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If Penguin Had Published Peter Sotos

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.

12 Title Designs Criterion Love

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:

Ovoce Stromů Rajských Jíme (AKA Fruit of Paradise, directed by Věra Chytilová, 1969)

Now for Criterion’s list, which was originally posted here:

The 39 Steps (directed by Alfred Hitchcock, 1935)

Anatomy of a Murder (directed by Otto Preminger, 1959)

Antichrist (directed by Lars Von Trier, 2009)

La Jetée (directed by Chris Marker, 1962)

Les Enfants du Paradis (AKA Children of Paradise, directed by Marcel Carné, 1945)

M (directed by Fritz Lang, 1931)

L'année Dernière à Marienbad (AKA: Last Year at Marienbad, directed by Alain Resnais, 1961)

Monsoon Wedding (directed by Mira Nair, 2001)

Orphée (directed by Jean Cocteau, 1950)

Vivre Sa Vie (directed by Jean-Luc Godard, 1962)

Welt am Draht (AKA: World on a Wire, directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1973)

Z (directed by Costa-Gavras, 1969)



Retro Penguin Paperback Covers

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.

Cat Mouse by Günter Grass (design not credited)

Escape From Childhood: The Needs and Rights of Children by John Holt (cover design by Christine Whiting)

Facts From Figures by M. J. Moroney (cover design by Larry Carter)

Our Language by Simeon Potter (design by Romek Marber)

Psychology for Everyman by Larry S. Skurnik and Frank George (design not credited)

Sanity, Madness and the Family by R.D. Laing and A. Esterson (design by Enzo Ragazzini)

The Empty Canvas by Alberto Moravia (drawing by Giovanni Thermes)

The End of a Mission by Heinrich Böll (design uncredited)

The Mandelbaum Gate by Muriel Spark (cover photograph by Bob Croxford)

The Suffrage of Elvira by V.S. Naipaul (design by Omnific)

Many more to come. Keep reading. Keep being wonderful.

Matthew Revert


LISTING MY LIKES #2: 10 More Things I’ve Loved Lately

A few weeks ago, I posted a list of 10 things old and new that I’ve been gleaning great joy from. Find the first list here. As there is far too much out there to dedicate a single post to, here’s 10 more.

L’aime de Mon Amie
(aka My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend, directed by Eric Rohmer, 1987)

Eric Rohmer resides in my upper echelon of greatest directors of all time. All of his films range from brilliant to masterpiece, and while L’aime de Mon falls just short of masterpiece status, it is another brilliant, captivating addition to his staggering filmography. L’aime de Mon Amie is the final instalment in Rohmer’s ‘Comedies and Proverbs’ Cycle. In contrast to his (arguably more famous) 6 Moral Tales cycle, the films within Rohmer’s proverbs focus on female protagonists navigating love, confusion and insecurity in the modern world. L’aime de Mon Amie is certainly no different, focusing on the complex entanglements that evolve within the universe of two best friends and their respective partners (tangible or desired). Describing a Rohmer film can often become a droll affair. His films focus on the minutiae and subtlety of relationships and personal growth. Through the quiet, revelatory experiences of his characters, Rohmer’s films provide a rare and refreshingly honest window into the human condition. Watching a Rohmer film always inspires a surge of self-awareness and become deeply personal, reflective affairs. L’aime de Mon Amie is no exception.

Wormsblood – Black & White Art For Man & Beast
(2011, Brave Mysteries)

I’m not quite sure how to describe this glorious cassette tape. It was the jewel in a batch of five Brave Mysteries tapes I was recently given by my kind postman. It represents what excites me most about the cassette tape underground that runs rampant around the world. On a basic level, Wormsblood are a black metal band, albeit one that resides in a different universe to most of the black metal coming out today. With the sloppiness of the most aggressive sludge, the scathing misanthropy of lo-fi black metal and the avant garde peculiarity of Yoko Ono, Wormsblood create a completely unique sonic experience. Hailing from Wisconsin and comprised of members from Burial Hex, Jex Thoth, and Kinit Her, Wormsblood are a band that don’t lend themselves to written descriptions. Instead, listen to the clip below. The tape may be out of print now, but just in case, head over to Brave Mysteries.

The Lover – Marguerite Duras (1984)

My knowledge of the great Marguerite Duras, until now, was based solely on her amazing and divisive films. This is probably a little unusual, as from what I understand her writing is perhaps more prominent. The Lover is the first (but will certainly not be the last) Duras book I have read and I am stunned by it’s singular beauty. Written as autobiographical fragments with a stream of consciousness zeal to its flow, The Lover is a stark, breathlessly honest account of Duras’ budding sexuality while growing up in Saigon. With an economy of language seldom seen, Duras weaves pure poetry while avoiding the trite pitfalls that often plague tales of young love. The Lover has the ability to crush you with a few simple words – words which resonate long after you’ve finished reading them. I could talk about this book at great length, but I have no doubt many, far more intelligent than I have already provided this service.

