This is a little perverse, but I was dared to make it by a friend for fun, so I did. It’s quick and nasty, but it gets the point across.
Earlier today, boutique film phenom, The Criterion Collection, posted a gallery of 12 title designs they love taken from films within their collection. The gallery includes titles that have become famous in their own right, such as The 39 Steps, Anatomy of Murder and M. It’s a fun collection for film buffs and designers (especially film buffs that are designers). But before we get stuck into Criterion’s list, I thought I’d share my personal favourite title design first:
Now for Criterion’s list, which was originally posted here:
Filed under: Czech New Wave, Design, Film | Tagged: Alain Resnais, Anatomoy of a Murder, Antichrist, Children of Paradise, Chris Marker, Costa-Garvas, Criterion Collection, Fritz Lang, Fruit of Paradise, Hitchcock, Jean Cocteau, Jean-Luc Godard, La Jetee, Lars Von Trier, Last Year at Marienbad, M, Marcel Carne, Mira Nair, Monsoon Wedding, Orphee, Ottot Preminger, Rainer Wener Fassbinder, The 39 Steps, Vivre Sa Vie, Věra Chytilová, World on a Wire, Z | 6 Comments »
I collect old paperbacks – specifically from the 60s and 70s, with an emphasis on the vast Penguin catalogue. I don’t care about monetary value – I’m in it purely for the art, and Penguin’s paperbacks from the 60s and 70s had some of the most beautifully designed covers I’ve ever seen. What’s more, they can be purchased dirt cheap and the more beat up and aged they are, the more I like them and they cheaper they’re sold for! I am amassing quite a nice collection and I want to share this collection on Trash Complex. So rather than torture myself over the merits of individual designs, I just picked the first 10 from my collection I came into contact with. Believe me… I will be sharing many many many more. Please enjoy the following selection, all scanned in 300dpi for your viewing pleasure.
Many more to come. Keep reading. Keep being wonderful.
I don’t quite know how it happened, but on the weekend, one of Australia’s biggest newspapers, The Age, reviewed my latest book, The Tumours Made Me Interesting. The review itself isn’t great, but it certainly isn’t horrible and there are some quotes to glean. What is encouraging is the willingness of such a big publication to review such a small book. And even though the review wasn’t glowing, I still received a spike in sales on the day the review was published. This is a big step for me, and I’m so very thankful to The Age for giving me some space in their pages. </self indulgence>
I was first introduced to the work of sound sculptor, Jin Sangtae, a few years ago thanks to a series of releases on the magnificent Manual label. Manual were responsible for introducing me to a slew of fantastic artists operating within the deepest recesses of the Seoul experimental music scene. With release after release, I was blown away. Who was this cadre of South Korean sound wayfarers? I’ll speak more about the Seoul scene in later posts, because it’s one of the most exciting and increasingly prolific working today.
Since 2006, Sangtae has been steadily micro-releasing his work on a variety of small labels within group and solo contexts. His choice of instrumentation has evolved from the laptops, radios and mobile phones of his early releases, to the contact mic amplification and manipulation of exposed computer hard drives. On his latest three inch CD, Sacrifice 2 (released by Ghost & Son), Sangtae uses car horns as his weapon of choice. The results are, true to form, magnificent and thought provoking.
A sample of Sacrifice 2
The ubiquity of warning tones, especially the car horn, conjures up preconceptions that we take with us to a recording such as this. Sangtae confronts us with a wonderful duality where we’re expected to experience the car horn as a musical instrument, while remaining inextricably linked via a semiotic process we’ll never unravel, about what a car horn actually “means”. As a listener, this excites me greatly. I’m invited to decontextualize the source and overcome my cognitive programming. I’m also reminded that this is not an easy task. The sounds Sangtae exorcises from the car horns can’t be directly married to the ubiquity mentioned above. They range from distant trumpeting moans to busy electronic freakouts. It’s quite a remarkable feat and I won’t pretend to understand how he achieves the sounds he does.
Sangtae performing live with computer hard drives
Across its 24-minute duration, the single track on Sacrifice 2 explores a range of timbre’s and shades. What begins as a tentative tango with the tonal possibilities inherent in the car horn becomes an arrogant fusillade of high-pitched sonic scribbling. An extended period of the album’s latter half dares you to reach for the volume while the rest draws you in. Much of Sacrifice 2 is beautiful in its own way, which belies the sound source, once again challenging your preconceptions.
