Under the Radar – Underground Zines & Self-Publications 1965–1975

unterdemradar_de_object_0I was sent a copy of this fantastic book a few months ago and now i’ve seen it appearing in a few of the better books shops over here (Magma has them I believe).

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Designed in collaboration with students of the HfK Bremen it’s a 368 page B&W and colour publication from Leipzig, edited by Jan-Frederik Bandel, Annette Gilbert, Tania Prill and Prill Vieceli Cremers

unterdemradar_de_4_0unterdemradar_de_5_0Packed full of underground press magazines, fanzines and comics from West Germany, showing them in the context from which they emerged. A collection like this is priceless, you would never track down some of these publications even if you knew they existed.

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Editor Tania Prill will talk about the project at Printed Matter’s NY Art Book Fair this Saturday, September 23rd at 12:00 am, at MoMA PS1, 22-25 Jackson Ave, Long Island City, NY 11101

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More (animated) covers by Henning M. Lederer

More Covers from Henning M. Lederer on Vimeo.

More of these faboulous animated covers by Henning M. Lederer – Sourced from the excellent Julian Montague Projects instagram account

Also check out his mesmerizing video for OMD‘s track, ‘Isotype’– properly hypnotizing

OMD – Isotype from Henning M. Lederer on Vimeo.

Liverpool 2017, the JAMs and the Dark Ages

Instagram Mu notesMy Instagram page at the moment – follow me there for images from Liverpool later this week, I will put some sort of report together once I’m back but I won’t be posting properly until next week once I’m in Liverpool. I’ve been posting KLF-related bits that I’ve done in the past all week and here’s a selected recap of The Sound of Mu(sic) mix and poster series jape that I made with Mr Trick back in 2003. For the full story download the pdf here

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UNKLE vs Super7 splatter 45, middle and toy

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Never shy of releasing music by his UNKLE project in ever boundary-pushing formats, James Lavelle has outdone himself with three 45s from his latest album, ‘The Road Part 1’. Available in July at the San Deigo Comic Convention, the collaboration with West Coast-based toy company Super7 has yielded the craziest 7″ packaging yet.

IMG_4976For $50 you get a clear vinyl w. splatter single with dinked middle and Futura 2000 camo label featuring a track from the album and instrumental on the flip. Not only that but there’s also a Pointman figure with moveable head, arms and legs that fits into a clear plastic stand that doubles as a middle for the 45 and comes engraved with the UNKLE logo. These are housed inside a huge plastic clamshell Pointman ‘head’ that could double as a mask if you cut some eyes out of it.

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There are three different tracks available in different colours: blue, green and pink with corresponding shells, splatter effect and figure colourways. I was lucky enough to get a green one via Daniel Barassi, 45 collector and infamous modifier of the Fisher Price kid’s turntable into a fully functional portable player, who was at SDCC and collared all three versions himself when I gave him the heads up before sending mine over to the UK.

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You can now order these online via the Super7 website but non-US buyers beware – the postage is an absolute killer and only the rich or the mega-fans are going to want to stretch that far. Aside from the postage and the possibility of also incurring customs charges on top there are some drawbacks. Firstly – the size, the clam shell is huge and doesn’t sit upright without support. Secondly, both the 45 and the dink are in there super tight, I thought I was going to break the single getting it out. The toy is nicely moulded but compared to the original Ben Drury-sculpted Pointmen from back in the 90s they’re not quite as special – but for the money and what you’re getting they’re just fine.

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I was slightly dismayed to find that the A side of my 7″ seems to have been cut slightly off-centre so the needle really has to track the groove back and forth and you get a wavering effect on the strings in the track which really rendered it unplayable unfortunately. I have no way of knowing if they’re all like this but the B side seemed a lot more stable if not entirely movement-free. As an object of desire for the price it’s certainly worth it if you can get round the postage costs in some way but maybe next time vacuum-packing the figure and centre to the front of a thick card 7″ sleeve (like the Rave Wars 45s) would be a better solution.

