To Kill A Mockingbird – New US 50th Anniversary cover

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There’s a lot of talk about Harper Lee’s classic at the moment being that it’s 50 years since its original publication and I’m going to jump on the bandwagon and declare my love for it. I read this in school and it was probably the first ‘proper’ book to affect me, even though I haven’t read it for 25 years or more I can still remember passages of the book and being enthralled by it.

The reason for this post though is that my friend Sarah ‘Inkymole’ Coleman was asked to illustrate the cover for the American 50th anniversary edition I just found out. Being that it is one of her favourite books, this is a lifetime dream and I was really pleased for her when I found out. Even more impressed when I saw what she’s come up with for it, love the detail of the hole in the tree trunk where Boo Radley leaves his gifts on the spine. More info with work in progress on Sarah’s site and you can buy the book from Barnes and Noble as well. I’ve included a selection of other covers from across the years too.

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Posted in Art, Books, Design. | 3 Comments |

The Light Surgeons – LDN 24

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If you’re in London, around the Barbican, you can witness 24 hours in the life of the city in 30 minutes. The Light Surgeons have produced an installation of visuals and rolling statistics about the city around a 360 degree LED curtain installed in the Museum of London’s benugo Sackler Hall café. This short film of the installation shows it in situ but you really have to see it in the flesh so to speak, there are some simply breathtaking shots from all over, at all times of the day as the film begins and ends at midnight, speeding through an average day in half an hour.

I have to declare an interest at this point as my better half worked on this as Producer but I’d be posting this regardless as I view the Surgeons as one of the few film makers who have transcended their beginnings as club visual specialists (sorry, I can’t say VJs, they’d kill me). They have a unique sense of space and composition which can bring out beauty in the most mundane objects and situations, coupled with a great ear for the perfect soundtrack, often composing it themselves.

The Museum has just reopened it’s doors after a major refit and it’s no longer the stuffy place of old, the items they have on show are many and span centuries of London’s history right up the present day. Have look if you’re in the area and then grab a drink and relax whilst the Surgeons’ installation speeds you through a day in the life of the Big Smoke.

Posted in Design, Event, Film. | No Comments |

Aupheus – Excavated EP

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I’ve been meaning to post this for a while now, Aupheus’ Excavated 7″ arrived the other week and a beautiful thing to behold it is. The cover comes on papyrus paper which is then hand stamped and stickered! The release showcases edits of two tracks from the full download EP, a code for which is contained in the 7″ –  available from 2600 Recordings now but hurry, only 250 were made (assembled by Aupheus himself no less). The music is downtempo, atmospheric, leaning heavily in the older realms of DJ Shadow’s work, Sixtoo and DJ Signify and very good too.

There’s a great little trailer for the EP here too

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3A books launch today

headerbeiOne of my favourite artists and certainly my favourite toy-making company – Ashley Wood and 3A – launch their new book range today on the eve of a massive art and toy show in Beijing. Two hardback books with work from Phil Hale and Ashley Wood are available for $25 each but the one I’m most excited about is ‘Entr3At’, a 282 page celebration of the first 2 years of 3A toys. Packed with paintings, photos, works in progress, designs and box art, it’s going to be one of my books of the year for sure. Order any or all of them from bambalandstore now.entreat-cover

Posted in Art, Books, Comics, Design, Robots, Toys. | 1 Comment |

Ghost Box Study Series 7″s

Coming next month from Ghost Box is the start of a run of 7″ singles under the banner the ‘Study Series’. The first up feature Belbury Poly, The Advisory Circle and, one of my favourites, Moon Wiring Club. Gorgeous artwork as always by Julian House, hopefully this will build into a lovely little set over the coming months. Pre-order at the ghostbox shop and I can heartily recommend just about everything else if you’re a newcomer as it’s one of my favourite labels.

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

New Qemists LP cover by Glenn Fabry

Herbaliser - Wall Crawling..

Ninja Tune artists seem to have a love of comic art and one particular comic in particular has played host to various artists who have also graced Ninja Tune sleeves – 2000AD. The first was The Herbaliser’s ‘Wall Crawling Giant Insect Breaks’ 12″ back in 1998 with a cover painting by Jason Brashill -aka graffiti artist Jase – who used to paint with Req and She One in Brighton. His design of a robotic bug perched on a pair of decks and a mixer is one of my favourites of that era.

DJ Food - ...Weird...World EP 12"cover (72 dpi)My own DJ Food EPs from last year featured new work from Henry Flint who has been a regular on both the weekly comic and monthly Judge Dredd Megazine for over 10 years. He kindly gave me some of his personal work, highly detailed abstract ‘doodles’, to colour for my sleeves (you can see one to the left of this post) and there will be more for the third EP and album.

