Weekend links 724

ravilious.jpg

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 723

manrique.jpg

Flags of the Undiscovered Planets: 3 (1985) by César Manrique.

• “That mysterious font is Festive, not Stymie.” Ray Newman goes looking for a typeface that immediately says “Britain in the 1950s”. I used to refer to one of its relatives as “the launderette font”, although it was also a common sight on shopfronts, public buildings and other mid-century signage. Today I know it as the slab serif named Profil (aka Decorated 035), although as Newman demonstrates, this is only one of several slab-serif variants popular in the 1950s and 60s.

The Man Who Killed Google Search is a deep dive by Ed Zitron into why Google’s search has turned to shit. I recently changed the search option for all the browsers on my machines to DuckDuckGo. It’s not perfect but it’ll do for now.

• New music: Daddy’s Gonna Tell You No Lie, music by Sun Ra performed by Laraaji and the Kronos Quartet; Chroma by Loscil / Lawrence English; Homage To Hennix (The Electric Harpsichord Reinterpreted) by Dave Seidel.

• At Colossal: Tune into your own brain waves with Steve Parker’s suspended constellations of salvaged brass.

• At Bajo el Signo de Libra: Caspar David Friedrich (1774–1840): Icono del Romanticismo Alemán.

• At Public Domain Review: Maria Catharina Prestel’s Printed Cabinet of Drawings (ca. 1780s).

• At Unquiet Things: The teeming, tumbling, tangled cosmos of Madeline Von Foerster.

• Mix of the week: A mix for The Wire by FUJI||||||||||TA.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: 77 planetariums.

Planet D (Portishead Remix) (1994) by The Sabres Of Paradise | Planet Munich (1998) by Add N To (X) | Planet Vega (2000) by Air

Weekend links 722

robinson.jpg

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)

Liber Artificiosus Alphabeti Maioris

merken01.jpg

The previous post reminded me of this, one of my favourite examples of ornamented alphabets from the 18th century. Liber Artificiosus Alphabeti Maioris (“Artistic Book of the Major Alphabet”, 1782) was written and designed by Johann Merken, with the book’s 56 plates being engraved on copper by Heinrich H. Coentgen. I first saw these in a post at the now-defunct (and much missed) BibliOdyssey where Mr Peacay had found copies of the alphabet plates at some library archive or other. Happily, the Getty Research Institute made a scan of their own copy of the book a few years ago which includes all of the plates plus the accompanying German text.

merken02.jpg

The first part of Merken’s volume is unique in its combination of abecedarium with a variety of objects, emblems, symbols and other designs: silhouette figures, plants and flowers, ornamental gardens, coats of arms, calligraphic doodles, trophies (those accumulations of military paraphernalia), birds and animals (eg: a pair of monkeys playing the drums), monograms, mathematical figures, etc, etc, all festooned with the familiar swags and foliage of baroque decoration. In the second part of the book there’s more emphasis on science and technology, with plates devoted to astronomy, alchemy/chemistry, the orders of Classical architecture, and so on. The later pages are interesting but it’s those in the first section that really stand out. Many of the alphabet designs push their elaboration and embellishments to such a degree that the letters appear to be mutating to resemble their own decorations. The book as a whole is a curious blend of the 18th-century enthusiasm for taxonomy and categorisation combined with the baroque love of the grotesque and the arabesque. I wish there was more like it.

merken03.jpg

merken04.jpg

merken05.jpg

Continue reading “Liber Artificiosus Alphabeti Maioris”

Weekend links 718

inagaki.jpg

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