Autoluminescent: Rowland S. Howard
(directed by Richard Lowenstein, Lynn-Maree Milburn, 2011)

The recent death of Rowland S. Howard is one of the biggest tragedies in Australian music. I was lucky enough (or unlucky enough – I haven’t decided yet) to see his final live performance – a performance to celebrate the launch of his last album, Pop Crimes. Rowland S. Howard never found the popular fame his enormous talent should have heralded. To the world at large, he was better known as a key figure in The Birthday Party, which had the unfortunate side-effect of relegating Howard into a bit player within the greater Nick Cave mythos. It was thanks to Howard’s seminal, oft-imitated but never matched, approach to the electric guitar that The Birthday Party truly gained their deserved reputation. Outside of this, in the midst of constant battles with drug addiction and depression, Howard was responsible for vital music in such bands as Crime and the City Solution and These Immortal Souls, not to mention a pair of stunning solo albums, including the masterpiece, Teenage Snuff Film. Lowenstein and Milburn’s beautiful tribute to the life of Rowland S. Howard, Autoluminescent, attempts to assemble the myriad strands of Howard into a cogent whole. To a large extent, it succeeds. With copious interviews with integral players (including Howard himself), Autoluminescent is a touching tribute to a true artist that never quite managed to find the audience he richly deserved. Highly recommended to not only fans of Howard, but anyone with an interest in the art punk bliss of late-70s Melbourne.

Mythologies – Roland Barthes

Mythologies is my introduction to the great mind of philosopher and semiotician, Roland Barthes. The book is split into two distinct parts: the mythologies themselves and a study on myth today. Using his semiotic powers, Barthes reveals the meaning and historical weight that lurks at the heart of everything from professional wrestling to washing detergent. Mythologies is a book that engages the mind as deeply as anything I’ve ever read, and you emerge from the text with a different perspective of the world around you. Meanings you never considered begin to bubble to the surface of every encounter. A greater understanding of the interminable depth of everything is both revelatory and frightening. Mythologies is a book that upsets your stagnation.  I read a few of his short essays whenever I get a few spare minutes, just to fuel my intellectual fire.

Timber Timbre – Creep On Creepin’ On
(Arts & Crafts, 2011)

Canadian band, Timber Timbre, led by multi-instrumentalist/vocalist, Taylor Kirk has been providing me with the perfect late night soundtrack over the last couple of weeks. Reminiscent of Nick Cave at his most spare sans the grandiloquence, Timber Timbre create rich groove-laden atmospheres with enough negative space to ponder your existence in. Borrowing heavily from Gothic Americana tropes but with enough idiosyncrasy to separate it, Creep On Creepin’ On is a cool as hell slab of slowed down boogie with an emphasis on mood. Not a masterpiece, but a brilliant soundtrack to late night dread.

 Anne Guthrie – Perhaps A Favorable Organic Moment
(Copy For Your Records, 2011) 

Copy For Your Records are certainly emerging as one of the more interesting labels in the world of experimental music, and Anne Guthrie’s breathtaking, Perhaps A Favorable Organic Moment is one of the best. There’s so much I could write about this album – more than a capsule review will ever allow. In PAFOM Guthrie takes field recording to a whole new level of intimacy by becoming an integral player (quite literally) in the environment she captures. Sitting by an open in window (in New York I believe), PAFOM begins with the sound of the city at a distance – the sounds that accentuate the average day of any city dweller. After five minutes or so, the sound of Guthrie playing Bach’s Cello Suite No. 2, Prelude on her french horn joins the environmental sound. The playing is far from perfect – she restarts several times and fumbles through her notes. All the while, we hear the city, Guthrie’s breath, her fingers against the french horn. All becomes one in a subversion of recorded performance. This is followed by the same recording we have just heard reworked through a series of different effects, distorting our view of the familiar… the sanctity of the medium. It’s unusually shocking as we don’t quite recognise the repetition at first. This is followed by a 10 minute recording of NYC until we return to the motif of the disc’s first half, only reversed and with a homely rendition of Annie Laurie instead of Bach’s Cello Suite. This is a very special album. One that deserves far more attention than it’s 150 copy print run will allow. Pick this up as soon as you get a chance and put A Copy For Your Records on your watch list.

Jeremy Lin

It might surprise many to know that in my youth I played a lot of baketball. Basketball was an obsession that infected our school like chicken pox. As such, I’ve always had a soft spot for the NBA. I don’t follow very closely – in fact I know virtually nothing. But anyone with the slightest interest in basketball has probably heard about Jeremy Lin. Seriously! What the fuck is up with this dude!?

The Necks – Live at the Corner Hotel, 13/2/12

A couple of weeks ago, in preparation for a live set I was seeing that night, I wrote a piece about Australian improv legends, The Necks, which you can read here. The set itself exceeded expectations. As is usual, the show was divided into two sets of roughly an hour in length. It’s been personally very rewarding to watch The Necks continue to evolve, year after year, always exploring new ideas. The second set was among the best I’ve ever seen them play. Someone was even kind enough to record some of the performance and upload it onto youtube. Here it is:

Me being reviewed in The Age!

Okay… so I mentioned this earlier today, but I’m still reeling from it. I can’t believe it happened!

So there’s my next list. Hopefully it will inspire you to explore… that is always my main aim with Trash Complex. Thanks for reading. I love you all.

Matthew Revert

I Was Reviewed in The Age!?

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>

Album Review: Jin Sangtae – Sacrifice 2

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.

Jin Sangtae going to town on some computer hard drives

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.

The charming ghoul that welcomes you to Ghost & Son records

In the early stages of 2012, Sacrifice 2 is an album that stands out for me. It’s limited to a mere 75 copies, so head on over to Ghost & Son or ErstDist if you want a copy.

Matthew Revert


Excerpt from my Upcoming Book, How To Avoid Sex

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.

Matthew Revert


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