10 favourite sleeves / packages for 2009

Looking at my favourite records for 2009 made me think of my favourite sleeve designs as well, as several were represented in the selection. I’ve noticed a definite resurgence in sci-fi imagery this year, particularly of the 70’s Roger Dean / Heavy Metal / Moebius fantasy variety. Dan McPharlin is probably the best exponent of this style and has two designs in the selection. Julian House is still mining the collage aesthetic although seems to be leaving the Penguin cover design style behind more and more. Warp’s 20th boxset was a beautiful piece of work, making for a great celebratory object in the age of the download and Jeff Jank continues to innovate over at Stones Throw.

12 x favourite covers 2009 650

Oasis -Falling Down (Amorphous Androgynous remix)(Big Brother)
Designed by Julian House

Various Artists – The Byg Deal (Finders Keepers)
Designed by Liars

Roj – The Transectional Dharma of Roj (Ghost Box)
Designed by Julian House

Various Artists – Warp 20 boxsert (Warp)
Designed by YES / Bernard Ryan / Metropolitan Works

Anti Pop Consortium – Flourescent Black  (Big Dada)
Designed by Ron Croudy Illustration by Mark Evans

Mr Chop – Light Worlds (Now Again)
Designed by Dan McPharlin

Prefuse 73 – Everything She Touched Turned Amphexian (Warp)
Designed by Dan McPharlin

Madlib – Beat Konducta vol.5-6 (Stones Throw)
Designed by Jeff Jank Photo by Ernesto Yerena

J G Thirlwell – The Venture Brothers vol.1 (Adult Swim /Williams St)
Designed by unknown

Various Artists – Studio G – G Spots (Trunk)
Designed by Flack

Posted in Art, Design, Music, Records. | 1 Comment |

Capsule 01

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Capsule is a new venture from Rob Lynam – the man who bought you online design magazine Multilink. It comes in the form of a slim A5 perfect bound volume packed with some of the finest illustrators around. Artists like France’s Duster, the UK’s Doug Bowden (aka Pandayoghurt) and my good self all have space to showcase designs past and present in full colour.

Rob plans to do prints of some of the selections at some point and if you want to sample the kind of exquisite taste he has then take a look through the free online magazines on his Multilink site.

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Posted in Art, Books, Openmind designs. | 1 Comment |

Food For Mahfood

Just received a bumper package from my man Jim Mahfood aka Food One in LA. We did a swap of goodies and he really outdid me with the contents of his box. Aside from the comic books, T-shirt, stickers, cards and mix CD he also signed the inner covers of all 3 Mixtape collections AND included the limited edition Paul’s Boutique comic he did about the Beastie Boys’ classic album. Yep, I’m gloating here…

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Posted in Art, Books, Comics, DJ Food. | No Comments |

Jim Mahfood and friends – Cafe 1001


I met up with Jim Mahfood, Scott Campbell and friends Saturday night at Cafe 1001 off Brick Lane on Saturday night in the midst of a live painting session. They had covered a corner of the cafe as well as several flattened cardboard boxes and seemed to be having a great time. I had feared that their trip over would be marred by the tube strike but it seems like the show opening on Thursday was packed and they sold nearly everything already. I’ve been a fan of his work for  a while now but this was the first time we had met and we hit it off immediately, resolving to collaborate on something in the future. Food One vs DJ Food, it has to be done…

Awesome Dude!

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Scratching the Surface / Graffest / TV Stole My Soul

DavidValladeScratchingIt’s been a manic week, one my best friends, David Vallade, had the opening of his exhibition at Rat Records in Camberwell, South London and I spent the best part of Wednesday and Thursday helping him hang the work whilst trying not to rifle through the racks. The opening was a great success and loads of old friends showed up including PC, Chantal Passamonte (Mira Calix) Ollie Teeba and various old college mates. I also found out that the giant poster of Funki Porcini’s Fast Asleep cover that they have hanging behind the counter is the actual one from behind the decks in the film Shaun of the Dead – small world. The occasion was only slightly marred by the fact that one of my kids caught chicken pox earlier in the week so the whole family couldn’t be there, I was looking forward to taking the boys to their first record shop…

Graffest_logoGraffest_cranes2That was Thursday night, Friday I was off to Gdansk in Poland to play at the Graffest festival alongside Jamie Vex’d, Mike Slott, Bullion and others. The event was held in a decrepit shipyard where giant industrial cranes towered overhead like mechanical insects and half the buildings seemed to abandoned wrecks. Artists like Os Gemeos, Blu and Zedz were present, painting and displaying sculptures both inside and out. Blu had been and gone, apparently shooting 20 frames worth for a new film he’s working on, and by the time I arrived Zedz was already painting over his work whilst men welded a boats hull into place nearby.

