Too Many Braincells Drowning in Inkwells: The Artwork of Nick Blinko

Thanks to the record covers he drew for Rudimentary Peni, the band for which he was vocalist and guitarist, artist Nick Blinko’s initial audience was mainly confined to the members of the thriving British anarcho-punk scene of the early 1980s. Despite apparently operating in the same aggressive idiom as their peers, however, it was immediately clear that the Peni were unique…

Escape from the Pondox Corporation: Mark Beyer and the Mystery of the Mundane

By Daniel Elkind

Whenever I get to thinking about the old New York City, with its cheap book marts and thriving alt-weekly trade, its surplus of less unaffordable apartments, and tolerance (or indifference) to street art that hadn’t been curated or vetted to death—in short, the turnstile-jumping bridge-and-tunnel life that began disappearing long before 9/11—I think about Mark Beyer…

Earth Visitor’s Passport: ‘Tour of the Universe’, 1980

A collision of imperial phase-Young Artists—the London-based illustration agency whose imagery would dominate and define British science fiction and fantasy art throughout the 1970s and ’80s—and an attention to graphic design detail that bordered on the unhinged, Tour of the Universe was a bold attempt to create an immersive world of science fiction art and prose that still looks as wildly ambitious today…

‘Callan’: Television’s First Anti-Establishment Spy Series

By Joseph Oldham

He was a working-class loner, with roots in the social realist British New Wave of the late 1950s and early 1960s—plays, novels, and films associated with the “angry young men” exploring the very class tensions that Wilson’s “New Britain” had ostensibly smoothed over. Callan occupied a violent and grubby world, with one foot in the sinister bureaucracy of a professional intelligence service, and another in the criminal underworld of London…

Deep Sea Soundings: Walt Rockman’s ‘Underwater: Vol. 1’

By K.E. Roberts

A lush selection of library and ambient music—the two often overlap—attempts to evoke the ocean in its many guises, an artistic practice that goes back in the West to the tone poems and symphonic sketches of classical composers from Beethoven to Debussy. After World War II, the orchestrations of what came to be known as exotica, a subset of lounge music, attempted to capture the enchanted South Seas…

The Cyber Baroque World of Italy’s Rondò Veneziano

Positing a fantasy world where Renaissance and Enlightenment values co-existed with the joys and preoccupations of the coming technological age, the Rondo Veneziano orchestra was the brainchild of Italian record label owner Freddy Naggiar, who noticed the lack of Italian instrumental music on the international scene and charged orchestra director and arranger/composer Gian Piero Reverberi to come up with someone or something to fill the gap…

All Graphite and Glitter: ‘Down the Rhodes: The Fender Rhodes Story’

By Michael Grasso

Earlier this year, while on a YouTube nostalgia tear through NBA highlights from the late ’70s and early ’80s, I made the following observation on Twitter after watching a live performance of Grover Washington, Jr.’s “Let It Flow (For ‘Dr J.’)” set to vintage hoops footage: “The sound of my early childhood is ineluctably a Fender Rhodes electric piano”…