Published by Public Bath Press, paperback, 168 pp, 2016
"Toshiharu Osato’s literary memoir of the origins of Tokyo's most uncompromising punk band Gaseneta, who invented postpunk artcore just as the rest of the world was coming to terms with punk. It certainly sets a record for literary references in a book about artcore music! Funny, thoughtful and ultimately moving account. Awarded Best Book of the Year for 2017 by terminal-boredom.com!" - Publisher Public Bath
Biba Kopf writing in The Wire 400 described Gaseneta Wasteland as a "heartbreakingly funny, insightful and moving memoir of Gaseneta, a short-lived Japanese art punk group who revved up and roared and crackled and coughed and collapsed down the deep dark hole of their own devising in lates 1970s Tokyo... Osato's memoir makes you feel the burn like no other."
Gaseneta Wasteland by Toshiharu Osato
“Far to the North. past the towns, beyond the forests, and more distant than most have dared to go, there lies a small group of islands that against all the odds survive amongst the rocks and brine at the very edge of everything.”
The Nuckelavee is a fresh re-telling of an old Orcadian folk story, written and illustrated by Oliver Barrett in this new edition from Tartaruga Press. Set across one stormy island night, The Nuckelavee follows Tammas Kelpy as he braves the wild elements and fearsome terrain, whilst something terrifying and ancient awaits him in the darkness... .Featuring stunning hand-drawn ink and pencil illustrations throughout and a hand-screenprinted dust jacket, The Nuckelavee is available in an edition of 250 numbered copies. .Oliver Barrett is a musician and illustrator whose work has featured on various prints, posters and records (both his own as Petrels as well as numerous others). This is his first book.
Oliver Barrett – The Nuckelavee
Ed Askew is a singer-songwriter and painter born in 1940 in Stanford, Connecticut. Moving to New York for a few months in 1967, he was offered a recording contract with ESP — home also to Sun Ra and Albert Ayler — and soon released his first album Ask The Unicorn, now regarded as a folk-psychedelic classic.
Between 1968 and 1986 Ed lived mostly in New Haven, playing occasional shows there, solo and with his band. Around 1987, he moved to New York City, where he continues to write and record songs, and occasionally perform.
Never having heard of Ed previously, the wind in the trees happily encountered him on a rare visit to play with his band in London. The purity, pathos and power of his music blew us away. One song played included the words
wind in the trees is blowingthoughts in the mind
ED ASKEW Moon in the Mind
Fate was speaking, so subsequently we got in touch and Ed offered the opportunity to publish Red Lamp Poems, a collection of visual/concrete poetry — terse, playful, tender — composed, typed and elaborated with a painter’s eye and a musician’s phrasing back in 1969 on a delicately-tinted variety of graph papers.
Ed Askew - Red Lamp Poems book
Compost and Height is pleased to announce the publication of Patrick Farmer’s new book, Yew Grotesque.
Farmer has been working on this book for the last year as part of a joint commission from Sound and Music and Forestry Commission England. It was developed during a series of week-long residential trips to Grizedale Forest, Cumbria, where Farmer resided in a log cabin and spent time walking the forested area between Coniston Water and Lake Windermere. This direct relationship between the forest and the book is veiled, though the underlying presence is integral to its makeup.
Yew Grotesque completes a series of works, comprising Farmer’s previous books try i bark and wild horses think of nothing else the sea. Together the three books offer both a direct and indirect textual engagement with listening. The relationship between these publications is typified by the words of Jack Spicer, a poet who felt that his own works “echo and re-echo against each other”, “create resonances” and can’t “live alone anymore than we can”.
The undertow of Farmer’s preceding books, found in the knots and temporary dichotomies of the external and internal, now find their opposite in the publication of Yew Grotesque. The new book’s underlying personality and its observation of the many divergent angles and qualities of listening was prevalent from its conception, but its role in sealing and joining the three books together was only made apparent towards its end. It is a perverse book of praise that attempts to lay itself out flat by concerning itself with the tools that can make the object, rather than the object itself.
Yew Grotesque opens on the morning of a symposium, observing the protagonist as he moves through a series of exercises in a hotel room, whilst intently listening to his inner speech rehearse a speculative conversation between two dead artists.
Patrick Farmer – Yew Grotesque (Book)
“This is the prize-winning history of the music known as Enka, one of the dominant forms of postwar popular music, that rearranged everyone’s understanding of the history of postwar pop. Love it or hate it, Enka is a necessary background for anyone hoping to understand the music of Japan. With a new introduction by the author and full color printing (unlike the Japanese original), this is a must-have for your collection.”
Creating Enka: The “Soul of Japan” in the Postwar Era by Wajima Yusuke
Published by Public Bath Press, paperback & CD, 312 pp, 2017
The English translation of legendary folk singer Mikmai Kan's autobiography is now available. The book comes with a CD of Mikami live in Sapporo in February of 2017. The book is a complete translation of Folk ni Ikiru, with additional autobiographical writing and interview material added.
