The first track from Matt Johnson‘s soundtrack to his brother Gerard’s film ‘Hyena’ has been previewed over on the Quietus. The score is out in March on CD in hardback book packaging via Matt’s Cineola label and vinyl via Death Waltz.
“This mesmerizing blooming zoetrope sculpture is designed using the golden angle — 137.5º. The infinite blooming effect is achieved by spinning the sculpture very fast and photographing it with a camera with a fast shutter speed.“
And again, lit by a strobe at the right speed.
For more fascinating info on the technical aspects of this go to this page.
This isn’t a ‘best of 2014′ list – just the things that I liked more than most, they’re not definitive or in an order other than the one I thought of them in.
• New Music:
The Soundcarriers – Entropicalia LP (Ghost Box)
Ghost of a Sabre Tooth Tiger – Midnight Sun LP (Chimera)
Jane Weaver – The Silver Globe LP (Bird)
Heliocentrics & Melvin Van Peebles – The Last Transmission LP (Now Again)
Jeremy Schmidt / Sinoia Caves – Beyond The Black Rainbow LP (Death Waltz)
Jokers of the Scene – End Scene LP (Throne of Canada)
Nico Motte – Rheologia EP (Antinote)
An-I – Kino-i 12” (Cititrax)
The Advisory Circle – From Out Here LP (Ghost Box)
Temples – Sun Structures / Sun Restructured LP (Heavenly)
Andy Votel / Doug Shipton – Polivox Orthodox mixtape (Finders Keepers)
Daniel Haaksman – Duck Rock – A Sonic Essay (mixtape)
tUnE-yArDs – Water Fountain 7″ (4AD)
Pye Corner Audio – The Black Mist EP (Front &Follow)
Mac McRaw feat. Audessey & Oxygen – B-Boy Bionics / Dust 12″ (Cold Rock Stuff)
Ukkonen – Change Time EP (Uncharted Audio)
Syd Arthur vs The Amorphous Androgynous LP (Monstrous Bubble Records)
John Carpenter / Alan Howarth – Halloween III (updated version) LP (Death Waltz)
Frankie Goes To Hollywood – Inside the Pleasuredome box set (ZTT/USM) (biased obviously)
The The – Soul Mining box set (Sony)
Z – Visions of Dune LP (Infiné)
• Sleeves / Packaging:
Astralasia – Wind On Water LP (Fruits De Mer)
Jack White – Lazaretto LP (Third Man)
(Not so much for the cover but for the whole package and vinyl cutting extravaganza)
Joe Mansfield – Beat Box: A Drum Machine Obsession (Gingko Press)
Andrew Lilies – The Equestrian Vortex 10″ (Death Waltz)
Temples – Sun Restructured LP (Lenticular sleeve) (Heavenly)
Various – Wild Style Breakbeats (7″s + book) (Kay-Dee)
Sage Francis, B. Dolan, Buddy Peace – Epic Beard Men 7″ (Blunt Force Trauma)
Rave Wars 3 – The Return of the Old School (7″ + Star Wars figure) (Balkan Vinyl)
Clone – Son of Octabred (Finders Keepers)
Sculpture – Plastic Infinite
The Soundcarriers – Entropicalia LP (Ghost Box)
• Books / Comics:
Prophet – Simon Roy & Brandon Graham / various artists (Image)
B.P.R.D. – Various (Dark Horse)
Punks – The Comic – Joshua Hale Fialkov & Kody Chamberlain (Image)
God Hates Astronauts – Ryan Browne (Image)
Black Science – Rick Remender, Matteo Scalera, Dean White (Image)
Hip Hop Family Tree 1&2 – Ed Piskor (Fantagraphics)
Sandman: Overture – Neil Gaiman & J. H. Williams III (Vertigo)
Discovering Scarfolk – Richard Littler (Ebury Press)
Dust & Grooves – Eilon Paz (self-published)
The Art of Smallfilms – Oliver Postgate, Peter Firmin, Jonny Trunk (Four Corners Books)
Urban Archaeology - 21 Years of Mo Wax – James Lavelle (Rizzoli International)
2000 TC – John Higgs (self-published)
2000ad / Judge Dredd The Megazine – Various (Rebellion)
Moosekid Comics – Various (self-published)
For Whom The Cowbell Tolls – Dan LeRoy (6623) (biased again)
• Films: (I didn’t watch too much this year sadly)
Blade Runner (finally saw it at the cinema)
Guardians of the Galaxy
Jodorowsky’s Dune documentary with Jodorowsky Q&A
The Cobbler & The Thief with Richard Williams Q&A
Future Shock: The Story of 2000AD documentary with Pat Mills, Kev O’Neill & crew Q&A
The Lego Movie
Ghost Box Night at the ICA
Plastic Galaxy: The Story of Star Wars Toys
Jet Propelled Cinema – How Psychedelia Infected Hollywood Sci-Fi at the BFI
