Weekend links 392

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Art by Twins of Evil for the forthcoming blu-ray from Arrow Academy.

Images (1972), the film that Robert Altman made between McCabe and Mrs Miller and The Long Goodbye, is the closest the director came to outright horror. A disturbing portrait of mental breakdown, with Susannah York in the lead role, and photography by Vilmos Zsigmond, the film has for years been so difficult to see as to be almost invisible. Arrow Academy will remedy this situation in March next year with a new blu-ray restoration. Related: Geoff Andrew on where to begin with Robert Altman.

• “[Johnson] is a paltry, utterly conventional, upwardly mobile, morally squalid parvenu who yearns to be taken for what he isn’t.” Jonathan Meades‘ vitriol is in a class of its own, here being deployed in a review of Nincompoopolis: The Follies of Boris Johnson by Douglas Murphy.

• “These films, all preserved in the BFI National Archive, are known as Orphan Works. When the rights-holder for a film cannot be found, that film is classified as an Orphan Work.” 170 orphaned films have been added to the BFI’s YouTube channel.

Don’t romanticize science fiction. One of the questions I have been asked so many times I’ve forgotten what my stock answer to it is, ‘Since science fiction is a marginal form of writing, do you think it makes it easier to deal with marginal people?’ Which—no! Why should it be any easier? Dealing with the marginal is always a matter of dealing with the marginal. If anything, science fiction as a marginal genre is more rigid, far more rigid than literature. There are more examples of gay writing in literature than there are in science fiction.

Samuel Delany in a lengthy two-part interview with Adam Fitzgerald

• One of the books I was illustrating this year was The Demons of King Solomon, a horror anthology edited by Aaron French. The collection is out now; I’ll post the illustrations here in the next month or so.

• Mixes of the week: Routledge Dexter Satellite Systems by Moon Wiring Club, No Way Through The Woods: A Conjurer’s Hexmas by SeraphicManta, and FACT mix 632 by Priests.

• Also at the BFI: Adam Scovell on a film adaptation of MR James that predates Jonathan Miller’s Whistle and I’ll Come To You (1968) by 12 years.

• At Weird Fiction Review: Jon Padgett on absurd degenerations and totalitarian decrepitude in The Town Manager by Thomas Ligotti.

• At Larkfall: Electricity & Imagination: Karl von Eckartshausen and Romantic Synaesthesia.

• It’s the end of December so the London Review of Books has Alan Bennett’s diary for the past year.

Aquarium Drunkard‘s review of the year’s best music.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Lotte Reiniger Day.

Robin Rimbaud is In Wild Air.

• Dream Sequence (Images II) (1976) by George Crumb | Images (1977) by Sun Ra | Mirror Images (1978) by Van Der Graaf

Weekend links 387

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Japanese (?) poster for Liquid Sky (1982).

• The announcement this week of the death of Carl T. Ford, former editor of Dagon magazine, prompted a handful of memorial pieces. Dagon was notable for being a small British magazine devoted to Lovecraftian and other weird fiction (and the Call of Cthulhu games) at a time when the majority of such publications were American; it was also very well-produced, its later issues being typeset and filled with quality black-and-white illustration. Dagon interviewed many notable writers, including people such as Thomas Ligotti whose work at the time was still only known to a small group of enthusiasts. Mark Valentine posted a reminiscence at Wormwoodiana; Yog-Sothoth.com has an interview with Carl from 2010.

Michael “Dik Mik” Davies, manipulator of an audio generator and tape echo for Hawkwind, also died this week. Dik Mik’s primitive background electronics, augmented by Del Dettmar’s synthesizers, were an essential component of the early Hawkwind sound.

• Erik Davies talks to writer, photographer, and curator Joanna Ebenstein about Goth obsessions, memento mori, Santa Muerta, and her extraordinary new illustrated collection Death: A Graveside Companion.

• Slava Tsukerman’s cult film Liquid Sky (1982) finally gets a blu-ray release. From 2014: Punks, UFOs, and Heroin: Daniel Genis on how Liquid Sky became a cult movie.

