7Up – the UnCola posters

7UPWetUnWild

Browsing eBay over the Xmas holiday, a friend came across a psychedelic Submarine poster not a million miles away from Heinz Edlemann’s classic Yellow variant, created for The Beatles‘ film of the same name. In the same brightly-coloured, cartoonish style of the late 60s and early 70s – much popularised by artists like Edelmann, Milton Glaser, Nicole Claveloux and Peter Max – this sub was in fact green and advertising the drink, 7Up – billing itself as ‘The UnCola’. What was remarkable about this eBay listing though was that it was for an original 60″x36″ poster, not the sort of thing that turns up every day.

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Indeed, further investigation revealed that the seller, Dallas resident, Robert Trent, is the foremost collector of this era of 7Up advertising and was selling off duplicates from his collection. Even crazier was that he was also selling huge billboard versions of some of the designs, some as an un-pasted set of 12 panels over 12 meters in length. Over the course of many entries he had compiled a huge resource of information, links and imagery, all expertly checked and presented without fuss and in meticulous detail. These kind of posters don’t come up every day and he has the whole history up there to give context to the images. After seeking his permission I hereby reproduce some of the imagery and details before it’s lost.

From Robert’s listing: “‘Wet Un Wild (green submarine, aka yellow submarine) 60” x 36” horizontal poster by Ed George

Note:  This is made of thick quality poster paper, not dimpled yellow plastic tablecloth material (modern-day Tyvek construction wrap vapor barrier or “paper dress” nylon material) like the other “Wet Un Wild” posters occasionally offered on eBay. 

This one is in excellent, but not perfect condition. This illustration is highly sought after and may be the holy grail of all 7Up UnCola poster images. Ed George illustrated this in 1969, (he) held multiple posts in-house at the J. Walter Thompson [advertising] Co. in Chicago (JWT) over many years.”

Below: 28 of the billboards in Robert’s collection as of writing…7Up UnCola Virtual Billboard Museum (28) 3x10_011518_2

7UP 4xposters7UPButterfly

From Robert’s listing: “Most of these images actually graced highway billboards and dorm rooms. They were so popular that the Seven Up Company offered them for sale – few survived. The first batch of billboard sized images were up nationwide when colorful VW vans full of hippies drove to the Woodstock Festival in August of 1969. A “Fallpaper Poster Offer” on the bottom of page 8 of the October 5, 1969 Chicago Tribune Sunday Comics offered a set of (4) 34″x21″ reproductions of their famous billboards seen earlier in the year for, read it and weep – ONE DOLLAR TOTAL (plus 6 bottle cap liners). That offer expired on 12/31/69. The sizes also ranged from small Size “D” posters to giant Size “A” 21’x10′ billboards. These are all ORIGINAL vintage posters – NOT modern giclee photo reproductions.”

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From Robert’s listing: ‘The Light Shining Over The Dark’  This is a vintage 33″ x 20″ horizontal poster that is in excellent condition and VERY RARE.  I’m only aware of 2 or 3 other copies, some of which have passed through my hands. The artist’s signature can be seen at the right center in the bottom of the girl’s white dress. 

The artist was Pat Dypold who illustrated this by 1973 as a free-lance artist.  She did the bulk of the other outdoor ads (billboards) for the J. Walter Thompson [advertising] Company of Chicago (JWT) that orchestrated the famous UnCola ad campaign from about 1968 through 1975.”

 

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From Robert’s listing: “‘See The Light’ (psychedelic bicycle) 60″ x 36″ horizontal poster by the late Tom Kamifuji (1922-2015) (original concept by Bill Bosworth)

“Hiroyuki “Tom” Kamifuji ran a design studio in San Francisco. He was an illustrator, poster designer, typographer, art director and designer. Yet, for all his legacy of brightly-colored works, there is very little biographical information available. Perhaps his most universal success was the inspiration for the rainbow swath of color within the Apple Computers apple. The concept for this image came from Bill Bosworth who worked in-house at the J. Walter Thompson [advertising] Co. in Chicago (JWT) over many years.  However, the actual finished artwork was done by California artist Tom Kamifuji. There is no signature on this “Size B” poster, but the larger “Size A” 21’x10′ “See The light” billboard in my possession has Tom Kamifui’s signature.”

