As Yet Untitled

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Resonance - Book Reviews

These will be in issue 50:

Charlie Williams - Fags and Lager
Yannick Murphy - Here They Come
Black Dice and Jason Frank Rothenberg - Gore
Tony Millionaire - Billy Hazelnuts

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(All Inside)
Resonance Magazine

1 Comments:

At 1:59 PM, Blogger Tyson said...

Fags and Lager
Charlie Williams
(Serpent's Tail)
Hired by a local shopkeeper to sort out his daughter's boyfriend, anti-hero doorman Royston Blake sets off into the filthy underground of violence, drugs, lechery, and the titular lager and fags. Don't get too bothered just yet, author Charlie Williams means "Fags" as the British do. In fact, the entire book is based squarely in the English idiom, from dialogue to dialect, plot to punters. Blake, who returns from Williams' previous *Deadfolk, quickly gets wrapped up in a story so nervously twisted that Guy Ritchie should start looking into the rights. Enjoyment of the book, however, depends heavily on working through the ubiquitous cockney-voiced narration and into recognizing Blake as a bloke dangerous, funny, and real. Give her a go, Blake's got a stool waiting. TYSON LYNN


Here They Come
Yannick Murphy
(McSweeney's)

A coming of age story without the implied growth, *Here They Come puts an unnamed 13-year-old girl smack dab in the middle of 1970s New York, waiting for a change from her ramshackle apartment that never arrives. In stifling sentences crowbarred between sharp punctuation, Murphy gives us beautiful instants that add up to little, but strive towards meaning and permanence. Breaking the ice in the toilet because the cold is so pervasive, getting felt up by the hot-dog vendor, bending spoons with mind-power--all of these come into play. Like seminal Salinger, *Here They Come is entirely about getting caught up in the moment, and, occasionally, waiting for that moment to come. TYSON LYNN


Gore
Black Dice & Jason Frank Rothenberg
(PictureBox, Inc.)

Noise enthusiasts Black Dice recently released their fourth studio album. Depending on how you want to count, this may be their fifth. Packaged with a plastic flexi-record, *Gore compiles longtime Black Dice friend Jason Frank Rothenberg's photography, cut, collaged, pasted, and decimated to better fit the sensibilities and taste of the band.

For fans who come looking for answers, there are few to be had. There is almost no text in *Gore, and absolutely nothing provided in way of explanation. This is very much a book by Black Dice, not a book about Black Dice.

And for fans of Dali, Burroughs, Bunuel (there's a fascinatingly disquieting picture of a cigarette and an eye), that's a very good thing. Random snippets of gossip mags poke through graffiti styled paintings; pornography is colored over, expanded on, and erased; black and white scientific slides are augmented with Native American influenced totems and murals; oddly cropped pictures hint at something much larger and disturbing just out of sight; bright swaths of color stream across the page, only to be stopped with blank doodles and figures on the next; lonely pictures of nature are left bare; and most anything resembling a proper photo of the band has been burned, obscured, scratched, or otherwise destroyed.

Although it is difficult to discern where Rothenberg's input ends and the band's begins (and vice versa), it is probably safe to say that band member and rising artist Bjorn Copeland had a profound influence on the results. Known for his psychedelic pieces, it's easy to see his influence on almost every page. Geometric shapes, smiling eyes, and bright, inviting colors all draw the viewer into deeper, darker waters.

Perhaps most impressive, is that for a book so eagerly seeking the inexplicable, it's strangely inviting. Pages demand to be looked at again and again, left open on the coffee table for comment, and remembered later when the day edges towards dusk and shadows snake out into the light. Read this in the morning and try to shake it by nightfall. TYSON LYNN


Billy Hazelnuts
Tony Millionaire
(Fantagraphics)
Creator of the ever-popular Maakies, Tony Millionaire has finally set aside his most famous characters to introduce a few more. Co-opting nusery rhymes and fairy tales, *Billy Hazelnuts tells the story of Becky, girl scientist, Billy, a golem created by house mice out of flies and flour, and their search for the moon. Part adventure, part absurdist character study, the tale soon finds them out of their depth, battling a steam-powered alligator and riding broken planets. The imagery, as you would expect from Millionaire, is fabulous; surreal and strong, completely alien and heart-breakingly familiar. Sadly, the story wraps up neatly and fast, but maybe it's not too much to hope that Billy and Becky will soon set off to figure out where the sun goes every night, or the dark each morning. TYSON LYNN

 

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