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Can : The Lost Tapes box set

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I only just got round to buying and listening to this, a five disc collection of unreleased jams, live tracks and early versions from the 50 hour archive of tapes in Can‘s studio. It’s incredible, barely any filler across the ten sides and comes with a poster and 12″x12″ booklet, all designed by Julian House. Released by Mute and with notes by Irmin Schmidt it was put together and edited by Jono Podmore from Metamono – worth every penny if you can track one down at a decent price.

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The Delaware Road at Kelvedon Hatch

IMG_4535It’s taken me an age to get round to posting this because – basically – school holidays. That preventer of progress, that eater of time, time you actually get to spend with your kids before they grow up and only want to be with their mates. The snatches of work, social media catch-up and the day to day running of a household don’t leave too long to write extended blogs about how one night was one of the most memorable of the year so far.

Back in the Autumn of 2015 Alan Gubby of the Buried Treasure label put on a night based around a narrative he’d written with David Yates (aka Dolly Dolly, seen with Alan below). It told the story of a woman and a man who work for The Corporation making electronic music and their journey through the middle of the 20th century in sound, sex psychedelics, occult and sound phenomena. The narrative held together a compilation called The Delaware Road, which just so happened to be the site of the original Radiophonic Workshop, and the groups and sounds on the album helped sonically place the story in time, starting with tape loops, jazz and spoken word, progressing to analogue synths and later, digital.

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I went to the event as a punter and it was fantastic, mostly for the herculean effort that everyone put into it and how Alan and Dolly’s narrative pulled it together to make sense with eight (I think) bands on the bill plus film interludes. So when an offer to play at a second version staged inside a Nuclear Bunker in the Essex countryside came up I didn’t have to think twice. The Kelvedon Hatch ‘Secret’ Nuclear Bunker descends four storeys underground with entry gained via a bungaow-like frontage nestled in a wood a 20 minute drive from Brentwood station. See photos here from a reccy I did a few months back to get an idea. With twelve acts on the bill spread over four floors this time the whole ante was upped considerably, not least by just getting to the venue in question.

Ticket holders who had bought early got to travel in a green double-decker bus from Brentwood, were given packs containing maps of the bunker, flyer and ‘Delatab’ radiation pills and arrived in style to be greeted by costumed players looking like Morris Dancers from the dark side in the shape of the Mummers & The Pappers. Soundtracking this were Glitch, Saunders & Hill who had set up outside on the entrance balcony and regaled them as they entered the long, concrete tunnel that led down into the bunker proper. From there it was up to the audience to explore the rooms and levels and find acts nestled in strange habitats for the duration of the night.

I kicked the night off in the top room, which I shared with Dolly and Ian Helliwell, Dolly at his table with anglepoise and notes and Ian later working his way through a table of self-made gadgets and boxes with names like ‘Hellitron Modulator’. Earlier we’d found a chrome mannequin in pieces whilst setting up projectors and lights and added her to the ensemble decorating the room. I’d brought oil wheels and video projectors plus mixer with effects and we were lucky enough to be by the cafe next door and have a room full of seats so people stayed with us.

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Having finished my first set I was free to explore and further down in the levels below there were more delights to encounter, Radionics in the sick bay, decked out in white labs coats – nice touch. Nearby were Jez and Polly aka the 12 Hour Foundation who also bought oil wheels and a full live kit to play their John Baker-inspired tunes. Hidden away in his own little office area was Simon James, playing a 3 hour improvised Buchla set to a small but rapt audience, politely seated in rows in front of him.

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Deeper down in the communications and map room were Loose Capacitor who I could get no decent photos of so you’ll have to do with the glowing, neon map. They had bought TV sets complete with old BBC idents and in the engine room Concretism played a fab set whilst films played over the industrial piping behind him. Nearby, Robin The Fog, representing Howlround, nestled in the broadcast studio complex, used some handy mannequins as tape loop holders. At the very bottom of the bunker, in some sort of generator or power room, were Teleplasmiste with their modular synths where we noticed a certain Steve Davis – ex snooker champion and current electronic DJ – enjoying the sounds. Davis, apparently local to Kelvedon Hatch, was present from beginning to end, keeping a low profile but checking out all the acts.