7UPUncanny

From Robert’s listing:‘UnCannny In Cans’ This is a vintage 33 3/4″ x 20 3/4″ poster that is in excellent, near mint condition. This is an authentic, traceable representation of late ’60s, early 1970’s pop art advertising. The artist was John Alcorn who illustrated this in 1969 as a free-lance artist. His signature is in the bottom middle brown band. At the age of 24 Alcorn was the 4th person to join Push Pin Studios which was the place to be in the graphics community at the time.

The Seven Up Co. sold 4 different sizes of most images to the general public. BTW – My collection also includes one of the “UnCanny In Cans” Size “A” billboards plus a 60″ x 36″ Size B” version. The poster for sale here is a 34″x21″ Size “C”.

John did a number of well known illustration advertisements in the prior years for Pepsi and Campbell’s Soup and his career flourished for many more years. These outdoor ads (billboards) were commissioned by the J. Walter Thompson [advertising] Company of Chicago (JWT) that orchestrated the famous UnCola ad campaign from about 1968 through 1975. Most of the 53+ extremely colorful billboard & poster images were illustrated by invited outside freelance artists who were allowed to sign their names on the originals if desired – not all did. Only a few images were produced in-house, and never with the artist’s name on them. JWT wisely chose to invite only up and coming artists and not well known graphic stars so as not to let the notoriety overshadow the product itself.

Many of the artists have gone on to great fame in the graphics community Milton Glaser (I [heart] NY logo) (Mad Men final Season 7 poster; co-founder of Push Pin Studios), Seymour Chwast (co-founder of Push Pin Studios) with Isadore Seltzer, John Alcorn (Push Pin Studios), Kim Whitesides, Barry Zaid, Jacqui Morgan, Simms Taback (1st Happy Meal Box in Smithsonian & Caldecott Honor for children’s books), Skip Williamson, Robert Abel (Tron movie), Charlie White III (permanent collection at MOMA), John Craig, Ray Lyle, Heather Cooper, Nancy Martell, Roger Chouinard, Pat Dypold, Bob Taylor, Tom Kamifuj, Bill Bosworth, Ed George, Joanne _ and probably several others.

The Seven Up Company executives chose rough “comps” without the artist’s names attached to the submissions. If 1 or more sketches were chosen, the artist would eventually earn up to $2,000 per completed piece. I’ve spoken with some of the retired ad execs from JWT and they reported that this was a fantastic assignment with a dream client that encouraged bold moves. These Midwest Mad Men boosted sales by anywhere from 30-60% under their highly creative reign from 1968 until the mid-seventies.”

7UP The YouthFare 7UPAirship

From Robert’s listing: Bob Taylor was an art director at the famed J Walter Thompson [advertising] Company based in Chicago – the Midwest Mad Men.  An American Contemporary Graphics Exhibit booklet from about 1972 featured Bob and a different “cartoony” billboard image of his on pages 9-10.  Bob was one of the driving forces behind “The UnCola” ad campaign from the beginning in 1968 until the end in the middle 1970’s. Bob also illustrated “The Youth Fare” in a similar “cartoony” style depicting a green bottle of 7Up as a bi-plane.

This is the 21’x10′ Size “A” billboard version of this blimp image by Bob Taylor available as Design #10 for $7.00 in the billboard and poster offer that expired on 5/31/72.  A small 21″x11″ poster was available for FREE if you responded to the poster offer that expired on 12/31/70.  Another folding billboard and poster offer that expired on 5/31/72 offered this billboard as Design #12 for $8.50.

As of today, I only know of one other copy besides the 2 billboards in my possession. This piece of advertising history is in NEAR MINT condition and ready for display. To get a sense of scale, a standard sized vehicle would not cover up the blimp itself if laid out flat on a driveway.”

7UP free poster offer

The American Contemporary Graphics Exhibit book laid out profiles of some of the artists along with their contributions and the aim of the campaign.
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From Robert’s listing: Milton Glaser (b. 6/26/29) This image was created during his Push Pin Studios era which is the firm he co-founded with Seymour Chwast.  It would be another 6 years before he created the most copied “I [heart] NY” logo on the planet in 1977. Scans from 2 different booklets from about 1971 independently attribute this work to Milton Glaser.  Here are his own words about the concept for the image: 

“Well, basically the idea of being ‘turned on’ by 7Up was buried somewhere in my consciousness, and I transferred that feeling into a visual pun.  The word ‘can’ was my focal point.  To make something extraordinary happen out of this particular can seemed like the right attitude to have at the time.  Graphically, it’s an interphasing of two phenomena – electricity and 7Up”. 

