Weekend links 510

phaseiv.jpg

• Saul Bass’s cult science-fiction film, Phase IV, has received a very welcome (Region B) blu-ray release from 101 Films. Everything is a metaphor for the unavoidable just now, but a film about a group of scientists besieged by a tiny and insidious biological threat can’t help but have additional resonance. The new release includes the original (and seldom seen) cosmic ending plus another disc containing several of Bass’s short films. Previously: Directed by Saul Bass.

• Music at the Internet Archive: Live at Metro (2007) by Sora, and three rare cassette releases by French synth-rock duo Fondation: Metamorphoses (1980), Sans Etiquette (1980), and Le Vaisseau Blanc (1983).

• Mixes of the week: a Manu Dibango (RIP) mix from Aquarium Drunkard, and Industrial Synth Rave Isolation Mix by Moon Wiring Club.

We must talk about Nightwood. The novel that sits between those early and late phases of her writing life, the tale of Felix Volkbein, Robin Vote, Dr Matthew-Mighty-Grain-of-Salt-Dante-O’Connor and many others, caught between world wars and each other, in the decadent cities of Europe. The novel follows the journey of Robin Vote, who is more “earth-flesh, fungi, which smells of captured dampness” than person. Sleepwalking through life, she nonetheless wakes up her fellow characters Nora, Felix and Jenny, who each try and pin her down, to no avail. It is a novel that defies synopsis. It is unsurprising that this remarkable book has attracted a “burgeoning body of interpretations”, as Tyrus Miller here notes; yet it seems that there are still new ways to approach it. Julie Taylor offers an affective reading, for example; Joanne Winning concentrates on Nightwood’s collaborative origins, exploring the fruitful and often overlooked creative relationship between Barnes and her partner, Thelma Wood. This is not just a case of considering that relationship as source material for the novel, but unpacking what Winning describes as their “lesbian modernist grotesque”. It is particularly welcome that Winning treats Wood as a silver-point artist in her own right.

Jade French reviews Shattered Objects: Djuna Barnes’s Modernism

• Ben Beaumont-Thomas on where to start with Kraftwerk, and Jennifer Lucy Allan on where to start with Alice Coltrane.

• The BBC’s Culture page discovers Tom of Finland but can’t bring itself to show much of his artwork.

• The art of Asterix: illustrator Albert Uderzo (RIP) at work.

Clive Hicks-Jenkins on “a marvel of clockwork ingenuity”.

• The films Wes Anderson is watching during isolation.

Greydogtales on six more strange tales that linger.

Adrian Searle‘s favourite online art galleries.

• The Ghost Box label is now at Bandcamp.

Twin Flames (Edit) by Lustmord.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Flamboyant.

Phase By Phase (1976) by Peter Baumann | Phase 3: Agni Detonating Over The Thar Desert… (1995) by Earth | Phase Draft (2003) by Bill Laswell

Weekend links 439

sadismo.jpg

Cammell & Roeg’s Performance (1970) was marketed in Italy with all the restraint for which the Italian film industry has long been celebrated.

• “To the good men I offer the hand of friendship, to the foes of our sex I offer resistance and annihilation!” We Women Have no Fatherland (1899), a novel by Ilse Frapan, is the latest title from Rixdorf Editions.

• More Edward Gorey: Mark Derey discusses his biography on the Virtual Memories Show podcast. Related: Edward Gorey’s Calling Cards, a spoiler-heavy investigation.

• “It starts how most horror films end, and it just keeps building and building, crescendo on crescendo…” Ben Cobb on the original (and, for me, only) Suspiria.

• The next compilation release from the excellent Light In The Attic label will be Kankyo Ongaku: Japanese Ambient, Environmental & New Age Music 1980–1990.

Saint Flournoy Lobos-Logos and the Eastern Europe Fetus Taxing Japan Brides in West Coast Places Sucking Alabama Air (1970) is a short film by Will Hindle.

• Film producer Sandy Lieberson and author Jay Glennie on Donald Cammell & Nicolas Roeg’s Performance.

• “Wes Anderson‘s offbeat debut as a curator drove a storied museum’s staff crazy. The results are enchanting.”

Above Water, Inside, a video by James Ginzburg from his recent album, Six Correlations.

• For the LRB Podcast: Iain Sinclair and Patrick Wright discuss living with buildings.

• Not necessarily the best ambient and space music of 2018: a list by Dave Maier.

• “The net is not a good guide to book prices,” says Mark Valentine.

David Bennun on 30 years of the Pet Shop Boys’ Introspective.

• Mix of the week: XLR8R Podcast 568 by Young Marco.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Chris Marker Day.

Introspection Pt. 1 (1969) by The End | Introspection (1984) by Minimal Compact | Intro-Spectiv (1996) by Chris & Cosey

Weekend links 391

mueck.jpg

Mass by Ron Mueck at the National Gallery of Victoria Triennial. Photo by Tom Ross.

• Thanks of the week: to In Wild Air for asking me to fill their list of six favourite things; to Hodderscape for including my cover for Jeannette Ng’s Under the Pendulum Sun among their choice of best book covers of the year; and to Dennis Cooper for listing this blog among his own end-of-year favourites. Ta, all!

