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Happy New Year from all of me here at Trash Complex

I started writing a really self-absorbed, ennui-ridden post, detailing the year that was 2011. I’ve decided against posting that now. It wouldn’t have been fun for any one. Instead, I’ll merely say, Happy New Year to you all. Let 2011 die a painful death. 2012 has good things in store. I just know it.

See you in a few days.



- Matthew Revert

Kenneth Anger’s Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome

Just a quick post today because I have to get ready for a retro videogame day with a buddy of mine. It’s going to be all sorts of fun!

Kenneth Anger’s ‘Inauguration of the Please Dome’ has earned it’s place in the annals of cult cinema. In the interest of time constraints, rather than re-write it in my own words, here’s the Wikipedia entry:

Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome is a short 38 minute film by Kenneth Anger, filmed in 1954. Anger created two other versions of this film in 1966 and the late 1970s. According to Anger, the film takes the name “pleasure dome” from Samuel Taylor Coleridge‘s atmospheric poem Kubla Khan. Anger was inspired to make the film after attending a Halloween party called “Come as your Madness.”[1]
The film – primarily the 2nd and 3rd revisions – was often shown in American universities and art galleries during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.

The original edition soundtrack is a complete performance of Glagolitic Mass by the Czech composer Leoš Janáček (1854–1928). In 1966, a re-edited version known as ‘The Sacred Mushroom Edition’ was made available. In the late 1970s, a third revision was made, basically ‘The Sacred Mushroom Edition’ re-edited to fit the complete Electric Light Orchestraalbum Eldorado minus one standard blues progression song which Anger apparently felt did not fit the mood of the film.

The differences in the visuals of the 1954 original and the 2 revisions are minor.

The movie features the author Anaïs Nin as ‘Astarte’, Marjorie Cameron as ‘The Scarlet Woman’, and the filmmaker Curtis Harrington, as well as Kenneth Anger himself.

Enjoy the film!

I picked up my copy as part of BFI’s excellent Magick Lantern set. When I got it, it wasn’t available in this snazzy dual format edition. I highly recommend picking it up and experiencing Anger’s unique, esoteric world.

If you dig my blog, I’d love for you to consider subscribing. Every time I get a new subscriber, one less person watches GLEE.

Matthew Revert

Filthy Vintage Innocence: Unintentionally Filthy Book Covers

I was doing some shopping on Christmas eve in my home town and (as I’m fond of doing) I found one of those discount book outlets. Of course, it paid off in spades. For $5 I came across Michael Bell’s “SCOUTS IN BONDAGE: And Other Curious Works from Bygone Times with Titles that Might Cause Vulgar Minds to Misapprehend their Content”.

Michael Bell’s compilation is essentially a wet dream for me. It marries my love of vintage book design with my love of immature misinterpretation. This slender volume introduces the modern world to a forgotten past. The content of these books aren’t important when compared to what their covers suggest. So please enjoy this selection of covers from the above-mentioned book (I’m not writing that title out again).

I would LOVE for anyone to share their own favourite unintentionally amusing book covers from the past. I will never tire of them.

Because I’m keen to use up all of the alotted free storage space gifted to me by WordPress, all images have been scanned at 300 dpi. Click on each for the larger version.

If you dig my blog, I’d love for you to consider subscribing. Every time I get a new subscriber, one less person watches GLEE.

Matthew Revert

Everything Else is Anecdote: Everything Anyone Else Believes About You is Almost Certainly Wrong (or at the very least, only part of the picture)

Remember... don't mention the penises growing out of uncle Norman's ears

At some time in our life, each of us has been the recipient of a preparatory chat regarding a person we are about to meet. A typical example often occurs within a relationship. One partner will tell another partner that the uncle they’re about to meet possesses some idiosyncrasies that make him somewhat difficult to bear.

“Just so you know, honey, uncle Mark can’t stop talking about his penis and it’s not uncommon for him to show it to people.”

Quite often, these will include little suggestions about what not to say or do in order to avoid something untoward.

“You can’t mention the war, coloured people or dubstep around my mother. It sets something off inside her and she just starts hurting people… this was how my last boyfriend died. Just talk about fruit. Fruit is safe… I think.”

