Falk-Ulrich Rogner album covers

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All The Years Round (7-inch single, 1972).

I mentioned earlier that Falk-Ulrich Rogner’s cover art for Amon Düül II was worthy of a post so here you are. Amon Düül II were slightly ahead of the pack in the German music scene of the 1970s, starting earlier and (arguably) finishing their prime period earlier. They were also closer in musical style and group ethos to the psychedelic/early prog groups in Britain and America, especially Hawkwind with whom they shared a record label and a bass player. Other German groups were often psychedelic to some degree but Amon Düül II went all-out for a German take on psych rock, with extended guitar-heavy jams played against oil-on-water projections.

Falk-Ulrich Rogner was one of the longer lasting members of the group’s shifting personnel, playing organ and electronics, writing lyrics and creating artwork that’s a perfect match for what I always think of as Amon Düül II’s Gothic Surrealism: a blend of lyrics and themes running through songs titled like Max Ernst paintings: Flesh-Coloured Anti-Aircraft Alarm, Archangel’s Thunderbird, Stumbling Over Melted Moonlight, Green Bubble Raincoated Man. The cover art is generally a collage of photographs, old paintings and other graphics, a familiar technique for psychedelic album covers. What gives Rogner’s work an edge is the way he blends multiple collages together by either photographic exposure or the photographing of projected transparencies. This has the effect of softening hard edges and transitions, and makes the resulting images all the more hallucinatory and dream-like. Effects like this are easy to achieve today with Photoshop but in the early 1970s they required a considerable effort.

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Phallus Dei (1969).

At first glance the cover of the gloriously titled debut album looks like a painting but it’s a photograph of a tree silhouette juxtaposed against some vague collage business. This doesn’t really communicate the lysergic intensity of the music within which may explain why the cover was changed to something more typically psychedelic for its UK release.

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The back cover inaugurates a pattern of placing the band on the back of the album, a reversal of the usual state of affairs even today.

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The first CD release of Phallus Dei on the Mantra label featured what may be another Rogner photomontage, one that I’ve not seen anywhere else.

Continue reading “Falk-Ulrich Rogner album covers”

Weekend links 246

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Love Hunter by Victo Ngai.

• “The strangeness of the lyric style, the misuse of words and awkward phraseology that have been criticized even by Poe’s fervent admirers, are here taken as virtues, heightening as they do, a given poem’s conscious and calculated formalism.” Marjorie Perloff reviews The Poet Edgar Allan Poe: Alien Angel by Jerome McGann.

• Mix of the week: Secret Thirteen Mix by Jeremy Kolosine. Starting with Michael Rother is apt when I’ve spent the past week in a Cluster/Harmonia/Kraftwerk/La Düsseldorf/Neu!/Rother loop.

• Court records “suggest that the supposedly prudish Victorians had a far more relaxed attitude to sex between men than their 1960s counterparts”. Historian Jeff Evans has the data.

• “Part of HP Lovecraft’s acknowledged debt to Machen also lies in hearing without seeing.” London Sound Survey on Arthur Machen’s “sounds from beyond the veil”.

• “…pity the designer who has to enact the stage direction that instructs rats to carry away a character’s feet.” Andrew Dickson on the extreme theatre of Sarah Kane.

• Psychedelic collage artist Wilfried Sätty receives a mention in Carey Dunne‘s piece about how LSD helped shape California’s ecstatic design legacy.

• More psychedelia: The Psychedelic Sex Book by Eric Gotland & Paul Krassner, edited by Dian Hanson.

• At Dangerous Minds: Robert Fripp demonstrates Frippertronics on The Midnight Special, 1979.

• Dreams from a Glass House: artist Josiah McElheny on the glass architecture of Paul Scheerbart.

• Director Peter Strickland on six films that fed into The Duke of Burgundy.

Vintage trade card designs

The Zero Of The Signified (1980) by Robert Fripp | Heptaparaparshinokh (1981) by Robert Fripp & The League of Gentlemen | 1984 (1981) by Robert Fripp

Weekend links 210

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Crashing Diseases And Incurable Airplanes (2014) by USA Out Of Vietnam. Artwork by Amy Torok.

Amy Torok’s cover art for the debut album by Canadian band USA Out Of Vietnam is pleasingly reminiscent of the surreal and psychedelic collages of Wilfried Sätty. The music within has been described as “a cross between ELO and Sunn O)))” which it is up to a point, although to these ears the group are more in the Sunn O))) camp than the post-Beatles pop of Jeff Lynne and co. The sound is big whatever label you apply, and promises much for the future.

