Highlights of 2015

2015 Albums
They say that creativity flourishes under oppression and bleak times and it’s been a great year for music so there must be a grain of truth there. In an effort to glean something positive to remember 2015 by in light of all the injustice and hate out there in the world, here are some of my favourite things, in no order whatsoever.

There were several amazing music releases that went far beyond the normal album format – the main one being Aphex Twin‘s incredible Soundcloud dump of archive tracks which continue to drip out and now number over 200 tracks even if he has taken a lot of them down now. If there’s a ‘release’ of the year then that wins hands down although I’m still trying to process it all and tried to compile a selection of the cream in this mix for Solid Steel but bear in mind that that was when he’d only released half of it so by it’s no means definitive.
The other mega-release that deserves special mention is Rammellzee‘s ‘Cosmic Flush’ magnum opus that’s still in the process of materializing in a physical format. Released across seven 12″s with one track + remix + instrumentals + art print each, to be collected in a limited box with booklet around Spring 2016, it’s taken a huge effort by the Gamma Proforma label to bring to fruition seven years after the record’s completion and five years after Rammellzee’s death. It’s been a vintage year for independent Hip Hop too with great albums by Divine Styler, Ollie Teeba, Memory Man and The Fabreeze Brothers.
It’s nice to see the Leaf label celebrating 20 years of existence and still as vital as ever with Melt Yourself Down, Polar Bear, Radioland and new signing The Comet Is Coming all releasing excellent records this year. One last mention must go to the album at the top of the list below that crept out under everyone’s noses on Record Store Day and has slowly been gathering attention through word of mouth in the last eight months. So much so that it won the Dead Albatross Music Prize – an alternative to the Mercury award set up by independent Norman Records to nominate records that would otherwise be passed over at such things. If you only listen to one album from the list below, make it the Annabel (lee) one.

Albums:
Annabel (lee) – By The Sea & Other Solitary Places (If Music/Ninja Tune)
Rammellzee – Cosmic Flush (Gamma Proforma)
Divine Styler – Def Mask (Gamma Proforma) (technically 2014)
Memory Man – Broadcast One (Chopped Herring)
Eagles of Death Metal – Zipper Down
Jane Weaver – The Amber Light (Bird)
Cavern Of Anti-Matter – Blood Music (Grautag Records) (technically 2013)
The The – Hyena (Death Waltz)
The Fabreeze Brothers – S/T (AE Productions)
Markey Funk – Instinct (Audio Montage) (released fully in Jan 2016)
Aphex Twin – Soundcloud Archive dump
Amon Tobin – Dark Jovian EP (Ninja Tune)
Radioland – Radio-Activity Revisited (Leaf)
Ollie Teeba – Short Order (World Expo)
Kurt Stenzel – Jodorowsky’s Dune (Light In The Attic)
Various Artists – The Delaware Road (Buried Treasure)
Floating Points – Elaenia (Pluto)
Morgan Delt – S/T (Trouble In Mind) (technically 2014)
Gaz Coombes – Matador (Universal)
Black Devil – Disco Club (Lo Recordings)
Bruce Ditmas – Yellow Dust (Finders Keepers)
Rodinia – Drumside / Dreamside (Now Again)
Various Artists – In A Moment (Ghost Box)
Jaga Jazzist – Starfire (Ninja Tune)

Tracks:
a few of these are from a few years ago but new to me…
Noel Gallagher – The Right Stuff (Sour Mash)
Graeme Miller & Steve Shill – Moomins Theme (Finders Keepers)
The The – Everybody Wants To Go To Heaven But Nobody Wants To Die) (Cineola)
The Comet Is Coming – Neon Baby (Leaf)
Reso – Richochet (Hospital)
Black Channels – Oracles (Death Waltz Originals)
Paul Rutherford – Get Real (Hardcore) (1989)
Beck – Dreams (Capitol)
Band of Skulls – Hootchie Cootchie (Ignition Records) (2014)
Pond – Zond (EMI)
Ash Grunwald – Walking (2011 but via the Amorphous Androgynous ‘Wizards of Oz’ 2015 RSD comp)
Olivier Libaux – No One Knows (feat. Inara George) (2013)
Alan Copeland – Mission Impossible/Norwegian Wood (ABC) (1968!)

