14 August 2010

AC Marias - DROP/SO

From: The Wire
Date: 13/11/03
By: Jon Wozencroft

AC Marias – DROP/SO (Dome Records,1981)
Designed by Angela Conway & Bruce Gilbert

For top conceptual cover designs, Terry Jones’s film canister for PiL’s Metal Box takes some beating. Then again, it’s a headache to source and manufacture packaging materials beyond the pressing plants’ stock items, and a headache to get them in the shops. For its simplicity and directness, I love this early release on Bruce Gilbert’s and Graham Lewis’s Dome Records — the first single by AC Marias. It was the only copy they had at the record shop I bought it from — it looked a bit battered to say the least — but I stumped up the cash and thought no more about it. The eureka moment came many months later when I realised that this scrunched-up cover was in fact a designed and beautifully printed scrunched-up cover. By that point, I suspected that the scratches and pops on the recording were not a defect in the manufacturing — the vinyl looked fine.

It’s a good feeling to feel dumb and highly impressed at one and the same time. You don’t get that much, these days. So let’s hear it for this long-lost gem. Angela Conway would later record “Just Talk” for Mute Records — it’s another one well worth tracking down. “Drop/So” is not the sort of item I’ve ever seen in a secondhand shop, but if you did ever come across it, it would be great to see how it stands up to the Basic Channel test — real-time dust and scratches merging with the printed dust and scratches.

Jon Wozencroft is co-founder and resident designer of the Touch label

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