September 26, 2010

Jack Kirby music armor

Filed under: Blog — Gary Panter @ 10:13 am

A few nights, ago my superhero friend, JM, mind thrumming bassplayer for a great metropolitan combo, suggested I meet him at Issue Project Room to capture Masami Akita, also known as mad, noise scientist, Merzbow– who years ago, disguised as a sincere and sensitive young man, took the name of the mutated kitchen of Kurt Schwitters, ancient master of destruction and reassembly, and began a thirty year rampage of audio and sonic assault, which juts, unabatedly, further and further, into our new century.

When I arrived, JM was already in the vast hall with an assembled throng of witting Eloi. Assuming that Akita would unleash some perplexing new sound weapon, the multitude steeled themselves by long exposure to MV CArbon and Philip White, a two person team, manning and womanning a transparent cello and a facebook. The transparent axe was bowed into turbid sense-blocking tin-shearing ossicle flack, while the ack ack of the facebook issued soundwaves insensate to hominid noise capacities, yet, for all that wondermint, a bracing sea chantey, compared to what followed.

The slim man in black approached his table of sonic kill devices casually, almost innocently, but we were not fooled, having quite a number of representations of his psychotropic sprees on cd and vinyl, from Material Action to Frog. Masami has been rumored to keep a living chicken in his madlab which he is coddling into unpreparedness against the day. And it was Masami, his belt length black tresses sweeping the kill-switch, resolute before us. Before JM or me or the throng could bleat, the wall of sound he freed was moving through us and ever proceeding in our direction, turning us to oatmeal with sugar and butter and milk, like cold air rushing under hot air, turning the mental inlight to green for GO and ripping chunks out of the sky inside IPR. I was writhing and squirming, as I had dropped one ear plug, then two, at my feet in the dark, lost and unretrievable in the maze of folding chair legs. Luckily, I had two more Pink Ladies in my watch pocket and I stuffed them into my elephantine ears for all I was worth, as Akita Masami reached for his metallic Jack Kirby earth destroying belt with its glinting and horrifying laser etched decal of a star system imploding on front. He detached the electric weasel. The fun was just beginning.

September 23, 2010


Filed under: Blog — Gary Panter @ 12:03 am

In the fourth grade, I went ape over Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine, edited by the ever young, now departed, Forrest J. Ackerman. In the back of each issue was a mail order section that featured grisly monster masks, spooky magic tricks, scary novels, repulsive giant rubber flys, creature posters, fake vomit, cut-off finger in a box, the hand that takes the coin, rubber skulls, monster make-up kits, plastic assembly kits, games and scary records.

The record section caught my eye and imagination and eventually I was able to order MUSIC FOR ROBOTS a cornball trip to the future narrated by the ever punning Ackermonster himself, on one side, and on the flip side an early electronic music soundtrack created by Frank Coe which sounded like an agitated cloud of manic space birds bush-wacking a  tortured sentient locomotive on an Yves Tanguy  scarescape. That MUSIC FOR ROBOTS turned out to be so amazing made me really want to hear all the other spooky LPs, but that was not to be. Nay. I never ordered anything else from the back of Famous Monsters of Filmland, but if i had…

If I could have  ordered just one more record, from the back of Famous Monsters of Filmland, it would’ve been SPIKE JONES IN HI-FI fronted by an amazing Jack Davis cover. In the back of the mag, in smeary inkovison, the inch square black and white reproduction of the cover still communicated the excellence of Davis’s imagination and execution. One of Davis’s best illustrations, in which a demented surgeon Spike Jones is dead center clutching a jumbo size meat cleaver, as an incredibly gnarly Frankenstein’s monster rises up off his gurney, doing a super sit up, snapping his leather restraining straps, to join a dank gathering of monsters, beatniks and brides of Dracula. If the record was good, too, it would be extra.

Never got it until this last weekend. Robert Carey, sound  collage guy, and I, went into FEEDING TUBE RECORDS in Northampton, MA and I came out with  the SPOOKTACULAR IN SCREAMING SOUND pictured, and a couple of other records, too. It is pure corn and I haven’t digested it yet, yet the object, as fetish, doesn’t disappoint.

September 9, 2010

Karl Wirsum 2

Filed under: Blog — Gary Panter @ 10:03 pm

Had a nice time at the Wirsum opening. Karl and his wife Lorri Gunn were very gracious. Saw a lot of friends. Got the elegant catalog, designed by Norman Hathaway, and imposed on Karl to sign it. Congratulations to Derek Eller and Dan Nadel who co-curated the show and wrote the very smart catalog essay. The work is great. Attached is a drawing from the show that served as preparatory for a color page that ran in an early Hairy Who comic. If the US had artists as national treasures, Karl would probably not be selected, but he is. Images copyright Karl Wirsum.

Karl Wirsum

Filed under: Blog — Gary Panter @ 1:44 pm

Opening tonight. Drawings by the great Karl Wirsum, a central member of the mindshattering Hairy Who Chicago monster school, at Derek Eller, in Chelsea. See it while it’s up. In the 70s, the few times I was in New York, I would go to Phillis Kind Gallery and ask to look at Karl Wirsum and Jim Nutt’s work. There was a treasure trove of paintings on plex, polychromed wood sculpture, insane marionettes and ink drawings in her back room. Killer stuff. When I saw this album cover for Screaming Jay Hawkins in a record shop in about 19seventysomething my big toe jumped up in my boot. It was about the greasiest piece of art I had ever seen.

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