Touring the 3-Way Mix with Cheeba & Moneyshot
Cosmic Trigger – The Play
Meeting Brian Eno
Kid Koala‘s ‘Nufonia Must Fall’ show at the Roundhouse
Interviewing Matt Johnson at Rough Trade East
Future Shock gig at the Watershed, Bristol with Cheeba & Tom Lumen
Designing for Frankie Goes To Hollywood / ZTT
Space In This Place gig at the ArcelorMittal Orbit in London
Welcome To The Pleasuredome playback at Sarm West Studios
Digital Revolution exhibition at the Barbican with the family
Visiting underground caves in Switzerland
4 deck AV show at Madrid Espacio with DK
One of my sons getting a drawing printed in the Phoenix comic
Ryoji Ikeda‘s ‘Spectra’ installation in the Queen Victoria Park
Adam Ant playing Dirk Wears White Sox at the Hammersmith Odeon
Crazy DJ weekend in Eketerinberg and Samara in Russia
Mike McMahon finally finishing my Dredd commission after 2 years.
Ben Coghill (agent)
DJs Cheeba & Moneyshot
Philip Marshall (designer), Ian Peel (writer) & Steve Bunyan (USM organiser)
Eilon Paz (photographer)
Carlos Ezquerra (artist)
Rob Williams (writer)
Jamie Smart (childen’s comic creator)
Hope & Greenwood (East Dulwich branch of the sweet shop)
• Looking forward to:
Renegades of Rhythm tour (DJ Shadow & Cut Chemist)
Mad Max : Fury Road
21st Century Tank Girl book
The Writing On The Wall – Roger Perry book
John Carpenter – Lost Themes LP
Create A Mess
Trevor Jackson – Format LP
The The – Hyena soundtrack
Prophet: Earth War
Avengers: Age of Ultron
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
There’s been lot of online activity surrounding the Alien film franchise recently, specifically aimed at the original film. I don’t seem to be able to go a day without some new spin-off popping up, I’ve updated this post three times already.
You might have seen the recent Alien: Isolation game that takes the look of Ridley Scott‘s version and goes to great lengths to emulate it. The Art of the Title website has an extensive feature on what went into creating the look and design of the game here with some fascinating info and behind the scenes stuff. Just the opening title sequence alone is worth a watch (above – click the image to be taken to the site).
On the Alien: Isolation website there’s a whole host of Alien advent calendar goodies to get into, most pleasing to me being that you can now download parts of the comic that Henry Flint drew for the release around the time of SDCC. As well as that there are posters, concept art, game play tips and add-ons.
Poster posse have a great gallery of tribute posters to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the original and most, predictably, centre on the mood and tone of the debut. They’ve split the posters into three different phases and they can be viewed here PHASE 1 / PHASE 2 / PHASE 3.
If sound is your thing then Ambient Sleep Aids in the form of looped atmospherics and sound FX from Sci-Fi films are at your fingertips. Want to drift off to the sound of the Nostromo or the Death Star drifting through space? Someone called Crysknife007 has posted 20 minutes loops of just that.
and there’s more… check out this gorgeous fan image by Lord Mishkin which reminds me of John Bolton‘s work. Just look at that light source casting shadows and the reflection in the helmet, beautifully realised. She must be really knackered not to have clocked the Alien hanging from the rafters though…
I’ve saved the best post for last, I hope you have some time on your hands because this one goes way deeper than most. Dave Addey‘s Typeset In The Future site has published a feature on the graphic design of ‘Alien’ after his exploration of the typography in ‘Moon’ and ‘2001’.
It’s beyond nerdy in all the best ways – going from the opening titles to signage and on screen read outs on board the Nostromo. Clothing insignia, food packaging, warning signs and even keyboard labeling is covered, the last of which reveals some telling details about what the designers were reading at the time.