Packaging 2015

Design / packaging / covers:
so many incredibly high quality creations, a oglden age for record sleeve packaging and design…
Science Fiction Dancehall Classics compilation (Trevor Jackson) (On-U Sound)
The The – Hyena (Cineola / Death Waltz/Mondo)
Kurt Stenzel – Jodorowsky’s Dune (Signal Starr) (Light In The Attic)
Jaga Jazzist – Starfire (Ninja Tune)
Tame Impala – Currents (Robert Beatty)
The ‘Beat Bop’ record case (Jean-Michel Basquiat)
Grasscut – Everyone Was A Bird (Lo Recordings)

Artists2015

Artists:
Dan Lish
Kim Jung Gi
Signal Starr
Oddly Head
Ameet Hindocha
Reuben Sutherland
Stan & Vince
Jonathan Edwards
Laurie Lipton
Larry Carlson

Books2015

Books / Comics:
Augustine Kofie – Keep Drafting (ZERO+ Publishing)
Stephen Coates – X-Ray Audio (Strange Attractor Press)
Roger Perry – The Writing On The Wall (Plain Crisp Books Ltd)
Hanson, Godtland & Krassner – Psychedelic Sex (Taschen)
Island – Various (Image)
Sandman: Overture – Gaiman/Williams (Vertigo)
Ody-C – Fraction/Ward (Image)
8-House – Various (Image)
B.P.R.D: Hell On Earth – Various (Dark Horse)
Punks: The Comic – Fialkov/Chamberlain (Image)
Judge Dredd: Enceladus – New Life – Williams / Flint (2000AD)

Format expo

Exhibitions:
Peter Kennard at the Imperial War Museum
Charles & Ray Eames at the Barbican
Cosmonauts at the Science Museum
X-Ray Audio at the Horse Hospital
Trevor Jackson / Format at the Vinyl Factory space
Zulu Nation 42nd Anniversary at House of Vans

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Film / TV: (I really didn’t watch much this year)
Mad Max: Fury Road
Star Wars : The Force Awakens
Love & Mercy
Dune The Complete Saga (Fan edit)
‘Colossus: The Forbin Project’
Rick & Morty

Secret Cinema X-Wing

Moments:
The X-Wing Fighter flying overhead during Star Wars Secret Cinema
The Frankie Goes To Hollywood box set getting nominated for an AIM award for best box set design
Interviewing Edwin Pouncey aka Savage Pencil for a forthcoming book
Getting to wear a full Stormtrooper suit whilst DJing during Star Wars Secret Cinema
DJ Shadow & Cut Chemist – Renegades of Rhythm show at Koko
Writing a piece and creating a mix about Rammellzee for the Quietus
The moving sale finds at Lambiek in Amsterdam
Crazy scenes at the Southbank for the Big Fish Little Fish free Sunday session

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Heroes:
Ben Coghill (again) for being the best agent in the business
The NHS – for saving my mum’s life and generally being incredible
Joshu Docherty – for recommending me for Star Wars Secret Cinema
Jeremy Corbyn – for giving hope that there can be an alternative
Sarah Coleman & Leigh Adams – for releasing their first film, making unique and
interesting things and generally being great people
Pete Williams – for getting the keys to the basement
Shindig! magazine – for overcoming the odds and turning a bad situation to their advantage
Pete Isaac & Scott Boca 45 for getting the whole 45 Live crew together and building an international collective
Everyone who gave their time and dug through their collections to contribute to the weekly Flexibition posts on the site: Jonny Trunk, Pete Isaac, Jon Brooks, Markey Funk & Ofer Tal, Stephen Coates, Jon More, John Stapleton, Steve Cook, Anton Armtone, Sarah & Leigh, Spencer Hickman.

