Weekend links 718

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Chatting Cats (c.1960) by Tomoo Inagaki.

• New/old music: Follow The Light by Broadcast, a song which will appear on Spell Blanket—Collected Demos 2006–2009 in May. The album will be followed by another collection, Distant Call—Collected Demos 2000–2006, in September, with both releases being described as the last ever Broadcast albums. This was always going to happen eventually but I thought there might be a final collection of all the tracks the group recorded for compilations which have never been reissued.

• “Cats are all over Turkey. In Istanbul, which I visited before traveling to eastern Turkey, cats are welcome not just in cafes but in houses, restaurants, hotels, and bars.” Emily Sekine on the cats of Turkey.

• “El Shazly’s music is like a rush of new energy, a link between the past and present of Egyptian music that is fresh and vital.” Geeta Dayal on Egyptian singer and composer Nadah El Shazly.

• More werewolves: A trailer for Wulver’s Stane, a contemporary refashioning of werewolf lore. Director Joseph Cornelison is a reader of these pages. (Hi, Joseph!)

• Among the new titles at Standard Ebooks, the home of free, high-quality, public-domain texts: Ghost Stories by EF Benson.

• At Colossal: Sacred geometries and scientific diagrams merge in the metaphysical world of Daniel Martin Diaz.

• At The Quietus: What does dying sound like? Jak Hutchcraft on music and the near-death experience.

• At Unquiet Things: Languid Dreams and Unsettling Poetry: The Art of Jason Mowry.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Spotlight on…Ronald Firbank Caprice (1917).

Ashkasha, a short animated film by Lara Maltz.

• New music: Chimet by Mining.

I’m The Wolf Man (1965) by Round Robin | The Werewolf (1972) by Barry Dransfield | Steppenwolf (1976) by Hawkwind

More Surrealist Subversion

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It looks like I’m still in the Synchronicity Zone. This PDF of the fourth and final issue of Arsenal: Surrealist Subversion turned up when I was searching for something that had nothing to do with Surrealism in general or the Chicago Surrealist Group in particular; inside there are yet more wolves and mentions of anarchy, although the two aren’t directly connected this time. The fourth number of Arsenal was published in 1989, thirteen years after the third issue, and at 230 pages is the most substantial number of all. Substantial and easily the best of the four, with a wide range of textual and visual material, and less concern with the aesthetic and political arguments of the distant past. There are some impressive collage pieces in this issue, as well as examples of work by painters that were unknown to me which I’ll be following up later.

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The editorial tone is generally less belligerent than the earlier issues although Franklin Rosemont is still lobbing verbal grenades at the cultural figures who managed to upset him. As I said in January, you can’t expect much else from a magazine that names itself after a store of weapons. Elsewhere in the issue the writers attempt to compensate once again for André Breton’s dismissal of music as a vehicle for Surrealism although none of the discussion goes very far. The blues and jazz musicians mentioned are all dead ones, and mostly seem to be celebrated for their “liberatory” existence rather than any overtly Surrealist qualities in their music. The attitude seems to be: This music/person is liberatory; Surrealism is liberatory; therefore this music/person is Surrealist. The only reference to the vast ocean of popular music comes with a one-page eulogy to Bob Marley of all people, the safest choice in any discussion of Jamaican music. Reading this you wouldn’t know there was a whole world of deeply weird and very influential dub music out there. I’d argue that there’s more Surrealism in King Tubby Meets Rockers Uptown or any number of Lee Perry singles than in the whole of the Marley discography. An opportunity was missed in this issue and the earlier numbers of Arsenal to show the ways in which music—especially the popular variety, not compositions for the concert hall—has been continually Surrealist from the rock’n’roll era to the present day. But this discussion is only a small percentage of the whole journal. If it fails here it leaves an opening for more detailed exploration elsewhere.

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The Surrealism archive

Previously on { feuilleton }
The Werewolf of Anarchy
Arsenal: Surrealist Subversion

Weekend links 717

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Bookplate of Charles P. Searle (1904) by Sidney Lawton Smith.

