Ninja Tune Exhibition opens today

Well last night’s book launch at Black Dog’s gallery in Kings Cross was a lot of fun, a huge turn out of artists, staff, friends and family made it a massive success. Thanks to everyone at Black Dog for a supreme effort in turning the exhibition round in three days, also everyone who came down, there were a few old faces I’d not seen in years and some who I’d only known via email but never met in person. Photos by Martin LeSanto-Smith, on form as ever to capture the event.

Record wall

The exhibition is open to the public, free, between 12-5pm Monday-Friday until September 16th. It’s situated at 10a Acton St, London, WC1X 9NG, nearest tube is Kings Cross and then it’s a 5 minute walk, press the buzzer and you’ll be let in.

More 3A goodness

entreatThis dropped through the post last week, well, it actually arrived by courier, soaking wet, looking like it had been sitting in a puddle for some time, the cardboard around it literally falling off when I unwrapped it. Good job they wrapped it in bubble wrap, and it’s a heavy bugger too at 12″x12″ size. This is Entr3At – a visual celebration of the first 2 years of Ashley Wood and Kim Fung Wong’s 3A toy making company, makers of the best robot toys in the world by a long chalk. This is my kind of book, studio shots of the badly weathered toys, production designs, work in progress, box layouts and logo art for the individual figures. To think that they made all this in just 2 years is incredible and there’s already much more in the pipeline for a follow up later.

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Their latest release is a ‘Heavy’ version of the popular Bramble bot, this time with huge bazooka and tougher build, coming in 4 different colourways. My good friend JP McCarthy managed to score me a Grave Digger variant this week and they sold out on pre-order in hours. Not cheap at $280 a pop but that includes shipping to anywhere in the world (and these bots aren’t small), some of the nicest packaging you’ll ever see and the most detailed paint jobs this side of a film set. These will doubtless not even turn up until around xmas time, if that, as they take a long time to make but a 3A package at the door is always a treat.

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

Kraftwerk Tribute 12″ of a different kind

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Here’s something interesting I stumbled across whilst perusing the Kraftwerk Facebook page that’s been set up by fans. A limited edition of the band’s Tour De France 12″ that comes with a built in player like those cheesy birthday cards you can get that play a tune when you open them.

The designer’s name is Woes Van Haaften and there are 5 different sleeve colours to choose from but they don’t come cheap let me warn you! Full info and a little film here

DJ Woody’s Turntables In Technicolour T-shirt

Woody T -shirtThe good man DJ Woody foisted one of these beauties on me at the weekend at the Big Chill, I never knew he was a graphic designer in a previous life. This is the logo for his AV performances ‘Turntables in Technicolour’, a homage to Santa Cruz artist Jim Phillips‘ iconic screaming hand logo and a beautiful job he’s done too, this shirt is quality.

Posted in Design. | 1 Comment |

Belbury Poly – Farmer’s Angle (Revised)

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Yes! At last I can complete (sort of) my Ghost Box collection with the forthcoming reissue of their first release, now revised and on 10″ vinyl. There will also be a new edition of the CD and a download, all coming on September 10th. No tracklist yet but it’s great to know that GB are going to slowly reissue all their back catalogue on gorgeous vinyl, yeah I’m a sucker like that.

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

Ninja Tune 20 year exhibition in London

Opening in 2 weeks time will be Ninja’s first bonafide exhibition in the UK to celebrate the publication of the book, ‘Ninja Tune: 20 Years of Beats & Pieces’. Black Dog Publishing have generously offered to host a little showcase of the design and imagery that went into it and, after designing the book, the box set and all the paraphernalia that goes with it, I’m curating the exhibition too. It will feature lots of original artwork, models, posters, sleeves, flyers and promo bits from across the years.

e-invite (no party)

It opens Friday, 20th of August at Black Dog’s gallery space, 10 Acton St. London, WC1X 9NG between 12-5pm weekdays and is only on for a month. There will be a special pop up shop on Saturday 11th September where there will be several special items for sale, hand picked from the Ninja archives as well as the new book.

Art Of Noise and Propaganda reissues

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These were out last week, Propaganda’s classic ‘A Secret Wish’ is now remastered and expanded to 2 CDs with plenty of rare and unheard gems. The Art of Noise get a double CD set too with a great compilation of both ZTT and China-era tracks on disc 1 and remixes, rareties and unreleased cuts on disc 2.

One of these is the ‘Anne to Tears’ version of Moments in Love that I photographed when I visited the ZTT vault last year and props to Ian Peel for doing a sterling job on curating both releases. Also a tip of the hat to Philip Marshall for his excellent design skills, keenly referencing the artwork by XL and the London Design Partnership from the originals – reissues don’t get much better than this.  Even more of a joy for me is a mention of my ‘Raiding The 20th Century’ mix with Paul Morley in the sleeve notes of the Influence booklet :) Well I did steal it from Paul after he stole it from the Situationists. Buy them both from here

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Posted in Design, Music. | 2 Comments |

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

Posted in Design, Music, Records. | No Comments |

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

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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.