RIP:
Mike Allen (Legendary Hip Hop DJ), Lemmy, Demis Roussos, The Pizz, Don Joyce (Negativland), Shusei Nagaoka, Kája Saudek, Errol Brown (Hot Chocolate), Daevid Allen (Gong), Leonard Nimoy, Brett Ewins, Noriyoshi Ohrai, Rod McKuen, Edgar Froese (Tangerine Dream), Mark B.

Looking forward to:
Transmission shop opening in Margate
David Bowie – Black Star LP
Mute 40 book
The Black Channels LP
The Allergies – Rock Rock feat. Andy Cat (Ugly Duckling)
Prophet: Earth War

Timeline by Peter Goes

Timeline coverThis book by Peter Goes is beautifully illustrated and attempts to map a chronological history of the world, first through the ages and then in decades by the book’s end. It’s just been published and can be found in most good book shops – beware though – it looks like a children’s book but it doesn’t pull its punches, see the Charlie Hebdo shootings referenced on the final page.

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The Future Sound of London ‘The Most Important Moments In A Life’ book/CD

FSOLBookCover+CDTime machine. Pod rooms, Liquid Insects and Tales of Ephidrina (must dig that out again). Westside, Jumpin’ & Pumpin’, Virgin, EBV, FSOLDigital. A can of worms. Master tapes, promos, press releases and magazine reviews. Reaching for Discogs. More questions than answers. Just who was Philip Pin? What happened to the longform film, ‘Yage’? The first band to ever offer downloadable music? (yes, apparently they were)

FSOLBook1FSOLBook2Reading FSOL‘s scrapbook of their career made me sad rather than nostalgic for the music industry of old. For all its technological advancements, a lot of which the band spearheaded, we’re left with a shadow of the brave new world promised by the online digital revolution. In a week when Solid Steel‘s Vimeo account was terminated without warning over a single copyright claim, a time when an entire radio station’s Soundcloud account disappears, one artist sells more than the entire top 200 combined and independent labels are being told there’s a 14-16 week wait for pressing vinyl, it’s a sobering read.

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FSOLBook4FSOLBook5There’s a quote from Radio 1’s then controller, Matthew Bannister, in one of the clippings, saying that “…FSOL typified the kind of forward-looking outfit the station wanted to embrace”, and, for a while, it did. Unfortunately, rejecting the lagered up anthems needed to become poster children for an electronic generation to forge a more cerebral path into the charts, it was only a matter of time before the bubbling Britpop and Big Beat bandwagons changed that.

FSOLBook6The book’s also filled with quaint technological reminders of the time, mention of ADATs, Power Mac1800/80s, laser discs, images of Syquests and floppy discs and the web frequently mentioned as just ‘Internet’. There’s a noticeable drop off in the amount of press after ‘Dead Cities’ and you realise that, despite releasing well over two albums worth of material and countless mixes, the duo’s Amorphous Androgynous cosmic rebirth only really gained acclaim after their Oasis remix and first ‘Monstrous Psychedelic Bubble…’ mix CD. By that point in time the ‘Psych’ word was back on people’s lips and once again Gary and Brian earned their ‘Future Sound…’ tag from having plowed this furrow since an aborted 1997 compilation a full decade before the genre made its resurgence.

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FSOLBook8FSOLBook7The ‘Life In Moments’ CD that accompanies the book is a treat too, offering a physical version of several tracks given away free as digital EPs with items purchased from the FSOLDigital webstore. The amazing ‘I Turn To Face The Sun’ is worth the price alone amongst the unreleased and alternate mixes. Buy it here

FSOLBook10 FSOLBook12 FSOLBook11Talking of unreleased FSOL material, the previously announced soundtrack to the computer game Mushroom 11 has been expanded to include four new tracks and comes as a download with purchases of the game. If you want to get a copy try here and here (links courtesy of the Galaxial Pharmaceutical website).