• “If Minute 9 is the first time we hear the names Deckard and Blade Runner, it’s also the first time we meet the plainclothes cop who will play a key role in LAPD surveillance of Deckard—and in the changed emphasis of four subsequent versions of Blade Runner released over the next twenty-five years.” Des Barry in the latest Minute 9 installment at 3:AM Magazine, in which a writer analyses the ninth minute of a favourite film.

• “I’ve really started to respect the journalists who are documenting what artists are doing… There’s so much reliance on social media for artists to express themselves, but maybe some don’t want to express themselves on social media all the time. Maybe they’d rather talk to a professional journalist who could parse through it for them. It can be more interesting that way.” Julia Holter talking to Skye Butchard about music-making.

• “I didn’t use any instruments that had been manufactured after 1980, but vintage analogue gear to sound like the tracks that they’re trying to evoke.” Matt Berry discussing his enthusiasm for library music, and his new album of the same for the KPM label.

• Mixes of the week: Monument Waves 002 at A Strangely Isolated Place, and DreamScenes – March 2024 at Ambientblog.

• At Public Domain Review: The Art of Sutherland Macdonald, Victorian England’s “Michelangelo of Tattooing” (ca. 1905).

• At Colossal: Unearthly characters populate Spencer Hansen’s salvaged universe.

• At Bandcamp: A Guide to Can by George Grella.

• Galerie Dennis Cooper presents…Amir Zaki.

• New music: Shoures Soote by Cerfilic.

Queens Of The Circulating Library (2000) by Coil | Library Of Solomon Book 1 (2011) by Demdike Stare | The Equestrian Library (2013) by Broadcast

New Moon Safari

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In the mail today from Burning Shed, the debut album by Air French Band [sic] in an expanded three-disc set, housed in a card wallet and featuring blu-ray audio and video. On the second CD there’s a live version of Funkadelic’s Maggot Brain. Who knew? etc. The duo’s last album was in July 2014, so it’s anyone’s guess when they might record again, but this will do nicely for now, thanks.

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Previously on { feuilleton }
Le Voyage dans la Lune

The groovy video look

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Under Water/In Air.

This recently-released video for Under Water/In Air by Starfucker (or STRFKR, as they often have to style themselves) is an animated production by Edward Carvalho-Monaghan, an artist whose visuals may be seen to similar effect in an earlier animation for Starfucker’s Armatron. Carvalho-Monaghan’s artwork has appeared on a number of the group’s record sleeves, including the latest album, Parallel Realms, which combines a Surrealist dose of the visual style that I refer to as the groovy look with the kind of impossible architecture popularised by MC Escher. Armatron, meanwhile, features more architecture in what may be borrowings from Giorgio de Chirico.

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Armatron.

I lost interest in music videos years ago, I’d much rather listen to the music than have to experience it as a soundtrack to some director’s attempt to illustrate a song with visual novelty. But animated music videos are easier to take, in part because the pairing of animation with music goes back to the earliest days of the medium. The Starfucker videos have had me wondering how much video or animation might suit the “groovy” definition if you went looking for it. And by this I mean following the limits defined by my earlier post which is predominantly concerned with heavy outlines and flat, bold colours rather than quasi-psychedelic effects. I don’t have the time just now to start searching for other examples but The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine is the Ur-text in this department, and the film’s influence may be found in both Carvalho-Monaghan animations.

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Sing, Sang, Sung.

One other music video that does come to mind is for Sing, Sang, Sung by Air, directed by Mrzyk & Moriceau. The colour palette is desaturated but the rest of the graphics are definitely in the groovy zone, with the video as a whole coming across like a Surrealist take on those endlessly scrolling, mutating computer games. When the black ball reaches its destination you’re tempted to watch it all again.

(Under Water/In Air tip via Scotto Moore’s This Newsletter Cannot Save You.)

Previously on { feuilleton }
The groovy look
Tadanori Yokoo animations