“And the whip-poor-wills they make a din”

This new book, launched ahead of Open House London 2020, The Alternative Guide to the London Boroughs, is a very welcome addition to the chronicle’s of the unseen capital. Highly recommended / How taste gets made: Anne Helen Petersen on how identity creation through music is ultimately subsumed by the demands of adult life: ‘Taste can be performative and exclusionary but it can also just be a wellspring of self: recognizing that there is something there — something that is readily moved, something vital and inexplicable — apart from your capacity to work.’ / From Rotterdam to Amsterdam in 10 minutes: a 4k sailing timelapse / more 8-bit noise, the NES Poly (via Music Tech) / a collection of simulacra spaces / The Twittering Machine (source).

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Sounds, bracketed by despair

Our delusional obsession with splendid isolation / High Score, a video game sound generator (via Sonic State) / related, the Arcade Machine, one of several fun looking pedals from RPS Effects / sort of related, a collection of imaginary software / sort of related, the imaginary book covers of Harland Miller / more quirky audio devices from Metta Audio Devices / the Star Wars Building / which leads us to the retro 70s sound of Mos Eisley Spaceport / more music by Ferric Tapes / music by A Sisyphus Wish / music by bathysphere / music reviewed at Heavy Blog is Heavy / How Big Oil Misled The Public Into Believing Plastic Would Be Recycled.

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Car fires, photographs by Michael Danner / Skeletons in the closet, behind the scenes at the museum, photographs by Klaus Pichler / Amazon’s murky world of one-star reviews / illustrations and graphics by Sharon Park (via OMGLORD) / The Modern House has a magazine / see also, what are your favourite weird house aggregators? We especially like cheap Irish houses / Circulatory Systems, a trippy trip along hallucinatory highways (via Synthtopia) / see also, Vinyl LPs Sell More Than CDs For The First Time In 3 Decades. More detail / things that are tagged ‘early version‘ / some updated images of derelict London.

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Hard work

What Is (and Isn’t) Emotional Labour / what’s the worst piece of packaging to recycle? A Pringles tube / Listen to the Clouds, airport chatter mixed with an ambient playlist (via b3ta) / a review of Stealing from the Saracens by Diana Darke, a ‘revealing history of Islamic architectural influence on Europe’s cathedrals, palaces and monuments‘ / Places Journal on the explicitly political work of Hans Haacke / Bastard Countryside, a project by photographer Robin Friend (via Loose Joints, which is occasionally nsfw) / McMansion Hell reaches 1976 / How philanthropy benefits the super rich / Never Too Small, tiny living / old car design at Form Freu.

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The Electric Art Collective / the Next Issue of the timeless ZX Spectrum / the Winamp skins museum / Scott’s Dream – Music From A Reimagined Digital Electronium / browse through some Old Book Illustrations / the Barbican in crosss section / cars, running and not, from the Collection Andre Trigano / the Line6 DL4, ‘quietly the most important guitar pedal of the last 20 years’ (via this pedal post at MeFi) / the Lo-Fi Player / music by thought trials / vintage car ads / music recommendations at Deaf Sparrow / when the sun hits / music by gummi bear / works on paper by Daniel Rich / the GMC Pad (via) was strongly reminiscent of the MoPads of Mega City One, back from the days before ‘Van Life’ became a thing / sort of related, the hitch hotel.

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Maps and Music

Maps. Sounds of the Forest from around the world (via Kottke, via Moss and Fog) / see also the Nature Sound Map / contrast with Sounds of New York City (SONYC) / the London Sound Survey is a rich archive, with gems such as The Hackney Year and a welcome collection of historic London maps / also related and recommended, Aporee.org, ‘a global soundmap dedicated to field recording, phonography and the art of listening’ / Cities and Memory provides Sounds from the global Covid-19 lockdown / no sound, but an interactive model of the Earth through (geological) time / Music. Beat Chapter offers music ephemera for sale / esoteric music at Ektro Records / the making of Tricky’s Black Steel / music by Nebuleuse.