Mushroom-11-logoAnd it doesn’t rain, it pours, The Amorphous Androgynous have a 14 minute Monstrous Psychedelic Bubble remix called ‘Murdered & Downer’ on The Kooks‘ remix album, Hello, What’s Your Name?, available from 4th December. It’s already on the web if you search hard enough…

*STOP PRESS!: There’s a Black Friday sale on at their webstore right now, lots discounted, go take a look…

The Jaarbeurs International Collectors Fair, Utrecht

Deltafreight11.05am and I’m sitting on a train in Rotterdam Centraal Station, waiting to depart after leaving a grey, wet Brussels at 8.30 that morning. I’m in the silent carriage, with ear plugs in. When the train pulls out it’s so slick and quiet it feels like we’re running on silk. The silence is glorious, the sun is shining and the landscape filled with all manner of quirky, forward-thinking Dutch architecture. Solar panels, clean, modern angles, a half-built curved structure like a rising flower bulb just outside the station and two lifelike giraffe’s heads and necks sprouting from nowhere. The multi-colouredl graffiti that always forms like weeds around train stations tumbles out of the tunnels, gradually withering away as we leave the city. I spot a pristine white Delta piece on a rusted freight train not far from the city’s boundary. It’s so quiet I’m aware that my fingers typing are making a racket in the carriage. I’m seated on the top deck, a glorious view of the flat landscape before me and the train glides on, they even have free wifi – must resist!

I should be back in Brussels, getting breakfast and checking out to meet up with DK and Debruit for a car ride to The Hague but instead I’m on my way to Utrecht to slot an afternoon’s digging session in at the Record Planet Mega Record fair. Realising the night before that it was actually only a 35 min train ride away from Den Haag and on the insistence of Andy Votel via a Twitter conversation (‘it’s totally on route!’) I decided to forego the lie in and make the most of my time on the continent this weekend. The record fair at Jaarbeurs is reckoned to be the biggest in the world, certainly in Europe anyway and the scale of it just cannot be comprehended by viewing pictures online alone. Never has so much cardboard and vinyl been crammed into such capacious air craft hanger-like spaces. I’d been once, back in 2004, before my kids were born, thus since preventing me from returning on such a frivolous jolly as a weekend-long record shopping spree. But now I’ve got an excuse, even if only for a day, and an extra train ticket, entry fee and several extra hours of sleep are the only forfeits. The train pulls in to Utrecht Centraal 15 minutes short of midday.

An hour later and I’ve only just made it into the fair, despite it being located less than a 10 minute walk from the station. After queuing for a ticket the mission was on to find a cash point of which there are only two in the foyer, both with a line snaking across the entire floor. There were more back in the station but incredibly all but one of them are out of action. Ticket in hand I finally get through the barrier, past a group of cosplayers in full Stormtrooper garb (that’s new) and begin the daunting task of picking through what seems like the carefully chosen debris of the 20th Century.

overview-record-fair-utrecht-april-2015-8To say that Jaarbeurs is big is an understatement that is so woefully inadequate it’s like saying Jeremy Corbyn has a bit of a job on his hands if he hopes to become the next Prime Minister. It is SO big that you reel as you find yet another aircraft hanger-sized space crammed with even more ephemera than the last one you just spent over an hour briskly jostling through. What I never realised, way back when I first visited the fair, was that the record part only accounts for roughly a third of the overall space in Jaarbeurs, the rest is packed with Europe’s largest vintage collector stalls selling virtually anything you can bring to mind.

IMG_6680Buttons, stamps, coins, vintage toys, new toys, animal bones, African statues, globes, stones, medical research statues, school teaching displays, stained glass windows, lamps, turntables, gramophones, books, magazines, comics, glassware, pottery, jewelry, badges, dolls, clothes, material, masks, cutlery, posters…

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The place is like the most incredible museum you’ve ever been to coupled with the fact that you can buy every exhibit in what resembles the continent’s biggest car boot sale. Imagine Birmingham’s N.E.C. and quadruple it. Another misconception is that it’s all expensive, this isn’t true either, yes there are trophy pieces everywhere, bought by dealers the world over in the hope that they will sell to their biggest captive audience and pay for the trip. But equally there are boxes of cheaper stuff marked at €1 that simply need to be rifled through to find the gold.

