Weekend links 706


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

Weekend links 543


Adolph Sutro’s Cliff House in a Storm (c. 1900) by Tsunekichi Imai.

• Good to see a profile of Wendy Carlos, and to hear that she’s still working even though all her albums (to which she owns the rights) have been unavailable for the past two decades. I’d be wary of praising Switched-On Bach too much to avoid giving new listeners a wrong impression. The album was a breakthrough in 1968 but was quickly improved upon by The Well-Tempered Synthesizer (1969) and Switched-On Bach II (1973). And my two favourites, A Clockwork Orange – The Complete Original Score (1972) and the double-disc ambient album, Sonic Seasonings (1972), are superior to both.

• “[Sandy Pearlman] told me that one of the main inspirations was HP Lovecraft. I said, ‘Oh, which of his books?’ He said, ‘You know, the Cthulhu Mythos stories or At The Mountains Of Madness, any of those.'” Albert Bouchard, formerly of Blue Öyster Cult, talks to Edwin Pouncey about BÖC’s occult-themed concept album, Imaginos (1988), and his affiliated opus, Re Imaginos.

• More electronica: Jo Hutton talks to Caroline Catz, director of the “experimental documentary” Delia Derbyshire: The Myths and Legendary Tapes.

• At the V&A blog Clive Hicks-Jenkins talks to Rebecca Law about his award-winning illustrations for Hansel and Gretel: A Nightmare in Eight Scenes.

• New music: Archaeopteryx is a new album by Monolake; What’s Goin’ On is a further preview of the forthcoming Cabaret Voltaire album, Shadow Of Fear.

Celebrating A Voyage to Arcturus: details of two online events to mark the centenary year of David Lindsay’s novel.

• “Streaming platforms aren’t helping musicians – and things are only getting worse,” says Evet Jean.

• At Spoon & Tamago: the cyberpunk, Showa retro aesthetic of anime Akudama Drive.

• At A Year In The Country: a deep dive into the world of Bagpuss.

Sinister Sounds of the Solar System by NASA on SoundCloud.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Shirley Clarke Day.

Mary Lattimore‘s favourite albums.

• Solaris, Part I: Bach (1972) by Edward Artemiev | Bach Is Dead (1978) by The Residents | Switch On Bach (1981) by Moderne

Bridges-Go-Round, a film by Shirley Clarke


Bridges-Go-Round (1958) is a short but beguiling film that makes New York’s bridges seem like huge pieces of kinetic sculpture. The version linked here is also unusual for being two films in one: the film repeats itself with identical visuals but a different soundtrack. The first version is scored by a jazz piece from composer and producer Teo Macero, the second has electronic music by Louis and Bebe Barron that sounds very similar to their all-electronic score for Forbidden Planet (1956). When the music changes the film seems to change with it.

Previously on { feuilleton }
NY, NY, a film by Francis Thompson