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qemists_hurtslessFInally we have the latest addition: The Qemists have enlisted none other than Glenn Fabry to paint their new ‘Spirit In The System’ LP cover in what looks like a homage to Stanley Mouse’s Grateful Dead work. If you’ve been paying attention to the recent Qemists releases you’ll notice that the first two are sections of a large ‘logo-ified’ version of the painting, I hope Ninja press a vinyl LP of the album too.

Moog T-shirt from Chalk Brighton

This has been in the pipeline a while, I think I did the design last autumn but had been collecting the contents for longer. Chalk Brighton, the brainchild of old friends Dean Ricca-Smith and Simon Skevington, is a new company specialising in limited edition T-shirt prints with a difference. One of their debut designs spelt out SOUL in bold letters entirely made up of titles of their favourite soul records and was a big hit. They plan to continue the series and I submitted my entry in the form of Moog. Not an obvious follow up but Chalk isn’t an obvious kind of company.

Moog shirtMoog designThe tracks within my design either refer to records with Moog in the title or famous songs which feature the Moog somewhere in the kit list (did you know that the bassline to Donna Summer‘s ‘I Feel Love’ was played on a Moog?). Anyway, the shirt is big on design but minimal of contrast so it blends together nicely when printed and is actually a lot more subtle than these photos suggest. Also you have to love the attention to detail with the names on the neck tag :)  Get them while they’re hot…

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Moog covers

Diplo – Florida (limited screenprint edition) (Big Dada)

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An oldie but goody for the last entry in this week-long vinyl series – Diplo’s debut (and only solo) record, the classic ‘Florida’. I’ve been pulling out all manner of releases from the Big Dada, Ninja and Ntone catalogues over the last few months as material for the on-going Ninja Tune book I’m working on and this is the very rare screen printed cover edition.
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As I recall, Diplo actually wanted to have an old Frazetta image of dinosaurs on the cover but it was decided that would be too expensive to license and he found an artist to do the illustration in a similar style. Only 500 were made with hand-stamped labels and a sticker on the reverse stating the number of the edition (you can see mine is 045).

Posted in Art, Design, Music, Records. | 3 Comments |

It’s Time For – Tristram Cary (Trunk)

Tris Cary cover
Possibly one of the covers of the year – how beautiful is that? The usual high stand of Trunk is in full force, unearthing still more treasure from the seemingly endless supply of forgotten British composers. Tristram Cary’s name was familiar to me but I didn’t have any of his work until this record and it’s a mixed bag of music concrete, electronics and found sound.
Tris Cary back cover detailTris Cary cover detail
His repertoire spanned music for Expo fairs, public service films, soundtrack work and even commissions for Olivetti. The LP has just been repressed on clear vinyl due to popular demand – be quick! The CD also contains many more tracks, damn you Jonny Trunk! I had to buy two copies of the vinyl AND the CD on top. More info from Trunk here and the Quietus did a great piece the other day too.

Posted in Design, Music, Records. | 2 Comments |

2econd Class Citizen – Divided Reality (Equinox)

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This is the most gorgeous smelling record I own. i don’t know what they put in the ink they printed this with but it smells like sickly sweets to me. This is a (very) limited repress – only 30 copies – of Aaron Thomason, aka 2econd Class Citizen‘s first release, a four track white label made back in 2005. Half the EP bears the sort of style you’d expect from him today albeit in a more primitive form, the song ‘Wishing Well’ was later reworked for his ‘Wyred Folk’ EP. The other half of the EP is more of a surprise, a couple of tracks that definitely sound of their time and show a different path that Aaron could have taken.

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The sleeve is a wrapround piece of heavy card, screenprinted and designed to look like a private press release with minimal layout by Gunter, the label head at ever excellent Equinox records. Each one has been signed and numbered by Aaron and it’s all housed in a plastic sleeve. I think there are a few copies left if you contact Aaron or Gunter at Equinox but if not then you can still buy the mp3s.

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

The Advisory Circle – Mind How You Go (Revised Edition)

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A lovely record from an excellent label and, surprisingly, their first ever issued on vinyl after 12 CD releases. This is a revised and expanded version of GBX05, a 3″ CD originally, and contains two new tracks and two remixes. Nice as the 3″ CD is, the whole ethos of Ghost Box is so suited to vinyl that it’s a surprise it took them this long to get round to it.

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Julian House’s beautiful artwork translates perfectly to the bigger format and I can only hope they do more revised releases, especially their only other 3″ release – GBX01, Belbury Poly‘s ‘Farmer’s Angle’. The music is excellent too – obvious jumping off points are Boards of Canada, Radiophonic Workshop, Library music and Public Service films of the Seventies. All very UK-centric and full of nostalgia for a childhood past.

