Matt King’s Tales To Enlighten: (The New Testament) Kickstarter is go!

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You may remember the original Tales To Enlighten comic my friend King Megatrip made with James Edward Clark last year? Well, the sequel Tales To Enlighten: (The New Testament) is launching on Kickstarter today.

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Everybody’s favourite serial killing Satanists are back! A 550-page Occult Anthology featuring 30 amazing indie artists. HELL YEAH! Pledge here

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Kickstarter projects are generally quite expensive for what you’re getting, right? Wrong on this count, this book is $52, about £45 but less than 10c a page, sure there’s shipping on top but you’re not going to find many deals like that. The talent on show is international in scope with a few Brits including Shaky Kane and Jason Atomic. There are a load of tiers with extra zines, T-shirt and bookmarks and even original art. I’ve done a little promo mix to try and help Matt (I’m sure he won’t need it) – Tales of Revelation – Further Religious Rock Opera & Spiritual Spoken Word which goes online soon.

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There’s a great interview with Matt over on Daniel Moler’s Psychonaut Sessions podcast, talking about the books and showing off a ton or art from the new one

Andy Votel House Music exhibition at The Modernist, Manchester

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Andy Votel has an exhibition of record sleeves containing architecture at The Modernist in Manchester. Taking inspiration from his sleeve for Jane Weaver‘s ‘The Architect’ he has created a poster and book to accompany the show. The book features records from his own collection including plenty of his own designs with intimate details that will have most running to Discogs or Google to find out more. Both the book and poster are available from The Modernist and the exhibition runs until September.
Below is my copy of a super rare hand made copy of Jane’s ‘The Architect’ which features an alternate version of the original cover.

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The Exploding Galaxy at the Bureau of Lost Culture

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At Xmas I was lucky enough to receive a copy of Jill Drower‘s ’99 Balls Pond Road’ book which is a weighty tome that had been expensive and hard to come by for some time. I devoured it over the holiday and into the new year before deciding that I had to contact Jill and invite her to Stephen CoatesBureau of Lost Culture podcast. Her story of the performance art collective who were part of the first wave of kinetic art and the psychedelic underground in the 60s whilst squatting at the Dalston address of the title is an eye opener.

Finally tracking her down, she kindly agreed to come in and tell her story, a rare female voice in a sea of men who have so far largely written the history of the movement. She doesn’t pull her punches on the inequality of women, the class structure of the underground and the collusion between police and gutter press in suppressing their happenings and invasion of the home.

There are two versions of the book; the original, large format, picture-heavy coffee table book entitled ’99 Balls Pond Road’ which will cost a bit more but is worth every penny. Or the new paperback-sized, picture-light, more affordable version entitled ‘The Exploding Galaxy – Performance Art, LSD and Bent Copper in the Sixties Counterculture’, which is a mouthful but sums up the contents far better than the original title.

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What a crazy week…

TRTW Xmas 2021Monday: Photographed The Real Tuesday Weld‘s annual 3″ CD Xmas card I’d designed which then went on sale online. Buy here

1of100 websiteTuesday: 1 of 100 shirts / DJ Food/Openmind collab went on sale, 100 shirts with the Stealth club logo. 26 years to the day of the first Ninja Tune club night called Stealth, mini commemorative flyer swing ticket to round it off.
Recorded a ton of jams on my Quadrophon turntable and found the recording of PC and my set at The Blue Note from the same night all those years ago…

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Wednesday: Fine tuning a 7,500 word intro to a book about light show picture wheels I’m doing with Four Corners Books, for publication next year, months of research and interviews distilled into a huge piece.
DJed at the Let’s Stick Together night with Mira Calix at The Gun pub in Hackney, people came and made collages all evening while we played, the best will go into Mira’s next collage zine, out next year.
Got home at 11pm, started editing turntable jams for Saturday…

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Thursday: Working in Studio Cineola with Matt Johnson of The The, finishing off my CineolaScape mix for release on his label next year. This is a distillation of my opening sets for their live comeback tour, playing Matt’s music from across his 40 year career. We’re doing final mixdowns and edits. Also finally got a copy of the Comeback Special deluxe set with my exclusive remix on the bonus 10″ vinyl.

