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Portrait d’Arthur Rimbaud (1933) by Valentine Hugo.

• Among the new titles at Standard Ebooks, the home of free, high-quality, public-domain texts: At the Mountains of Madness by HP Lovecraft.

Retro-Forteana is “Andrew May’s Forteana Blog, focusing on the weirder fringes of history (and other old-fashioned stuff)”.

• Mixes of the week Bill Laswell Mix No. 7: The Return of Celluloid by Voice of Cassandre, and Isolatedmix 126 by Saphileaum.

• At Bajo el Signo de Libra: The second part of a look at photographs by Herbert List of Italians and Italian life.

• New music: Worship: Bernard Herrmann Tribute by The Lord, and Cursory Asperses by Celer.

• At Wormwoodiana: Mark Valentine on the joy of obscure journals.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Paul Clipson Day.

Persher’s favourite music.

At The Mountains Of Madness (1968) by HP Lovecraft | Mountains Of The Moon (2002) by Jah Wobble And Temple Of Sound | Mountains Crave (2012) by Anna von Hausswolff

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An Exceptional Occurrence (1950) by Eileen Agar.

• New music: The Endless Echo by Pye Corner Audio, coming soon from Ghost Box. PCA continue to fly the flag for the original Ghost Box mission of bringing various forms of weirdness to electronic music. The new album “draws inspiration from scientific and science-fictional notions about the nature of time and the idea that it may be entirely unreal”. Over at Bandcamp there’s Here by Stefano Guzzetti and Ian Hawgood.

• “Powell and Pressburger emerge from this film, more than ever, as sui generis: inventors of their own kind of film, gentleman amateurs of cinema in some ways…” Peter Bradshaw reviewing Martin Scorsese’s Made in England: The Films of Powell and Pressburger.

Velocity and Creation, a pair of short films by Vadim Sherbakov made with magnets, glitter and inks. The scores are too bombastic but I like the visuals.

Art is for increasing life. That, I believe, after all the other purposes receive their due, is really what it’s for—why we revere it, why we give our hearts to it. What do I mean by increasing life? How can we live more, given that we can’t live longer? Through attention and intensity. Being fully present to the world, and feeling without reservation: the two things that making art requires and that experiencing it involves.

William Deresiewicz on thirteen ways of looking at art

Modern Illustration is a project by illustrator Zara Picken, featuring print artefacts from her extensive personal collection.

• Mix of the week: Aquarium Drunkard presents Pulp Jazz: Twenty-First Century Groove Music. Great stuff.

• At Public Domain Review: Tales of the Catfish God: Earthquakes in Japanese Woodblock Prints.

• At The Quietus: Jonathan Meades interviews Saint Leonard. And vice versa.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Michelangelo Antonioni Day.

• The Strange World of…Bill Laswell.

Creation (1971) by Arthur Brown’s Kingdom Come | Création Du Monde (1971) by Vangelis | Creation (1977) by Tangerine Dream

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Sea Change (c.1966) by George Wallace Jardine.

A paucity of links this week thanks to the Xmas blight which reduced my RSS feed to a wasteland of no activity at all or too many of those lazy listicles devoted to “our top ten things of the year”. There was, however, this from Simon Reynolds:

I miss the inter-blog chatter of the 2000s, but in truth, connectivity was only ever part of the appeal. I’d do this even if no one read it. Blogging, for me, is the perfect format. No restrictions when it comes to length or brevity: a post can be a considered and meticulously composed 3,000-word essay, or a spurted splat of speculation or whimsy. No rules about structure or consistency of tone. A blogpost can be half-baked and barely proved: I feel zero responsibility to “do my research” before pontificating. Purely for my own pleasure, I do often go deep. But it’s nearer the truth to say that some posts are outcomes of rambles across the archives of the internet, byproducts of the odd information trawled up and the lateral connections created.

Setting aside the inter-blog conversation, which I was never very interested in, Reynolds articulates precisely why I still enjoy posting things here. I also agree with his comments about the psychological constraints that doing the same for Substack or similar would impose: a paying readership creates responsibilities that would make the whole thing feel like another form of work rather than play. To Reynolds’ comments I’d add that I also enjoy having a tiny area of the internet over which I exercise complete control. If I fall out with my webhost, as I did in the summer, I can move the entire site to a new location.

