24 December 2011

Creative Review - The Music Issue

January's Creative Review is the magazine's music special with a focus on everything from state-of-the-art apps to a new breed of music magazines. There's also some highlighting of some great labels that produce interesting visuals to accompany their sounds. Some that have been featured in posts here and others that I hadn't been aware of. All in all, pretty essential reading.

19 December 2011

E17 - 'Stay Another Day (Frank Eddie remix)' by Fred Deakin

Festive fun courtesy of Airside and Impotent Fury with this version of East 17's Christmas hit. Available as a 7" single in a die-cut sleeve as a limited edition of just 500 copies, get it for £8 from Airside.

Stay Another Day (Frank Eddie Remix) by impotentfury

8 December 2011

Demdike Stare - Elemental (Parts 1 & 2) by Andy Votel

Link: Modern Love

The return of Demdike Stare has meant that Andy Votel has been back conjuring up some creepy visuals - and this time it takes the form of a some kind of pagan deluxe gatefold that's additionally decorated with flowers [a response to, track titles, 'Chrysanthe', 'Violetta', 'Rose' and 'Iris']. Containing parts 1 & 2 with space to house 3 & 4 [due in 2012], it's again a nice accompaniment to Miles Whittaker and Sean Canty's eerie sonics and culminates in a package that might just blur the distinction between 'fun' and 'funereal'.

Available from Boomkat.

Also worth checking out is the Jean-Claude Vannier box set on Votel's own Finders Keepers label that similarly comes on coloured vinyl but additionally features a selection of inserts, illustrations, photographs, bonus mixed material and a piece of tablature sheet music.

7 December 2011

Neil Landstrumm - Bambaataa Eats His Breakfast by Remote Location

Link: Planet Mu
Link: Remote Location

Just listening to Neil Landstrumm's 2009 album, Bambaataa Eats His Breakfast - complete with its warped ice cream van-like melodies and heavy bass - and thought that the artwork by Remote Location needed a post. Commissioned by the always interesting Planet Mu label, it takes its influence from the title and features a head-dress of the type once sported by the electro and hip hop visionary and, presumably, what the Universal Zulu Nation figure usually has instead of Rice Krispies (croissants, it seems). Photography by Sam Robinson.

4 December 2011

Bleep.com 100 Tracks 2011 'gift card' by Give Up Art

Link: Bleep.com
Link: Give Up Art

London graphic design studio Give Up Art have created a stylish physical product for Bleep.com's 2011 music round-up.

Incorporating an embossed 90gsm card wallet with clear foil containing a folded A3 poster, the gift package provides a visual referent for over nine hours of modern music across a host of genres. With pre-orders being taken now, lucky recipients of either the MP3 or FLAC formats will be unwrapping music from James Blake, Fennesz, Burial, Modeselektor, Battles, Photek, Rustie, Martyn, Soul Clap, Nicolas Jaar and many, many more come December 25th.

29 November 2011

YCN/Warp Records design by Oli Marsh

Link: Oli Marsh

University of Salford MA Communication Design student Oli Marsh provided a winning response to YCN's Warp Records brief.

His concept was based around an ever-evolving album artwork that involved a release's title being die-cut into an outer sleeve before being customised by further complimentary imagery released via the web. Marsh chose to illustrate the idea by using Flying Lotus' Cosmogramma long-player with his inky example of text and image (top) having a nice relationship to his Droplet font (bottom). Other work of particular note by Marsh includes his text based on audio waveforms that he utilised on a poster design for the Sonar festival.

26 November 2011

More work from Alex Jenkins

Link: Alex Jenkins' Tumblr
Link: Alex Jenkins' Twitter

I previously posted some artwork by designer Alex Jenkins and have since been sent some better quality images by the man himself - including a number of projects that I hadn't picked up on.

As in-house designer for XL Recordings, Jenkins produced a series of memorable sleeves for The Prodigy dating back to 'Firestarter'. His Tumblr documents some of this material alongside additional photography credits and the stories attached to their creation - including the un-used 'Kebab' cover for Fat of the Land that involved a £13,000-£14,000 shoot with the surplus doner meat finding its way into the stomachs of London customers. [Doubt the same fate was dealt to the crab that was used for the finished album.] Another meaty offering also came in the shape of his cleverly vacuum-packed 'salami' CD that featured a sample of tracks from XL's roster.

Anyway, it's a diverse collection that followed on from Jenkins' uni hand-in that consisted of his re-imagining of the packaging for Orbital's first album, and - as a single body of work - appears to be united by the employment of gritty textures. The most complete sets have to be the beautiful deteriorated and stained Breakbeat Era campaign (complete with budget-busting bookbinding materials) plus his collection of nocturnal urban imagery for The Streets (including that iconic Clipper lighter logo that knowingly taps into stoner culture). The latter was developed for 679 Records as a freelance project while Jenkins' other non-XL commissions have come from the UK garage-oriented Locked On label, the progressive house-biased Y2K imprint and Freskanova Records' The Freestylers. However, what's not featured below is a succession of Jenkins' identity/branding assignments for other industries that only further demonstrate his ability to shift from fairly niche products to design for high-profile clients.

24 November 2011

Mute Audio Documents by Adrian Shaughnessy/This Is Real Art

Link: Shaugnessy Works
Link: This Is Real Art

Re-visit of an Adrian Shaughnessy design for a retrospective of the entire output of Mute Records that catalogues distinct periods in the history of the company as documents.

It's posted here as a reminder that Adrian Shaughnessy also has a publishing company, Unit Editions. The latter has a week left on its sale with 50% off selected items including the Supergraphics and Studio Culture books and a number of Wim Crouwel posters.

Link: Unit Editions

19 November 2011

Kosmik Kommando - Analogue Android limited edition box set

Link: Machine Codes

With a run of just seven box sets, Kosmik Kommando's Analogue Android album is a proper limited edition. The small number demonstrates how much time and effort has gone into each one with its series of hand-painted labels. The standard vinyl is also a bespoke offering with an airbrushed cover plate and vinyl containing individual messages.

[Thanks to Marc Bessant for pointing this out on Twitter.]

10 November 2011

Artwork by Optigram

Link: Optigram

Optigram is the design company operated by Manuel Sepulveda whose commissions include sleeves for Steve 'Kode9' Goodman's Hyperdub plus the similarly lauded Warp, Planet Mu and Citinite labels.

Some of the work involves tessellated shapes akin to Andy Gilmore's art whilst a few of Sepulveda's Terror Danjah sleeves have a 1980's-ish retro-futuristic feel complete with the kind of geometric monoliths not a million miles away from La Boca's work for The Emperor Machine. Much of the Optigram output is playful in its use of colour, but I'm also liking these moodier monochromatic offerings including the imagery that adorned Ikonika's album.