A Future with Nobody Inside: Chrome’s ‘Red Exposure’

Though sometimes dismissed as a disappointing compromise between the two phases of Chrome’s musical output—the delirious, expressionist SF punk cut-ups of Alien Soundtracks (1977) and Half Machine Lip Moves (1979) and the more “traditional” LPs that followed, like Blood on the Moon (1981) and 3rd From the Sun (1982)—Chrome’s fourth LP, 1980’s Red Exposure, could scarcely sound more uncompromising…

No Powerful Idea Lasts Long: The Memphis Group and the Look of the ’80s

By Richard McKenna

Of the many cultural tributaries that flowed together into what we now think of as the visual aesthetic of the 1980s, one of the most prominent must be the Memphis Group. Convened in 1981 by Austrian-born architect and designer Ettore Sottsass, Memphis was a collective that—incongruously, for something that seems so violently of its times—took its name from the lyric of a Bob Dylan song…

One Sheet Terrors: Enzo Sciotti Film Posters, 1980 – 1990

The promotional artwork used on genre film posters, and later on VHS packaging, was often more important for establishing a foothold in the popular imagination than the films themselves. This was especially true in the Italy of the 1980s, where a thriving and competitive cinema industry was increasingly looking to the opportunities offered by foreign markets and the burgeoning home video trade…

“In London” by Vangelis and Neuronium, 1981

This atmospheric piece, which would later be given the name “In London,” was part of an improvisation session featuring Greek synthesizer musician Vangelis and Spanish electronic group Neuronium. Filmed in 1981 for Spanish TV program Musical Express as part of “Serie Amigos” (the “Friends Series”), the performance was recorded at Nemo, the London recording studio that Vangelis had established in 1975 and where he would continue to work until 1983…

Usborne’s ‘World of the Unknown: UFO’s’, 1977

The mandate of British publisher Usborne Books was to produce beautifully illustrated children’s publications, designed and written by its in-house team. The first wave of books Usborne released in 1975—which included the popular Spycraft—had sold well, and in 1977 the company followed it up with the World of the Unknown series: a triptych that included Monsters, Ghosts and UFO’s

Usborne’s ‘The KnowHow Book of Spycraft’, 1975

During the Cold War, a new archetypal establishment role joined the pantheon of soldiers, cowboys, and cops that often peopled children’s games: the spy. Equipped with false identities, given to using hidden surveillance devices, and communicating in strange codes, this newcomer was perfectly suited to the duplicitous, mistrustful mood that was the constant background noise of the times…