References

Alfred Hitchcock

Alfred Hitchcock Up Close and Personal

Alfred Hitchcock Various Poses

Again, another major influence on my life — in many many ways. Alfred Hitchcock is such a magnificent creator that to this day, no matter what I’m working with, his work inspires me. In the late 90’s, I had this drum ‘n bass act with a friend, and once interviewed about my musical influences I said Alfred Hitchcock. It wasn’t even an analogy — back then people were sampling the Winstons or The JB’s, and I was ripping Bernard Herrmann. Even when I cook, I try to mimic the precision and the attention to details he was known for.

The very first Hitchcock movie I remember watching is Rebecca. Come to think of it, it was 27 years ago when my father passed away and my mum asked me to sleep in her bedroom for a few nights. One of these nights we couldn’t sleep and we kept watching the telly, even thought it was after hours on a school night. And there it was, Rebecca, from 1940. I was hooked from the start! Then my mum told me all she knew about Hitch during the intermission. My grandma, that later came to live with us, were also a big fan of his work — for the most obvious reasons, as she was an Agatha Christie reader, a big pop-suspense fan.

There’s much more to say about my Hitchcock connection. I’ll save some for when I get to write about my favourite of his many pieces, Vertigo.


The French Riviera

french-riviera-fritz-von-runteto-catch-a-thief-hitchcock-fritz-von-runteNot many people know about this, but one of my favourite places in the world is the French Riviera. I’m not really a beach person — I never was — but the calm and eternal day-off atmosphere that I experience when I’m there always make me go back. The initial attraction came from growing up with movies set in the Cote d’Azur— specially To Catch a Thief and An Affair To Remember. I never saw it through the luxurious eyes, I always thought it would be a simple, down to earth place – apart from the majestic hotels on the shores of Cannes, Nice and Monte-Carlo. The very first time I went to France, I couldn’t wait to leave Paris and go south. I wasn’t too interested in the city of lights for some reason. I went to straight to Toulon, then to Marseille and to Nice. A couple of years later and I was there again. Then, more than a decade after my first visit, I proposed to my girlfriend rght between the French and Italian Riviera, returning from a day in Monaco.


Environmental Design T-Shirt

environmental-designbizarre-may-8I was in my early twenties and I got this shirt from some sort of Salvation Army store. I was with my friends Marina and Bettina and we got a few things. I’ve always loved random t-shirts but this one is special. It’s incredibly mysterious! It’s quite probably American but no there’s not any info really. It says Environmental Design on the front and Bizarre May 8, 1981 on the back. Now, if that wasn’t enough, it also features two very similar drawings of two rocks, a plant and some grass. Similar but not the same. And these illustrations have words below them. One says ‘existing’, and the other ‘proposed’.

Now do you see how brilliant this shirt is? Or is it just me? I still have it, although I don’t use it anymore. It’s by far my favourite ever shirt and I’m trying to extend its lifetime by replicating it on my next album cover. I’ve used the illustration on my 2011 compilation of remixes called Redesigns. And some promotional t-shirts are being done. In Canada. But that’s another story.


Top Cat – The Violin Player

top-cat-laszlo-laszlotop-cat-record-storeA piano concerto? An oboe obbligato? Glockenspiel glissando? No it’s just the finest episode of early sixties classic Hanna-Barbera cartoon Top Cat, named The Violin Player. It’s an amazing one, beginning to end, with loads of references close to my heart, like record shopping (and pre-ordering), German wordplays and strange fictional names. Benny starts playing the violin and he doesn’t show much talent for it. Officer Dibble goes to the record shop to see if the record he ordered arrived — but turns out it didn’t. As he’s into Violin Music the salesman shows him this very rare Laszlo Laszlo record, and he falls in love with it. Dibble spins it back home, over and over, while Benny is rehearsing downstairs, in the alley. Then a certain Mr. Gutenbad mistakes the sound coming from Dibble’s apartment with the blue cat’s violin and tries to make him a star by booking the Carnegie Hall for him. Watch it, if you’re lucky, here.