From ‘Adam Buxton’s Shed Of Christmas’ – a conversation between Adam and his 5 year old daughter about Jabba The Hutt‘s fashion ideas. Can’t argue with that logic.
Animation by The Brothers McLeod / Twitter: @BROTHERSMCLEOD
Oh, My. God!
The fans have been busy since Friday, customising the first teaser trailer for ‘The Force Awakens’
Red Snapper have made a video, directed by Danielle Callesen, to the radio edit of my remix of ‘Mambety’. Check it out above and buy the EP here.
Here’s a short film of what went on at the Sarm Studios playback event of ‘Welcome To The Pleasuredome’.
For people who didn’t get a copy of the box set or were restricted by territory (N. America and Japan were excluded because of licensing laws) you can now order it through Am*z*n and elsewhere (although beware, some places are taking the p*ss with prices).
‘How Psychedelia infected Hollywood Sci-Fi’ last night at the BFI was another head trip along the lines of the Julian House / Ghost Box event earlier this year. The program ran: Yantra (1957) by James Whitney, Momentum (1968) and Samadhi (1967) by Jordan Belson, Catlog (1961) by John Whitney, Solar Express (1969) by Augie Cinquegrana, OffOn (1967) and Moon (1969) by Scott Bartlett and Cibernetik 5.3 (1965-69) by John Stehura.
Whitney’s ‘Yantra’ was incredible, being that it took him 10 years to complete by hand-drawing the animations onto small filing cards and the name Pat O’Neill was new to me, someone I’ll have to investigate further. The Sci-Fi season at the BFI is really turning up some great treasures at the moment.
(Quick disclaimer to avoid confusion: ‘Future Shock’ – the documentary about 2000AD – is completely unconnected to my own ‘Future Shock’ DJ mix sets. This is a happy coincidence but both stem, in part, from the short one-off tales in the comic called…‘Future Shocks’. I can see that it might get confusing as I’m now interviewing the director but it’s a small world and great minds think alike and all that. With that cleared up, let’s get to the interview which I conducted for the Front Row Reviews website.
I run into Paul Goodwin – director of ‘Future Shock! The story of 2000AD’ – outside the green room where I’m due to interview him at the BFI. We’ve never met but I recognised him from the many photos he’s posted on the Future Shock documentary blog, enviably posing with various legendary comic creators, looking like a kid in a sweet shop. Like any nerds of a similar age with a common love of a subject it’s easy to break the ice and I’m eager to find out what drove him and producers Sean Hogan and Helen Mullane to make a documentary about the Galaxy’s Greatest comic, the wonderful weekly dose of Thrill Power that is 2000AD.
What made you think 2000AD was a good subject for a documentary, what sparked the idea?
Paul Goodwin: Like all good things it started in the pub! Sean and I go way back and we’d been talking about working together on a serious project for a while. We were both 2000AD fans in our wayward youth and I just said, you know, it’s crazy that someone hadn’t done this yet, and it’d be something that I’d drop everything to go and see! Sean immediately said he’d help make it happen if he could. He suggested bringing Helen on board and once we hooked up and Helen agreed to co-produce it became a real thing.
How old are you and when did you start reading 2000AD?
I’m 40. I picked up the odd random prog in the late 70’s when I was really young (for those of you not familiar with 2000AD ‘speak’ – prog = program i.e. issue). There was a huge choice of British comics at that time, but I never saved those or anything. Years later, the first stuff I actually remember reading was the Judge Child Quest, which a school friend showed to me. I specifically remember Fink & Mean Machine from the Angel gang, and trying to understand why Dredd had such enormous boots!
I just chewed up all the old progs like immediately, the Titan volumes and those Eagle collections (80’s reprints of older strips collected together before the term ‘graphic novel’ had even been invented), mostly bought from Forbidden Planet on Denmark Street or the little shop up Paradise Alley, remember that guy?.
Alas that was before my time, I lived outside of London and would come up at weekends but I definitely went to the Denmark St Forbidden Planet and remember the cramped little space before it moved.
Progs were like 20p or something. Then I started buying it weekly from prog 500, which was the first jump-on prog that came my way. So my era of buying it regularly featured the John Hicklenton Nemesis, ‘Oz’ (Judge Dredd story involving skysurfer Marlon Shakespear aka Chopper), Bad Company and Slaine the King, stuff like that.
