the studio but the sound at this point is more a transcription of the live performance. In other songs the “psychedelic” quality is a result of context, as with Otis Redding who played at the Monterey Pop Festival, and is singing here about the San Francisco Bay, but isn’t really a psychedelic artist.

US Psychedelia, Part Two by Feuilleton on Mixcloud

Radio ad — The Trip
The Glass Family — House Of Glass (The first song on the group’s only album.)
Kaleidoscope (US) — Egyptian Candy (The multi-generic multi-instrumentalists recorded a number of Middle Eastern-style pieces. This is one of the more obscure ones.)
Park Avenue Playground — The Trip (The wildest trip song of them all.)
The Red Crayola — Hurricane Fighter Plane (One of the few actual songs in the psychedelic soup of the group’s first album. This version is from a compilation.)
Jefferson Airplane — White Rabbit
Tim Buckley — Hallucinations
The Chocolate Watchband — In The Past (The Savage 100 has Are You Gonna Be There (At The Love-In). This replacement is by the “fake” Watchband assembled by producer Ed Cobb to fill out a side of the group’s second album. Real or fake, I always liked the song.)
Big Brother and the Holding Company — Piece Of My Heart (The Savage 100 has Ball And Chain.)
The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band — Smell of Incense (A great song by a group who never sound as experimental as their name implies.)
The Third Bardo — Five Years Ahead Of My Time
Painted Faces — Anxious Colour
The Beau Brummels — Magic Hollow
Buffalo Springfield — Broken Arrow
The Strawberry Alarm Clock — Incense And Peppermints
Love — The Red Telephone
The Byrds — Change Is Now
Otis Redding — (Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay
The Balloon Farm — A Question Of Temperature
Sly & The Family Stone — Dance To The Music
Quicksilver Messenger Service — Pride Of Man
The Monkees — Porpoise Song (The Monkees at their most tripped-out. A song by Goffin & King that plays over shots of Micky Dolenz swimming with solarised mermaids during the opening of their feature film, Head.)

Previously on { feuilleton }
Listen to the Colour of Your Dreams: Part Four
Listen to the Colour of Your Dreams: Part Three
Listen to the Colour of Your Dreams: Part Two
Listen to the Colour of Your Dreams: Part One
What Is A Happening?
My White Bicycle
Ogdens’ Nut Gone Flake
Tomorrow Never Knows
The Dukes declare it’s 25 O’Clock!
A splendid time is guaranteed for all

Listen to the Colour of Your Dreams: Part Four

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LIFE, September 9th, 1966. Photo by Yale Joel.

Continuing the psychedelic mega-mix based on Jon Savage’s list of “100 mind-expanding masterpieces” (see this post). The fourth of the six mixes is the first visit to the USA, with songs from the years 1965 to 1967 arranged in mostly chronological order. As before, the selections from the Savage 100 are in bold, and I’ve added notes about my additions or amendments.

US psychedelia differs from the UK variety in its origins—there’s often a country or folk influence where British bands tended to be working from a background of R&B—and in the political reality that lurks underneath the spaced-out sentiments. UK psychedelia can be whimsical to a degree that tips into childishness, the stakes are often nothing more serious than the risk of being busted for illicit drug use; America was a nation at war overseas and at home, with riots and assassinations forming a backdrop to many of these songs. Kaleidoscope’s Keep Your Mind Open sounds like it might be a typical plea for freer thinking but the lyrics address the war in Vietnam, and the song fades out to the sounds of gunfire.

US Psychedelia, Part One by Feuilleton on Mixcloud

Radio ad — Psych Out
The Byrds — Eight Miles High (first version)
The Charlatans — Alabama Bound
Jefferson Airplane — Blues From An Airplane
Country Joe & The Fish — Section 43
Great SocietySomeone To Love
Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band — Electricity
Oxford Circle — Foolish Woman
The Vejtables — Feel The Music
The 13th Floor Elevators — Slip Inside This House (The Savage 100 has Roller Coaster but I got hooked on the momentum of this one—which is actually from 1968—via a compilation.)
The Count Five — Psychotic Reaction
The Magic Mushrooms — It’s-A-Happening (One of the outstanding numbers on the original Nuggets compilation.)
The Sons Of Adam — Feathered Fish
Love — 7 & 7 Is
The Beach Boys — Good Vibrations
Sopwith Camel — Frantic Desolation
The Doors — Crystal Ship
The Seeds — Mr. Farmer
Kaleidoscope (US) — Keep Your Mind Open
Radio ad — Vox Wah-Wah Pedal
The Electric Prunes — I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night (Savage has Get Me To The World On Time but this is one of my favourite psych songs of all.)
Mystery Trend — Johnny Was A Good Boy
The Moving Sidewalks — 99th Floor (The first single by a band featuring ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons.)
Moby Grape — Omaha

Previously on { feuilleton }
Listen to the Colour of Your Dreams: Part Three
Listen to the Colour of Your Dreams: Part Two
Listen to the Colour of Your Dreams: Part One
What Is A Happening?
My White Bicycle
Ogdens’ Nut Gone Flake
Tomorrow Never Knows
The Dukes declare it’s 25 O’Clock!
A splendid time is guaranteed for all

Weekend links 168

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Window to the Universe (1967) by Roberta Bell. From Summer of Love: Psychedelic Posters from SCMA currently showing at the Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, MA.

Sympathy for the Shoggoth: China Miéville’s Revolution of the Weird Tale, an essay by Christina Scholz which features one of my Cthulhu pictures among its embellishments. Related: “‘New Strange’ stories hold a chilling mirror to life” says Rick Kleffel discussing Robert Aickman and others. And speaking of Aickman (so to speak), Reese Shearsmith has recently recorded Aickman’s Cold Hand in Mine for Audible.

• An erotic alphabet book from the Soviet Union circa 1931, created to promote adult literacy. Who says porn can’t be educational?

Angelystor is a new 39-minute composition by Phil Legard which he describes as “often heavy, Saturnine and melancholic”.

• James Ward’s postcards of the Post Office Tower. Related: film of the revolving restaurant at the top of the Tower in 1967.

•You Might Never Find Your Way Back: Shirley Jackson’s Hangsaman by Nicholas Rombes.

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Stone Garden (1967) by Wilfried Sätty.

High Over Blue is “a mind-warping 20-minute freakout” by Moon Duo.

• Queer Visual Splendour: Jon Macy discusses his erotic comics.

The Origin of the Pilcrow, aka the Strange Paragraph Symbol.

• Mix of the week: the Kranky 20th Anniversary Mixtape.

Ten Amazing Cheeses and their Literary Counterparts.

PingMag looks at the past and present of Ginza.

Mind Gardens (1967) by The Byrds | The Garden (1981) by John Foxx | The Toy Garden (2006) by Helios