Graffest_zedzGraffest_cranesA lot of the work was still very much in progress and I got to wander about the indoor exhibition space and see several pieces unfinished including a giant mock up Cadillac complete with artist asleep in the back seat.

Graffest_car2Graffest_car1If truth be told I was actually more in awe of the shipyard and took a great many snaps of various decaying exteriors and overhead pipes and scaffold work. There’s something quite beautiful about the elements reclaiming their place, paint blistering off old wooden doors, rusting metal and decaying tiles.

Graffest_powerGraffest_pipesThe outside wall of the place was also amazing, holding a good 20 to 30 pieces about the shipyard, all realised in giant stencil form, including the typography.

Graffest_wordsGraffest_wallGraffest_stencilSaturday was a return to the UK for a gig in Reading and Mike Slott and I had to evacuate the airport cafe after I spotted a kid’s bag left under a table. Turns out it was an innocent mistake and the mum came rushing up to get it but not before armed police had waved everyone away. The Reading gig looked like it was going to be a bit duff as I had problems with the video signal coming out all green which we traced back to the adaptor I was using finally.

The beginning of the set was marred by the failure of my 3rd track to load, something I can only put down to the file being corrupt possibly because it loaded the night before and ever other track was fine. Pretty galling to hear your track run out into silence as an expectant crowd gathers to hear and watch the beginning of your set as you struggle to work out what the problem is. Thanks to the quick intervention of Scott, the promoter, who put on some fill in music while I rebooted I quickly found the problem and the rest of the set went without any trouble, in fact it went quite well considering I’d been told it was an electro indie crowd who didn’t dance to drum n bass.

Posted in Art, Gigs. | No Comments |

Incredible! – Big Numbers issue 3 sees the light of day!

I have a short mental list of things I’d like to see, hear or experience before I die, and today another one of them stepped closer to reality. This list includes things like the KLF‘s ‘Black Room’ album, Richard Williams‘The Thief and the Cobbler’ film and used to include Brian Wilson‘s ‘Smile’ LP until he miraculously finished it a few years back.

Most of these projects will never see fruition as the time has passed and the creators have moved on leaving a few tantalising snippets of material promising much but revealing little. One such entry on this list is Alan Moore and Bill Sienkiewicz‘s ‘Big Numbers’ comic from the great comic / graphic novel boom in the late 80’s and early 90’s. This comic promised so much being as Moore was riding a creative high from Watchmen and From Hell.

Sienkiewicz had done Elektra, Daredevil and Stray Toasters and was, Dave McKean aside, one of the most daring artists working in comics at the time. The run was supposed to be twelve issues starting in black and white, and tones and colour would be gradually added over the course of the story which revolved around mathematics and chaos theory according to Moore.

Frustratingly the comic was halted after issue 2 by the company going bust and Sienkiewicz’s assistant, an unknown Al Columbia, taking over at issue 3 and then having a breakdown and refusing to release the art. The project stopped, people moved on and it was consigned to the pile of unfinished projects that were never to be.

I never thought I’d ever see this but someone has posted photocopies of the whole of issue 3 here. They are reportedly the real thing and Alan Moore has given his permission to have them made public. Also, Sienkiewicz gives and long and fascinating account of what happened to the comic here. Now, if only Moore, Sienkiewicz and Columbia could be persuaded to finish this potential masterpiece…

PS: to see the quality of these pages (2nd or 3rd generation photocopies apparently) against what could have been, 10 of the fully toned pages can be seen on the web as they were printed, sans speech bubbles, in a fanzine sometime in the 90s.

Big Numbers-03

 

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