Real golden era stuff
Basically I think there’s a real lack of decent behind the scenes material for the comics world, and I had always felt that 2000AD had inspired so many and influenced so much over the years that I really felt that the comic needed to be recognised for its impact. So that’s what we did, hopefully..!
Are the others involved in the production (Sean, Helen etc.) big 2000AD / comics fans too or did you have to bring them up to speed?
Yup, we’re all 2000AD readers, Squaxx I guess you’d say (more 2000AD speak – ‘friends of Tharg, the comic’s alien editor). Naturally we’ve all read the classic ‘golden era’ strips, but the variation in our ages meant we had all read it ‘full time’ at different points. So actually there’s quite a fun spread of our favourite characters and strips. This is very much a passion project for all of us.
Were 2000AD on board from the start and did they help with contacts or were you completely independent?
We are completely independent of Rebellion, who own the comic today. We did, however go and meet Matt Smith (current editor) and Jason Kingsley (owner of Rebellion) before we had shot a frame, it was crucial that we had their blessing to use their artwork, otherwise this would’ve been a very difficult story to tell. Like one of those shitty music docs about Zeppelin or whatever and they can’t play any of the band’s actual music! So Matt & Jason were very cool, laid back about the whole thing and thankfully gave us their blessing – further to that, Matt has really helped us out by sourcing high res artwork of some of the more tricky to get hold of stuff. Plus of course they appear in the doc!
Ha ha yeah, that’s a funny question. Well, I figured there’s the basic chronological story of the creation of the comic, then I wrote questions that I thought would make interesting discussions and then it kind of expanded outwards from there. From the outset we knew it was vital to get an interview with Pat Mills in the can (veteran writer who helped start the comic and still writes for it today) – no Pat, no doc. Thankfully Pat is a real gentleman, he welcomed us into his home for an entire day and gave us so much fantastic material that we left there knowing we had the spine of a very cool story! So then we chose creators that best represented the various eras of the comic and proceeded to tour the country, the world in fact, sitting down and chatting with some of the world’s finest comic book talent. It’s been a pure joy to be honest. And we do actually have almost 37 years of footage backed up for special features!
Was there anyone who you couldn’t get or who refused to be filmed that you felt would have given a unique perspective on the comic?
Yes, it’s a shame that Alan Moore is not involved, being one of the most celebrated of 2000AD’s creators. We asked, and he politely declined to be interviewed, so that was that. It seems that Alan, along with a few other people would rather discuss their current projects, which I completely understand and accept. It’s a shame that some voices are missing from the conversation but in my opinion the documentary itself doesn’t suffer for it too badly.
What did you think of the new Dredd movie and do you think that it helped interest in the project?
I enjoyed Dredd very much! I love the way they resisted having Dredd deliver some James Bond shitty line after he pushes Ma Ma off the ledge and instead just says “yeah”. That felt very 2000AD. And I think what’s great about it is that no matter how you judge a film’s success, what you’re left with there is a cool, hard little film that will last forever to engage & inspire people long into the future.
As far as helping us in the production of ‘Future Shock‘, the film has now become an important chapter in the 2000AD story, so we have covered it as such. It seems that right now there are a fair few 2000AD projects being discussed, a potential Dredd sequel is always in the news, not least the celebrated period the comic itself is having and doing well in the US now, as well as our film so yeah I think it’s a good time to be involved in it all. It feels good, like there’s a real buzz around 2000AD right now!
Will there be some sort of DVD or Blu-Ray with extras that didn’t fit in at some point?
I hope so! There was a 3hr40 work print at one stage of the edit! We interviewed over 40 people for the doc ranging from 30 mins to a few hours each. There is TONS of stuff man, and if I was a fan waiting for this doc to be released, I’d want to see all those interviews too! We are looking for distributors right now so I hope that we can get all that stuff out to the hardcore fans one day.
So finally, some fun, personal questions for you: who are your favourite writer / artist / characters from the comic? You can choose more than one if it’s too hard a choice
Agh! That’s a killer…
As a writer surely John Wagner‘s contribution to the world of comics is second to none. The sheer amount of crazy ideas, sci-fi prescience, comedy and deep political satire in Dredd alone represents a staggeringly high quality body of work. Also I personally think that Peter Milligan is one of the most underrated comic writers, it was a joy to interview him.