My extensive collection includes the ONLY 2 KNOWN COPIES IN ANY SIZE of this particular image. The originals are 21’x10′ Size “A” billboards acquired from someone in the Out Of Home (OOH) [billboard] business that set these aside in the early 1970’s thinking that they might be something special.  They are.  Even world famous graphics guru Milton Glaser doesn’t have any copies in his vast collection per his archivist.  I’ve never seen ANY other copies in ANY other size.  I also collect 7Up UnCola “poster offers” but I’ve also never found any offering this image to the general public.  Most of my other billboards were offered to the general public for prices between $3.50 and $8.50.  For some reason, this one and a few others were not made available although a few like this one were squirreled away. “

 

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Pat Dypold seems to be the unsung heroine of the piece, contributing many illustrations in various styles but she’s not a name I’m familiar with. Robert had a class reunion and hung several of the billboards from the balcony at the venue they held it at, you get a sense of scale with these photos plus some close up details.

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From Robert’s listing: “Giant 21′ x 10′ 7Up UnCola original unused vintage paper billboard illustrated in 1971 by Kim Whitesides. An American Contemporary Graphics Exhibit booklet from about 1972 featured Kim Whitesides and this image on pages 11-12.  He did at least 3 other billboard images for The UnCola ad campaign, 2 of which were issued in billboard and/or poster formats.

The billboard itself consists of 12 thick paper panels, each 43″ wide x 59″ tall.  There’s about a 1″ white margin on the top and right edges of each panel so it can be installed in an overlapping “rainlap” pattern designed to shed water like shingles on a roof (see last image). These were only meant to last outdoors for 30-60 days, and then the next billboard would be pasted over the top – destroying the paper underneath.  The only way any of these survived for nearly 5 decades was for them to be set aside and not used as intended.  This is one of the rare examples of that being done.  Although rare, I have 3 copies of this billboard image in my collection.  All 210 square feet of my copy has been painstakingly reinforced with acid-free scrapbooking tape on the rear side, but only as needed to stabilize small rips, week fold lines and other minor imperfections.  Any small holes have been patched with matching paper from donor panels from the same era and are barely noticeable up close.  In places, colored pencils or markers have been used to refresh missing ink.”

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There are examples of many order forms including this fold up mail out, such great thinking going into something so ordinary.
7UPOffer47UPorder form27UPButterflypasteupinstructions 7UPfallpaper7UPorder form7UPposter selection
There are two very good articles / interviews with Robert on the web: one with Collector’s Weekly
and one with the ever-reliable Dangerous Minds so head there if you want more info. You can follow Robert on Instagram, view his whole collection on Flickr or peruse his eBay entries for yourself. Masny thanks to Robert for letting me repost these pictures and info.

Posted in Art, Design, Poster / flyer. | 1 Comment |

2017: WTF was going on?

DJ Food Bill brief

The above photo was my brief from Bill Drummond for the set I was to play at the JAM‘s Welcome To The Dark Ages event in Liverpool. I stuck it above my mixer as I was preparing the set, it’s something to keep in mind as we go forward into 2018. I spent most of the year in limbo, waiting in a chain for a property to come through. When it finally did in mid September, I pretty much ate, drank and slept it in between jobs as it needed a lot of work doing, hence no posts for the past two odd months. I’m in now and can see the wood for the trees but it did mean I largely dipped out of social media for the latter quarter of the year (probably not a bad thing).

Seeing as 2016 was such a shitter, in 2017 I wrote down all the good things that happened as the year progressed:

Events 2017

Got implicated in the KLF/JAMMs/K2 comeback media scrum because of an innocent quote in my 2016 round up
Started Further with Pete Williams – a multimedia music & projection night playing non-dancefloor sounds with analogue-based visuals plus food and a record stall – and founded a studio/ HQ in S. London
Pete Isaac (45 Live) found me a perfect copy of a long time wants list staple, Bam Bam’s ‘Where’s Your Child’ on 7″ for free
Got asked to play as Further at The Orb‘s ambient evening at the Royal Festival Hall in April and lit up the 5th floor balcony with 20 projectors
Mixed a Death Waltz Originals CD which was given away free at Halloween with Mondo/DW orders
Appeared on the Big Mouth podcast and played at the opening of Orbital Comics‘ exhibition, both celebrating 40 years of 2000AD
Found a set of Thomas ‘Eclipse’ plates, cups and saucers for a bargain price from an eBay seller
Pete managed to find a broken 6k projector for free and fixed it for £50
My kids got into the secondary school we wanted them to go to and aced it in their first term
The first Further event at the Portico Gallery was sold out and a great success with Ghost Box and Howlround as guests
Played the first Big Fish Little Fish in Athens which promptly sold out
Played three different street food festivals in the summer, love those sort of gigs, more please
Found a huge Barbara Brown dinner service in the charity for £15 – find of the year
Played at The Delaware Road performance in July inside a nuclear bunker with a host of electronic artists – a very special night