Situations of this nature are pretty common. There are some kooky people out there and chances are some of them reside somewhere within your circle of everyday interaction. When given the preparatory chat, we usually just take it in its stride and act in accordance to the warning. What many of us probably don’t consider however is that we may be the subject of someone else’s preparatory chat. We may possess some quirk deemed odd enough that it warrants warning.

This year, I became aware that I inspire preparatory chats. My younger brother recently became the recipient of a new girlfriend. I’m not sure how it happened, but I think it involved filling out some forms and sending them to the appropriate government body. Their relationship was deemed sufficiently successful and, as a result, the young lady was introduced to the family. It’s always intimidating to endure an introduction to your partner’s family. The level of unspoken judgment is high and for many, that initial introduction can wreak unpleasant consequences regarding familial relations.

Anyway… It was during a birthday celebration for a family member earlier this year that my brother decided to bite the bullet and introduce his girl to us. We weren’t given much in the way of preparation. I guess it’s usually the outnumbered that require the preparation in such situations. I had no preconceptions about my brother’s new squeeze because I wasn’t given any. His girlfriend on the other hand, had us thoroughly preconceived.

It turns out I’m the weird one…

During the celebratory BBQ lunch that my sister and her husband had lovingly prepared, we were seated at the table, each of us silently judging my brother’s new girlfriend. My brother’s new girlfriend was doing her best to appear outwardly comfortable. During a superficial conversation I made a throwaway remark (about what, I honestly can’t recall). As I had expected from my family, they responded with a mild chuckle. This would normally be the end of it. But my brother’s new girlfriend hadn’t chuckled… not even politely. Like the rest of us, she hadn’t been programmed to respond appropriately to my banter. My brother, acutely aware of his partner’s discomfort, flashed her a sympathetic look. I studied this very closely, determined to base my opinion of my brother’s girlfriend based solely upon her reaction to this moment. Then, loud enough so we could all hear, but quiet enough to maintain the façade of a private conversation, my brother said to his girlfriend:

“See… I told you he was a bit weird.”

My sister quickly responded with the following:

“Matthew’s just Matthew. He says what he says.” She looked at my brother’s girlfriend and said to her, “you’ll get used to it.”

The slightest hint of polite smile curled her lips and that was that. Lunch continued with the same level of superficial conversation we had enjoyed prior to the incident… with one minor difference. I no longer participated. I didn’t know what to say. I could either live up to my brother’s warning regarding my oddity, or I could prove him wrong by being as normal as any single person has ever been. Both options struck me as disingenuous. Were I to knowingly take on the roll of weird older brother (whether that’s what I am or not), wouldn’t I be patronizing my brother and his girlfriend? If I became ‘normal’, would that make my brother look like a liar? Neither option seemed satisfying, so I remained quiet.

I don’t know if I’m weird. I’m not sure what the word really implies about one’s personality. Surely such a perception lies solely in the eye of the beholder? One thing I do know, my brother (probably my whole family) have decided that I possess personality traits that go against whatever it means to be ‘normal’. Forgetting for one moment that I don’t believe normalcy exists when talking about the human condition, aspects of my personality apparently deviate from what one considers typical. It’s true that I value absurdity and inject this value system into my everyday conduct, but is that enough for someone to require a warning before dealing with me? Maybe there’s something I don’t know about myself that everyone around me can see clear as day. Perhaps it is this sense of the personal unknown that disquiets me and forces me into loops of introspection.

One thing I do know is my brother broke a cardinal rule of the preparatory chat… under no circumstances do you let the subject of the chat know that any warning has been given. Now I wonder what he said to his girlfriend. Furthermore, if my brother felt such an action was necessary, then perhaps (most likely) others have received warnings about me to. I know I’ve certainly warned friends and family about people I am required to introduce them to. In the moment, it’s as though you’re doing both parties a favour, but are you really? Aren’t we ultimately just painting portraits of people without allowing the subjects see how they’ve been portrayed?

All preconception is based upon the observation of someone. It’s just a shame that we allow these preconceptions to shape our opinion of a person. Believe me… you possess some trait that, at some point in time, has been relayed in a warning given to someone. Next time you give (or take heed of) a warning, keep that in mind. Who we are is the sum of what those around us have perceived us to be. There’s a different version of ourselves to match each person we know.