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Edan – Echo Party (Stones Throw)

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This record was all over the net at the end of last year and Edan should need no introduction. This is basically a mix tape on vinyl and the legend has it that Edan was given access to the Traffic Entertainment Group back catalogue to do what he could with. Two years passed and it’s finally here, barely 30 minutes but who’s complaining when it sounds as good as this? There’s a sample with video here to start you off.

The beautiful thing about the covers for this vinyl release is that, much like the ‘Secondhand Sureshots‘ record I posted about earlier, they are all different. Instead of screen printing though you get variations of a rubber stamp and I picked up what I think is a particularly nice version with multiple women on it. Only two pictures here as the sleeve is super minimal, the only other mark on it is a tiny ‘A’ stamped on one of the labels.

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See a little video of Edan customising the covers here.

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The Simonsound – Reverse Engineering (First Word)

Simonsound cover

I’ve been waiting for a finished copy of this to arrive for a while now and it doesn’t disappoint. The Simonsound are Simon James and Matt Ford (aka DJ Format) and I’ve been loving this record since they kindly sent me mp3s months back. Out on May 10th on Brighton’s First Word label this is the perfect marriage of the analogue stylings of the Radiophonic Workshop or Dick Hymen and the funk and jazz sample fodder that served Hip Hop so well in its early years. Imagine Kool Herc spinning the soundtrack to one of the World Expo’s and you’ll be partway there.

Simonsound labelSimonsound credits

Again the music is perfectly suited to the vinyl format and they’ve gone for a Julian House-esque mixture of collage with a sci-fi theme. We have a very special Simonsound Solid Steel Transmission coming up on the radio show on May 14th complete with a 1 hour long video podcast too – a first for a guest mix on Solid Steel. I got a thanks on the back cover too :)

Simonsound back

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Record Store Day / Secondhand Sureshots (Dublab)

The thrill of the hunt, the race from shop to shop, trying to seize a copy of that limited edition release you know everyone else has been patiently waiting for. All that returned today as I ventured out for the third annual Record Store Day and, for the first time ever, had to queue to get into a record shop! Unheard of! Rough Trade East was packed with a line of about 50 people outside when I arrived. It was great to see so many people turning up to snap up the goodies and see bands and RT has the juice and coffee bar to add to the experience.

Weller AA remix Unfortunately, it was such a success that the record I went out specifically to get – the Amorphous Androgynous remixes of Paul Weller on a 500 copy 12″ – was nowhere to be found, sold out everywhere! I went from brick Lane to Soho to Ladbroke Grove – none left. This is obviously good but maybe Island could press a few more copies next time please? I’d been waiting for this since it was announced and they did a remarkable job of keeping it offline so I’ve still not heard it although the cover did get posted the other day and now they’re going on eBay for upwards of £99!.

That buggers up my first post as well as I was going to kick off a week-long series of beautiful records with that, but never mind, I have many waiting in the wings… First up is ‘Secondhand Surehots’ – the deluxe version from Dublab, containing tracks by Daedelus, J Rocc, Ras G and Nobody. In case you didn’t catch this excellent short film a month or so ago as it did the rounds on the net, please check this out for the story.

dublab presents…SECONDHAND SURESHOTS (preview) from dublab on Vimeo.

Now, that’s the trailer, the full film is more like 30 minutes and it’s included in the deluxe vinyl package on a DVD with bonus audio as well. Also within the pack you get a 12″ picture disc, 2 full colour slipmats, stickers and here’s the winner – each sleeve is a unique screen print, utilising old gatefold LP covers as the canvas. Mine was a Dan Fogelburg LP, you can still read the original credits through the ink and one of the sleeves even still has the original LP insert in it!. All in all, a great concept, well executed and lovingly put together, a must for all diggers and vinyl lovers out there.
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Posted in Art, Design, Event, Music, Records. | 1 Comment |

Heston Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck Cookbook

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It was my better half’s birthday yesterday and a friend of ours got her this lovely Heston Blumenthal cooklbook. The big difference between this and any cookbook I can think of it that it’s illustrated by Dave McKean, he of Arkum Asylum, Signal To Noise, Cages and the Sandman comic covers amongst many others. This has to be a first surely? The book is gorgeous both in content and quality and very heavy too! Check the gallery for some of the spreads, there are many more although I’m not sure how much my wife will actually be attempting to serve up.

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Starting tomorrow, because it’s Record Store Day, a week long, series of daily posts on vinyl worth buying for both the cover and content.

Posted in Art, Books, Design, Oddities. | 2 Comments |