Further 2017

Asked to play the Justified Ancients of Mu Mu happening in Liverpool, which turned out to be one of the events of the year – who’d have thought it? A career highlight that saw me playing many of the tracks they’d sampled in their career alongside acid house classics and ending at 3am with a version of ‘In The Ghetto’.
Further went to Spiritland and we supported The Heliocentrics as part of the SYNthesis festival, both very special occasions even though we worked our balls off to set them up
The return of The The in musical, film and live capacity
Scoring a long time wants list LP – Yves Hayat‘s ‘Conversations Between The East & The West’ – direct from the archive of the composer himself and meeting him in London to receive the record.
Blade Runner 2049 was actually amazing and a worthy follow up to the original
The second major Further gig at the Portico Gallery featured Simon James playing a Buchla set to bespoke visuals we made and Sculpture slaying the place with their AV act.
Asked to support the Art of Noise at the British Library next March
Further featured twice in Electronic Sound magazine and I had an opening spread printed of my end of night image of the funeral pyre from the JAMs event in Liverpool
Taking my boys to the Colourscape on Clapham Common
Finally moved in and moved on
Asked to play a very special run of shows in 2018 that I’ll reveal soon…

Music 2017

Music:
OK, so 2017 was the year of the Lizard for me, I listened to more hours of King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard’s music than any other band, but considering they released 5 albums this year alone it ‘s not surprising. Each album was different and they steadily got better with each release as the year progressed (disclaimer: I can’t speak for album no. 5 ‘Gumboot Soup’ as it came out today but ‘Polygondwanaland is probably my album of the year)
Brian Eno – Reflection (Warp)
Cavern of Anti-Matter – Blood Drums (reissue) (Duophonic)
Clocolan – Nothing Left To Abandon (Enpeg)
Run The Jewels – RTJ3 (Mass Appeal)
Revbjelde – Revbjelde (Buried Treasure)
Thundercat – Them Changes (Brainfeeder)
Jamiroquai – Automaton (the single)
The Dandelion Set – A Thousand Strands (Buried Treasure) (technically 2016 but copies got held up by distribution and it was more widely available in 2017)
The Heliocentrics – A World Of Masks (Soundway)
The Heliocentrics – The Sunshine Makers (Soundway)
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Flying Microtonal Banana (and still playing the hell out of Nonagon Infinity and It’s In My Mind Fuzz)
Klaus Weiss – Time Signals (reissue) (Trunk)
Vanishing Twin – Dream By Numbers EP (Soundway)
The Allergies – Entitled To That (Jalapeno)
Jane Weaver – Modern Kosmology (Fire Records)
Ulrich Schnauss & Jonas Munk – Passage (Azure Vista Records)
Ilia Gorovitz – Turmoil/Simmering With No End (Rassh Records)
John Brooks – Un Autre Directions (Clay Pipe Music)
King Gizzard & The Wizard Lizard – Murder of the Universe (Flightless)
Markey Funk – Witch Doctor / The Brew (Delights)
Nevermen – Mr Minute (Boards of Canada remix) (Lex)
The The – Radio Cineola Trilogy (Lazarus)
Hans Zimmer & Benjamin Wallfisch – Blade Runner 2049 OST
King Gizzard & The Wizard Lizard – Sketches of Brunswick East (Flightless)
King Gizzard & The Wizard Lizard – Polygondwanaland (Flightless)

