Weekend links 593

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Cover art by Gwinn (?) for The Inland Printer, October 1901.

The 50 British films that inspired a young Martin Scorsese. No Michael Powell (or Hitchcock, for that matter) but I think we’re supposed to take The Archers as a given. And he’s always had a commendable taste for British horror; few directors of Scorsese’s stature would put so many Hammer films and minor chillers on a list like this.

• New music: Grey Frequency return with Essentia, an album that explores “the connections and conflicts between internal and external worlds, and our sense of place and function in an unfathomable, transcendent universe”. Ideal Halloween listening, as is much of the Grey Frequency catalogue, especially Paranormal.

• “You don’t want to have a brilliant idea for a novel at the age of 87,” says Alan Garner. Justine Jordan reviews Treacle Walker, the novel in question, here.

In his gloomy tales, predominantly written in French, journalists disappear while hunting for esoteric secrets, ships sailing to mythic islands get lost in unreal waters, protagonists track down occult artefacts such as Dr Dee’s black spirit mirror, and the living wander down alleyways that lead to the hereafter. These are all unfaithfully retold in Ray’s uniquely arcane, often kaleidoscopic prose.

Robert Davidson on Belgian author Jean Ray

• “Poe brings forth, as if out of thin air, a grotesque world fully crystallized.” Sudipto Sanyal on you-know-who.

• At Bandcamp Ed Blair compiles a list of John Carpenter-like music beginning with an album from the man himself.

• At Wormwoodiana: Mark Valentine on the current condition of second-hand bookshops in Britain.

• Mix of the week: Samhain Séance 10: There and Back Again by The Ephemeral Man.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Terence Hannum presents…Horror Soundtracks Day.

• No One Here Knows I’m a Vampire: A Spooky Matt Berry Reading List.

• New/old music: Aqua by Ryuichi Sakamoto.

More dark arts at Unquiet Things.

Treacle Toffee World (1968) by The Fire | Treacle People (1970) by UFO | Woodsmoke & Treacle (2010) by Moon Wiring Club

Weekend links 590

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Understanding Mu (1970) by Hans Stefan Santesson. Cover art by Ron Walotsky. Via.

• “I have never believed Chariots of the Gods?—it takes faith, so what I mean is that I’ve never believed in it—but it has still held my affection for decades.” Patrick Allington on ancient aliens, unidentified aerial phenomena, and the unhinged pleasures of speculative nonfiction. I still have a stash of paperbacks in what I call “The Crank Box”, a collection of the more far-out titles that proliferated in the 1970s in the wake of the bestselling (and very egregious) Erich von Däniken. There aren’t many books about ancient astronauts or flying saucers in the box because they were so plentiful, I was always on the lookout for more outlandish volumes: lost continents, yes, but not the all-too-common Atlantis; Lemuria or Mu were more like it. So too with Hollow Earths and mysterious realms as detailed in Shambhala: Oasis of Light by Andrew Tomas, or The Lost World of Agharti: The Mystery of Vril Power by Alec MacLellan. The attraction wasn’t that any of this speculation might be true, more that these books operate as bargain-basement equivalents of the Borges conceit in which metaphysics is regarded as a branch of fantastic literature. Weird fiction by other means.

Collecting these books was a fun thing to do in the 1980s when the crank publications of the previous decade had washed up on the shelves of secondhand bookshops. The shine began to wear off in the 1990s when the emergence of the internet empowered a new breed of hucksters (and worse) pushing all of this stuff as though it was “hidden knowledge”. It’s hard to get excited about a battered paperback brimming with pseudo-science and pseudo-archaeology when similar ideas proliferate on YouTube channels catering to credulous hordes.

• Absolutely elsewhere (and linked here on a regular basis): An archive of the endlessly fascinating Absolute Elsewhere, a website created by the late RT Gault in order to present “a bibliography of visionary, occult, new age, fringe science, strange and even crackpot works published between 1945 and 1988”. The listings are accompanied by an informed, sceptical and often enlightening commentary, and also include a fair amount of weird fiction. Mr Gault had the right attitude.

• New music: Raum by Tangerine Dream, a preview of the new album, Probe 6–8, which will be released next year; new/old music: a reissue of Marine Flowers (Science Fantasy) by Akira Ito.

• “He had been honest about himself, and shockingly honest about his parents, but about his work he had spun me a tale.” Carole Angier on the elusive WG Sebald.

• At The New Criterion: Two stray notes on Moby-Dick by William Logan; on contemporary reviews of Moby-Dick and Melville’s journey on the Acushnet.

• “Perhaps what’s most extraordinary about Kollaps is that it was made at all.” Jeremy Allen on Einstürzende Neubauten’s thrilling debut album.

• At Culture.pl: a podcast about Czech film director Vera Chytilová and her masterpiece of Surrealist anarchy, Daisies.

• At Perfect Sound Forever: Part 2 of a Jon Hassell tribute which talks to friends and musical collaborators.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Spotlight on…William S. Burroughs The Ticket That Exploded (1962).