If you dig my blog, I’d love for you to consider subscribing. Every time I get a new subscriber, one less person watches GLEE.

- Matthew Revert

The Art of Luis Buñuel Film Posters

A couple of years ago, I picked up this (now tragically out of print) Luis Buñuel collection for a suspiciously cheap price. For about 30 of my wacky Australian dollars, I got the collection of 7 films, all the prints of which are of high quality. Each film boasts special features and, something that excited me enormously, postcards of the original film poster art for each of the included films.

The collection in question

I rate Buñuel as one of the most important directors to have lived. He has directed several films that I’d consider masterpieces, and even his lesser work has much to offer. This isn’t the post to go into detail about his work. That would require a great deal of preparation. The sole intention of this post is to share the beautiful film posters. From what I understand, these are the original theatrical posters. Some of this art will be familiar to fans of The Criterion Collection, but hopefully a few will be new to you. Please enjoy.

Each poster has been scanned at 300 dpi. Click on each image for the full-size version.

Le fantôme de la liberté (The Phantom of Liberty) 1974

Belle de Jour – 1967

Cet obscur objet du désir (That Obscure Object of Desire) 1977

Tristana – 1970

Le journal d’une femme de chambre (Diary of a Chambermaid) 1964

Le charme discret de la bourgeoisie (The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie) 1972

Das junge mädchen (The Young One) 1960

La voie lactée (The Milky Way) 1969

- Matthew Revert

8mm Memories: The unique joy of the past and present co-existing in harmony.

This Christmas treated me very well. I acquired a 1235 Filmsonic XL 8mm Camera (issued in 1974) and a Hanimex SR9000 projector (1977). They are in the most imaculate condition and (as you can see) include the original boxes and manuals. The camera itself could have been picked straight from the shelf and handed to me, such is the condition.

The whole notion of vintage home recording technology just gives me retro goosebumps. In a world where digital solutions exist for everything (including recreating facsimiles of the super 8 look), it’s a beautiful thing to hold such an analogue creation. The ultimate aim is to procure some 8mm reels and actually use this thing at some point. It would be such a shame to let its functionality go to waste. But for now, it is more than enough to behold its physicality. To feel it’s weight. To thumb through it’s manual.

I’m not one to pine mindlessly for the past. I embrace new technology and use them as often as possible. What I find exciting is a world where the old and the new comfortably co-exist and feed off each other. I like to imagine a dialogue between what was and what is, one informing the other. And from a design perspective, there is nothing more enjoyable than admiring (and learning from) the aesthetics of the old. The logos and buttons on the unit itself inspire me for reasons I can’t quite explain.

If I were to tell you how long I’d spent simply staring at the diagram on the back of the Filmsonic box, it would be a bit embarrassing.

I don’t care how many movie making apps I download, none of them can do what the above diagram does… It crawls inside me and embraces whatever it is within that feels inspiration. It’s a very personal thing that I’ll likely never understand. All I know is it, that I can feel it when it hits. It’s the beating heart that makes art possible and it’s different for everybody. Rather than understand it, it’s enough to know that it exists.

The hulking Hanimex SR9000 is also a sight to behold. I can imagine a more immediate use for this in my music production (once again, this depends on my ability to procure reels). An item that has been on my wish list for quite some time is a reel-to-reel tape recorded, and the Hanimex seems like a logical step toward that goal. I can sense a tactile ability to manipulate sound in a way I haven’t been able to before. This, of course, is theoretical, but time will tell.

As with the Filmsonic, my admiration for the Hanimex goes beyond its functionality. This is, in my eyes, a marvel of retro design. Each button, socket, dial and logo inspires that same sense within me mentioned above. Just by looking at it, it fulfils a purpose.

I’m cognizant of the fact that this post may strike some as an eBay listing wherein the item cannot be purchased, but I felt compelled to share it. Not only does it strike at the heart of who I am, but it acts a great reminder about the Christmas of 2011. The Christmas where I was given a Filmsonic XL 8mm camera and a Hanimex SR9000 projector, and in receiving these objects of the past, I received so much more. I hope that you enjoyed doing whatever it is you do at this time of the year. More importantly, feel free to share your own whimsical tales of retro bliss. Stick around in the new year. I’ve barely even started.