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It is however, completely unrealistic to expect to be able to ‘do’ the whole thing even in a weekend let alone an afternoon. I’d decided I was going to go through the other halls before I hit the records as I’d previously walked straight past them and never investigated. Now older and with more than enough vinyl to warrant having the floor of my home studio reinforced because of it I decided to explore the other two thirds I’d previously dismissed.
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It was slim pickings until the third hall, mostly for the fact that I was limited by what I could carry so had to bear in mind that those 20th century designer lamps were just going to have to stay there. Deeper into the throng and nearer to the record stalls that shore up the far end of the layout I started to find pieces to take home. A clutch of hardback bande dessinée of Philippe Druillet‘s best 70s work from a French seller, a Metal Hurlant special on the making of Alien, complete with multiple examples of designs by Giger, Moebius, Ron Cobb and Ridley Scott himself.
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Two handfuls of vintage sci-fi paperbacks with Richard Powers covers from the delightfully named Magic Galaxies Intergalactic Book recycling Company. The bemused Dutch seller inquired what my criteria for buying was after watching me check every cover rather than just the spines of the books. IMG_6706
Just before closing time I chanced upon Grant McKinnon from the West Coast peddling original psychedelic posters and flyers from the 60s Haight Asbury heyday and was caught up in a last minute whirlwind of bartering for a handful of genuine 60s bills bearing the work of Rick Griffin, Wes Wilson and Victor Moscoso.
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Check them out on the web, SF Rock Posters, no fakes, reasonable prices considering the vintage and top guys to boot. As the security guards were ushering the crowds out I spotted the only record I bought during my visit on the next table, a luminous yellow 7″ promo of ‘Pocket Calculator’ by Kraftwerk complete with printed transparent sleeve. Well, I couldn’t go all that way and not buy a single piece of vinyl could I?
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(Delta freight train photo by Chris Vos, taken from the Chrome Angelz Facebook group)

Metal Made Flesh 2 kickstarter


Readers might remember me featuring the first Metal Made Flesh kickstarter a couple of years back. Now the team is back for book 2, expanded with a second artist and bigger goals, two of which they’ve smashed, and they’re approaching the third with 12 days left. Taking liberally from all manner of sci-fi from the last three decades and managing to find new angles on it the book tells three different tales of a trio of characters and their place in the future cityscape of Tuaoni. You can get both books, T-shirts, original artwork or even appear as a character in the book in the new Kickstarter.
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The Art of Curation at ADE in Amsterdam with Mixcloud

RecordPalaceOpArt A couple of weeks ago I was in Amsterdam, taking part in discussions about ‘The Art of Curation’ with Mixcloud co-founder Nikhil Shah. The chat was hosted by the electronics company Sonos as part of the annual ADE music conference that takes place there, the biggest in Europe. I chose five tracks that linked with the subjects of Music, Art, Sci-Fi, Comics & Design which largely tie into the things I collect and post about on this site. This is the part where the blog eats itself as I blog about myself talking about blogging and readers will hear some familiar names and sounds during the interview.

Raze7frontThe trip was a fruitful one in terms of digging for new things in my time off and I went with a mission for 45s, underground comics and sci-fi paperbacks. Things got off to a poor start with my first stop at Record Palace (Op Art -themed wall display at the top) which is on the outer rim of the centre of the city. I’ve shopped there a few times and it’s always yielded treasures but this time it wasn’t to be. Of the two 7″s I bought (a substandard late 80s Dickie Goodman break-in record and Raze‘s ‘Break 4 Love’) when I returned home to play them I discovered that the disc inside the Raze cover was in fact a Thompson Twins single. My fault for not checking the disc but they were only 50c and there was a strict ‘no playing’ rule on records from the cheap bins. The only good thing about it was the Trevor Jackson-designed cover which, when you look at the ‘dancing’ figures, is actually quite dirty.