Exhibitions 2017

Exhibitions:
Future Shock – 40 Years of 2000AD – Cartoon Museum (London) / Paolozzi at the Whitechapel Gallery (London), Will Barras at Sector 25 (London) / Barbara Brown and Lucienne Day at the Whitworth Gallery (Manchester) / Franco Grignani at Estorick Collection of Italian Art (London), We Are Watching: Oz Magazine – Chelsea Art Space (London) / Delta – Mima Museums (Brussels) / Pink Floyd: Their Mortal Remains at the V&A (London), British Underground Press of the 60s at the A22 Gallery (London) / Can Graphic Design Save Your Life? – Wellcome Collection (London) / Snub 23 at the Boz Boz Gallery (Brighton)

Books / Comics:
Out Of Time – Miranda Sawyer / Ian Helliwell – Tape Leaders (Sound On Sound) Book + CD / British Underground Press of the 60s (Rocket 88) / The Process Is The Inspiration – House Industries / B.P.R.D.: Hell On Earth (Dark Horse) / Barbarella (Dynamite) / Swifty – FunkyTypo Graphix (Gamma Proforma) / Boris Tellegen – 86/97 – a black book (A Paper Book) / Batman: White Knight (DC)

RIP: Jaki Liebezeit, David Axelrod, Alan Aldridge, Dick Bruna, Clyde Stubblefield, Larry Coryell, Toshio Nakanishi, Chuck Berry, Skip Williamson, Jay Lynch, Mika Vainio, Adam West, Brian Cant, Pierre Henry, Anne-Marie Bergeron, Glen Campbell, Bruce Forsyth, Holger Czukay, Virgil Howe, Sean Hughes, Christine Keeler, Keith Chegwin, Dennis Dragon, Jim Baikie

Further at the Portico Gallery – Nov 18th

Further Portico 2.5 Poster A3 portraitThe next Further at The Portico Gallery is on Sat Nov 18th. Pete Williams and I are very excited to be joined by Sculpture for one of their incredible live AV sets and Simon James (Simonsound / Black Channels /Akiha Den Den) will be performing a live set from his Buchla easel system. Early bird tickets on sale now

We’ll also have the Book & Record Bar stall with releases from both acts and a hand-picked selection to compliment plus delicious food and plenty of seating. See below for what to expect on the night.
Sculpture

Simon James

The last Further at the Portico Gallery

The Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King, Liverpool

Metro CathLiverpool1This summer, during my visit to Liverpool to attend The JAM’s ‘Welcome To The Dark Ages’ event I found some time to visit a few landmarks around Liverpool. My first stop was the 50 year old Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King which has some of the most stunning architectural features and stained glass windows I think I’ve ever seen. Metro CathLiverpool2

The photos speak for themselves but my camera just couldn’t capture the vividness of colour created by the sun lighting up the windows. For a building half a century old it’s an incredibly modern piece of art, right down to some of the imagery and sculptures they have installed.

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Further & The Heliocentrics at the SYNthesis festival

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Pete Williams and myself set up our Further environment in support of The Heliocentrics at the Synthesis festival at Stanley Halls in South Norwood at the end of September. The group were utterly spellbinding with their vocalist tying everything together with an incredible vocal range somewhere between Roisin Murphy and Shirley Bassey. They played for two hours with visuals by Innerstrings and for a Thursday evening in deepest South London (nearly Croydon if we’re honest) it was pretty mind blowing.


Following dates featured DJ Krush, Andrea Parker, Juice Aleem, Beak and more in a hugely ambitious three day event – all the brainchild of Rob Swain, owner of the Gamma Proforma label and the local Sector 25 bar/gallery. If you check out the streets of South Norwood now you’ll see all sorts of new murals and paintings adorning walls and hoardings by international artists like Mode 2, Delta, Kofie 1, SheOne, O-Two, Will Barras and more.

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East London street art

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A recent trip to East London to see the British Underground Press exhibition (see previous post) yielded a wealth of great street art including the new Banksy homage to Basquiat at the Barbican (the former street artist’s show was booked up but you could see the Banksy for free – just how it should be)

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Down the road on Coin Street there was a huge installation that was a companion to another in a park near Spitalfields market, unfortunately I didn’t get the name of the artist.

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Over in Brick Lane there was almost too much to see and it’s hard to process the good from the bad. A huge Shok 1 I’d not seen before covered an entrance gate and there are plenty of paste ups of strange animals.

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Hasworld, who’s work I’ve been enjoying for about a year, had been busy with some new posters too.

E.LDN_Hasworld E.LDN_HasworldBiggie E.LDN_HasworldEye E.LDN_HasworldMario E.LDN_Maniac E.LDN_TigerE.LDN_ACE

A Space Invader cemented to a wall on Brick Lane and, for no apparent reason, a stencil of Adam Ant.