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Friday: More of the same and then off home to see the Touched Music‘s Project OO go live with a virtual release party online at 7.30pm and the release of a 58 track, 5xCD compilation in aid of 7 yr old Oona Dooks who needs special treatments to walk. Also available is a 74 min mix CD I made to promote the project featuring many tracks from it. Amazing response as both sold out in hours.
News that Electronic Sound magazine had both the DJ Food Kaleidoscope/Companion reissue and The New Obsolescents‘ album in their end of year list and a two page photo of us performing at the Levitation festival. Delightfully modelled here by fellow Obsolescent Robin The Fog at the Book & Record Bar in West Norwood.

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Saturday: Jamming with original Antz/Bow Wow Wow drummer Dave Barbarossa in a West London studio with tracks made on my four-armed Quadraphon turntable, making exploratory music for a possible collaboration.

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The The’s Comeback Special with DJ Food remix

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I was thrilled to be asked to remix ‘Global Eyes’ on the exclusive 10″ with the deluxe box set of
The The‘s Comeback Special live set. See and hear the full show plus loads of extras.
Due out this October – pre-order now live plus there’s a special screening at The Troxy, the venue for the third London night back 3 years ago.

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Celestial Mechanic – ‘Citizen Void’ vinyl LP out this Friday

Finally released on vinyl this Friday on Utter – Celestial Mechanic – ‘Citizen Void’ LP – a soundtrack to the
Rian Hughes novel, ‘XX’ published by Picador Books (paperback released Aug 9th)

Music by Celestial Mechanic – a collaboration between DJ Food, Saron Hughes, Robin The Fog (Howlround) & Peter Harris

Yellow vinyl LP + 7″ + print + info sheet – designed by Rian Hughes with silver spot print and inner sleeve – this is limited so don’t sleep as it will be out in shops too.
Pre-order https://bit.ly/3y5C7eK

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The Making of Christmas Rappin’

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Noah Uman‘s Music Archives Ltd Instagram is a treasure trove of hip hop memorabilia and he’s expanded into the real world with a small A5 sized booklet, written by Bill Adler, about the making of Kurtis Blow‘s rap classic, ‘Christmas Rappin’. The story of what was essentially seen as a novelty record is fascinating and you realise what a groundbreaking record it was. The booklet is full of flyers, live photos and more and breaks down the circumstances behind how it was recorded, signed and promoted. You can find copies here and it comes with two badges.

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Buro Destruct 4 book kickstarter

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Those lovely guys from Buro Destruct in Bern, Switzerland have just launched a kickstarter for their 4th collection of design work (see excerpts above and below). I first became aware of them in the mid 90’s when we started touring Europe and when we played at the Reitschule in Bern the flyers and posters plastered over the walls were of a higher standard than normal. This was in large due to Buro Destruct who provided a lot of the work and it didn’t take longer for their work to feature in magazines and books of the time as well as their own publications collecting the work.
They’re now onto the 4th volume, featuring 12 years of work (volume 3 was back in 2009) including unused work, intermediate steps and experiments along the way. The softcover book will be 256 pages long and you can support the kickstarter here although only 5 of the early bird discounted price copies are left as I write this.

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Nick Taylor Space Is The Place and Synthesizer zines

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Nick Taylor at Spectral Studio has recently put up a load of new items for sale in his shop including the long-time-coming Brief But Electrifying History of the Synthesizer zine and a new tribute zine to various sonic pioneers entitled ‘Space Is The Place’. The former is a gorgeous green and red screen printed landscape booklet covering key sound synthesizing inventions from the last 100 or so years including QR codes that link to YouTube or Spotify to listen to the instruments.
The latter is a black and silver square, concertina folded look at six different sonic pioneers from Sun Ra to Moondog, each with a small piece on the reverse and sealed with a tracing paper strip. Nick has published several things like this before, namely the ‘Sisters in Sound’ zine from 5 years ago – all of which (and more) can be found in his Etsy shop here.

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XX book US edition and Celestial Mechanic EP release

XX US edition

The US release of Rian Hughes’ debut novel, ‘XX’ happened yesterday, the book, as mentioned before, is a sci-fi epic coupled with graphic design elements throughout. To mark the occasion we have a new 30 minute Celestial Mechanic EP out via Bandcamp with a 17 minute remix of ‘The Signal’ and several piano pieces created for the album but unused in the final mix.
Check it out here https://celestialmechanic.bandcamp.com/album/the-signal-retransmission and if you like it there’s a whole album too, made by myself and Saron Hughes with contributions from Robin The Fog on tapes and Saron’s husband, Peter Harris on guitar.
Rian’s book is out on Overlook Press with a different cover, if you’re in the US you can order it here.
Also, Thursday night, Nov 12th, Rian is doing another web chat with writer Grant Morrison online and it’s free! Log on at 7pm Eastern Time, more details here