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From here I visited Lambiek a few roads away, the oldest comic shop in the world if their website is to be believed and, on the strength of their stock, I can believe it. The shop is about to move to a new premises and their usual gallery space was now a large dumping ground for what looks like all manner of random stock. Very little of it was priced apart from the odd penciled number on an inside cover and many of the piles can contain anything, very little order exists as you can see below.

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But there was some gold there and I soon had a little pile building, the owner unable to direct me to the undergrounds as everything was mixed up due to the impending move. They closed at 5pm and at approximately 4.45 I glanced under a shelf and saw a box that looked like it was exactly what I was looking for. Going through it my suspicions were confirmed and I started pulling out handfuls of British and American underground and independent press comix as fast as I could, some in not-so-good condition but still a lot that you only find on eBay these days.Oz39
This copy of Oz magazine was nestling in the box, looking like a Robert Crumb comic, copies usually go for £10-20 and up.ImagineFoss SubvertComicsx3
These three Subvert comics by Spain were a bit water-damaged but I’d never seen copies before aside from being reprinted in other mags.Skull_TwoFistedZombies MotherOats1&3
No.s 1 and 3 of Mother Oats Comix by the late, great Dave Sheridan.
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They had five copies of this Radical Rock comic, all badly water-damaged but readable. You can easily find these for about $5 on eBay, but the postage triples the price as they’re always from the States.
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I wasn’t going to leave a comic behind with a cover like the Bizarre Sex one, the issue of Tasty has some really nice abstract acid trip visuals inside although the cover isn’t up to much.
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That Dutch NIMFKE comic on the right is probably one of the filthiest things I’ve ever seen in comic form.
CrackedMadStarWars SickThere was more but here’s a lot of it. I’d been tempering my choices, thinking that this was adding up to quite a bundle but some of this stuff just doesn’t come around in Europe that often, even in this condition. Upon taking them to the counter I couldn’t quite believe my luck when the assistant proceeded to charge me one Euro for each comic with only two for some slightly over-sized books like Imagine and Heavy Metal. Digs like that don’t happen every day.

On then, with a spring in my step, to a couple more comic shops further north near Centraal station. On my way I passed a shop with a big sign outside, ‘Used Books, English Language’, and took a quick peek to see what it was like. Once inside I inquired if they had any vintage sci-fi paperbacks and the guy at the counter pointed to eight large apple boxes stacked in the aisle. “Four for ten Euros“, he quipped, “How long until you close?”, “20 minutes!”. I probably got through about two thirds of them, given that they were two rows deep inside but it was worth it.
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Will Barras ‘Yeah Man!’ book

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Thirteen random photos plucked from the new Will Barras book ‘Yeah Man!’, a beautifully produced 200+ page hardback of paintings, drawings and murals from Will’s career in the past 2 decades. It’s interesting to see his early styles develop and change throughout the book as he experiments with different mark making techniques, including collage at one point. I realised that there were whole eras of his work I wasn’t familiar with from the first examples I’d seen when we first met in the late 90s.

His initial comic-y style has become even more fluid and the black outlines have slowly disappeared into a darker, more painterly palette. There’s still the dynamic forced perspectives, lithe figures and futuristic vehicles, now joined by sprawling cityscapes and psychedelic colour combinations. I was delighted to get a signed copy with an original sketch too, “Thanks man!”. You can order a copy here.

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The Space Merchants

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The Space Merchants (London) run a monthly film night in East London showing classic Sci-Fi (the more out there and dystopian the better) whilst also operating an online book store and posting related items on their Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter.

The next date is October 19th where they’ll be showing the early 80s Christopher Walken-starring Brainstorm. They design a new poster for each event and sell prints at the showing or online, below are some of my favourites and give you a flavour for what they’re about.

