Weekend links 557

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Poster by Milan Grygar for the 1969 Czech release of Fellini’s Juliette of the Spirits.

• “By encouraging composers to engage with sound as something more than just ‘notes on a keyboard’, the result [of the Buchla] was the kind of intricate sound design last heard in musique concrète. Works such as Morton Subotnick’s, Silver Apples of the Moon (1967) show a futurism completely absent on Wendy Carlos’ otherwise highly influential Switched-on Bach (1968), which used the keyboard-controlled Moog modular as if it were merely a glorified organ.” Oli Freke on the evolution of the synthesizer.

• “As humans began settling more consistently in one place to grow and thrive, the penis—or, more specifically, its erect form, the phallus—often came into use as a protector of fields that would prove fertile. In contrast to the comparative prudery of today, the phallus adorned everything from gods to shrines to personal homes and jewellery.” Emily Willingham on penial evolution in the animal kingdom.

• “The Trumpets of Jericho is, in part, so uniquely unsettling because it allows the woman in question to narrate her own horror. She is eager to give birth not to meet her child but so that she can go ahead and kill it.” Reed McConnell on the writings of Unica Zürn and (once again) Leonora Carrington.

At the center of it all, there was one director whom everyone knew, one artist whose name was synonymous with cinema and what it could do. It was a name that instantly evoked a certain style, a certain attitude toward the world. In fact, it became an adjective. Let’s say you wanted to describe the surreal atmosphere at a dinner party, or a wedding, or a funeral, or a political convention, or for that matter, the madness of the entire planet—all you had to do was say the word ‘Felliniesque’ and people knew exactly what you meant.

In the Sixties, Federico Fellini became more than a filmmaker. Like Chaplin and Picasso and the Beatles, he was much bigger than his own art. At a certain point, it was no longer a matter of this or that film but all the films combined as one grand gesture written across the galaxy. Going to see a Fellini film was like going to hear Callas sing or Olivier act or Nureyev dance. His films even started to incorporate his name—Fellini Satyricon, Fellini’s Casanova. The only comparable example in film was Hitchcock, but that was something else: a brand, a genre in and of itself. Fellini was the cinema’s virtuoso.

Martin Scorsese on “Il Maestro”, Federico Fellini

• At Dennis Cooper’s: For Your Crushed Right Eye: The instrumental films of Takahiro Iimura, Tetsuji Takechi, Toshi Matsumoto, Masao Adachi and Takashi Ito.

• “We wanted people to see that we exist.” Joan E. Biren, the photographer who recorded lesbian life in the 70s.

•New music: Alkisah by Senyawa, and Bishintai by Unknown Me.

• Mix of the week: XLR8R Podcast 683 by Laila Sakini.

Phallus Dei (1969) by Amon Düül II | Sidereal Hands At The Temple Of Omphalos (1996) by Scenic | Starman (feat. Peter Brötzmann) (2017) by Phallus Dei

Weekend links 515

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A pair of Huysmans covers from 1978 designed by Gérard Deshayes.

• Friends of the great composer/musician Jon Hassell set up a GoFundMe account a few days ago to help raise money for Jon’s medical costs. It’s always dispiriting having to link to these fund-generators when they shouldn’t be required at all but until America sorts out its health situation this is how things are. For those who’d prefer to help Jon by buying his music, there’s a Bandcamp page with a handful of releases, and more available at Bleep, the online distributor of Warp Records who helped produce his last release, Listening To Pictures (Pentimento Volume One). Related: Words With The Shaman: Jon Hassell interviewed by Chris May.

• Every time I think I must have heard all the best of the early Kraftwerk concerts another one turns up. This new posting at YouTube is taken from a recent file upload at the concert-swapping site Dimedozen, and is believed to be a radio recording of the group playing in Vancouver, Canada, in 1975. It’s very good quality (some slight bleed from other stations) and features excellent versions of their concert repertoire at that time. The version of Autobahn is especially good.

• in 2009 Dana Mattocks built a machine he called Steampunk Frankenstein, a construction which was attended by a frame containing my first piece of steampunk art. Dana’s latest creation is TILT, the Robot with Rocket Jet-Pack.