Mysterious creatures of Monterey Bay Aquarium’s ‘Tentacles’. The Aquarium bought one of my drawings last year for this exhibition which juxtaposes tentacular artwork with live creatures. The show runs until 2016.

• Jon Hassell’s 1990 album, City: Works Of Fiction, has been reissued in an expanded edition including a live concert collaboration with Brian Eno, and a collection of remixes/alternate takes.

• Photographer Jonathan Keys uses antique camera equipment to give his views of contemporary Britain a patina of the past.

Roman Polanski and the man who invented masochism. Nicholas Blincoe on Leopold von Sacher-Masoch and Venus in Fur (sic).

• Mixes of the week are by James Pianta, E.M.M.A. (whose Blue Gardens album I helped design), and Balduin.

• Sweet Jane unearths another great article about psychedelic London: The Fool and Apple Boutique, 1968.

• “Did Chris Marker think history to be not only an infinite book but a sacred one?” asks Barry Schwabsky.

• Front Free Endpaper on the story behind the cover photo of A Boy’s Own Story by Edmund White.

Mapping the Viennese Alien Event Site. Christina Scholz explores another Zone.

Moondog: The Viking of 6th Avenue. The first and only movie about Moondog.

Rick Poynor on rediscovering the lost art of the typewriter.

• At BLDGBLOG: 100 Views of a Drowning World.

Miguel Chevalier’s magic carpets

Venus In Furs (1967) by The Velvet Underground | Sex Voodoo Venus (1985) by Helios Creed | Venus As A Boy (1993) by Björk

Weekend links 168

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Window to the Universe (1967) by Roberta Bell. From Summer of Love: Psychedelic Posters from SCMA currently showing at the Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, MA.

Sympathy for the Shoggoth: China Miéville’s Revolution of the Weird Tale, an essay by Christina Scholz which features one of my Cthulhu pictures among its embellishments. Related: “‘New Strange’ stories hold a chilling mirror to life” says Rick Kleffel discussing Robert Aickman and others. And speaking of Aickman (so to speak), Reese Shearsmith has recently recorded Aickman’s Cold Hand in Mine for Audible.

• An erotic alphabet book from the Soviet Union circa 1931, created to promote adult literacy. Who says porn can’t be educational?

Angelystor is a new 39-minute composition by Phil Legard which he describes as “often heavy, Saturnine and melancholic”.

• James Ward’s postcards of the Post Office Tower. Related: film of the revolving restaurant at the top of the Tower in 1967.

•You Might Never Find Your Way Back: Shirley Jackson’s Hangsaman by Nicholas Rombes.

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Stone Garden (1967) by Wilfried Sätty.

High Over Blue is “a mind-warping 20-minute freakout” by Moon Duo.

• Queer Visual Splendour: Jon Macy discusses his erotic comics.

The Origin of the Pilcrow, aka the Strange Paragraph Symbol.

• Mix of the week: the Kranky 20th Anniversary Mixtape.

Ten Amazing Cheeses and their Literary Counterparts.

PingMag looks at the past and present of Ginza.

Mind Gardens (1967) by The Byrds | The Garden (1981) by John Foxx | The Toy Garden (2006) by Helios

Le Tarot de Philippe Lemaire

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Philippe Lemaire is French, and another engraving collage artist who I’d have to include in the list of post-Ernst practitioners if I ever get round to updating my Strange Attractor essay about Wilfried Sätty. Like Ernst and Sätty, Lemaire seems to use paper-and-scissors techniques, although Sätty also made use of print processes in order to duplicate the images he cut from old books, and also resize, flip or invert them. In this he’s the bridge between the original method of engraving collage and digital techniques.

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The examples here are from a small series of Tarot images on the artist’s website, none of which are labelled so we’re left to guess the identity of what I presume are figures from the Major Arcana. The one above may be The Empress but the other two resist easy interpretation. Judge the others for yourself here.

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Previously on { feuilleton }
Tarotism and Fergus Hall
Giger’s Tarot
The Occult Explosion
Wilfried Sätty album covers
Nature Boy: Jesper Ryom and Wilfried Sätty
Wilfried Sätty: Artist of the occult
Illustrating Poe #4: Wilfried Sätty
The Major Arcana by Jak Flash
The art of Pamela Colman Smith, 1878–1951
The Major Arcana