Weekend links 24


Delta-Wing (2009) by Chloe Early.

• “Feted British authors are limited, arrogant and self-satisfied, says leading academic”. Stating the bleeding obvious but it still needs to be said, apparently, especially when the announcement of the Booker list this year caused the usual confusion when Amis Jr. and McEwan weren’t included, as though the mere existence of their novels makes them prize-worthy. And as someone pointed out, the word “male” is missing from that headline.

Hero of Comic-Book World Gets Real: Alan Moore again, in the NYT this time. Related: a review of Unearthing live.

• Announcing The Hanky Code by Brian Borland & Stephen S Mills, a 40-poem book to be published next year by Lethe Press. For an explanation of the Hanky Code there’s this, and there’s also an iPhone app.

Folk—the ‘music of the people’—is now hip again, says (who else?) Rob Young who can also be heard on the archived podcast here. Related: the folk roots of Bagpuss. Related to the latter: The Mouse Mill.


An endpiece from The Firebird and other Russian Fairy Tales by Boris Zvorykin.

‘Yes’ to Catastrophe: Roger Dean, Prog and SF. A lengthy and thoughtful analysis of Roger Dean’s early work.

Into the Media Web, the enormous Michael Moorcock book which I designed, is officially published this week.

Cassette playa: in praise of tapes. I’ve complained about tapes in the past but people continue to find them useful. Some technologies die harder than others.

Boy BANG Boy: “Quiet moments made suddenly very loud with the attitude and opinion of what it means to be a young male in an impossibly diverse world.” An exhibition opening at Eastgallery, London, on August 5th.

Empty your heart of its mortal dream: Alfred Kubin’s extraordinary novel, The Other Side.

Ghostly and Boym Partners devise a new way to deliver digital music.

Besti-mix #27: a great selection by producer Adrian Sherwood.

Agnostics are troublemakers. Amen to that.

• RIP Harry Beckett.


Let Us Go In To The House Of The Lord by Pharoah Sanders (live, 1971): Part 1 | Part 2

4 thoughts on “Weekend links 24”

  1. The tape article makes a very good point about having to sit through the tracks in real-time when making a mix tape. I still know that bringing my tape player down from the loft would be an exercise in futility…

    I’ve got a little stash of blank tapes that I acquired along with a multitracker on eBay, but I’m saving those to show my daughter when she’s old enough to dig it.

    Shoehorning Burroughs into the discussion as per usual, it’s hard to imagine him sitting in Tangiers putting together curses using a software sound editor. On the one hand I imagine he’d be keen to be at the forefront of such technology – everything he did with tapes could be done ‘better’ and extended much further with a digital editor – but at the same time the physicality of tape strikes me as an important factor for Burroughs, in the same way as splicing text around on a laptop screen lacks the physical magic of taking a sharp blade to the printed word and arranging a new reality by hand.

    Still, it’s endearing to imagine WSB sitting in a gloomy room staring at a laptop screen rather than his foot for hours on end.

  2. I still have a cassette deck as part of my hi-fi setup but it only gets used now when I want to transfer a cassette to another medium. I used to spend hours and hours making mix tapes…

    It’s impossible to say whether Burroughs would have used digital technology had it been available. I’d imagine on one hand that the physicality of the medium had an appeal. The experiments you can hear on his early recordings often involved manipulating the tape in some way. But he did write a piece entitled The Electronic Revolution, and he came from a family of inventors.

    For an example of how 21st century WSB might sound, I recommend the fantastic remix that Terre Thaemlitz made of the Soul Killer track on Material’s Seven Souls. The remixes that Bill Laswell commissioned for that album mostly reworked the music. Thaemlitz applied the cut-up technique to Burroughs’ reading and also time-stretched his voice. I love it.

  3. Seven Souls is great, I’ll try to track down the remix. It’s odd that the various commercial Burroughs albums rarely apply his techniques in any meaningful way. Of course the man’s voice was/is an instrument in itself.

    I’ve been thinking about ‘laptop Burroughs’ since making my post. Somehow I don’t see it happening – I see Ginsberg being all over Twitter and Burroughs keeping a disdainful distance. But then I consider something like The Adding Machine or The Job and I think no, he’d be in there leading the way. Then I start wondering if he’d ever make the move from shotguns to laser rifles, and by then it’s usually time for bed.

  4. The remixes are on the 1997 reissue CD on the Triloka label. Far better sound than the original CD sound but I was annoyed they “remixed” Shinro Ohtake’s cover with a surprisingly dull job by the usually excellent Russell Mills. Seven Souls is one of my cult albums and that rather spoiled it. There’s also a remix EP on the same label of The Western Lands track. Most of the remixes aren’t very interesting for me aside from the Thaemlitz one, the original tracks are better.

    The reason the Burroughs albums are mostly music + voice is down to his collaborators really, most of whom were musicians rather than experimenters. Cabaret Voltaire could have done something really interesting with a Burroughs reading but they never had the opportunity.

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