Geeta Dayal explores the MOMA exhibition Thinking Machines: Art and Design in the Computer Age: 1959–1989.

You Should Come With Me Now is a collection of new fiction by M. John Harrison published this week.

VinylHub: “Our mission is to document every physical record shop and record event on the planet.”

Vladimir Nabokov‘s dream diary reveals experiments with “backwards timeflow”.

• Flawed Greatness: DB Jones on beauty and balance in John Ford’s The Searchers.

Irakli Kiziria on 9 synth artists who defined Eastern Europe’s post-Soviet sound.

• Edgar Allan Poe’s Hatchet Jobs: Mark Athitakis on Poe’s book reviews.

• Mix of the week: FACT mix 627 by Oneohtrix Point Never.

• At Creative Review: The design of Mute Records.

How generative music works.

Laraaji‘s favourite albums.

We Do It (1970) by Hawkwind | Adjust Me (1971) by Hawkwind | Electronic No. 1 (1973) by Hawkwind

Weekend links 293

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Red Petals by Sarah Meyohas.

• “For MMoB, I want it to be like a [Werner] Herzog movie, so at our concerts the people on stage aren’t necessarily people who are named. We’re trying to create an entity that is beyond music and relates visually and sonically with everything in a way that’s different.” Randall Dunn talks to Simona Mantarlian and Daniel Jones about the Master Musicians of Bukkake and his production work for other artists.

• “Is reel-to-reel tape the new vinyl?” asks FACT mag. It’s certainly better than cassette tape (if less convenient) but it was always a niche format for albums, even in the 1970s. Rene Chun made a similar argument for an emerging trend last October. Those expensive machines do look tempting… Early adopters should start collecting here before prices rise.

Airwaves: Songs From The Sirens is a new release of spectral audio transmissions by A Year In The Country: “…a gathering of scattered signals plucked from the ether, cryptograms that wander amongst the airwaves…” Physical versions come with the usual plethora of monochrome artefacts.

A vivid memory to his friends, Litvinoff was one of those people whose performance was their life. His most lasting achievement was the profound influence he had on Performance – the hallucinatory film directed by Nic Roeg and Donald Cammell, and starring Mick Jagger, which captured the London of the late 1960s, merging pop stardom, violent criminality, illegal drugs, gender-blurring, the occult and Jorge Luis Borges.

Jon Savage on David Litvinoff

• Virgin Prunes “are THE #1 most underrated group of the post-punk era” says Richard Metzger. I’d say that honour goes to The Passage but the Virgin Prunes were unique even if they’re too often dismissed as a freak footnote in the U2 story.

Magic, Witches & Devils in the Early Modern World is a free exhibition at the John Rylands Library, Manchester, that will run until August 2016. Related: “John Dee painting originally had circle of human skulls, x-ray imaging reveals.”

• “What I’m seeing now is an awful lot of people just following things. We tried to find our own thing and ask, ‘What else is there?'” Charles Hayward on the past and present of post-punk band This Heat.

• “I’ve never been tempted to write anything that was not essentially nightmarish.” Thomas Ligotti in a comprehensive profile (originally run in 2010) at Dennis Cooper’s blog.

• Mixes of the week: An introduction to Stereolab by Jon Dale, and Silent Radio Transmission Jan 2016 by SilentServant.

• Kicked Toward Saintliness: Max Nelson on the dark erotics of Jean Genet’s Our Lady of the Flowers.

• Reverse Engineering: Danny Hyde on Coil, Backwards and NIN.

Fuck Yeah! Anna von Hausswolff

Harry Flowers (1970) by Jack Nitzsche | Flowers In The Air (1970) by Sally Eaton | Darkness: Flowers Must Die (1972) by Ash Ra Tempel

Folk Horror Revival: Field Studies

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The particularly British sub-genre of folk horror receives a substantial examination in Folk Horror Revival: Field Studies, a 500-page collection of essays, interviews and artwork edited by Andy Paciorek.