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Weekend Finds: Sci-Fi Paperbacks 3

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I was lucky enough to find time for a bookstore binge last weekend in Plymouth at the excellent Book Cupboard shop which yielded some Richard Powers and vintage Josh Kirby covers (ie: pre-Pratchett) and more.RPowrsx3.3 RPowrsx3.2 RPowrsx3.1 RPowrsx2.5 unknown+RPowersJosh Kirbyx3
Above: Richard M. Powers / Josh Kirby (bottom row only). Some of these were part of another batch of books that Stuart McLean aka Frenchbloke sourced for me from his local bookstore in Scotland. He very kindly went through multiple boxes and photographed a ton for me to pick through and reserve at The Book Shop, Wigtown. Massive thanks to Stuart who’s just completed his annual 48 hr radio marathon, The Dark Outside. Check out similar treats in his Stolen Library project too for free books and records.

I’m not exactly sure who the artists are on the books below except for The Cosmic Eye cover which is by Mike Hinge, but thought they looked interesting. If anyone has similar book stores in their town then please let me know so I can hit them up if and when I visit please.
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One week Kid Acne exhibition in Shoreditch Boxpark

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Kid Acne delves into his archives for a week-long exhibition at Unit 26 of the Boxpark in Shoreditch this week. For opening times please check the BOXPARK website + join them on October 1st from 6 – 9pm for #FirstThursdays + beer, music, animation and art.
Also out now is a Ltd. Edition 10″ six track EP from Mongrels (Kid Acne & Benjamin). The sleeve is screen-printed by Edna and all 300 copies have been signed, stamped and numbered on the back plus each record comes with a vinyl sticker and lithograph insert. BUY IT here and see the sleeve being made below:

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Colossus: The Forbin Project

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I saw this recently and, although dated technically, it has some fantastic sets, shots and soundtrack moments. A tale of the world’s first AI supercomputer who decides man is a danger to himself and holds the world to ransom. The film was based on a novel by D.F. Jones from two years previous and there were two sequels although none apparently live up to the original. Highly recommended and sporting some great poster and book cover design from the late 60s.

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Weekend finds: more Sci-Fi paperbacks

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Unearthed from the teetering piles of books in Voltaire & Rousseau, Otago Lane, Glasgow this weekend. See just one aisle from the shop at the bottom, proper archeology needed to get to some of these beauties. Found a couple of Richard M. Powers covers and a Brian Lewis cover from Science Fantasy that seemed to be channeling him. The Kirby cover at the bottom is similar in style, I’m a sucker from this abstract, psychedelic depiction of alien worlds and it seems to have been a fad for a while to paint like this. I’m pretty sure the Kirby there isn’t Jack but you never know, anyone who can identify the artist on the Analog cover will be most appreciated, maybe Mike Hinge?.SF PBks2 Science Fantasy#36 Brian LewisSF PBks1Voltaire & Rousseau Otago St

Weekend Finds: Sci-Fi paperbacks

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A very productive weekend of digging uncovered these sci-fi paperbacks among others including three with covers by Richard M. Powers to add to the collection (I’m not so interested in the content, just the covers). The SF-18 cover artist is uncredited but a quick web search reveals that it’s by Dean Ellis and the original art is actually available to buy from this site if you have $5.5k! I’ve screen-grabbed the original below.

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The Harlan Ellison book is an oddity as I noticed it shares a version of the same image on the cover of the Elektriktus album Electronic Mind Waves.

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UPDATE: It seems that the image used on both the Ellison and Elecktriktus albums was originally by Rayment Kirby, entitled ‘Watch it’ and was printed as one of the first ever posters from the Big O Poster company. I contacted him and he shared his memory of making the piece,
It was made by cutting out a B/W print after masking out the model’s hair and hand colouring it . It was laid on black polythene sheeting and the clock parts glued in position and the strands radiating from them were made from Bostick like glue. I think I shot the image in the late 1960s to early 70s so it was a long time ago. I don’t even remember who the model was. Having thought about the picture I think the poster rights may have been sold by an agent I had at the time. This would not have Included the other uses that (have) been made.”