Renegade Soundwave

reneagde-soundwave-rsw-logo

There are three acts that shaped my beginnings at music production and behaviour towards the music industry. One of them is Renegade Soundwave. If you don’t know them, think of unique dub basslines, really cool deadpan style vocals and funky beats. Add really great sampling to that, and fantastic obscure yet nonchalant references and you’ll get an idea of how RSW is awesome. Just an idea. It’s got a laid-back vibe with an incredible energy that I miss in music and in life these days. It’s simple yet deep, it’s hard yet soft and like Martin Hannett would say, it’s fast yet slow. They’ve been around since 1986, and in 1994 they ruled the world to me, when Howyoudoin’ was released.

rsw-howyoudoin

That was it, I thought. That was the record. In my naive mind that release was going to make them as big as they undoubtedly deserve(d). It was a complete album, with a couple of hit singles and without any compromise. All tracks were unique, different and most importantly GOOD. It also came with two booklets. The main inlay, giving not enough information, making me even more interested and curious. The second, as usual, their catalogue displayed over four pages using the Futura typeface. What’s not to like? The whole catalogue was obviously purchased over the following years, in several versions, including the japanese promos of HowYouDoin? and In Dub, the latter with a bonus disc.

renegade-soundwave-rsw-catalog

They split shortly after Howyoudoin?, a year later or so. But until this day their music surprises me. Until this day I listen to them, and they still sound fresh. Until this day, they rule the world. Long live Renegade Soundwave.


Good Neighbour Sam

good-neighbor-sam-fritz-von

For years I’ve been saying that Good Neighbor Sam is my all-time favourite movie. I think this kind of assessment is usually silly and diminishes my love for cinema and I my personal history with it. But you know what? Good Neighbor Sam is my favourite movie. It has everything! It kickstarts with an amazing quirky theme song by Frank DeVol — one of the most underrated and undocumented film composers – along the lines of tiki/exotica dance music late 50’s jazz, one of my big passions in music. Then a great set of actors and a brilliant script set the atmosphere of this long flick – it’s over two-hour long! A gorgeous looking Romy Schneider also wasn’t too bad for a pre-teenage kid. Lovely middle class couple have a nice life but the husband is a bit frustrated for being too creative and not appreciated at work. Then the wife’s childhood friend appears out of the blue asking to borrow the husband to receive an inheritance. The plot is simple but it’s flipped lots of times. It’s brilliant from start to end. I watched it for the first time when I was 13, maybe. At that age my gigantic love for music was already there, and I used to draw a lot by then, but this film made me consider advertising as the path to choose in my career — and eventually I went to college to study it.

the-man-you-are-the-man-you-want-to-be-lemmon

I could write pages and pages about the myriad of layers this movie has, like the imagery of Sam and Howard — as the man we are versus the man we want to be — or its portrait of classism and status in the early 60’s (and how it didn’t change much). But I’m just going to say this – pure 130 minutes of guaranteed fun for everybody with a brain and a couple of eyes and ears.

the-goats-good-neighbor-sam


Funky Alternatives

funky_alt

Funky Alternatives was one of my first CDs and my first international mail order. It came from Germany and for the following 10 years I received an illegible catalogue twice a year with hundreds and hundreds of random releases from different small labels sharing 24 pages. Since I already had all albums, my attention to New Order was then re-focused to singles and other releases and this record was purchased mainly because of Evil Dust, so far its only CD release  – an instrumental version of Angel Dust.  But there were also Cabaret Voltaire and Deutsch-Amerikanische Freundschaft tracks on it, so it wasn’t a total gamble. When I finally got it, it made me discover the joys of England’s post-punk electro, with sensational bands like 23 Skidoo, 400 Blows, Quando Quango and Chris & Cosey, the latter being the first band whose music I downloaded on the internet years later. Legally by the way. Like the KLF tapes, this great record had very little information – and that sort of thing has always captured my interest. A sentence from James Brown and another from Arnold Shoenberg and a few thank-yous. Until this day a heavy influence and the cemented path to, one year later, discover and appreciate the great Renegade Soundwave.

This record also holds another story.

The aforementioned Evil Dust has an Islamic sample that always intrigued me. In 1992 if memory serves me right I heard the same sample on another track, Boneyween by the magnificent 808 State, just a small part, speed-up and equalised but I’ve always been good at spotting samples. Then I heard it on an Orb record. Years go by, and I hear it again on an Byrne and Eno track. For years it’s bugged me, not only the origin of this sample, but also the reason all these people decided to use it. Then in 1998 I’ve met Yusuf Islam – also known as Cat Stevens. I told him that I was a producer and that I would be interested in working with his music. I had his attention for a moment, and then I suggested we could sample some Islamic chants  – primarily influenced by this sample, but also because of my ignorance and the stupidity inherent of youth. He was really offended. He said that it shouldn’t be used for that, saying it was a prayer and not to be made fun of – which in my defence I never did. Anyways, until 2010 I never knew which sample that was – and now I know. I still have to ask around to know hy everybody sampled it, maybe there was an excess of stock in Manchester and London – or maybe everybody was listening to Brian Eno. Do you want to know about the sample? Send an email to estate@vonrunte.com asking me and I’ll tell you.