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British Underground Press of the Sixties at the A22 Gallery

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Just opened at the A22 Gallery in Clerkenwell is an exhibition supporting the British Underground Press of the Sixties book by Barry Miles and James Birch that collects the covers to all (big claim I know) the major magazines of the late 60s and 70s together. The exhibition features much more than just the magazines though with archive posters, badges, promo material and memorabilia collected together in a mass of psychedelic colour and badly registered print.

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Oz, International Times, Frendz, Gandalf’s Garden, Black Dwarf, Ink, cOzmic Comics and more all feature and it’s a wonder to behold. Some of the covers verge on pornographic and serve to remind of more anarchic and sometimes unsavoury times. The book is spectacular, highly recommended at £35 from Rocket 88 and is also available at the gallery with a deluxe edition containing vintage copies of original undergrounds for a silly money price too.

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Pink Floyd at the V&A Museum

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It’s taken me an age to post these because life is currently getting in the way in the form of moving and renovating a new home. The Pink Floyd exhibition, ‘Their Mortal Remains’ at the V&A Museum, is very much worth seeing even if, like me, Pink Floyd don’t mean much to you. I swore off them for a long while due to ‘Another Brick In The Wall Pt.2’ being no.1 for so many weeks as a child and finding myself utterly sick of it.

But the fickleness of youth only lasts so long and I found myself gradually checking back through their back catalogue, picking up the odd cheap LP here and there and finally realising why everyone raves about ‘Dark Side Of The Moon’. This exhibition highlights exactly what a forward-thinking, visually aware band they were, adapting as their fame and venue sizes increased, their sleeve concepts becoming ever more outlandish as budgets made pre-photoshop surrealist montage possible. The amount of artwork and props present attest to a group with a very strong concept behind each album, courtesy of the Hipgnosis team of course.

Starting at the beginning and travelling chronologically through their career we enter a time tunnel and emerge inside a version of the UFO club circa ’67 complete with pulsating liquid light ceiling, psychedelic poster gallery and films. Rooms concentrating of Syd Barratt, Wish You Were Here, Dark Side of the Moon and more eventually give way to a stunning display of Animals and The Wall-era stage props and art. The 80s side of things were less my bag but the concepts were now reaching gigantic proportion and are impressive as last bastions of the sort of excess that just doesn’t happen any more now that we can do all these things digitally. The final room with a surround performance of their reunion at Live8 was very moving and a perfect way to end this retrospective. Go and see if before it ends on October 15th!

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Under the Radar – Underground Zines & Self-Publications 1965–1975

unterdemradar_de_object_0I was sent a copy of this fantastic book a few months ago and now i’ve seen it appearing in a few of the better books shops over here (Magma has them I believe).

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Designed in collaboration with students of the HfK Bremen it’s a 368 page B&W and colour publication from Leipzig, edited by Jan-Frederik Bandel, Annette Gilbert, Tania Prill and Prill Vieceli Cremers

unterdemradar_de_4_0unterdemradar_de_5_0Packed full of underground press magazines, fanzines and comics from West Germany, showing them in the context from which they emerged. A collection like this is priceless, you would never track down some of these publications even if you knew they existed.

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Editor Tania Prill will talk about the project at Printed Matter’s NY Art Book Fair this Saturday, September 23rd at 12:00 am, at MoMA PS1, 22-25 Jackson Ave, Long Island City, NY 11101

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Posted in Books, Design, Event. | No Comments | Tags:

More (animated) covers by Henning M. Lederer

More Covers from Henning M. Lederer on Vimeo.

More of these faboulous animated covers by Henning M. Lederer – Sourced from the excellent Julian Montague Projects instagram account

Also check out his mesmerizing video for OMD‘s track, ‘Isotype’– properly hypnotizing

OMD – Isotype from Henning M. Lederer on Vimeo.

Liverpool 2017, the JAMs and the Dark Ages

Instagram Mu notesMy Instagram page at the moment – follow me there for images from Liverpool later this week, I will put some sort of report together once I’m back but I won’t be posting properly until next week once I’m in Liverpool. I’ve been posting KLF-related bits that I’ve done in the past all week and here’s a selected recap of The Sound of Mu(sic) mix and poster series jape that I made with Mr Trick back in 2003. For the full story download the pdf here

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UNKLE vs Super7 splatter 45, middle and toy

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Never shy of releasing music by his UNKLE project in ever boundary-pushing formats, James Lavelle has outdone himself with three 45s from his latest album, ‘The Road Part 1’. Available in July at the San Deigo Comic Convention, the collaboration with West Coast-based toy company Super7 has yielded the craziest 7″ packaging yet.