With Sacrifice 2, Sangtae has created a short, enjoyable piece of idiosyncratic music. While it may not be a masterpiece, it is as an album that inspires me to reflect upon my relationship to art in general. No matter how communal the intention, the experience of art can only ever be a personal one. I’m always seeking something that challenges those pesky pseudo-truisms that dictate much of our relationship to the world around us. In something as simple as decontextualizing a car horn, Sangtae has achieved just that. While it’s not unusual for experimental music to utilize sources not typically viewed as ‘musical’, it’s not often that a musician will direct the listener’s attention in such a singular, naked way. And by choosing a sound as maligned as the car horn, it is the listener that must work against their prejudice to find the magic that exists in abundance.
I have so many wonderful blog posts I want to write, but time isn’t currently on my side. I’m working my arse off to add the finishing touches on my upcoming collection, How To Avoid Sex, and am eyeball deep in some intense design work. What this ultimately amounts to is very little time to do anything else. This strenuous period should wane soon and I can get back to spreading the Trash Gospel. In the meantime I thought I’d share a little excerpt from the title story in my upcoming book. I’m a writer afterall, and I do write books… it’s makes sense. So while I concede this is a placeholder post, it is one that means something to me.
My passage out of the forest took mere minutes. The kind leonine snake waited at the forest threshold, assumedly to ensure I was safe. Wanting to afford the snake courtesy and respect, I implored it to wait, making stop signs with my hands. It obeyed and I made a dash for the nearest hat vendor of repute. The alleyways that surround my work are bulging with hat vendors of every conceivable sort. In matters of civility and manners, I tend toward bell crown toppers as I believe these convey an appropriate level of respect. Few vendors see fit to stock such headgear, but over the years, I’ve certainly done my research. A gentleman by the name of Hooster Bean has had a small stall for many years and in this instance, I knew he was my man. I fought my way through the crush of hat vendors, seeking Hooster out, hoping that my snake tour guide remained in wait. On a couple of occasions I had to be rather forceful with particularly pushy vendors who insisted that I sample their wares.
Hooster had been relegated to the deepest recess of the dingiest alleyway. It alarmed me to note how little prize we pay quality these days. Immaculately attired in a Valentino Newman suit and deadman top hat, Hooster beckoned me over.
“Worthington, my lad,” he said to me. “It’s been days.”
“Yes, my dear Hooster. I apologise for my scarcity, I’ve had urgent business that required my full attention.”
“Pay it no mind. It’s just so jolly good to see you.”
“The feeling is completely mutual,” I replied. “As much as it pains me, I must dash off as soon as possible.”
I made a show of studying my fob watch to illustrate the point.
“Certainly,” he replied. “In what manner may I be of assistance?”
“So kind of you to ask, Hooster. I require, and I do hope you can provide, a bell crown topper immediately.”
“Ah, Worthington!” He said with a kind smile. “You certainly are a man of superior taste. I believe I have exactly what you’re looking for.”
“Smashing!” I replied, letting my excitement get the better of me.
Hooster began foraging through hat boxes beneath his stall, carefully moving one aside to examine the next. He emerged a few moments later with a pink and red-striped cylindrical box.
“Wait until you lay your eyes on this number,” said Hooster. “This work of supreme artisanship has been imported from France.”
The Europhile within pumped a gentle fist of excitement. Hooster placed the box before me, slowly removed the lid and then, ever so carefully, peeled back the white tissue paper. The redolence of the Bastille filled my nostrils, briefly overriding my other senses. As my vision returned, I was greeted by the most adequate hat I had seen in some weeks. Hooster held it toward me.
“Would you like to try it on?” Asked Hooster.
“Indeed, I would, but I’m afraid I have no time. I really must be off. That said, I will most certainly purchase this kingly hat. How much do I owe you?”
“Let’s see,” he said, fingering the label on the box. “That will be $840.”
“A remarkably good price,” I replied while placing the cash before Hooster.
With a handshake, followed by a mutual bow, I made haste back to the threshold of the bamboo forest, hoping the snake would be waiting. I freed my new hat and disposed of the box in one of the many repositories that map our city.
I was relieved when I found the snake waiting patiently where I had left it. It seemed nonplussed. I carefully lowered the bell crown topper to my crown and centred myself before I continued my approach.
“I’m so happy you waited,” I said to the snake, who didn’t seem to acknowledge what I was saying. “After the assistance you’ve given me, it would have been most inappropriate not to afford you courtesy.”
With that said, I bowed and titled the bell crown topper ever so slightly.
“You earned that,” I said.
The book is coming soon. I’ll probably announce it here when it’s ready.