• New/old music: The Quietus reissues, etc, of the year, new Pye Corner Audio, Soul Jazz presents Deutsche Elektronische Musik 3, and The Cleansing is a new album by Annabel (lee).

• Mixes of the week: Seeing The Forest For The Trees by Gregg Hermetech, FACT mix 631 by Zola Jesus, and Secret Thirteen Mix 240 by Restive Plaggona.

Were a normally sexed person to enter such an establishment, he might be puzzled to see so many finely dressed men sitting there with soldiers, though he would find nothing particularly offensive. The friendships between homosexuals and soldiers forged here over sausage, salad and beer frequently endure for the full term of service, and often longer. The soldier returns home, living as a married farmer far from his beloved Berlin garrison, but many a uranian still receives freshly killed quarry as a token of friendship. Sometimes these relationships are even passed on to younger brothers; I know one case where a homosexual had relations with three brothers one after the other, all of whom were with the Cuirassiers.

An extract from Berlin’s Third Sex by Magnus Hirschfeld, one of the new titles from Rixdorf Editions. Ostensibly straight soldiers supplementing their income by having sex with “uranians” was still a common thing decades later, as detailed in John Lehmann’s In The Purely Pagan Sense.

The Cremator (1968) a film by Juraz Herz, was reviewed on these pages a while ago. It’s now out on region-free blu-ray. Highly recommended.

• At Wormwoodiana: Mark Valentine on a map of old Dunwich, and Egypt in England.

Clive Hicks Jenkins on Mapping the Tale: image making and the narrative tradition.

Wyrd Daze returns with a free pdf, and a mix by The Ephemeral Man to download.

• At the BFI: Chris Gallant on where to begin with giallo cinema.

The Parisian Cabinet of Curiosities Loved by Wes Anderson.

Mass Production (1977) by Iggy Pop | Mass (1981) by Yellow Magic Orchestra | Mass Transit Railway (1997) by Monolake

Weekend links 146

snake.jpg

A Chinese postage stamp celebrating the Year of the Snake.

Cyclopean is a collaboration from Burnt Friedman, Jono Podmore and Can founding members Jaki Liebezeit, and Irmin Schmidt. The Quietus has a preview of all the tracks from their forthcoming EP. Great stuff.

Ten Things You (Possibly) Don’t Know About Kraftwerk. Related: a Speak & Spell emulator, and Atomium, a new single by Karl Bartos.

• In 1975 Barney Bubbles designed an inner sleeve for Hawkwind’s Warrior on the Edge of Time album, and this scarce recipe booklet.

• “We should all use language carefully. That is an obligation on the literate. But carefully doesn’t mean fearfully,” says Jenny Diski.

• Faber’s car-crash of a cover design for the 50th anniversary edition of The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath caused an outbreak of parodies.

• At Strange Flowers: Ancient dreams and antique corruptions, Salomé via Gustave Moreau and Huysmans.

• FACT Mix 368 is a very varied collection of recent music and older pieces curated by Holly Herndon.

• At Ubuweb: eleven out-of-print recordings of Harry Bertoia’s sound sculptures.

Laurie Anderson and Brian Eno in conversation at Interview magazine.

Michael Chabon on Wes Anderson’s Worlds.

Snake Rag (1923) by King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band | Rattlesnake Shake (1969) by Fleetwood Mac | Snakes Crawl (1980) by Bush Tetras | Ananta Snake Dance (1980) by Suns of Arqa | Snakeblood (2000) by Leftfield

The Lady Is Dead and The Irrepressibles

lady1.jpg

The lady may be dead but the art here is very much alive. The second great video of the week comes via the always essential Homotography, a short piece by director Roy Raz whose film features a pair of tattooed lesbians, a tennis match involving meat (or something), boys stripping out of their underwear to indulge in some peculiar—and for all we know, metaphysical—sexual congress, an elderly lady dancing round a piano, and a gang of luscious hunks who soap a car before sponging down their own bodies.

lady2.jpg

Do we have to worry about What It All Means? Of course we don’t, although the usual crowd of bewildered YouTube commenters struggle with comprehension like medieval rustics attempting to decipher so many signs and wonders. Think of it as the kind of thing Wes Anderson might create if someone dosed him with psychotropic chemicals that also turned him gay.

lady3.jpg

More important for me is the utterly fantastic song which Roy Raz uses, a number entitled In This Shirt by a ten-piece British group, The Irrepressibles, whose name I recognised but whose music I hadn’t heard until this. Lead singer Jamie McDermott’s voice is very reminiscent of Antony Hegarty which is no bad thing, although McDermott is probably weary of the comparison. Our musical culture would be greatly improved by more people taking their lead from Antony. The Irrepressibles’ site has a Soundcloud page where you can hear other songs from their recent Mirror, Mirror album, the CD of which is now on my shopping list. They also have a couple of videos showing their live performances which look rather spectacular. 2010 is turning out to be a good year for British music; when that music comes with cute guys attached it’s an added bonus.

lady4.jpg

Update: Roy Raz’s film is now also on Vimeo with other of his works.