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Passing trade

The butcher’s shop that lasted 300 years (give or take), a beautiful piece by Tom Lamont about the last vestiges of the ‘traditional’ high street, and how easy it is for them to fall away. Includes this astute sentence: “As a rough rule of thumb, whenever a shop makes an overt gesture towards the past, all back-in-time vibes will be checked on inspection of the prices. The more a shop looks as though it trades in farthings and ha’pennies, the more tenners and twenties you can expect to hand over at the till.” / Afflictor.com was a website devoted to ‘Ideas and technology and politics and journalism and history and humor and some other stuff’. Nothing has happened there since 2017. At some point, there’ll be websites that have been handed down through generations before ultimately reaching the end of the line, shuttering up to denude the internet of variety and independence / other things. Chadwick Boseman tribute. See also, Black Panther effects reel / a Bubble House in Queensland, Australia, by architect Graham Birchall (via Wowhaus).

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Typewriters, frauds, and archives

A collection of Vintage IKEA catalogues at the IKEA museum / music by Jack Ellister / old home movies of auto races / Players are fixing Microsoft Flight Simulator’s missing monuments with Google Maps data / The Wildest Insurance Fraud Scheme Texas Has Ever Seen (via tmn) / fun with focal lengths / An archive of a different type, the life’s accumulation of Pearl and Martin Tytell, of Tytell Typewriter, New York. See also, ‘“The $7,500 Typewriter I Built For Alger Hiss,” by Martin Tytell, as told to Harry Kursh (True magazine, August 1952).’ / the Arcade Flyer Archive / Internet Archive Book Images / The Metropolis of Tomorrow, about Hugh Ferriss’s landmark work from 1929.

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Basements, bold architecture, retromods and nostalgia

A quintessential things post within. ‘Thinking about the “Neo-Andean” architecture that flourished in Bolivia under Evo Morales‘. Work by architect Freddy Mamani / ‘Truly, madly, deeply: meet the people turning their basements into secret fantasy worlds‘ / make your own Renoca, a Japanese coachbuilder that retromods existing Toyota models with a vintage twist (via cars that never made it) / An analysis of international traveller deaths at the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland, 1993–2017 / Tales from the Public Domain: BOUND BY LAW? A comic book exploration of the ‘twilight zone’ by intellectual property and public domain / ‘The rise, fall and rediscovery of the Fender Jaguar‘ / music by Sally Haze / Looking back—The 25th Anniversary of Windows 95.

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Harrods for Everything is the apt title of a huge 1,525-page catalogue from about 1912′, via Hot off the Press, via MeFi. Eat your heart out Argos. If you like this kind of thing, the Sears Archive is also instructive. Today’s Aliexpress and Alibaba-haunting Dropshippers are simply perpetuating our fascination with the ideal of the mega-catalogue, one book that contains everything you ever need / The Unfortunate Tale of the Museum of Practical Geology Pt I and Pt II / Hidden Architecture / ‘Blood, death and toy cars: how the Mexican Weegee makes sense of a violent world, the photography of Enrique Metinides, photographer of tragedies, collector of toys / Airplane Mode, ‘experience the Zen-like routines of commercial flying. Expect delays’ (via RPS) / music by Lunch Money Life / notes on the arts and visual culture, a traditional weblog / a collection of isolated vocals / it was a golden era of tinctures, tonics and syrups:

– Acidulated, 340
Aubergier’s (lettuce juice with morphine), 327
of Buckthorn (a rustic purgative), 340, 341
Easton’s, 330, 340
– Figs in, 1244
– Fruits in, 1246, 1247
– Ginger, 340
Golden, 1262
of Hypophosphites, 332, 340
– Johnson’s Soothing, 334
– Lemon, 340
Parrish’s, 340
Poppies, 340
– Rami, 338
– Ramos, 338
– Rhubarb, 340
– Roberts’, 338
Seigel’s, 338
– of Senna, 339
of Squills, 340
Tolu, 340
– Violets, 340
Winslow’s Soothing, 341
– Syrups for Flavouring, 1262
– Fruit and Liqueur, 1262
– Harrods’, 356