Tintin

tintin_01

Tintin came to me late in my life – when I was 10. I understand how ludicrous it may seem, when I write statements like that, but indeed, at the age of 10, I already had a decent comic book knowledge and collection – including the arguably very first comic book ever made. Having said that, Tintin is been part of my life for over two decades now, and what a ride it has been! It’s soft trace techniques have inspired me, in my teenage years, to write and draw my own comic books. Its plots ere great and the accuracy of details was surprising. Specially when travelling, Tintin and his friends made me feel every single thing I was reading could be true – and later I discovered that most of it really was. I travelled through Europe and Asia in my early life with Tintin and Milou – I was there!.

tintin_02 Unfortunately I haven’t yet been to the Cheverny castle, in France, near Orleans and Blois. It is the building Herge took inspiration for Moulinsart – where Haddock, Tintin, Milou and Tournesol live. But I’ve been to Belgium a few times, always purchasing a different Tintin character :)  Next time I make a Tintin related travel I’ll stop in Moldova!

tintin_03


Marshall McLuhan

mcluhan_00

mcluhan_01

Marshall McLuhan is the greatest prophet if all the things we’re experiencing today. I’ve read Jules Verne, Arthur C. Clark,  Orwell, Huxley and Asimov – no one comes close to the influence McLuhan is to my life and to this society. Of course, McLuhan was a theorist, not a fiction writer, but still, books like 1984 had a major impact in the way we foresaw life and society some decades ago, so I guess the comparison is valid. Global village, the medium is the message, the concepts of archetypes, and even the famous 15 minutes of fame, wrongly credited to Andy Warhol – it all came from him.

I discovered McLuhan relatively late in my life – I was 16, 17. It’s probably the only important author that the library my father left me was missing. And he was incredibly important to me, particularly this book, The Medium is the Massage (an invetory of effects). Not a typo, it’s Mass-age alright, see? It made me understand some disorganized feelings and theories I had about people and life, besides pointing me to several interests like Semiology and Media. Obviously, it has a magnificent typography composition, with blow-up images – some of them created with letters. I remember being so excited about this book that I started reading it again after finishing it for the first time.  McLuhan became an obsession for a few years, I was calling bookstores all over the planet to find second hand copies of the titles I haven’t read yet. Folks, there was no Amazon.com at that time ok? And then, one night, I was watching late movies on the telly when Annie Hall started. I’ve always been a fan of Woody Allen, I was excited. Halfway through the film he cites McLuhan and invites him into the story. Glorious moment that was – everything made sense. Viva McLuhan.


The KLF

The KLF is one of many names Bill Drummond and James Cauty use, in their incessant quest to break paradigms and conventions. There wouldn’t be enough space in any media to talk – or write – enough about them so I won’t even try. I’ll stick to my story with this incredible art collective.

whysheep

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Alle Wunder dieser Welt

allewunder

atomium

habitat

This is one of the many books I’ve spent my childhood reading – a very special one. It could be loosely translated as “Every Wonder of the World”, and it shows special places from all over the world, like The Big Hole, The Dead Sea, Chichen Itza and Christ, the Redeemer. It’s first chapter has illustrations of the orginal seven wonders of the world and information about them. Until this day I know them all because of this magnificent book. It also created in me this necessity I have to travel and see new things, this unstoppable wanderlust that my friends and family see in me.

But this book also belongs to another realm of inspiration, the typography. Being a child of the atomic age, with this strong Germanic background floating around in the house – and in the library, mainly – I was srrounded by book, art and objects with Swiss/German design. Alle Wunder dieser Welt had the same black thick grotesk graphic idea that a few years later influenced another refference of mine, the KLF.

I’ve always been interested in the places covered by this book and in september 2009, I might be visiting one of my favorities, The Atomium – made for the EXPO ’58.  And until this day I dream of visiting Canada just to see the Habitat :)

UPDATE: Since writing this entry I managed to visit both Atomium and Habitat ’67 – there are a few pictures of the latter here.