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New Celestial Mechanic EP

US DUSTJACKET AS EP COVER (Black)To celebrate the US publication of Rian Hughes book, ‘XX, A Novel, Graphic’ on Nov 10, we have a new 30 minute Celestial Mechanic EP out today, including a 17 minute remix of ‘The Signal’ alongside satellite piano variations made during the ‘Citizen Void’ LP.
https://celestialmechanic.bandcamp.com/album/the-signal-retransmission

Celestial Mechanic is a new project I’m part of, directed by Rian Hughes and in collaboration with his sister, pianist Saron Hughes. Rian put us together and commissioned a soundtrack for his book earlier this year. In his novel “XX” he includes a review of a fictional album based on a mysterious signal of extraterrestrial origin. I and Saron were tasked with the job of taking this review and making the album a reality. In what may be a first, the review actually preceded the music.

“XX” is published by Picador (UK) August 20 2020, Overlook Press (US) November 10 2020.

 

Bedroom Beats & B-Sides book

BBBfrontLooking forward to getting stuck into this history of instrumental, electronic hip hop (trip hop if you must) by Laurent Fintoni. Laurent interviewed me for it about 6-7 years ago so I’m glad for it to finally see the light via Velocity Press. Also featured from the Ninja stable are Coldcut, Roots Manuva and label manager, Peter Quicke.
Order here https://velocitypress.uk/product/bedroom-beats-book/

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Caza – Kris Kool reprint book pre-order

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Finally, after years of wanting a copy of Caza‘s psychedelic space book, Kris Kool, Italy’s Passenger Press has reprinted and recoloured it AND translated it into English! The original French language version of this always fetches high prices and this version has been done in association with Caza himself and includes extras as well. For the first 200 copies there’s also a signed print as an incentive too! You can pre-order it here

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Rian Hughes’ XX book featured in Electronic Sound

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Very pleased to see Rian Hughes’ new book ‘XX – A Novel, Graphic’ featured so prominently in the new issue of Electronic Sound magazine with a double page of layouts.If you want an idea of what the book’s about then Sci-Fi Now has a very good review.

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The Celestial Mechanic album that I created with Saron Hughes and Robin the Fog soundtrack’s the novel and also gets a mention – you can hear that here https://celestialmechanic.bandcamp.com

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Dan Lish EgoStrip book Kickstarter finally here

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Regular readers of this blog will know I’m a big fan of Dan Lish‘s work, having featured him several times over the years. Ever since he started posting his work on the web people have been saying, ‘do a book, when are you doing a book?’. Last week he finally launched his EgoStrip book Kickstarter after years of drawing some of the greatest portraits of hip hop, funk and jazz musicians out there. Looking forward to this immensely and, at the time of writing he was less than £6k off his target with 25 days to go. Take a look here

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Celestial Mechanic – Citizen Void album

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Released today is a new album of music I’ve been working on over the past few months – ‘Citizen Void’ by Celestial Mechanic. The music is a companion to the debut novel by designer, illustrator and typographer, Rian Hughes, ‘XX – A Novel, Graphic’. The book is released in hardback in the UK today (later this year in the US) by Picador and, as you can see from these photos, it’s a huge, beautifully-designed monster at nearly 1,000 pages.

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This is no ordinary novel, as with everything Rian does, the devil is in the detail and the book is a beautifully designed object in itself, both inside and out. This is also not a graphic novel or a straight prose sci-fi tale as you can see from some of the spreads below. Synopsis from the Picador press release:

‘At Jodrell Bank a mysterious signal of extraterrestrial origin has been detected. Artificial Intelligence expert Jack Fenwick thinks he can decode it. But when he and his associates at Hoxton tech startup Intelligencia find a way to step into the alien realm the signal encodes, they discover that it’s already occupied – by ghostly entities that may come from our own past.

Have these ‘DMEn’ (Digital Memetic Entities) been created by persons unknown for just such an eventuality? Are they our first line of defence in a coming war, not for territory, but for our minds?

XX presents a compelling vision of humanity’s unique place in the universe, and of what might happen in the wake of the biggest scientific discovery in human history.

As compelling as it is visually striking, Rian Hughes’ first novel incorporates NASA transcripts, newspaper and magazine articles, fictitious Wikipedia pages, undeciphered alphabets, and ‘Ascension’, a forgotten novelette by 1960s counterculture guru Herschel Teague that mysteriously foreshadows events.