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Charts and predictions

A list of Gilded Age mansions in the USA / a tour of Ricardo Bofill’s house / the work of designer and animator Lucas Zanotto / Limbo Magazine, ‘a not-for-profit venture to support unemployed artists and creatives’ / after the blast, Beirut’s design community / an air pollution map / a live lightning strike map / asteroid size danger chart (could do with being a bit more visual) / ‘Press this button to see almost-live video from over 900 TFL cameras across London’ (via b3ta) / music by Spare Planet / Shallow Learning, photographs by Aaron Hegert / Pokemon vs Bison / music selected by Wild Patterns.

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Sound flowers

A couple of fun things from musicradar; Circle Guitar, a robotic arpeggiator by Anthony Dickens (we think); 1000 oscillator drone synth by Look Mum No Computer; Love Hultén’s micro-sized Meccano MMXS synth, ‘a tribute to Martin Molin and a miniature homage to his ongoing music project Marble Machine X‘ / the crazy sci-fi watches of Poland / for sale, one of the icons of 20th century modernism, the Lovell Health House / or try this 1970s house by Jacques de Blois in Saint-Damase-de-L’Islet, Quebec / build your own medieval stronghold / staying small, tiny Star Wars-themed models, including models of modelmakers making models / where has all the visual inspiration gone? / read the new issue of Cabinet Magazine online / play with a set of musical toys at Chrome Experiments / see also Noise-based generative biomes and more / art by Fanélie Muselier.

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Up and down

Some sounds, starting with neo psych from The Sun’s Evil Twin. Especially strong Spacemen vibes here: Psychedelic Revolution / drones and more at Relay Tapes / music by Chipped Tooth / contemporary shoegaze from Nossienes and bdrmm / epic soundtracks from Ghst Mdrn (interesting how all the companies that lost their vowels have now got them back, but now all the bands have lost them) / paintings by Neryl Walker (slightly nsfw) / art by Evelien Cambre / a comprehensive MeFi post all about The Clangers / the history of vintage computers in photography / abandoned cars in rural France / abandoned, leaky radiation dump in the Marshall Islands / related, speculative sea level explorer.

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Deep house

Thirty-year-old corpse discovered in cellar of €35m Paris mansion‘. There are always some similarly ridiculous properties at Concierge Auctions. Corpses presumably not included, but you never know / An Invisible Crown: How to Be an Heiress, the story of Olga Deterding / early films of cities / droney, abstract instrumental music by Sonic Koalas / Oscillation, an album by Oh Hiroshima / love this: An Isolation Odyssey by Lydia Cambron / How ghost cruise ships became a summer tourist attraction / Absence of Evidence, ‘The work consists of 14 photographs, taken by both the artists Henry/Bragg and a group of ‘former street sex workers in Hull honouring 14 of their fellow workers who have died’ (via The Learned Pig) / Tips for Community Funding In Challenging Times / exploring the pernicious influence of benevolent sexism, a comic by Emma / ‘In the Vir­tu­al Giant Dolls’ House project, we asked chil­dren of all ages and their close ones to cre­ative­ly share their expe­ri­ence of stay­ing in one space because of self-iso­la­tion and social distancing.’ / the story of Ben is Dead, an LA scene / ‘The little sculpture affixed to your house‘, nameplates on doors (via MeFi).

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Shaping sounds

The origins of the Netflix ‘sound’. Related, how Brian Eno composed the Windows 95 sound; the man behind the Intel ‘bongs’, the composer Walter Werzowa; the Contentious Tale of the McDonald’s “I’m Lovin’ It” Jingle; the THX ‘Deep Note’, composed by Lucasfilm sound engineer Dr. James ‘Andy’ Moorer / other things, British and Exotic Mineralogy, ‘all 2,242 illustrations from James Sowerby’s compendium of knowledge about mineralogy in Great Britain and beyond, drawn 1802–1817 and arranged by color.’ (via Kottke). To a mineralogist, is this a little bit like those people who arrange their bookshelves according to the colour of the spines? (i.e. controversial) / sort of related, a trip to Cordite Cove / a beginners’ guide to boutique guitar pedals / the synths of Duran Duran (related, the bass playing of Duran Duran).

