Weekend links 729

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Phosphorus and Hesperus (1881) by Evelyn De Morgan.

• Mix of the week, or possibly the entire year: The Deep Ark, 167 tracks (over 8 hours of music), most of which are from the electronic deluge of the early 1990s. The download link may not work for all browsers—it didn’t for one of mine—but it is active. Via Simon Reynolds who has more about the Deep Ark project.

• At Nautilus: Betsy Mason on the use of stage magic to investigate animal behaviour. “By performing tricks for birds, monkeys, and other creatures, researchers hope to learn how they perceive and think about their world.”

• At The Daily Heller: Mad and the Usual Gang of Idiots. Meanwhile, Mr Heller’s font of the month may prove useful for this election season, a Jonathan Barnbrook design named Moron.

Looking back, you can see a pattern in those eras in which interest in telepathy boomed. Coined by Myers and his fellow psychical researchers in the 1880s, telepathy gained traction because it was formulated inside a moment of scientific and technological revolution, where uncanny transmissions proliferated across the visible and invisible spectrum, seeming to collapse the natural and the supernatural together. In the 1970s, telepathy returned, if under different names, as part of another moment of crisis. The Cold War arms race was an essential part of this, feeding a strange supplemental world of fantasy technologies, from mind control to brainwashing, and playing on an all-too-widespread psychological paranoia around being seen, infiltrated and manipulated by invisible agents.

Roger Luckhurst looks back at a century of psychic research

• New music: Portable Reality Generator by Field Lines Cartographer, and Sublime Eternal Love by Chrystabell and David Lynch.

• Coffee and Chocolates for Two Guitars: Robert Fripp interviewing John McLaughlin in July, 1982.

• Paintings by Ithell Colquhoun currently showing at the Ben Hunter gallery, London.

• At Public Domain Review: Eye Miniatures (ca. 1790–1810).

ESP (1965) by Miles Davis | ESP (1990) by Deee-lite | ESP (2002) by Comets On Fire

Weekend links 724

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Dr Faustus Conjuring Mephistopheles (1928) by Eric Ravilious.

• Materialising in July from a cloud of sulphurous smoke: The Devil Rides In – Spellbinding Satanic Magick & The Rockult 1967–1974. Cherry Red Records, home of the well-sourced, well-researched multi-disc compilation, might have been channelling my inner desires with this one, a Sabbath-esque soundtrack to the Occult Revival. I ordered it faster than you can say “Hail Satan!”

A Series of Headaches: Shakespeare’s First Folio meets the London Review of Books. “In this film, letterpress printer Nick Hand pulls apart the whole process, from making ink from crushed oak galls to heaving the levers of a replica Jacobean press, and shows how we produced our own (almost) authentic version of the LRB circa 1623.”

• Alan Moore will be subject to greater attention than usual in October. In addition to the forthcoming Moon and Serpent Bumper Book of Magic, the month will also see the publication of The Great When, the first novel in his Long London series. Bloomsbury now has cover art to go with their description of the novel.

Mad Dogs & Englishmen: Faust On Virgin Records: An extract from Neu Klang: The Definitive Story of Krautrock by Cristoph Dallach, “the first comprehensive oral history of the diverse and radical movement in German music during the late 60s and 1970s.”

• Alien life is no joke: Adam Frank on combating “the giggle factor” in the search for extraterrestrial life.

• At Colossal: Lauren Fensterstock’s Cosmic Mosaics Map Out the Unknown in Crystal and Gems.

• New music: Ritual (evocation) by Jon Hopkins; Time Is Glass by Six Organs Of Admittance.

• At Unquiet Things: The Gentle, Jubilant Visual Poetry of Tino Rodriguez.

• At Retro-Forteana: Colin Wilson, Philosopher of the Paranormal.

• DJ Food on Jeff Keen’s Amazing Rayday Comic collages.

At Dennis Cooper’s: Alan Clarke Day.

Krautrock (1973) by Faust | Krautrock (1973) by Conrad Schnitzler | The Kraut (2007) by Stars Of The Lid

Weekend links 722

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Desert Sunrise (no date) by Kay Robinson.

• RIP Richard Horowitz, a composer and musician whose soundtrack work makes the headlines but who I’ve always known best via his appearances on albums by Jon Hassell and others, and his collaborations with his partner, Sussan Deyhim. Majoun (1996) is my favourite among the Horowitz and Deyhim albums but it’s one of those releases that received little attention at the time and hasn’t been reissued since. Related: Revisiting Morocco, Magic, Majoun, Horowitz and Deyhim: Robert Phoenix talks to Horowitz and Deyhim for the final issue of Mondo 2000. | Desert Equations (For Brion Gysin) (1986).