• At Wormwoodiana: Mark Valentine unearths a medieval recipe for gingerbread.

• Mix of the week: Death’s Other Dominion by The Ephemeral Man.

MU-UR (2000) by Coil | Mu (2005) by Jah Wobble | Mu 1 (2015) by Acronym

Weekend links 587

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Jetpac (1983) by Ultimate Play The Game. Lunar Jetman was the superior sequel but Jetpac had the better loading screen.

• RIP Clive Sinclair. Products made by Sinclair Research Ltd. were among the first electronic gadgets I owned: the Sinclair Scientific calculator which compelled you to learn Reverse Polish notation before you could use it; the ZX Spectrum computer, of course; and the pocket TV that came bundled with the computer, a machine with such feeble reception that it only ever worked outdoors. I’ve still got my Spectrum computer, and it still worked the last time I plugged it in although it’s hardly worth keeping when emulators proliferate. Spectacol for Android is a good example of the latter. Related: World of Spectrum; the early stages of the Spectrum design process by Sinclair designer Rick Dickinson; XL-1 by Pete Shelley, electro-pop with Spectrum-generated lyrics and graphics.

• Mixes of the week: A Lee “Scratch” Perry tribute mix by Dennis Bovell, and Blood Tide Station 1: Breakaway plus Blood Tide Station 2: Force of Life by The Ephemeral Man.

• “It’s not an easy time to be daring,” says Dennis Cooper, talking to Barry Pierce about his new novel, I Wished.

• London under London: Adam Zamecnik interviews Tom Chivers about searching for London’s lost rivers.

• New music: Ode To The Blue by Grouper, and A Shadow No Light Could Make by Nathan Moody.

• At Public Domain Review: 700 years of Dante’s Divine Comedy in art.

• At Wormwoodiana: The Mushroom Man—A Note on EC Large.

DJ Food trips out with a collection of psychedelic drug posters.

Nodnol (1969) by The Spectrum | Spectrum (1969) by The Tony Williams Lifetime | Spectrum (1973) by Billy Cobham

Weekend links 583

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Faun (1897) by Karel Hlavacek.

A teaser trailer for Mad God, a stop-motion animated feature by Phil Tippett. 30 years in the making and not the usual saccharine fare. The director talks about his film here.

• For those who missed Johnny Trunk’s book about Sainsbury’s Design Studio several years ago (or would like more of the same), packaging design at the Sainsbury Archive.

• Mixes of the week: Ces Gens-Là – Avec Bart De Paepe by David Colohan, and Phased Induction Phototaxis by The Ephemeral Man.

• Smoking dope and comparing bad reviews: Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine discuss the early days of their collaboration.

• At the cat-loving Spoon & Tamago: This cat table gives your feline a seat in the table.

John Lurie‘s tales of Bohemian living with The Lounge Lizards in 1979 New York.

• Luxury assortment: the British artists behind Cadbury’s chocolate boxes.

Kevin Richard Martin’s favourite albums.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Skeletons 2.

Hymn To Pan (2008) by Blood Ceremony | The Great God Pan (2011) by Blood Ceremony | Faunus (2013) by Blood Ceremony

Weekend links 579

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Untitled painting by Larry Kresek.

• “A good comparison might be Broken English-era Marianne Faithfull, Appalachian folk singer Hedy West, or the early-70s home recordings of German actress Sibylle Baier; spellbound female voices possessed of an uncanny emotional honesty.” Andrew Male on the songs of Karen Black. In 1989, the first issue of Psychotronic Video profiled Black’s remarkable acting career which was cultish enough for the magazine to give her the “psychotronic” label.

• Coming soon from Strange Attractor Press, In A Sound World by Victor Segalen, “a work of fantasy concerning an inventor lost in his own immersive harmonic space”.

• At Messynessychic: Inside the Imaginarium of a Solarpunk Architect, or architectural designs by Luc Schuiten, brother of comic artist and illustrator François Schuiten.

De Strijd der Werelden, 1899. The first illustrated book version of HG Wells’ The War of the Worlds was a Dutch edition with drawings by JH Speenhoff.

• New/old music: Words Disobey Me (Dennis Bovell Dub Version) by The Pop Group, part of a forthcoming Bovell remix of the group’s debut album, Y.

• Mixes of the week: A mix for The Wire by Sunik Kim, FACT Mix 817 by Malibu, and Rhythmic Asymmetrical Wyrd by The Ephemeral Man.

• “Whatever we call them, and whatever else they might be, they are, in fact, printed paintings.” Joseph Visconi on William Blake’s monoprints.

• Curious Music announces Moebius Strips, an audio installation by Tim Story from the sounds and music of Dieter Moebius.

• At Dangerous Minds: Richard Metzger‘s confessions of an analogue vinyl snob.

Strange Flowers departs from tradition by offering a summer reading list.

Moebius 256 (1977) by Zanov | Moebius (1981) by Cyrille Verdeaux | Elena’s Sound-World (2014) by Sinoia Caves