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Back upstairs, Dolly’s last performance was coming to the end and I took to the decks again to close the evening with a mixture of psychedelia, lounge and radiophonics, finishing the night with a track from Alan Gubby’s Revbjelde album. Punters were filing out be now to catch the first of two buses back to Brentwood station whilst we were in the bunker until midnight, packing up before heading to Theydon Bois to catch the central line back into London where I got in just before 3am, exhausted but happy to have been a part of it.

It was unique, it was an amazing venue and I doubt Alan and crew will be in a hurry to repeat the performance but there was plenty of filming going on during the night. The main niggle was that there was so much good music going on concurrently that no one could catch enough of it without missing some of the twelve other acts. If you want a rough idea of what you missed though you can check out the original Delaware Road compilation album containing at least half the assembled players on this date.

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And finally, for those who couldn’t make it but want a souvenir of the occasion – the Delaware Road Bunker Pack is now available, including the flyer, the map (designed by Nick Taylor and Luke Insect), badges, a pack of Delatab anti-radiation pills and the download of the full Delaware Road compilation. All for only £5 and limited to 45 sets  (only 7 left when I just checked)get one here.

Blade Runner 2049 poster by Signalstarr

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Love this prospective poster by Signalstarr for Blade Runner 2049, if only the actual posters could have this beautiful restraint although I doubt they will. Follow him on Instagram for generous helpings of ‘New Adventures in Retrofutures’
This weekend saw a new trailer for the film which is quite extensive and possibly contains a rapid-fire run through of quite a lot of the film so don’t watch if you want the element of surprise.

British Underground Press of the Sixties book and exhibition

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Forthcoming exhibition and book from Rocket 88 publishing with a lovely looking book of all the UK British underground press covers and associated memorabilia including (finally) some of the underground comics of the era associated with them (CoZmic Comics, Nasty Tales etc.). Pre-order the book now and find out more at britishundergroundpress.com

Franco Grignani at the Estorick Collection of Italian Art

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There’s not much to say about this post really, I’ve posted about Franco Grignani before, quite recently. The Italian designer has been featured in a couple of exhibitions in London this year, the second of which has just opened. Just look at these images and then go and see this wonderful artist’s work, it’s on display at the Estorick Collection of Italian Art on Canonbury Sq. in London. The simplicity and precision of execution is simply breathtaking.

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We Are Watching: Oz magazine at Chelsea Space

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Chelsea Space at the Chelsea College of Arts in Pimlico has recently opened an exhibition looking at Oz, it’s obscenity trials and the counterculture magazines of the 60s and 70s that sprang up around it. Featuring every issue of both the Australian and British runs, posters, letters, films and all manner of ephemera from the estates of Richard Neville, Martin Sharp, Felix Dennis and many private collections of those who worked on it, it’s a lovingly curated selection by Cherie Silver who was minding the exhibition when I went last week and was eager to answer questions.
If you’ve never seen issues before then here’s a chance, there are some that can be looked through and one wall lays out the Magic Theatre issue, comprised entirely of a stream of consciousness collage. It finishes on July 14th and is free, usually open between 10.30-11am.
* I rather like the graphic above, subverting George Orwell‘s 1984 maxim, unfortunately they could never have foreseen the Big Brother they’d be watching half a century later.

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25 years ago – UFOrb

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Twenty five years ago my friend David Vallade and I traveled to Brixton to see The Orb, being poor students we ended up buying last minute tickets from a tout outside. When it came to entering the venue David got in and I didn’t as my ticket wasn’t deemed valid. Gutted, I returned home and David was left to do the all-nighter on his own. Above is the flyer, found online earlier this year, a fly poster version of which I had on my wall for years with its early typography by The Designers Republic that was later changed for the album artwork.

Barbara Brown at the Whitworth Gallery, Manchester

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Just before I played my recent Selected Aphex Works AV set in Manchester recently I got the chance to nip out to the nearby Whitworth Gallery and see the Barbara Brown retrospective. She’s one of my favourite textile designers, embracing Op Art in her work for her 15 year run designing for Heals. The material was presented in huge rolls to stunning effect, it’s free entry and on until December, plus in the basement, there’s an equally beautiful Lucienne Day exhibition too (see other post).

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