• “A typeface is like an orchestra, and the type designer is its conductor.” Dr Nadine Chahine on the music of type design.

• At Colossal: Flip through more than 5,000 pages of this sprawling 19th-century atlas of natural history.

• At Unquiet Things: Become one with the moss, mushrooms, and magic in the art of Brett Manning.

• At Public Domain Review: Annie Besant and Charles Leadbeater’s Occult Chemistry (1908).

• New music: Reality Engine by 36, and Transformation Sonor by Hannes Strobl.

Photos of undersea life for the Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest.

• Mix of the week: DreamScenes – April 2024 at Ambientblog.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Book.

The Blue Flame (1981) by David Byrne (with Richard Horowitz) | Ravinia/Vancouver (1987) by Jon Hassell (with Richard Horowitz) | Bade Saba (The Wind Of Saba) (2000) by Sussan Deyhim (with Richard Horowitz)

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

The Werewolf of Anarchy

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Synchronicity is as universal as gravity. When you start looking you find it everywhere.

Thus Discordian anarchist Stella Maris, making her first appearance in my re-reading of Illuminatus! (previously) in a week when more synchronicities related to the novel have been imposing themselves. “The Werewolf of Anarchy” (published on the 23rd of the month, of course) was a picture that turned up a couple of days ago when I was searching through the back issues of Punch magazine. Punch did a lot of this kind of thing, dropping the humour now and then for some heavy-handed pictorial comment about international affairs. Given my current reading the word “anarchy” was bound to catch my attention but the werewolf image is unusual—why not a regular wolf?—while being further bound to the novel via Robert Anton Wilson’s fondness for Lon Chaney Jr’s lycanthrope. I often wondered why Wilson used to refer to this as much as he did. Illuminatus! mentions the werewolf legend from the first Universal film in its grab-bag of cultural weirdness, and I seem to recall there being more references in Wilson’s later novels. In the 1980s Wilson was living in Ireland where he wrote a werewolf-themed song with a local band, The Golden Horde, one of the few (only?) Irish groups who can be counted as part of the fleeting psychedelic revival that took place in the middle of the decade. The Golden Horde’s first album, The Chocolate Biscuit Conspiracy, appeared in 1985, and ends with Lawrence Talbot Suite, a number which is “explained” with the following words: “Lon Chaney Jr, The Easter Bunny, The primeval sleeve note, red curtain, the stings, a crush-can dominates a scowling buddha”. Whatever that means.

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Meanwhile, my RSS feed informs me that Pentagrams Of Discordia have just released a new album whose final number bears the title Planetary Radiation (RAW); Robert Anton Wilson turns up again at the end of the track to talk about Chaos Theory in relation to Discordian history. And the above item arrived in the mail this week, a two-disc CD release of a newly-discovered live recording of Steve Hillage and band performing at the Bataclan in 1979. I own a lot of live Hillage albums, along with all his studio recordings, and this is one of the very best. The concert is pertinent for including an early rendition of New Age Synthesis (Unzipping The Zype), a song that made its first appearance in 1979 on the studio side of Live Herald, and which contains what may be the first reference to Illuminatus! in song form (the album sleeve includes thanks “to Robert Anton Wilson for his intriguing books”). Hillage offered an explanation of the studio songs’ lyrics in his own mysterious sleeve note:

For those who find the lingo a bit strange—“unzipping the zype” can be defined as (rising organ music please!):—the spontaneous inner exorcism by which a person can neutralise the harmful, consciousness-distorting effects of the artificial elemental spirits (zypes) formed around each word of everyday language.

The zypes are built up by the identification process by which we manufacture “reality.” Occultists refer to them as “astral glamour,” yogis as “the web of Maya”—but no word is zype-proof, not even zype. Cherish this phrase—it’s a royal flush!

Hmm, okay… No indication there or in the lyrics as to how you go about “unzipping the zype”. New Age Synthesis is a call-and-response between Hillage and partner Miquette Giraudy in which Hillage recounts his experience with the zypes. In the first verse he mentions “word spirits” to which Giraudy replies “Egregores!”, an occult concept which—quelle surprise—has connections to Chaos Magic. In the next verse Hillage blames the existence of the word spirits on the Illuminati—”Paranoia!” responds Giraudy—only to discard this claim in the lines that follow: “It isn’t really them at all, but you and me”. Hillage’s albums of the 1970s are filled with all manner of New Age business—flying saucers, ley lines, mysticism of various kinds—but he isn’t a David Icke. Why werewolves? What zypes? Mysteries abound. This is a great album, anyway, in or out of the Synchronicity Zone.

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