IMG_4976For $50 you get a clear vinyl w. splatter single with dinked middle and Futura 2000 camo label featuring a track from the album and instrumental on the flip. Not only that but there’s also a Pointman figure with moveable head, arms and legs that fits into a clear plastic stand that doubles as a middle for the 45 and comes engraved with the UNKLE logo. These are housed inside a huge plastic clamshell Pointman ‘head’ that could double as a mask if you cut some eyes out of it.

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There are three different tracks available in different colours: blue, green and pink with corresponding shells, splatter effect and figure colourways. I was lucky enough to get a green one via Daniel Barassi, 45 collector and infamous modifier of the Fisher Price kid’s turntable into a fully functional portable player, who was at SDCC and collared all three versions himself when I gave him the heads up before sending mine over to the UK.

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You can now order these online via the Super7 website but non-US buyers beware – the postage is an absolute killer and only the rich or the mega-fans are going to want to stretch that far. Aside from the postage and the possibility of also incurring customs charges on top there are some drawbacks. Firstly – the size, the clam shell is huge and doesn’t sit upright without support. Secondly, both the 45 and the dink are in there super tight, I thought I was going to break the single getting it out. The toy is nicely moulded but compared to the original Ben Drury-sculpted Pointmen from back in the 90s they’re not quite as special – but for the money and what you’re getting they’re just fine.

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I was slightly dismayed to find that the A side of my 7″ seems to have been cut slightly off-centre so the needle really has to track the groove back and forth and you get a wavering effect on the strings in the track which really rendered it unplayable unfortunately. I have no way of knowing if they’re all like this but the B side seemed a lot more stable if not entirely movement-free. As an object of desire for the price it’s certainly worth it if you can get round the postage costs in some way but maybe next time vacuum-packing the figure and centre to the front of a thick card 7″ sleeve (like the Rave Wars 45s) would be a better solution.

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Can : The Lost Tapes box set

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I only just got round to buying and listening to this, a five disc collection of unreleased jams, live tracks and early versions from the 50 hour archive of tapes in Can‘s studio. It’s incredible, barely any filler across the ten sides and comes with a poster and 12″x12″ booklet, all designed by Julian House. Released by Mute and with notes by Irmin Schmidt it was put together and edited by Jono Podmore from Metamono – worth every penny if you can track one down at a decent price.

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The Delaware Road at Kelvedon Hatch

IMG_4535It’s taken me an age to get round to posting this because – basically – school holidays. That preventer of progress, that eater of time, time you actually get to spend with your kids before they grow up and only want to be with their mates. The snatches of work, social media catch-up and the day to day running of a household don’t leave too long to write extended blogs about how one night was one of the most memorable of the year so far.

Back in the Autumn of 2015 Alan Gubby of the Buried Treasure label put on a night based around a narrative he’d written with David Yates (aka Dolly Dolly, seen with Alan below). It told the story of a woman and a man who work for The Corporation making electronic music and their journey through the middle of the 20th century in sound, sex psychedelics, occult and sound phenomena. The narrative held together a compilation called The Delaware Road, which just so happened to be the site of the original Radiophonic Workshop, and the groups and sounds on the album helped sonically place the story in time, starting with tape loops, jazz and spoken word, progressing to analogue synths and later, digital.

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I went to the event as a punter and it was fantastic, mostly for the herculean effort that everyone put into it and how Alan and Dolly’s narrative pulled it together to make sense with eight (I think) bands on the bill plus film interludes. So when an offer to play at a second version staged inside a Nuclear Bunker in the Essex countryside came up I didn’t have to think twice. The Kelvedon Hatch ‘Secret’ Nuclear Bunker descends four storeys underground with entry gained via a bungaow-like frontage nestled in a wood a 20 minute drive from Brentwood station. See photos here from a reccy I did a few months back to get an idea. With twelve acts on the bill spread over four floors this time the whole ante was upped considerably, not least by just getting to the venue in question.