• RIP Tony Allen, the drummer about whom Fela Kuti said “without Tony Allen, there would be no Afrobeat”. Allen was interviewed by John Doran in 2012. Related: Tony Allen: the Afrobeat pioneer’s 10 finest recordings.

• “Robert Fripp’s ‘Music for Quiet Moments’ series. We will be releasing an ambient instrumental soundscape online every week for 50 weeks. Something to nourish us, and help us through these Uncertain Times.”

• How to avoid Amazon: the definitive guide to online shopping – without the retail titan; Hilary Osborne & Poppy Noor have some suggestions. I favour eBay for many of my purchases, large or small.

Adam Scovell on A Cinematic Lockdown: Confinement in the films of Alfred Hitchcock.

Liberty Realm, a book of art by Cathy Ward, is coming soon from Strange Attractor.

• One Great Reader: Luc Sante talks to Wes del Val about his favourite books.

• Oscar Wilde and the mystery of the scarab ring by Eleanor Fitzsimons.

Unica Zürn at Musée D’art Et D’histoire De L’hôpital Sainte-Anne.

• Mix of the week: Secret Thirteen Mix 302 by Avizohar.

• Another concert: Tuxedomoon live in Rome in 1988.

Rarefilmm | The Cave of Forgotten Films.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Ghosts.

Ghost Song (1978) by Jim Morrison & The Doors | Ghost Song (2000) by Air | Ghost Song (2005) by Patrick Wolf

Weekend links 104

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Prettiest Star (2004) by Timothy Cummings.

I Want Your Love, a feature film directed by Travis Mathews catches my attention for having been described as “the gay Shortbus” even though (as the director notes) Shortbus was pretty gay to begin with.

• I’ve always found Hans Christian Andersen’s story of The Tinderbox—a tale of spectral dogs with enormous eyes—to be rather weird. But these illustrations by Heinrich Strub for a 1956 edition beat everything.

• “From an early age, however, I became in secret the slave of certain appetites.” The line that Robert Louis Stevenson deleted from The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

Scientific American: Homophobes might be hidden homosexuals. Not exactly fresh news but always worth bearing in mind when someone starts ranting about those evil gays.

Minimal Wave: The 80s synth-pop underground. The Minimal Wave label releases a vinyl compilation by Hard Corps this month.

• “Blame the Victorians for making menswear boring.” Alex Jung on the endless tyranny of the suit-and-tie combination.

• Women, Vaginas and Blood: Breaking menstrual taboos with artist Sarah Maple.

London’s lost rivers (again): the hidden history of the city’s buried waterways.

Vincenzo Pacelli says the Knights of Malta murdered Caravaggio.

Street style 1906: Edward Linley Sambourne’s fashion blog.

Architectural Stationery Vignettes at BibliOdyssey.

Hans Bellmer & Unica Zürn at Ubu Gallery, NYC.

Pam Grossman admits to being a “candle hooch”.

Dirty (1986) by Hard Corps | Lost Rivers Of London (1996) by Coil | The Tinderbox (2009) by Patrick Wolf.

Passage 13

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Ed Jansen writes again with news that no. 13 of his Dutch-language web magazine Passage is now online:

Number 13 of Passage contains stories about the Buddha Machine, a strange little box that emits music, then there is ‘Escape from the dollhouse?’, which is about the art of Hans Bellmer, surreal and strangely erotic, ‘The Skeleton that Climbed in Through the Window’ tells the equally strange and sad story of the life of Unica Zürn, companion of Bellmer and ‘Nomads of the Timestream’ is of course about the work of Michael Moorcock. This collection begins and ends with two sides of a story about the version of the visit of Odysseus to the Underworld, by Ezra Pound.

The customary eclectic mix, in other words. The Buddha Machine section is a nice overview of recent ambient music machines. I love the ad art for Zhang Jian’s Short-Wave of Bengal Bay.

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Previously on { feuilleton }
Passage 12
Gristleism
Passage 11
Buddha Machine Wall
Passage 10
God in the machines
Layering Buddha by Robert Henke