 


Howard Chaykin’s American Flagg

American Flagg

I wouldn’t be lying if I said that Howard Chaykin changed my life. Although I knew him from before, the splendid Black Kiss, it was on American Flagg that he opened my mind to a world of possibilities. Graphically, he was by far ahead of everybody else in the time – he uses a lot of newer graphic design concepts in his comics. Conceptually, also. He had a ‘cast’ of ‘actors’ which would re-appear in all his stories. So Reuben Flagg was played by the same ‘actor’ that appeared on ‘Black Kiss’. It’s a bit confusing, and it’s genius. And the stories were incredibly mature, even for a graphic novel. Sex wasn’t treat as a big deal, and every character had shades of grey. The future described in American Flagg is incredibly chaotic, corrupt and exciting! (more…)


Morrissey’s Viva Hate

Morrissey's Viva Hate

This was the very first album I bought with my money. It was late 1988, early 1989 and I had spent my holidays in Nova Friburgo (Neue Freiburg) with my adored godfather, six months before he died. My cousin had the record and I was addicted to it. Of course I knew The Smiths, but this record was special – I used to listen to it beginning to end, night and day. When I got back home, my mum took me to Sears and I bought it with some money my family gave me. She also sat down very patiently on the couch with me and my friend Berdowls and translated some of the lyrics for us. She was a bit shocked though. It features the great Viny Reily on guitar, and I was so fascinated but this ‘new’ sound that later I bought a couple of Durutti Collumn records in the dark, as they say. I was already, obviously, a New Order fan, but it was Morrissey that showed me Manchester. At that time I didn’t know about the importance of Factory Records, or Tony Wilson. About the city and its energy. The only person who would mention my beloved city was Stephen Patrick Morrissey.


The Sears Catalogue, 1980

sears_011

Only god knows how the hell we ended up with a Sears catalogue in the living room – I’m guessing it had something to do with the flight attendant that lived next door. But the thing is that this catalogue accompanied me for years until I somehow lost it 6 years ago. It’s was a fascinating take on the American shopping culture – seeing those kids wearing american football pijamas, or hulk costumes was very entertainning. Also, the Star Wars toys, the MAD game (I’m still curious about that) and the fact that Sears had their own Atari console, with the same looks and cartridges was very mysterious to me.

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Ian Fleming

ian

No, not James Bond, Ian Fleming. It was 1987 and I had (almost) all his books in my father’s library, all binded with his initials – which, not really by coincidence, were the same as mine. So those books felt like they were mine and Ian Fleming was the first of many authors I discovered there. I knew James Bond, at that time, but the whole mythos wasn’t really built inside me. Ian Fleming’s prose is unmistakeable – classy and very erotic. Ian Fleming whispers in my ears when I write about Peter Zarustica’s adventures.


NASA

nasa

Nothing too special here, I think. Every kid in the 1980’s daydreamed about NASA. Everything about it was just too exciting, too futuristic, adventurous and new. Sometime around 1984 I got a silver jacket from some relative that visited Cape Canaveral. I used to go to this very very posh religious school wearing this while all the kids had boring clothes. I was easily spotted in the crowd during lunch break, and a true agnostic rebel like me, in a very strict catholic junior school, don’t want that. Back to NASA, another cool fact was that one of our neighbours was a phisicist and worked for NASA! Every now and again she’d fly to the US to report her discoveries (this is what we imagined) and bring us Star Wars toys, smuggled in her clothes. She also bought me a NASA poster once, with all the planets and the then popular Halley comet. NASA rules.


Matchbox

Matchbox

These are some of the Matchbox models my father bought himself pretending to everyone it was for me. We had a great collection with over 40 cars, all in their original boxes, mainly from the 70’s collection. I wish I still had some of them but after he passed away my brother and I manage to wreck and ruin the collection. We were kids, I don’t regret.  But having those cars were the kick start of my collector soul, showing me limited editions for the first time, the value of the original package, things like that, that I carry until this day.

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The Last Circus Show a.k.a Last Moments (Il Venditore di Palloncini)

O Ultimo Espetáculo | Il Venditore di Palloncini

In 1983 a (then) local tv channel had this sunday night film program, but they only had four movies at that time. They were, Sssssss, The Daring Dobermanns, Alligator and… The Last Circus Show – also known as Last Moments, and Il Venditore di Palloncini, the original italian title. It is, undoubtely, the saddest movie of all time, where this 7 year-old kid works on the streets to mantain a useless father with drinking problems. He also saves money so when his father dies, he can enter heaven with a nice suit. Well the kid dies. Great movie, sad as hell, but great.