Wrapping stories within stories, Rian Hughes’ XX unleashes the full narrative potential of graphic design. Drawing on Dada, punk and the modernist movements of the twentieth century, it ask us who we think we are – and where we may be headed next.’

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Even if you’re unfamiliar with Rian and his work, there’s a good chance you’ll have seen it at some point over the last 35 years. He wears many hats, from writing and illustrating comics for 2000AD, Escape, and the much-heralded return of Dan Dare for the short-lived Revolver in the early 90s to designing logos for virtually any character and publisher who’s anyone in the comics world. His branding for the Forbidden Planet franchise is still in place over two decades later, he’s authored books about 20th century advertising, the sci-fi artist Chris Foss and published collections of his comic work and burlesque life drawings. He’s also an accomplished typographer having designed hundreds since the 90s, first with the FontFont house and now for his Device Fonts imprint.

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Above are just some of the covers of the book within the book, Herschel Teague‘s ‘Ascension’, which features a certain Celestial Mechanic as its central character.

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So why have I written an album of music to go with a sci-fi novel?

Part of the book features a cover design and review of an album by a fictitious group, Celestial Mechanic, for their album ‘Citizen Void’, created by taking an alien signal from space and working it into musical forms.

Rian commissioned me, along with his sister, classically-trained pianist Saron Hughes, to make this album and it may well be the first album written after the review.

The basis for much of the material was Saron’s solo piano experiments which I then took and reworked, masses of NASA recordings from space, some of which went through generative sound apps that spat them out in a myriad of ways. Tape experiments left over from the forthcoming album by The New Obsolescents that I made with Howlround were also pillaged as were pages from Rian’s book which I fed into an image to sound app to generate original samples. The family connections are strong on this project with Saron’s husband, Pete Harris featuring on guitar on one track and her and Rian’s late father, Alan Hughes reading his poem, The Silent Voice’ throughout. One of my sons even provides treated guitar effects on one track.

As anyone who knows me will appreciate, this is a bit of a dream project – music, sci-fi, design, typography, comics – multiple boxes ticked. Working with Rian and collaborating with Saron has been extremely rewarding and we’ve all learnt lots from the experience so far. It’s also nice to sit back and let someone else handle all the design side for a change and not have to do a thing, knowing that the person in charge is more than capable, with years more experience and their own unique vision.

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You can hear it by using the QR code in the book or above (the card above is from a promo copy of the book) or this link to take you to the Bandcamp page. It was always the intention to have two ‘sides’ to the album with the 20 minute epic, ‘The Signal’ taking up the second half, as per the review in the book. The first side is intended to be listened to merged together and this will be included as a bonus download when you purchase the album from Bandcamp.

There isn’t a physical version at the moment, there may never be, the nature of the way the album came to exist in the book and the zeros and ones of the cover design dictated that it should be digital in form. So the book is the nearest thing you’ll get if you want to buy a copy to put on the shelf and it’s an amazing novel, there’s nothing else like it out there that I know of.

No, there won’t be a vinyl or CD version at the moment, maybe if a label expresses an interest but Bandcamp is the only way to get it right now.

No you don’t get the album for free if you buy the book, likewise the book if you buy the album. They are separate entities but are linked and part of the same release.

Rian will be doing an online Q&A with Grant Morrison via the Forbidden Planet site today, Admission to this event comes FREE with every copy of XX (signed hardcover), which also comes with an exclusive signed art card PLUS an exclusive enamel pin for the first 100 customers – order your copy here. A code to access the talk will be mailed on Wednesday 19th August to all Forbidden Planet customers who have purchased a signed copy of XX.

Look for reviews and interviews appearing all over the place too. There are things still in the pipeline for the US release later this year and talk of an audio book, so who knows what will appear between now and then.

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Dieter Roth

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Sometimes an artist’s work stops you in your tracks and you have to put aside all current tasks to check them out. Today I saw Dieter Roth‘s work for the first time and it is stunning. These are spreads from his ‘Kinderbuch’ work (Children’s Book) where shapes gets progressively smaller as the book unfolds and each page has a die cut showing parts of the next through it. He did a similar thing with the follow up, ‘Bilder Buch’ (Picture Book) which had transparent coloured film with die cuts that made different compositions when overlaid.
He also made books from overprinted printer’s proof cast offs, comics with holes cut in them and op art designs, although those are harder to find decent images of.

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