- Matthew Revert

Celebrating the holidays with Morton Subotnik and Polish film posters. Be back soon!

I’m heading back to my hometown for a few days to spend christmas with the family, therefore I’m taking a little Trash Complex break. I feel it’s important to write this, not because of any non-existent hoards of readers who might wonder about my absence, but in order to affirm my desire to keep this blog going. It’s important that I don’t become complacent if I ever want to attract the mythical hoards of readers referenced in the second, overlong sentence.

Thanks so much to anyone who has stopped by and checked my fledgling blog out. It’s been encouraging. I have a lot of (what I consider to be) really cool posts planned after the break. I’ll be giving my scanner a workout unlike any in the past. Please subscribe to my blog if you’re so inclined. I would appreciate it greatly.

In the mean time, check out some beautiful Polish film posters:

And what better way to herald festive cheer than with one of my favourite albums, Morton Subotnik’s 1968 classic of early electronic, WILD BULL.

Be safe an all that jazz. Talk soon.

- Matthew Revert 

ALBUM REVIEW: Jèrôme Noetinger/Will Guthrie – Face Off (Erstwhile Records)

I often lament knowing anything about an album before I listen to it, as anything residing beyond the bounds of the recording itself is mere anecdote. These anecdotes become lenses that tint the recording in an externally imposed light. In my ideological fantasy land, I want to decipher what I’m hearing, free of unnecessary weight. I concede that this is a strange way to start a review for Noetinger and Guthrie’s Erstwhile Records release, FACE OFF, but hear me out…

I am not privy to the means by which this album came into existence, therefore there is no overriding external imposition upon the recording. But the title, FACE OFF, keeps looping around my brain as I listen. As I reflect upon the album outside of its aural space, I keep thinking ‘FACE OFF’. By virtue of the title alone, my impression of the recording is one of conflict between Guthrie and Noetinger’s sound sources. And then, I’m forced to confront my own introduction to the style of electro-acoustic improvisation exemplified by Erstwhile. Being unfamiliar with music of this nature at the time, I needed an entry point. For me, that entry point was an overzealous focus on the interactions between the musicians themselves, rather than an overall absorption of the recording. It was my way of accepting what I was hearing, given how far removed it was from my understanding of music. Gradually, as I became more accustomed to what I was hearing, a more holistic understanding began to replace my superficial entry point.

Jérôme Noetinger

And now, all these years later, I find myself confronting a former version of myself. What seems like a rather ponderous way to introduce an album review, actually lies at the core of my relationship to music… my personal evolution as a listener. None of this detracts from the quality of FACE OFF in any way. I’m merely struck by the imposition a mere title can cause. It’s difficult to divorce yourself from context, whether real or imagined.

I classify myself as a fan of both Jèrôme Noetinger and Australian native, Will Guthrie (in particular Guthrie, whose micro-album, SPEAR, is an all-time favourite of mine). So this pairing was a tantalising notion. Noetinger utilizes a Revox tape machine and electronics, while Guthrie contributes percussion and electronics. Together the two produce a sound that harks back to the earliest days of tape and electronic experimentation. But this isn’t a retro excursion by any means. One gets the sense that both Noetinger and Guthrie are intimately familiar with the history of their respective sound sources and use it as a means of producing something unmistakably modern and exciting.

Will Guthrie

In the brief 37 minutes in which FACE OFF exists, the two fill the sound canvas to the brim. This isn’t the stripped back electro-acoustic improv your grandparents are listening to. This is a polymorphic cluster of activity that, at times, leaves you breathless. The sounds whip across the stereo spectrum, prompting your speakers to beat like arrhythmic hearts. Guthrie’s percussion is some of the most frenetic I’ve heard from him, fighting with the electronic squeals and buzzes. Noetinger’s tape manipulations clutter and shake, forming a tense foundation, collapsing and reforming.

