As we await with tremulous hearts for ‘Twilight of the Mortals’ to thump thunderously onto our doormats, or elbow its way into some people’s expectant (real life) mail boxes, it now transpires that one of Mont’s powerful shots of Killing Joke’s mercurial and enigmatic leader Jaz Coleman, can now be seen gracing the cover of issue 52 of the photography e-magazine, ‘BLUR.’
‘Twilight’s author Mont Sherar, is acutely aware of this whole analog/digital dichotomy, and deftly deals with the whole furore in a single response he gives in answer to a question by BLUR-magazine’s Robert Gojevic in the interview that accompanies the photo spread: “digital workflow is just another tool for creating art. Sometimes it can be an advantage, sometimes a disadvantage, but the end result will always speak for itself.’’
Let’s not forget, of course, that the Deluxe Collector’s Edition of ‘Twilight’’ has two 7’’ vinyl singles containing 4 individual tracks by the four members of Killing Joke, and that these tracks are thereby available exclusively in glorious analog sound! This is not just as a nod back to Sherar’s 80s-era career spinning music as ‘DJ Mont,’ because let’s be frank; nothing beats the experience of pulling out two slabs of wax from a beautifully designed sleeve, placing it onto a spinning device rich in music history, dropping down a needle on top to reproduce the sound, then sitting back to enjoy what many argue to be a warmer sonance. Either way, it’s not simply about which sounds better, it is about the entire experience. Even the ‘snap, crackle, pop’ sounds are part of what makes it all so enjoyable – all of it lost in digital form. And the fact that the book itself is built on real paper and ink makes it seem an absolute must that the music included should also be in real physical form as well. (see the brilliant promo video of this particular edition of the book here;
So upon accepting that analog and digital can happily co-exist side-by-side, I decided to take the plunge and subscribed to BLUR for a year (less than a tenner!) and headed to the KJ/Mont section as it were. This is a highly prestigious e-magazine having featured only the best photographers the world has to offer. Oh, and I would definitely advise looking at these images on a tablet as opposed to a laptop/PC as they have a brilliant resolution; unlike on Facebook where they compress the life out of them.
There are around 28 amazing photos in total: with a great mix of solo portraits. The ‘three ages of Jaz’ as Mont deems them, are represented as the boiler suit and makeup period, the sober, lean & mean look, and in his current mode, which is of a scholastic seer in a Nehru jacket.
‘Gatherers’ who have keenly followed Mont’s posting of several stills over the years know well the stunning quality of Mont’s work. But no one has ever seen his work in this fully completed, hi-resolution state. They look a hundred times better in the Blur presentation. Simply jaw dropping! I can only imagine the even greater sensation of being able to actually touch, smell, and feel these images of ink on paper, when the book finally lands in my hands!
My personal favorite is of Geordie, with his totemic ES295 swathed in an ethereal red, green and gold mist. This fits in beautifully with the dub/reggae aesthetic that has always been around the band and was alluded to by drummer Big Paul in the film short: ‘Chapter Big Paul Ferguson’ (Montster Filmwerks). Think ‘Turn To Red’ and more recently ‘Ladbroke Grove.’ And of course there was the triple Killing Joke: In Dub set not too long ago.
‘Twilight’ is to be published under the auspices of the proudly independent PC-Publishing house, who also recently published the beautifully realized Test Department retrospective: ‘Total State Machine’. So, what with the keynote Test Department book and now with ‘Twilight’ soon ready to roll, it seems clear that Peter Webb has developed his own aesthetic and direction to which to travel with his brand.
The world is forever changing, and as each year collapses, a new one arrives, unfolding itself full of promise and new innovations and techniques. But as far as the great analog/ digital debate goes, I don’t see why we cannot serve two masters; at least for the time being.
© 2017 Rahman the Writer
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‘Twilight of the Mortals’ (available in three editions) can be pre-ordered from the proudly independent PC- Press publishing house:
Twilight of the Mortals feature story: BLUR magazine/subscriptions link: