Sunday, July 26, 2015

Charles Burns and Killoffer, "In The Garden Of Evil" (signed and numbered with Will Oldham record, Pigeon Press 2015)

Pigeon Press just put out an incredible new edition by Charles Burns and Killoffer called In The Garden Of Evil.

This is a staple-bound book, roughly 24 pages long, featuring gorgeous illustrations by both Burns and Killoffer (working together). It's amazing what they came up with as a team: the two artists trade foregrounds and backgrounds, Killoffer's soft anatomical skies and fields lurk around Adam and Eve, rendered strikingly familiarly in Burns's signature calligraphic line work.

The book is in an edition of 1000 copies, signed and numbered. This is copy 249:

Some other details that are particularly exciting: on the front flap, an embossed stamp of the publisher's logo, but on the back: this enigmatic symbol from Burns. He stamped my copy of Sugar Skull with this insignia in red ink last year in Brooklyn... how mysterious...

And lastly, and most suprisingly: a flexidisc record featuring a song called "Garden of Evil" by Will Oldham. 

I suspect that this has been sold almost exclusive at comic fairs this year; it's surprisingly hard to find at this point, although there have been copies on eBay. I got mine from Last Gasp in San Francisco, although it looks like they've since sold out.

Currently reading:
Jesse Ball, A Cure for Suicide

Currently listening to:
"I am the Center: Private Issue New Age Music in America" (3LP)

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Haruki Murakami, "Hear The Wind Sing" and "Pinball, 1973", new Knopf translation and old Kodansha editions

I just received my review copy of Haruki Murakami's new Wind/Pinball, a collection of the author's first novels from the late 80s that, until now, were not widely released. Hear The Wind Sing and Pinball 1973 were previously only available in English in these very rare pocket-sized Kodansha paperbacks translated by Alfred Birnbaum (who went on to translate a number of the author's other books). I was able to track down a first edition of Hear The Wind Sing in this Kodansha state, but Pinball 1973 had eluded me up until now. It was a much more expensive book to find on the rare market (I think the print run was substantially lower). I actually found the text somewhere online about 10 years ago and made my own little edition with the printers in my school's library...

But now, thanks to Knopf and Ted Goossen's new translation, these two books are now available for everyone! The two stories read like hearing a great band's demo tapes - fascinating for fans, but I doubt new readers will find them particularly resonant. Most important, I think, is a new introduction in the Knopf edition by Murakami discussing the genesis of these stories and the dawn of his writing career. I'm excited to re-visit these texts with a more critical eye.

Always nice to see an understated Chip Kidd cover, too. For the translation geeks out there, thought it might be interesting to show the opening pages by Birnbaum and Goossen. Here's Birnbaum:

And here's Goossen:

And if anyone's interested, the Colophon to the Kodansha edition of Hear The Wind Sing.

Currently reading:
Wind/Pinball by Haruki Murakami

Currently listening to:
Pop Ambient 2015 (Kompakt)