And this brings me back to my introduction. Whether it’s because the title of the recording suggests I should do so or not, I sense a great conflict between Guthrie and Noetinger. The two create a sonic banter that on occasion becomes bobbery. The power of this recording seems to arise from the very thing I assumed was neophyte listener’s folly on my part. This album is interaction… the drama of the fight. But what a fight it is. The results are exhilarating and downright fun. The series of events that usually unfold when I listen to a new Erstwhile release starts at confusion (occasionally disdain), and almost always arrives at transcendence (hello a s o). But this isn’t the case with FACE OFF. It’s immediately enjoyable, but never superficial. The pleasure increases with each subsequent listen, but the experience of the album doesn’t necessarily evolve into something new. My opinion of the album remains the same now as it did from the moment I pressed play… but that experience is love. It confronts my supposition that this field of music should affect the listener in a certain way. I can enjoy this for what it is without feeling as though I’ve missed something, and furthermore, the recording itself doesn’t have to suffer as a result.

Revox tape machine, as employed by Noetinger

FACE OFF isn’t as grandiose as other Erstwhile releases of late, which is primarily the reason I wanted to focus my attention on reviewing it. I feel that it could easily become subsumed by what may be considered ‘more important’ releases in the Erstwhile catalogue. But it would be a great shame to overlook this album, because it has a lot to offer and highlights two great musicians at the top of their game. And by focusing on a more immediate release such as this one, it is also my hope that it could become something of a gateway into this area of music for the uninitiated. I remember what it was like starting off with Duos for Doris and Improvised Music from Japan. It’s a deep end that can easily overwhelm.

In conclusion, don’t mistake FACE OFF for something minor and superficial (I hope my review hasn’t suggested as such). It’s not. It’s every bit as nuanced and rewarding as the bulk of Erstwhile’s releases. FACE OFF merely offers its rewards a little more easily and for that, I think it’s worthy of celebration. Very highly recommended and a great way to introduce yourself to a style of music I find enormously fulfilling.

Pick up FACE OFF here.

- Matthew Revert

Zbigniew Rybczyński’s TANGO

A friend introduced me to the world of Polish filmmaker, Zbigniew Rybczyński a few years back and I was so blown away that to to this day, my gratitude is such that should said friend kill my family, I’d probably have to forgive him. The short films made by Rybczyński during his stint with Poslish animation studio,  Se-ma-for, he produced some of the most mind-blowing short films I’ve ever seen, including the film in question, TANGO.

I’m not easily seduced by technical virtuosity, but I believe TANGO deserves some sort of exemption due to the single-minded audacity of the production. Here’s Rybczyński’s description of the film, including some staggering technical details:

“Thirty-six characters from different stages of life – representations of different times – interact in one room, moving in loops, observed by a static camera. I had to draw and paint about 16.000 cell-mattes, and make several hundred thousand exposures on an optical printer. It took a full seven months, sixteen hours per day, to make the piece. The miracle is that the negative got through the process with only minor damage, and I made less than one hundred mathematical mistakes out of several hundred thousand possibilities. In the final result, there are plenty of flaws ® black lines are visible around humans, jitters caused by the instability of film material resulting from film perforation and elasticity of celluloid, changes of colour caused by the fluctuation in colour temperature of the projector bulb and, inevitably, dirt, grain and scratches.”

- Zbig Rybczynski –Looking to the Future – Imagining the Truth,” in FranÐois Penz, Maureen Thomas, Cinema& Architecture. Mþliús, Mallet-Stevens, Multimedia, BFI, London, 1997

Rather than being an avant garde curio, TANGO won the 1983 Oscar for best short film, which prompted a move to New York where he went on to direct music videos from some of the biggest artists of the day like Mick Jagger, Yoko Ono, John Lennon and Lou Reed. So we’re talking a pretty heavy hitter here.

Without further adieu, please enjoy Zbigniew Rybczyński’s, TANGO:


You can buy DVDs of Rybczyński’s work here.

- Matthew Revert 

Czech Poster for Masaki Kobayashi’s, HARAKIRI.

The Criterion Collection just posted this beautiful Czech poster for Masaki Kobayashi’s, HARAKIRI on Facebook and I felt compelled to share it. HARAKIRI is one of the greatest films ever made in my opinion. It’s gut wrenching. And this poster does it unique justice.

- Matthew Revert


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