Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Friday, September 24, 2010

Thoughts Of Knots

David Noonan

The term hauntological has been bandied about in the cultural blogsphere for a while now and there has been much interweb mesemerism in varying degrees of substance on the subject. For my tuppance, the work of David Noonan captures and evokes the very essence of hauntology through his slightly sinister double take on images which depict childhood, nostalgia and the coming of age in the 1970's. Below are a selection of images from his recent show at the David Kordansky Gallery in Los Angeles.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Vincenzo Agnetti

Sunday, September 19, 2010

One Way Pendulum

I'm very much looking forward to this weekend, as I'll finally have a chance to see this wonderfully obscure and absurd filmic masterpiece on the big screen.  One Way Pendulum was directed by Peter Yates in 1964 and features a classic oddball cast including Eric Sykes, George Cole and Jonathan Miller. To commemorate the event, my good friend Marc [of Kingly Books] designed this rather nifty silkscreened poster. Here's a little  clip featuring Jonathan Miller as he attempts to teach some weighing machines how to sing.  

Popera Cosmic

I've being listening to this recording all weekend thanks to the wonderful and vast musical resource that is Mutant Sounds.  Here's what they have to say about it.

"One of the first salvos of true otherness from the French underground scene, this mindbomb features the notorious William Sheller, whose 1972 opus Lux Aeterna is a long heralded holy grail of this scene, here collaborating with both eccentric period singer/songwriter and former Alice vocalist Francois Wertheimer and Guy Skornik..... How promising does *that* sound, eh? And while the orchestrations that frame the acid rock displays here clearly set the stage for the overwhelming sturm und drang of Lux Aeterna, it's absent both the churchiness conveyed by the relentless choral aspect of that album as well as it's shifts into Wakhevitch-like eeriness. Here, the swooning orchestrations creak under the weight of all manner of period psychedelic mad hattery; the spirit here overtly suggestive at times of Jean-Pierre Massiera's Les Maledictus Sound, with its outsized sense of theatricality (at times tipping over into Komintern and Grand Magic Circus territory), overloads of caustic acid guitar flailing and fabulously cooing, sighing, and keening vocals."

Links here and here, hopefully someone will be kind enough to reissue it on vinyl someday soon.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

John Stezaker

Thursday, September 16, 2010

A Symbolic Composition Of The Spiritual World

Augustin Lesage was born in 1876 and spent his early adult life as a coal miner. In 1911, when he was thirty five, he heard a voice from the spirit world. It said “Un jour, tu seras peintre” which roughly translates as "one day, you will be a painter". The voices instructed him on every detail of his work, from the mixing of the colour to which brushes and size of canvas to use.

For the next several years, he worked in the coal mine by day and painted by night, letting the spirits guide his hand. His paintings were created in a highly repetitive and methodical manner, as he began in the upper right corner of the canvas and gradually worked across and the downwards until complete.  As the canvas was built around a roller frame, Lesage could not view the entire composition until the painting was finished. His legacy remains obscure despite leaving over 800 large scale paintings, as his work is seldom exhibited outside of France.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wonder Magazine

Two charming and playful double page spreads from the 1962 sole issue of the American children's magazine Wonder.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Time Piece

More Jim Henson oddness, this time an Academy Award nominated short film from 1966 entitled "Time Piece."

The Paperwork Explosion

In 1967, Jim Henson [of Muppets fame] was contracted by IBM to make a film extolling the virtues of their new technology, the MT/ST, a primitive word processor. The film would explore how the MT/ST would help control the massive amount of documents generated by a typical business office. Paperwork Explosion, produced in October 1967, is a quick-cut montage of images and words illustrating the intensity and pace of modern business. Henson collaborated with Raymond Scott on the electronic sound track. Lovely.

Monday, September 13, 2010

An Introduction To Matrices

I Am Good

Whilst driving to work this morning, I began to listen to an old recording I made a few years back.  I'm usually the last person to give a positive critique of my own work but I quite liked this song. It's kind of folky and slightly warped and it seemed to complement this morning's dreich Scottish weather. See what you think.  It also gave me an excuse to publish this rather lovely picture.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Delusions Of The Fury

I've just spent a few minutes listening to and watching this.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

The Radical Architecture Of Little Magazines Part One

An Elizabethan Songbook

This is probably one of my favourite records. It took me quite a long time to find a copy but the wait was definitely worth it. It's a jazz record, a beautifully odd jazz record. At first glance, the record looks uninteresting but upon closer inspection, you begin to notice the clues. Maybe it's the strange combination of medieval and futuristic typography. Maybe it's the hip Elizabethan modette with pop art buttons. Maybe it's the list of great players such as Brian Moore (bass), Mike McNaught (piano), Mike Travis (drums), Jim Philip (flute). It's a very interesting listen and far rarer than you would think.  It took me a bloody ages to snag a copy.  I'm glad I persevered. It's both disappointing and strange that nobody has bothered to reissue it. Please listen to the deep modal track Orientis and the folk jazz oddity that is Scarborough Fair.  I think both are undiscovered gems that would fit perfectly on any Gilles Peterson compilation of British Jazz.

Anatolian Anagrams & The Saxana OST

Those wonderful people at Finders Keepers sent me two rather amazing discs of recorded music today. "Turk Jerk" consists of edited Turkish psychedelic music by the anagrammatic, genre hopping genius known as Tandy Love.  This edition is housed in a hand stitched, silk screened cover with all the titles cleverly disguised as anagrams. Upon further investigation, I also discovered the above rather nifty Turkish comic book cappery hidden inside. I recommend you seek out a copy immediately.  On a very different musical agenda is the strange and beguiling music found on the test pressing of the upcoming Czech Saxana OST. This soundtrack has it all, dark menacing orchestrations, twisted Czech pop, enchanted forest folk melodies and the odd kick ass drumbeat. Hats off to Finders Keepers once again. 

Friday, September 03, 2010

Image Du Monde Visionnaire

This rather oddly, avant garde educational film was made in 1963 by the Swiss pharmaceutical company Sandoz. It features, notable French writer and painter Henri Michaux as well as an adaptation of Max Ernst’s collage novel "La Femme 100 Têtes." 

Image du monde visionnaire from john on Vimeo.