Weekend links 280

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Keepers of the Moon by Bill Crisafi.

• More Thomas Ligotti for obvious reasons: Weird Fiction Review now has two Ligotti interviews, one from 2011, and a new one prompted by the Penguin edition of his stories. Also at Weird Fiction Review, two Ligotti narratives: The Night School, and The Red Tower. The latter demonstrates how weird fiction can dispense with character and story and still have a powerful effect.

• Related to the above: Terrors supernatural and psychological: Laird Barron on Ray Russell’s The Case Against Satan; Russell’s novel is also being reprinted by Penguin this month. And at Dangerous Minds: a collection of vintage dolls and ventriloquist dummies.

• “Time and again his books—even as they tell of remote planets and their inhabitants—foresee something perplexingly close to our present-day society, from visionary constructions to machines of destruction.” Strange Flowers on Paul Scheerbart.

Coil’s out-of-print discography gets a career-spanning reissue through Threshold Archives. Related: Russell Cuzner interviews Thighpaulsandra.

• Mixes of the week: The Ivy-Strangled Path Vol. XI by David Colohan, and Sounds From Beyond (October 2015) by Glossop Record Club.

Bill Crisafi: Artist, Dreamer, Feral Mystic. An interview with the artist by S. Elizabeth for Dirge magazine.

• Also being given the revenant treatment, out-of-print short stories by Aleister Crowley.

Alex Mar on the powerful appeal of modern witchcraft—even for a skeptic.

A Rest Before The Walk is a new album by Keith Seatman.

The Wounded Kings set out their stall at Bandcamp.

The Witch Queen Of New Orleans (1971) by Redbone | Witch (1977) by Goblin | Ditch Witch (2009) by Pink Mountain

Weird metal

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Weird metal isn’t A Thing, is it? I reckon it ought to be A Thing, especially when so much black/death/doom/drone metal intersects with The Weird. I mentioned last month that British doomsters The Wounded Kings had used my De Profundis piece for the gatefold and poster insert in their reissue of The Shadow Over Atlantis. My copy of the album arrived this week; it’s a handsome production that sounds tremendous so I’m very pleased to be associated with it. The relationship to Cthulhu isn’t as overt as more well-known compositions such as The Call of Ktulu by Metallica or Cthulhu Dawn by Cradle of Filth. But those are one-off pieces whereas The Shadow Over Atlantis sustains its atmosphere of cosmic dread throughout. It’s available from Ván Records, and I recommend it highly.

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All of which reminded me that my Lovecraftian art has featured sporadically in the metal world over the past few years. In the margins of my discographic work you’ll find the following releases.

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Thought-Cathedral (2000) by Of Trees and Orchids.

The perennially popular view of R’lyeh is featured on the cover of the second album by a German death metal band who later changed their name to Ingurgitating Oblivion. Inside the CD there’s also a detail from a Cthulhu drawing of mine.

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Azathoth (2007) by Azathoth.

There are many bands named after Lovecraft’s chaotic deity. This group is from the US, and this EP is their only substantial release to date.

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Demonstration 1998 (2009) by Portal.

And there are many groups named Portal. This lot are Australian, and have been going longer than most. Demonstration 1998 is a reissue on 7-inch vinyl of a cassette demo from 1998; the sleeve art shows a fuzzy detail from my R’lyeh spread from The Call of Cthulhu. Nobody asked permission to use the artwork, I only discovered this release since I get a credit for it on Discogs. So there may well be other releases out there that I haven’t seen yet. If you know of one then leave a comment or send an email.

Previously on { feuilleton }
The Shadow Over Atlantis by The Wounded Kings
Rock shirts
De Profundis

The Shadow Over Atlantis by The Wounded Kings

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Van Records and British Doom-metal band The Wounded Kings couldn’t have chosen a better week to announce the reissue of The Shadow Over Atlantis. This is a limited repressing of an album first released in 2010, and for the new edition the vinyl is packaged in a foil-embossed gatefold sleeve whose interior features my Cthulhoid De Profundis piece. The album will also come with a poster insert of the same artwork. I am, of course, looking forward to seeing and hearing all of this. It’s available for pre-order now.

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Previously on { feuilleton }
Rock shirts
De Profundis

Rock shirts

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Arriving in the post at the end of last week was this T-shirt for British Doom band The Wounded Kings. The Shadow Over Atlantis (2010) was the band’s second album, and they asked permission a while ago to use my Cthulhuesque De Profundis piece on this limited edition shirt. Permission was granted happily enough, my only concern was that the fine detail and dark tones might not reproduce well on black fabric. The printing is remarkably good, however, and the circular design and type layout works very well. The shirts are on sale here.

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All of which reminded me that I have a couple of shirts from the Hawkwind era in the 1980s. I’ve not aired these designs before, mainly because the Earth Ritual design is one of my many pieces of Hawk-art that I find amateurish. I used to put considerable effort into the cover designs (some of them, anyway; a few were pieces of art sent to Dave Brock as samples that were later used as official covers); but much of the art I produced for the tour programs and merchandise was done in haste, and should have been a lot better considering it was being used for costly souvenirs.

Earth Ritual was the title of an EP released in 1984 that was notable for having Lemmy as guest bassist, his first appearance on a Hawkwind record after being sacked from the band in 1975. I did the cover for that one but I don’t like it very much. The 1984 tour was named after the EP, hence the shirt, although the show was nothing remotely like the elaborate Space Ritual concept. The triangle with a bar on the skull is the alchemical symbol for Earth, a detail the band used in their stage set. I’ve never liked that skull which is very badly drawn, I’d have been better off using a photocopy of the skull on this drawing from the same year. The design was drawn in black ink on white paper; I had no say in the colouring which was done by the merchandise company. From the same drawing they also made small enamel badges (where the skull looks even worse!), and a sew-on patch which looks much better since they dispensed with the skull.

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This was the shirt design for the 1985 tour, one of the final designs for the Chronicle of the Black Sword project, and one of the very last pieces I did for Hawkwind. The design of this one is a little more successful although once again the colours weren’t my choice.

These aren’t the only shirts I’ve done for the music world, in addition to other occasional work for metal bands I produced many exclusive designs for Cradle of Filth from 2001–2005 but they never sent me any of those. To return to De Profundis, I ought to note that the artwork is available as a print from CafePress.

Previously on { feuilleton }
The Cosmic Grill
Void City
Hawk things
The Sonic Assassins
New things for July
Barney Bubbles: artist and designer