Ticket holders who had bought early got to travel in a green double-decker bus from Brentwood, were given packs containing maps of the bunker, flyer and ‘Delatab’ radiation pills and arrived in style to be greeted by costumed players looking like Morris Dancers from the dark side in the shape of the Mummers & The Pappers. Soundtracking this were Glitch, Saunders & Hill who had set up outside on the entrance balcony and regaled them as they entered the long, concrete tunnel that led down into the bunker proper. From there it was up to the audience to explore the rooms and levels and find acts nestled in strange habitats for the duration of the night.

I kicked the night off in the top room, which I shared with Dolly and Ian Helliwell, Dolly at his table with anglepoise and notes and Ian later working his way through a table of self-made gadgets and boxes with names like ‘Hellitron Modulator’. Earlier we’d found a chrome mannequin in pieces whilst setting up projectors and lights and added her to the ensemble decorating the room. I’d brought oil wheels and video projectors plus mixer with effects and we were lucky enough to be by the cafe next door and have a room full of seats so people stayed with us.

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Having finished my first set I was free to explore and further down in the levels below there were more delights to encounter, Radionics in the sick bay, decked out in white labs coats – nice touch. Nearby were Jez and Polly aka the 12 Hour Foundation who also bought oil wheels and a full live kit to play their John Baker-inspired tunes. Hidden away in his own little office area was Simon James, playing a 3 hour improvised Buchla set to a small but rapt audience, politely seated in rows in front of him.

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Deeper down in the communications and map room were Loose Capacitor who I could get no decent photos of so you’ll have to do with the glowing, neon map. They had bought TV sets complete with old BBC idents and in the engine room Concretism played a fab set whilst films played over the industrial piping behind him. Nearby, Robin The Fog, representing Howlround, nestled in the broadcast studio complex, used some handy mannequins as tape loop holders. At the very bottom of the bunker, in some sort of generator or power room, were Teleplasmiste with their modular synths where we noticed a certain Steve Davis – ex snooker champion and current electronic DJ – enjoying the sounds. Davis, apparently local to Kelvedon Hatch, was present from beginning to end, keeping a low profile but checking out all the acts.

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Back upstairs, Dolly’s last performance was coming to the end and I took to the decks again to close the evening with a mixture of psychedelia, lounge and radiophonics, finishing the night with a track from Alan Gubby’s Revbjelde album. Punters were filing out be now to catch the first of two buses back to Brentwood station whilst we were in the bunker until midnight, packing up before heading to Theydon Bois to catch the central line back into London where I got in just before 3am, exhausted but happy to have been a part of it.

It was unique, it was an amazing venue and I doubt Alan and crew will be in a hurry to repeat the performance but there was plenty of filming going on during the night. The main niggle was that there was so much good music going on concurrently that no one could catch enough of it without missing some of the twelve other acts. If you want a rough idea of what you missed though you can check out the original Delaware Road compilation album containing at least half the assembled players on this date.

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And finally, for those who couldn’t make it but want a souvenir of the occasion – the Delaware Road Bunker Pack is now available, including the flyer, the map (designed by Nick Taylor and Luke Insect), badges, a pack of Delatab anti-radiation pills and the download of the full Delaware Road compilation. All for only £5 and limited to 45 sets  (only 7 left when I just checked)get one here.

Blade Runner 2049 poster by Signalstarr

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Love this prospective poster by Signalstarr for Blade Runner 2049, if only the actual posters could have this beautiful restraint although I doubt they will. Follow him on Instagram for generous helpings of ‘New Adventures in Retrofutures’
This weekend saw a new trailer for the film which is quite extensive and possibly contains a rapid-fire run through of quite a lot of the film so don’t watch if you want the element of surprise.

British Underground Press of the Sixties book and exhibition

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Forthcoming exhibition and book from Rocket 88 publishing with a lovely looking book of all the UK British underground press covers and associated memorabilia including (finally) some of the underground comics of the era associated with them (CoZmic Comics, Nasty Tales etc.). Pre-order the book now and find out more at britishundergroundpress.com

Franco Grignani at the Estorick Collection of Italian Art

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There’s not much to say about this post really, I’ve posted about Franco Grignani before, quite recently. The Italian designer has been featured in a couple of exhibitions in London this year, the second of which has just opened. Just look at these images and then go and see this wonderful artist’s work, it’s on display at the Estorick Collection of Italian Art on Canonbury Sq. in London. The simplicity and precision of execution is simply breathtaking.

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