Boomkat Product Review:
’Tomb Machines’ is a survey of work by John Powell-Jones, a Manchester-based artist whose gruesome and psychedelic illustrations have stained the sleeves of tapes and records by Moon Duo and for the Reel Torque, Diagonal and Opal Tapes labels, as well as great posters for the Faktion club events
Documenting and expanding upon ’Tomb Machines’, a body of work exhibited in February 2018 at Castlefield Gallery’s New Art Space: Great Northern, this boxset of the same name contains the first significant overview and analysis of John’s output to date, which covers a cross-section of multidisciplinary work in the fields of illustration, sculpture, screen-printing, video and music, and often simultaneously.
Without getting bogged down in art speak, John’s phantasmagoric imagination has long spoken to us on an intuitive level, consistently coming up with images that summon a sense of the eldritch, dreamlike and grotesque that’s hard to shake once encountered. In the book, Sara Jaspan’s essay provides a finer, informed grasp on the conditions and ideas that make up John’s warped weltanschauung, evidenced in the selection of physical curios to fondle and ogle over.
But perhaps of most interest to people on these pages is a red C40 containing some of the strongest music that John has put to tape. In its gurning, curdled drones and alchemical electro-acoustic atmospheres redolent of everything from Wolf Eyes and Aaron Dilloway to Gruppo at their most abstract, we possibly find the best way into his noumenal gooch between waking and dreamlike dimensions.