Max & Moritz

Max & Moritz

Max & Moritz are two characters created by Willhem Busch and they are considered by many the first comic strip ever. But its importance goes way beyond this fact, especially in my life. My father gave me all 8 volumes, every two or three months, each with a special dedicatory in the form of a quatrain poem. I remember buying one of them at the school book fair with his money, and having to bring it home so he could write his short verses. The stories are amazing but extremely cruel – and so is their destiny. Max & Moritz are well known in German-speaking countries but not as much outside Europe – I once corrected my History professor regarding them when I was in the university, and I had to lend my precious collection, translated and versed gracefully by Olavo Bilac. Following my tradition of treating my hardware as living creatures, I named my CDJs after them – and later used it as an alias when I released The Lycantropii Collection.


The Surprising Adventures of Baron Münchhausen

The Suprising Adventures of Baron Münchhausen

My father’s cousin, Eduardo, gave me this incredible book when I was six. It’s the big, complete edition, with all the adventures and formidable illustrations by Gustave Doré. The drawings were mesmerizing, bringing me closer to another great book, The Divine Comedy. And the stories were insanely funny, fantastic and incredible, becoming quickly the main inspiration on my pseudo-truths (stories I tell swearing they’re true, but any thinking monkey can tell they’re not). Plus the whole epic concept was one of the main ingredients of my character Peter Zarustica – along with Ian Fleming’s 007.


O Grande Livro do Maravilhoso e do Fantástico

O Grande Livro do Maravilhoso e do Fantástico

“Incredible but true stories, of men, nature, Earth and space” The Great Book of Wonder and (all things) Fantastic was the very first book I read. Firstly when I was 5, I used to browse through all its approx 600 pages reading bits here and there. One day I decided to read it all, beginning to end — and I did that a few dozen times in my life. It’s got short stories and reports about almost anything curious, eccentric, unknown, mysterious and, why not, bizarre. I can honestly say that my passion for the strange began in 1981 when I first got my hands on this gem. It was published by Readers’ Digest from Portugal, and its stilted vocabulary was fascinating. There I was, 5 years old reading words like ’embustes’, ‘charlatães’ and ‘reperspectivação’ – the latter never used by me, to this day. It’s my all time favourite book and it still amazes me, even now where I live in a time where people think all answers can be found on Google or Wikipedia — they don’t know that these are the places to you get the questions! On a side note, please mind the graphic accent on ‘Fanstático’, not above the letter but on its side…


Moscow Olympic Games | 1980

Moscow Olympic Games

This was probably the first ever poster I ever had, 1980 Moscow Olympic Games, hanging on my bedroom door at the apartment we lived at the time, in Leblon. Its logo has the high contrast bauhausian features that always inspired me, and its text, in cyrillic, was fascinating. I now realize I started loving typography with this piece. I loved the text, its proportion, its balance, even not being able to read it properly. But this graphical information isn’t the main reason why it’s displayed here – I guess I’d have Bauhaus references sooner or later. Two facts about this poster and this Olympic games are printed in my mind. First, it was the first time I learnt about boycott – suddenly the world became so much interesting with my father explaining to me the americans weren’t going to Moscow. Second reason was the human mosaic, that made the audience create pixel-based images, in 1980 – as noted by my friend Rafael Oliveira.


View-master

View-master

I had one of those when I was a kid. I also had various reels, such as The Black Hole (K35) and The Hair Bear Bunch (B552). It was incredibly amusing and I would spend hours viewing the so-called ‘stereo images’. My set and reels were american. I had loads of american toys when I was a kid, I’m not sure why. Apparently our neighbour was a flight attendant and my father would ask her to buy all these things for me. One other american toy I had was Jaws, The Game.


Substance | New Order

New Order's Substance

New Order’s Substance was definitely a major inspiration. Graphically & musically. The 12″ mixes compilation opened my eyes to several things, including… well, 12″ mixes. Their importance, their characteristics and their energy. The dub versions, and their uniqueness. Also, the liner notes with the original release dates, the appreciation for cataloguing, trainspotting and collecting. Why was Sub-Culture so different from my Low Life record… oh it’s a new version! The typography, the black and white cover, and the art inside it was also very very influential. The blue and dark red images made us kids think it was a ‘N’ and an ‘O’ respectively. I was eleven and this was my 1987 xmas gift.