Clive Bell writes in The Wire 412: "Hopkins has done a great job with a wild text. He has fleshed out the story by including extracts from Mikami's 1973 writings, plus an interview reviewing the ten records he made in the 1970s when Columbia tried repeatedly (and failed) to make him a star... The lasting impression is Mikami's passion in everything he tackles, and his thoughts about his spiritual and artistic path as he approaches his 70th birthday: 'In order to keep your essence pure, you have to become dirtier than the thing that tries to foul your pure essence'."
A Life In Folk (And Other Bitter Songs) by Kan Mikami
Published by Public Bath Press, paperback + CD, 244 pp, 2019
"The acclaimed collection by Seiichi Yamamoto with all new art, photography and a new CD of remixed and new music by Omoide Hatoba and Suido Megane Satsujin Jiken." - Publisher Public Bath Press
"Of course, Seiichi Yamomoto is famous as the visionary guitarist of The Boredoms, Omoide Hatoba, Rashinban, Live Under The Sky, Most, Para, Novo Tono and many, many, more projects. His solo work is extensive. He is also proprietor of live house Namba Bears, home of the most interesting shows in Osaka. In the mid-1990s, when Boredoms mania was at its peak, Yamamoto-san was asked by Guitar Magazine to write a regular column. This book represents the best of that writing, with added poetry, fiction and art.
"Less well known, at least overseas, is that he is also a fine artist and photographer, having been featured in several solo shows at galleries.
"Yamamoto-san has an enigmatic, opaque way of speaking/writing that can feel simultaneously very warm and somehow off-putting. He is basically a very shy person who yet seems to spend most of his time on a stage in the spotlight.
"Ginga is the Japanese word for Milky Way, but here it is written in katakana and not its customary kanji (meaning silver river) so who knows if it means anything. He asked me if Gitabarrio, the repeating title of his column, meant anything to me. I said that I could see Gita, the song of the blessed one, and with a stretch, guitar, coming from his own barrio??? He merely smiled. Now it's your turn."- Translator Kato David Hopkins
Ginga by Seiichi Yamamoto
Edited by Lawrence Kumpf. Contributors and featured artists include Onyx Ashanti, Amy Cimini, Marcia Douglas, Kazuo Imai, Werner Durand, Peter Gente, Heidi Paris, Robert Ashley, “Blue” Gene Tyranny, Spencer Gerhardt, Adrian Rew, Paul Cummings, and Walter De Maria.
Taking its name from Maryanne Amacher’s visionary, unrealized opera, the fourth issue of Blank Forms’ journal, Intelligent Life, features a select group of unpublished, newly translated, or otherwise rare texts that augment our organization’s concerts, publications, exhibitions, and archival initiatives. The issue opens with a short literary essay by the author Marcia Douglas, in which a deep bass riddim guides a deaf narrator and a reincarnated Bob Marley through important sites in Rastafarianism’s development. Next come two interviews with crucial (though very different) figures in postwar avant-garde music: the Japanese guitarist Kazuo Imai and the American composer Robert Ashley, along with pianist and frequent collaborator “Blue” Gene Tyranny. The previously unpublished interview with Imai was conducted by Blank Forms’ Editor and Artistic Director Lawrence Kumpf during Imai’s first trip to the United States, in 2018, and finds the artist reflecting on recent work with the collective Marginal Consort as well as his foundational experiences playing with two other titans of Japanese experimentalism, Takehisa Kosugi and Masayuki Takayanagi. The interview with Ashley and “Blue” Gene, meanwhile, first published in German in 1984 on the occasion of a staging of Ashley’s opera Atalanta, was translated for the first time into English for this publication.
Intelligent Life continues with a series of longer pieces showcasing a diverse set of complex practices and histories, beginning with that of Detroit-based artist Onyx Ashanti. Onyx contributes his own Octavia Butler-referencing “sonocybernetic manifesto,” first published online in 2016, which exists simultaneously as theoretical treatise, memoir, and practical guide to his idiosyncratic technology-based practice. The manifesto is bolstered in this issue by a rare and extensive interview, conducted by Blank Forms’ Curatorial Assistant Adrian Rew in 2018. Following this exploration of Onyx’s life and work, the issue dives deeper into mathematics, with a comprehensive essay on Catherine Christer Hennix’s engagement with intuitionism and other esoteric approaches to math, written by the mathematician and musician Spencer Gerhardt. Gerhardt’s lucid, previously unpublished essay serves as a necessary complement to Blank Forms Editions’ forthcoming collection of Hennix’s abstruse, mostly unpublished body of writing, Poësy Matters and Other Matters.
