I like Warren Ellis.
For those who do not not know who Warren Ellis is, check here: Warren Ellis web site.
Warren Ellis, the author (not the musician who works with Nick Cave), describes himself thusly: "WARREN ELLIS is a graphic novelist, author and columnist. His new novel, GUN MACHINE, available now from Mulholland Books, is being developed for television by Chernin Entertainment and FOX. His first non-fiction book, from FSG, is due in 2014. RED 2, the sequel to the Bruce Willis-Helen Mirren film RED based on his book of the same name, will be released in August 2013" (Warren Ellis, 2013).
Additionally, I would add many of his other credits to who he is and why I like him. Ellis did not hit my radar until I started reading Planetary, a comic book from DC/Wildstorm, which may be my favorite comic book thing concocted from his mind (and that of the the brilliant artist John Cassady). Once I realized how much I was loving Planetary, I back-tracked to read his other stuff: The Authority, Transmetropolitan, and his work for Avatar Press with the Gravel graphic novels among others. When Planetary ceased publication due to a disagreement between Ellis and DC, he forged ahead with many other books that quickly catapulted him to status as not only my favorite comics writer but one of my favorite writers, period. Notables from this time period include Global Frequency, Fell, Doktor Sleepless, and genius run on Iron Man, which gives us the Extremis storyline that I am told is the basis for the Iron Man 3 movie (though I have not yet seen it).
And, of course, there was FreakAngels, which I discussed with T-shirt #22.
The Wiki page is not very good for gaining Ellis knowledge. There are probably better compilations of his career to be found on the web somewhere. I did not look, but I suspect there are fan sites to be found.
But, wait, there's more. Since 2008, I have been plugged into Warren Ellis' wired presence in cyberspace. He runs a website which he updates frequently, and since it runs on blog-software, I can load an RSS feed in a reader that I check daily. He sends Twitters, and though sometimes he goes off for 20-30 in an hour (like the time he broadcast his views on whisky and whiskey from a pub somewhere near London to the tune of 45 messages in 90 minutes), I allow his messages to go through to my phone because he is endlessly entertaining and thought-provoking. He started an email newsletter to promote his Gun Machine book, which I pre-ordered and read, after which, I re-read his first book Crooked Little Vein via the excellent audio edition. He has many recurring activities, such as bookmarks of interesting research, Night Music (of which three of his posts are embedded on this blog page), and website station idents, sometimes posted by guests and other times as weather updates from his home near London with text overlaid on photos.
One of his most recent projects (he calls it a "hobby") is a podcast series entitled "Spektrmodule." As of this writing, Ellis had just broadcast Spektrmodule 23 - "Cloud Circuitry." Here's what Ellis had to say about it in his most recent Machine Vision #50 "Sundays" email newsletter: "First off, I wanted to mention that there’s a new SPEKTRMODULE podcast, since some of you seem to like that sort of thing. I seem to be doing a two weeks on / one week off kind of schedule with it right now. Still utterly amazed at how many people listen to it."
Ellis describes Spektrmodule as "a podcast of haunted, ambient and sleepy music I compile for my own amusement."
I have found a great deal of synchonicity with Warren Ellis. Before I plugged into his online broadcasts, I was already a big fan of "haunted, ambient, sleepy music" going back to Eno's pioneering work, Bowie's Berlin albums, David Sylvian, Holger Czukay, Harold Budd, Robin Guthrie, William Orbit, Robert Fripp, the Penguin Cafe Orchestra, Laraaji, John Hassell, and many more. I would add Tangerine Dream to that list but for some reason Tangerine Dream has always freaked me out. But Aphex Twin's and Future Sound of London's creepy ambient work has given me many haunted, sleepy nights.
Ellis takes the name for Spektrmodule from the Russian Mir Space Station project. The fifth module of the station was known as Spektr, designed for remote observation of the atmosphere and surface of the earth. Ellis describes the origin of his podcast name in the first episode of Spektrmodule. In 1997, a collision with another vessel punctured a hole in the hull of the Mir. The resulting de-pressurization required that the entire station be sealed off. As Ellis describes, "the crew had to sever the power cables to the module with fire axes. Fire axes on a space station. Who thinks of that?" (Spektrmodule 01, 2011).
Find the podcasts here: SPEKTRMODULE.
If you like haunting, sleepy, ambient music, you will like them. Trust me. I'm a doctor.
UPDATED: 1401.14 with link for Spektr and image below.
SIDENOTE: Ellis is always on about interesting things. He works with ideas. Part of his appeal is that he freely shares his thinking to the world. Not all of it, mind you, but a good share of what's going on in his mind is on display to the world in his posts, Twitters, emails, and podcasts. One such post, which he is still unpacking, is a little investigation analysis he called "The Manfred Macx Media Diet," after a character in a free e-book serial novel published via the Creative Commons license by Charles Stross. This is the kind of thing that keeps me paying attention to Ellis. If you have time, follow the link and read the column. If you consume media, and if you are curious about how we consume media, you will be interested.
- chris tower - 1306.04 - 8:25