I agree, Wagner’s high turnover and hit rate are incredible and few can write Dredd’s dialogue like he can, something I think they got pretty spot on in the film version.
Artist? Hm, I’d probably say Steve Dillon drew my favourite Dredd, with that crazy jawline! I love artists that can communicate story with very few lines, and for me Cam Kennedy & Mike McMahon are masters of that kind of simplicity.
As for the strips, I really love Slaine for a couple of reasons: firstly because I used to skip over it before I realised how fantastic it was! I couldn’t get with the whole Conan thing or the magic or any of that stuff at all and then I actually read one, and it was brilliant, and of course I had to go back and raid my own back issues because they were so addictive! I love Pat’s crazy battle cursing, “I’ll bathe my axe in your blood” and all that stuff. And of course Mike McMahon‘s art on the ‘Sky Chariots’ story is breathtaking – that one page with the ships in formation and the eagle bringing a fish to the nest in the foreground. Genius.
But, Nemesis the Warlock is the one that has remained my favourite over the years. Totally unique, I have never read or seen anything like it. Pat Mills is just letting it all go with that book. It’s brutal and disgusting, epic, violent, funny and just fucking cool all at the same time. All the artists that drew Nemesis over the years needed to have such a bizarre unique style to make it work, but of them all I do think that Kevin O’Neill is one of the most important comic artists of all time. The designs for the characters and that world of Termight are unbelievable, where does it all come from?! Just brilliant, brilliant stuff. Credo!
I agree on that one too, there’s no one like Kevin out there and Pat has created so many memorable characters over the years as well as helping start the comic obviously. Well, I’m really looking forward to the premiere and, as a fan of the comic for 35+ years it’s clear that it’s in absolutely safe hands here.
Review of the UK premiere
I saw the film last night (after having refused a preview before the interview above as I didn’t want to spoil the occasion) and all I can say is that my suspicions were correct, Paul and his team were absolutely the people for the job. They managed to fit a huge number of creators and history into the film and yet cover a lot of ground in a very entertaining way.
Pat Mills is the binding element which, along with John Wagner and Alan Grant, is how it should be being that they where there at the start and are still writing for the comic today. The comics industry in the UK in the 70’s is covered and the scene set, the troubles that beset them all gone into, the ‘dark years’ of the 90’s and the saving of the publication when Rebellion stepped in to buy them are touched on too. They don’t pull punches and it definitely isn’t all a love-fest, the original Dredd movie is given short thrift as are the copyists who have ripped off characters wholesale.
One of the highlights of the film is Mills railing against ex-editor Dave Bishop, who readily admits his failures in a smart bit of tit for tat editing. There are many glimpses behind the scenes of what went on, how rights were bandied about with little renumeration and creators seen as just grist for the mill. All this is wrapped up in glorious artwork to remind you of exactly why the comic is such a British institution and the rock and synth-heavy soundtrack is perfect to underscore the whole thing. A few creators are conspicuous by their absence – Alan Moore refused to speak (no surprise there) as did Mike McMahon and, despite several instances of their artwork there was little mention of Ian Gibson, Ron Smith, Simon Bisley, Massimo Belardinelli, Brett Ewins or Steve Dillion.
But considering they had to fit three and a half decades into 1hr 45 minutes they did a wonderful job and the abiding message that came across is that 2000AD is a very British institution that once kicked against the status quo and has now become a part of popular culture. Tellingly Mills reveals that the nearest role model at the time was the French anthology Metal Hurlant and that he has always been loath to see the comic as a stepping stone to America. The Q&A afterwards with director Paul, producers Sean and Helen alongside Mills and Kevin O’Neill was further illuminating and I left happy that the legacy of the comic had been faithfully and entertainingly laid out for both fans and newbies alike.
The next showing is at the Leeds Thought Bubble Festival on November 15th where they’ll have a Q&A afterwards too. Follow their Future Shock blog here.
Another perfect DJ setting, playing Afro Futurist beats and electronics at the Watershed before a screening of Sun Ra‘s ‘Space Is The Place’ film last week. Sitting down, accompanied by visuals manned by DJ Cheeba and Tom from Lumen which had been also been mapped across the roof above. No dancing, just punters sitting, drinking and taking it all in and a great applause at the end. Thanks to everyone who came down – more gigs like this please. (Photos by Gareth O’Neill, DJ Cheeba, Ross Chester and Maddy Probst)