Reynolds expanded on his article at his regular forum, blissblog, where he examines the current state of the thing that people used to call the blogosphere. My thanks to Simon for including this place in his list of diehard operatives. I can’t say I’ve noticed the younger generations picking up the habit (then again, I haven’t really been looking…) but the small percentage of any generation who want to do more than simply follow the herd will always find outlets for their interests. And the tools for doing this have never gone away. This particular medium may not suit most people, but for those who can accommodate themselves to the format it’s a better way to spend your time than marinating your soul in the corrosive sump of social media.

• Elsewhere: Among other things, 2024 will be the year that the earliest manifestation of Walt Disney’s ubiquitous rodent enters the public domain in the USA. Jennifer Jenkins lists some of the more prominent books, films, songs, etc that will be following suit.

• At Open Culture: The Beautiful Anarchy of the Earliest Animated Cartoons.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Another day for Shirley Clarke.

Suspended Animation (1980) by Bernard Szajner | Animation (1983) by Cabaret Voltaire | Reanimation (1996) by Bill Laswell feat. DJ Rob Swift

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The Yolk (1953) by Gertrude Hermes.

• “By 1910, a quarter of the 129 million litres of alcohol consumed annually by Frenchmen was absinthe. Of course, the wine industry was threatened by this growing desire for ‘industrial spirits.’ The Pernod Company was the primary producer, but there were dozens of distilleries offering variations of the ambrosial concoction. The Green Fairy had become the Green Curse.” Barnaby Conrad III on the intersections of absinthe and art.

• At Wormwoodiana: “The Zombie of Great Peru is a transgressive novel written in 1697 by Pierre–Corneille Blessebois…a memoir of occultism, seduction, slapstick, and humiliation, set in the racial and sexual hothouse of colonial Guadeloupe. It contains the first appearance of the word ‘zombie’ in literature.” Doug Skinner, the translator of a new edition, talks to Bill Ectric about the book.

• “I have been lucky to have the time to understand, or misunderstand, the concept of sound. It’s all about the sound. I don’t play styles, I don’t play genres, I don’t play jazz. I play my repertoire, my language, my own poetry.” Bill Laswell talking to Paul Acquaro and David Cristol about his career as player and producer.

• New music: Rhan-Tegoth by Cryo Chamber Collaboration. A couple of months ago I was wondering whether Cryo Chamber would be continuing their series of Lovecraftian albums, and, if so, which entity they might choose for the theme of the next one. Now we know.

• “Zines, at their most glorious, are indifferent to dignity, reckless in the statements they reel off, determined to make a virtue of their limited resources.” Sukhdev Sandhu on the history of the fanzine.

• At Unquiet Things: Hazy Shade of Winter: The Artwork of Julius Sergius von Klever.

• Mix of the week: DreamScenes – December 2023 at Ambientblog.

• At the Daily Heller: Daniel Pelavin’s Pipe Dreams.

• Old music: Buchla Christmas by Warner Jepson.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Isaac Julien Day.

Pipeline (1962) by The Chantays | Pipeline (2005) by Monolake | Banzai Pipeline (2020) by The Surfrajettes

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Salammbô (1899) by Adolphe Cossard.

• At Unquiet Things: “A mystery that no longer exists: Wrinkle in Time cover artist revealed”. S. Elizabeth explains. I did a little research of my own into this enigma without success. Good to know that it’s been resolved.

• James Balmont’s latest guide to Japanese cinema is an examination of the transcendental oeuvre of Yasujiro Ozu.

• At Spoon & Tamago: Trains intersect with everyday life in nostalgic illustrations by Shinjiro Ogawa.

• DJ Food discovered a set of Zodiac posters by Bruce Krefting from 1969.

• At Wormwoodiana: John Howard on looking for misplaced Machens.

• At Vinyl Factory: Discovering Mort Garson with Hilary Wood.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: More Ozu in Yasujiro Ozu Day.

• New music: Multizonal Mindscramble by Polypores.

• Mix of the week is a mix for The Wire by Aho Ssan.

• Ioneye in conversation with Bill Laswell.

Train Song (1969) by Pentangle | Love On A Real Train (1984) by Tangerine Dream | Tokyosaka Train (2002) by Funki Porcini