The issue continues with a sort of titular essay, a rich analysis of Amacher’s Intelligent Life—the first such piece on this work—by Amacher scholar Amy Cimini. An incredibly prescient work that sought to upend any remaining vestiges of traditional operatic form and staging, Intelligent Life tells the story, set in 2021, of employees at Supreme Connections LLC, a futurist sonic entertainment corporation that formed following the collapse of a failed algorithmic music recommendation service. Cimini traces the technical and theoretical innovations with which Amacher imbued the work, situating it amid a detailed explication of Amacher’s still-overlooked practice. Intelligent Life—the journal issue—then concludes with a lengthy interview with the artist Walter De Maria. One of the few interviews De Maria gave in his lifetime, this one, created for the Archives of American Art in 1972, sheds significant light on De Maria’s early intellectual and artistic development as well as his work as a musician. Although he largely stopped playing music by 1970, and although few recordings of his efforts exist, De Maria played alongside musicians ranging from Lou Reed to Don Cherry to Henry Flynt, establishing himself early on as a force in jazz and avant-garde circles in both the Bay Area and New York City.
Taken together, the texts compiled here present a kaleidoscopic view of the last fifty years of experimental art and music in the United States and beyond, mining the conceptual, technical, historical, or otherwise marginal details undergirding artists’ lives, ideas, and approaches that may otherwise remain buried.
Blank Forms – Journal 4: Intelligent Life book
"In May 1977 Derek Bailey gave me a press ticket for Company Week - a series of concerts of improvised music in London. I made some notes at the time, but there seemed to be nowhere suitable to publish the extended commentary I eventually produced. So I wrote it into a dummy book and it to Derek. Most of it is reproduced here." Peter Riley 1994
Original copies of this rare and invaluable document.
Peter Riley - Company Week
Published by New DocumentsEdited by Will Holder, Alex Waterman.
American composer Robert Ashley (born 1930) has taken contemporary opera beyond the opera theater and into the television screen. Ashley’s operas draw an elegant cosmology of American consciousness out of storytelling, short phrases, ranting, chanting, profanity and the linguistic textures that make American speech musical. Working with the same four speakers/singers (Joan La Barbara, Sam Ashley, Tom Buckner and Jacqueline Humbert) for 30 years, Ashley has developed a collective, operatic form of storytelling whose production is almost entirely oral. Little exists on the page by way of a fully notated score, leaving the singers to fill in musical nuance and inflection through a process of “character development” that exists more off the page than on. Yes, But Is It Edible? is the culmination of activity and research around Ashley’s notational style that the editors have developed through a series of “rehearsals” and public readings ongoing since 2009.
Robert Ashley - Yes, But Is It Edible? Book
Originally published in the mid-1970s, Womens Work was a magazine that sought to highlight the overlooked work of female artists working at the cusp of the visual arts, music, and performance. The magazine was edited by Alison Knowles and Annea Lockwood and featured text-based and instructional performance scores by the following 25 artists, composers, and choreographers:
Beth Anderon, Ruth Anderson, Jacki Apple, Barbara Benary, Sari Dienes, Nye Ffarrabas (participating as Bici Forbes), Simone Forti, Wendy Greenberg, Heidi Von Gunden, Françoise Janicot, Alison Knowles, Christina Kubisch, Carol Law, Annea Lockwood (also included as Anna Lockwood), Mary Lucier, Lisa Mikulchik, Ann Noël (included as Ann Williams), Pauline Oliveros, Takako Saito, Carolee Schneemann, Mieko Shiomi, Elaine Summers, Carole Weber, Julie Winter, and Marilyn Wood.
The magazine was designed by Alison Knowles, who deliberately chose off-white paper and brown inks as a contrast to the sterile, white-paged publications prevalent at the time. The works contained in the magazine range in scope and take on a multitude of forms, employing both typed and written text, often with visual elements such as diagrams, drawings, and photographic images. The editors were and remain adamant that the work should be performed; that they not remain static as an artifact.
We wanted to publish work which other people could pick up and do: that aspect of it was really important…this was not anecdotal, this was not archival material, it was live material. You look at a score, you do it.
– Annea Lockwood
The first issue, published in 1975, took the form of a saddle-stitched magazine and the second, published in 1978, took the form of a fold-out poster. This facsimile edition reproduces both and houses them in a custom self-folding box. Womens Work is produced in an edition of 1,500 and retails for $24.00.
Alison Knowles (b. 1933) is a conceptual artist known for intermedia works in text, graphics, sound, installations, transvironments, performances, paperworks and publishing. She is a founding member of Fluxus, the experimental avant-garde group formally launched in 1962. Her most recent retrospective was at the Carnegie Museum of Art in 2016. In 2019 she debuted in Havana, Cuba.
Annea Lockwood (b. 1939) is an artist and composer whose lifelong fascination with timbre and new sound sources is reflected in her multidisciplinary work, which has incorporated chamber music, performance, electronic and environmental sound, and visual art. Recent works include commissions for the Bang on a Can All-Stars, Thomas Buckner and the S.E.M. Ensemble, and the Merce Cunningham Dance Company. She is a recipient of the 2007 Henry Cowell Award.
8.5 x 9 inchesMagazine and PosterEdition of 1500May 2019
V/A – Womens Work