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Scribbles and side-chains

Cave Things is a little bit Shrigley-esque in its conception and execution / This Cryptid World, cartography of the cultural imagination / swimming pools from above, photographed by Brad Walls / buy a house in the Cité Frugès de Pessac by Le Corbusier (at Wowhaus) / Duma is a Kenyan grindcore band / Olympic-Sized Hoax? ‘Lost’ Krautrock Warm-Up Tapes Mysteriously Surface (via MeFi) / Musical Android / Retracing the Roland Sound in Hip-Hop (via) / tracing the evolution of car sizes.

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Ground Control to Major Tom

Authors Christopher Reeves and Aaron Walker compile the world’s worst playlist on the occasion of the publication of their book The World’s Worst: A Guide to the Portsmouth Sinfonia. More about this legendary orchestra / manipulated scenes and landscapes by photographer Cássio Vasconcellos (via Kottke) / fantastical CG supercars and unlikely automotive high-jinks rendered by 2NCS / Gaia, an artwork by Luke Jerram designed to give us that ‘pale blue dot’/’earthrise’ feeling / ‘welcome to the world of LEGO UX design’: George Cave delves into the the user interface of Lego control panels and the ramifications of poorly designed controls elsewhere (via MeFi) / farewell to William English, co-creator of the computer mouse / Radical Platform, on the design of pioneering 70s feminist magazine Spare Rib, every issue of which is available in Journal Archives.

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Ten Years Ago

Sifting through the archives, we found a few posts that never made it to our new domain a decade ago. For the sake of completism, here they are, dead links and all: Starting Afresh; Museums in a Box; Brand Extensions; Forests and walled gardens; Backs of things; Imaginary places in which to live; Illuminating the corners; Perpetual motion and urban drifts. Prepare for dead links aplenty, but also a snapshot of what was interesting online a decade ago / some other, more recent, things. What’s the most expensive thing you’ve ever bought with cash? (via tmn / film history with Ryan McCormick / Against the Clock, electronic music artists are given ten minutes to conjure up an improvisation. Courtesy of FACT Magazine / Animate, an electronic toy-making kit / embroidered cartoons by artist Peter Frederiksen / Esoteric Survey, a weblog / art by Hilary Pecis.

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Over your shoulder

Jeff Mermelstein’s book #nyc is a creepy reminder of how much of our private lives and thoughts play out in a (semi) public way / Wired revisits the ongoing hunt for Alien Big Cats in the UK. Check the British Big Cats Society for updates / alternatively, search for bugs (and dinosaurs) on your smartphone for AR-driven encounters / architectural renderings by Bruce Goff / with the 2020 version of MS Flight Simulator on the near horizon, play the history of Microsoft Flight Simulator / the Underground City of Derinkuyu, Turkey, at Brilliant Maps (illustrated by Stuart Jackson-Carter). The history of the city / Yoshihiro Makino, images of High Court of Punjan and Haryana, from The Open Hand Book / Argos to stop printing catalogue after almost 50 years. Time to go back to The Book of Dreams.

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How things change

Things from here and there today. Brick houses in a forest / digital art by Universal Everything / a tour of the architecture of skateboarding with Tony Hawk / The Long Road to The Porsche 911 / “Amid the multibillion pound investments and architectural feats in King’s Cross, might be a tiny hitch, however: there’s no guarantee these buildings will ever be fully occupied again.” / closely related, How London’s Silicon Roundabout dream turned into a nightmare. Also related, Google stays committed to its huge new Kings Cross campus / “Place depicted in Van Gogh’s final painting found with help of postcard”. See also the “Real Locations That Inspired 13 Famous Paintings” / 4½-litre 1927-31 Bentley ‘Blower’ in Lego / Aurélien Aumond photographs the French Neo-Futurist Amusement Park Futuroscope.

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