29 June 2012

Gatekeeper - Exo artwork, environment and font by Tabor Robak

Link: Tabor Robak
Link: Hippos In Tanks

Following acclaimed releases from the likes of Grimes, James Ferraro and Laurel Halo, the always intriguing Hippos In Tanks label now readies the debut long-player from, New York-based duo, Gatekeeper.

Exo, as it's titled, is accompanied by collaborative visual work from Tabor Robak that extends further from a simple packshot to include a custom-made downloadable font and an immersive, first person gaming environment. The whole utopian sci-fi/techno-fetishism aesthetic might work for many [personally, I prefer the more organic and abstract digital fantasies of artists like Konx-om-Pax in addition to work including Robak's own 'Rocks' experiments], but the idea of providing something far more innovative than a bundle of MP3s with a thumbnail is always welcome. Especially given that this is genuinely a truly exploratory, multi-sensory project. Out July 17th.

21 June 2012

Lorn - Ask The Dust by Jesse Auersalo

Link: Jesse Auersalo
Link: Ninja Tune

The Brainfeeder-affiliated Lorn issued, his second album, Ask The Dust this week. Available via Ninja Tune (with a now sold out reel-to-reel edition and a version on cloudy grey vinyl), it boasts artwork from, Finnish illustrator, Jesse Auersalo.

Auersalo's imagery was previously used as part of Big Active's campaign for Mark Ronson's last long-player although this particular project sees him sticking to the moody monochromatic style that makes up a large part of his portfolio. Additionally the trompe l'oiel concept - evoking Magritte - and the plaster-like texture - adding a touch of de Chirico - makes the cover a beautifully-rendered surrealist work.


Jacques Greene - 'Prism' by Jeroen Erosie

Link: Jeroen Erosie 
Link: 3024
Link: Dummy interview

Release 019 on the 3024 label comes from, Canadian producer, Jacques Greene. The artwork is again courtesy of, label co-owner, Jeroen Erosie and continues the specific house style that he's developed through sleeves for the likes of Jon Convex, Mosca, Julio Bashmore and Redshape. As he revealed in an interview with Dummy magazine, he uses the final layer of the previous release for each new piece and has subsequently developed an interesting 3024 continuum within the complex patterns. The latest also appears to have brought in some letter forms with assumedly what is a 'J' and 'G' to correspond with the Greene's intials. The single is out July.

19 June 2012

Nitemoves - Longlines by Jakub Alexander

Link: Jakub Alexander
Link: Moodgadget
Link: Nitemoves

Also known by the musician/DJ alias of Heathered Pearls while additionally the founder of Moodgadget Records and music curator of the respected IS050 blog, Jakub Alexander additionally completed artwork for Nitemoves' long-player.

An electronic opus from an individual previously spotted drumming with, two Ghostly-signed acts, Com Truise and Tycho, Longlines was first unleashed last month. Now that digital release is also joined by a limited edition cassette complete with bonus tracks. Its run of 100 copies should start shipping tomorrow.

18 June 2012

This Dull Ache by Mark James Works

Link: Mark James
Link: This Dull Ache
Link: Cherrystones
Link: Rough Trade

A collaboration between producer/DJ Cherrystones and designer/artist Mark James, This Dull Ache is a lovingly packaged film project.

Boasting a DVD and 20 page booklet within a 10" sleeve, it's a piece that actually dates back to James' first solo show back in 2008 - although now re-worked [both re-edited and remixed] for its limited release. Additionally produced by Academy Films' Liz Kessler and edited by Ben Crook, it's now available to order from Rough Trade.

14 June 2012

Shine 2009 artwork by Santtu Mustonen

Link: Santtuu Mustonen
Link: Santtuu Mustonen at Hugo & Marie
Link: Expo

Former industrial designer Santtu Mustonen switched disciplines following his experimention with 3D imaging software. His subsequent illustration work for releases by Shine 2009 then demonstrated a real flair for what he has dubbed "slightly moving images": with some beautiful textures and sophisticated colour palettes. And while one of the singles may have featured Paula Abdul, this is far removed from the kind of visual material that would more usually be associated with anyone on the same payroll as Simon Cowell.

13 June 2012

Matthew Dear - Beams by Michael Cina

Link: Michael Cina
Link: Ghostly International
Link: Matthew Dear

Following the dark visual and sonic aesthetic associated with Matthew Dear's Black City long-player, Beams - his upcoming album - has a very different feel. There's a more optimistic approach here that, in terms of both sight and sound, was evident on his 'Headcage EP'. And it has continued through, catchy new single, 'Her Fantasy'.

For the artwork, Michael Cina's use of colour is clearly suggestive of the new direction, but texturally - lacking the smokiness and grittiness of Black City - it also feels more joyful (whether that's applied to his abstract or more figurative imagery). Cina says:

"The Beams project has been the most ambitious music packaging project that I have worked on to date. It started in November of 2011 and ended in May of 2012. The full scope involves almost 100 paintings, two of the paintings being 20 feet long, flying to NYC to be filmed painting a six foot portrait, another portrait that took two months to paint, a custom typeface, and countless designs. There will be four singles to come off this record as well, each requiring new pieces as well."

8 June 2012

Sam and the Womp - 'Bom Bom' artwork by Danke

Link: Danke
Link: Stiff Records 

Artwork for a new addition to the roster of Stiff Records: the seminal label responsible for signing the likes of Ian Dury, Elvis Costello and Nick Lowe. The aesthetic for the single is tied to the brash festival-like qualities of the track [a kind of Balkan, Bestival-bound 'Papa's Got A Brand New Pigbag'] and also incorporates a new Stiff logo. The latter was also used earlier this year on packshots for the digital release of Tenpole Tudor's 1981 hit 'Swords of a Thousand Men'.

6 June 2012

Rinse Presents: Roska 2 artwork by Give Up Art

Link: Give Up Art 
Link: Rinse

Designed by Give Up Art's Stuart Hammersley, the latest album on Rinse contrasts hugely with the mix series he's packaged for the label/station alongside, photographer, Shaun Bloodworth. While the latter has boasted stark, street tough portraits that are lifted by single bands of colour, the latest Roska album utilises the labelling grid seen on Give Up Art's design for the earlier Brackles CD over an expanse of bright graphics. It magnifies those Lichtenstein-evoking halftone patterns for a fun, maybe summer-y exterior card case that is juxtaposed with the far more minimal monochromatic jewel case that's contained inside.

5 June 2012

F.C. Judd - Electronics Without Tears artwork by Optigram

Link: Optigram
Link: Public Information
Link: F.C. Judd 

With CD and download versions available at a special price to mark its composer's 98th birthday, it's worth revisiting Optigram's designs for the release of F.C. Judd's Electronics Without Tears.

First released by the Public Information label in January, externally it continues a series of hard-edged yet hypnotic patterns by Optigram's Manuel Sepulveda. Although, within the CD packaging, there is additionally an eight page booklet with notes on the retrospective album's 35 tracks plus a biography on the radiophonic master by, experimental documentary maker, Ian Halliwell. [The vinyl edition - limited to just 500 copies - appears to be sold out.]