Featuring essays and interviews by many great cinematic, musical, artistic and literary talents, Folk Horror Revival: Field Studies is the most comprehensive and engaging exploration to date of the sub-genre of Folk Horror and associated fields in cinema, television, music, art, culture and folklore.

Includes contributions by Kim Newman, Robin Hardy, Thomas Ligotti, Philip Pullman, Gary Lachman and many many more.

100% of all profits from sales of the book will be charitably donated to environmental, wildlife and community projects undertaken by The Wildlife Trusts.

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Nuada rising, 1973 & 1976.

Among the contents there’s my 4000-word essay Sacred Demons: The Dramatic Art of David Rudkin, parts of which will be familiar to readers of my previous posts about Rudkin’s work. I’m not sure Rudkin would appreciate being subjected to such a narrow focus when his plays and TV films are much more personal and cerebral than most generic entertainments. But there is an intersection in a number of them with folk horror at its widest reach, and Rudkin did happen to adapt The Ash-Tree (1975) by MR James for the BBC’s series of ghost stories at Christmas. My piece covers this along with other TV films such as Penda’s Fen (1974) and Artemis 81 (1981), and many of the stage plays including Afore Night Come (1962), The Sons of Light (1965/76) and The Saxon Shore (1983). The stage plays I only know from their scripts which makes them difficult to appraise; maybe the renewed interest in Rudkin’s work will spur some revivals.

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Sight and Sound, August 2010. Illustration by Becca Thorne.

Paciorek’s book isn’t solely concerned with British subjects, other essays include studies of Weird Americana, the music of The Cremator and Morgiana, and Czech folk horror. The Lulu page apparently didn’t allow the listing of a full table of contents so I’m posting the details below.

Continue reading “Folk Horror Revival: Field Studies”

Weekend links 283

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Behind by Lisa Wassmann.

• “Without space art, nobody would know what Mars would look like.” Artist David A. Hardy talking to Nadja Sayej about a life spent painting the cosmos and—briefly—working for Hawkwind. Visions of Space, an exhibition of astronomical art, is at the Wells & Mendip Museum throughout November.

• Mixes of the week: Something Beautiful Happened by Cafe Kaput; Autumn Vybes: Mist, Mystery and Motion by Abigail Ward; and Secret Thirteen Mix 166 by Ron Morelli.

• More Ghost Box: Two new singles in the Other Voices series will be released next month. And the label is profiled in the latest issue of Electronic Sound magazine.

It breaks my heart when one writer tells another what she can or cannot do. I once knew a woman, a professor of literature, who said that Flaubert had no right to write Madame Bovary because he was a man. Such dangerous foolishness! This is just another form that dogmatic thinking takes. And it seems to me that the imagining mind—which is also a profoundly human mind—must be unfettered, boundless. To write from the perspective of another’s world demands a generous and a rigorous leap of the spirit; it demands empathy and mindfulness. Writing is so much about subverting dogmatisms of all kinds, above all the ones that insist you cannot go there! You must not say that! Writers need to go anywhere, to take anything on. And the only rule is to do it well.

Rikki Ducornet in a retrospective feature at Dennis Cooper’s blog

• “Horror at its best has always existed outside the mainstream,” says Brian Ennis in another celebratory piece about Thomas Ligotti.

• Alan Clarke & David Rudkin’s Penda’s Fen receives another cinema screening next week at the Sallis Benney Theatre, Brighton.

• “[David] Lynch’s films abound with gnomic pronouncements and incantations,” says Dennis Lim.

Stars of the Lid play a tremendous hour-long set at St. Agnes Church in Brooklyn.

Drawn in Stereo: a book of music-related art and illustration by Michael Gillette.

• At Dangerous Minds: Only the coolest people get to sit in the wicker peacock chair.

Everything Is Erotic Therefore Everything Is Exhausting by Johanna Hedva.

Moon Mist (1961) by The Out-Islanders | River Mist (1989) by Brian Eno | Black Mist (Long Version) (2013) by Pye Corner Audio