Watch It Raymond Kirby Martin

 

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Gamma Proforma – Rammellzee, Futura, She One and more…

Ramm Brainstorm:Girlfriends
OK, so – Gamma Proforma – UK label dealing in music, art, books and apparel (T-shirts to you and me). I’ve mentioned them before, most notably with the recent Divine Styler album that blew my socks off in January but also with the ReWire kickstarter of last year and the Futurism 2.0 exhibition they put on a couple of years back. Their ‘roster’ – if you can call it that as they seem to deal in a project by project way – is full of names familiar to this blog both new and old: She One, Augustine Kofie, Divine Styler, Futura 2000, Will Barras, Remi/Rough, Delta, Rammellzee, Syd Mead and Ian ‘Swifty’ Swift among many more. If that isn’t enough to get your interest then you may as well stop reading now. I just want to highlight some of the currents releases coming out of this great label who seem to have tapped into my mind at times and assembled items that tick multiple boxes to an extent where it’s just getting silly now.
Ramm1&2backRamm BrainstormRamm #1&2
Their current big project is a multi-part release of The Rammellzee‘s final album, ‘Cosmic Flush’, incomplete at the time of his death but now finished by producer Jonah Mociun whom he worked on it with. Each track is being released on a single 12″ backed with a remix + instrumentals with a different artist chosen to provide the cover which is also included as a signed print.
Above and below are the first two singles, ‘Brainstorm’ and How’s My Girlfriends’ with art by Futura 2000 and Ramm acolyte Ian Kuali’i and remixes by Divine Styler and Mr Len (ex-Co. Flow). The third 12″ – released next month – will be ‘Crazay’ with art by Delta and Mike Ladd on remix duties. Each 12″ is a pressing of 500 with half of these adding the print, these versions aren’t cheap and the Futura one is already sold out but the quality is top notch. Eventually all the releases will form the album proper although I’m not sure whether that will be collected into a box of some sort or issued on CD.
Ramm Girlfriends
Ramm Futura sig
As you can see, there’s a heavy emphasis on the more leftfield, abstract side of graffiti on these releases and that’s carried over into the books and T-shirts too. The She One book with 7″ picure disc below is a heavy slab of goodness chock full of James Choules’ flaming brushstroke camouflage styles from close ups to sketch book scraps and a beautiful collection presented without all the usual clichés of the genre.

Shebook & disc2 She Book&disc1 PhilAshcroft&printSimilarly Phil Ashcrofts angular spikes take on a more ‘futuristic’ tone in his book of dystopian visions and sci-fi seems the be at the heart of what Gamma produce with Syd Mead T-shirts being an early release. There’s also a shirt series underway too with Kofie supplying the first example on a white shirt below and Will Barras depicting a menacing Rammellzee in his signature style for the second.

Gamma shirts Kofieshirt

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All the pieces mentioned here are immaculately laid out and design forms the subject of another forthcoming book – a retrospective of Ian ‘Swifty’ Swift‘s career titled ‘Full Circle’, due in the autumn but you can pre-order it now. I daren’t even mention the Will Barras book arriving shortly, the prints, magazines, original art or the digital freebies available if you peruse the Gamma site at length…

PS: in a weird act of synchronicity the Has It Leaked site just put up a look at the label too with quotes from me included – read it here and find out even more…

X-Ray Audio book pre-audio

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Soviet flexi discs, ‘bones’ or ‘ribs’, music pressed on old X-Rays due to lack of resources. Stephen Coates aka The Real Tuesday Weld has been collecting and exhibiting these for a while now and Strangeattractor Press are publishing a book of them this autumn. Pre-order is here and there is a limited edition with a free flexi disc which I will no doubt be featuring in the Flexibition at some point.
Next week, Tuesday 30th June, Stephen will be telling the story of the X-Ray Bootleggers at The Last Tuesday Society. More details and tickets here
…and on Friday 3rd July Stephen and Aleks Kolkowski will be presenting a special evening at the Masonic Temple of the Andaz Hotel as part of the East End Film Festival. A new x-ray record will be cut live with a 1940s recording lathe from a live performance by Marcella Puppini of The Puppini Sisters. Go HERE for more details and tickets