29 August 2011

Dan Sicko

I was saddened by the news that author Dan Sicko was suffering from ocular melanoma when it was reported by Beatport two days ago. The story came with a link to an appeal to assist with hospice care given how advanced his condition was. I had already planned to post that link here - just in case it would help contribute anything towards raising additional funds - but then I heard yesterday that the 42 year-old writer of the definitive Techno Rebels book had passed away.

Dan Sicko's condition had already been outlined by his brother Matt at http://mattsicko.blogspot.com/ and it is still possible to make a donation to help his family at http://www.gofundme.com/DanSicko. The money that had been specified for care staff will now be directed towards an education fund for his daughter.

I didn't know Dan Sicko personally. I sent him an email a while ago to pick his brains for my own research work as Techno Rebels had inspired elements of the project I'm involved in. If you haven't read it, by the way, and you have more than a passing interest in electronic music, buy a copy (Amazon link). What I particularly found interesting was how he considered the visual material that existed within the genre rather than simply writing it all off as 'anonymous'. This understanding and interest may have been linked to his job at Detroit creative agency Organic, Inc. In any case, it's a lovingly created account of the development of a form of music that Sicko truly championed and - a fine legacy - I'm sure many will be revisiting his writing for years to come.

Further links:

Journalist Shared Detroit's Techno Music With World
Loss of a Techno Rebel: Why Dan Sicko Will Be Sorely Missed
RIP Dan Sicko
RIP Dan Sicko: A True Techno Rebel

21 August 2011

Raffertie - 'Visual Acuity EP'

Released by Ninja Tune is Raffertie's 'Visual Acuity EP' with its sleeve photography courtesy of Meg Sharp. There might be a bit of a link with the Warp 10 artwork of yesteryear through that rather mundane architecture and it's purple-ish tones. The simplicity of the 'V' and 'A' of the title - that's reduced to some nicely balanced geometry - also stands out as quite lovely.

Mmmmm, triangles.

19 August 2011

Need For Mirrors - 'Alabama/Erotic Relapse'

New vinyl from drum & bass duo Need For Mirrors that's also the debut release on their Zoltar label. Limited to 400 copies, it comes in a silver die-cut sleeve revealing a hand-drawn inner: a nice touch that is likely to be repeated via subsequent releases.

"There seems to be a lack of visual expression with the way music is packaged and branded, often it's very difficult to add imagery to music and it's better to leave it faceless and let the music play. But with Zoltar we wanted the action to be visually led. Also by creating a physical product which will stand up as much as the music and add a another dimension to our experience."

13 August 2011

Plaid - Scintilli package

Link: Warp
Link: Plaid
Link: Scintilli microsite
Link: Pre-order at Bleep.com

Already being a much-delayed album, the Warp label is hopeful that the Sony/PIAS warehouse fire won't be affecting the release of Plaid's Scintilli too much - meaning that it should be in stores 26th September.

Sadly, some of Warp's back-catalogue will not be physically available again following this week's loss but this offering from the London-based duo is busily being manufactured alongside new albums from Rustie and CANT. There's also a limited edition version currently being offered via pre-order of a ‘Muda na Mono’ puzzle pack: that name taken from a Japanese phrase meaning ‘pointless object’. It contains two die-cut rings and a CD which can be assembled as per the featured diagram. If correctly aligned, the completed sphere allows the track titles to be read.

"The packaging reflects a desire to give the CD an ornamental function, beyond its one use as a basic storage device for music."

12 August 2011

The Work of Shaun Bloodworth & Give Up Art

Link: Rinse
Link: Give Up Art
Link: Shaun Bloodworth

Rinse Presents:
A Visual Retrospective – The Work Of Shaun Bloodworth & Give Up Art

12th – 21st August 2011
The Old Truman Brewery, 91 Brick Lane, London, E1 6QL
020 7770 6000 | www.trumanbrewery.com

A ten-day exhibition celebrating the design and photography of seminal London-based radio station and label, Rinse, and their championing of the wider underground music world.

11 August 2011

Vulture Music artwork by Ben Roth

Link: Freisprung

Based in Berlin/Tel Aviv, Ben Roth has developed a lovely series of work for lauded French label Vulture Music. Monochromatic yet dream-like, it additionally seems to make full use of the form of the letter 'V' in a number of different ways. However, the cover of the Visitor release does remind me of the imagery for Darkstar's 'Aidy's Girl is a Computer' by Remote Location: what with the dominance of that retro-futuristic monolith. Still, while splitting his time between doing print and video work, I'm keen to see more from him.

10 August 2011

Jay-Z & Kanye West - 'Watch The Throne' artwork by Riccardo Tisci

The week's events in UK cities could suggest that we avoid hyping up the kind of product that fits the whole 'luxury goods' aesthetic. Still, when has Kanye West ever shied away from celebrating high-end consumerism? His collaboration with Jay-Z - the Watch The Throne album - furthers this [even the couture of Martin Margiela is referenced in his lyrics]. The artwork also features a very luxe finish courtesy of Givenchy artistic director Riccardo Tisci. Not sure if it quite manufactures the desire for designer products that some MPs might claim would drive a youngster to loot a branch of JD Sports or Greggs. But, in any case, it looks fancy and is released next week.

Anyway, should your local high street not be functioning correctly, you can get it via the following Amazon links:

Standard CD - Watch The Throne
Deluxe edition - Watch The Throne

According to Tisci, he decided to create the artwork to symbolize the “masculinity of two of the most iconic rap figures of our time."

The artist meticulously incorporated a variety of religious symbols, animal faces and symmetric shapes, giving the album an embroidered feel, while leaving the inside artwork with a painted and printed feel.

"I am honoured to have been asked to be part of this incredible music moment with such amazing artists," Riccardo Tisci told AllHipHop.com. "I am impressed by the amount of respect they have for music and art. We share the same way of working : like a family."

8 August 2011

Jamie xx - 'Far Nearer/Beat For'

Link: Far Nearer
Link: Remote Location
Link: Numbers

Judging from his acclaimed set at Field Day, Jamie xx appears to be going from strength to strength. It's then worth revisiting his debut solo single on the lauded Numbers label, 'Far Nearer/Beat For', that came out earlier this year.

Assumedly, the sleeve is by Adam Rodgers and Neil Morton of Remote Location who - on top of their artwork for Numbers (and the previous, related labels of Wireblock, Stuffrecords and Dress 2 Sweat) - have also completed work for clients including Warp, Planet Mu, Hyperdub and Craig Armstrong. Described by The Fader as looking "like a Russian constructivist strawberry daiquiri", this die-cut vinyl also references We're New Here: the previously blogged Jamie xx-remixed version of the late Gil Scott-Heron's last album. Itself being a cover that seems to pick-up on the layout of The xx's Mercury Prize-winning long-player.

7 August 2011

Round Table Knights - 'Cut to the Top' by Rosario Florio & Larissa Kasper

Link: September Industry
Link: Rosario Florio
Link: Larissa Kasper

Freshcuts Recordings
We Love It (Series)
Vinyl 12″

Record cover for “We Love It”. A series of exclusive releases pressed on vinyl by Freshcuts Recordings. Limited to 300 copies. This is the first 12″ of the series. The photography concept is based on an evolution of the picture. With every release an object or something else from the artist or the song will be placed in the picture. So the content grows until the last release. The finished series with all releases will be available in a wooden box.

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