Artifact #23: DJ Food vintage record box

DJFoodRecordBoxFrontMy first flight cased record box – long retired. This has seen some places, miles and times. I used this throughout the 90’s on the early Ninja Tune DJ package tours around the world. I would pack a Line 6 FX pedal, needles, leads, slipmats and headphones inside as well. It was heavy as you like when full and this was before trolleys or record bags with wheels. The stickers tell the times it was used in, see how many you recognise. Made a nice seat too! These days it’s packed with archive materials, sketchbooks, artwork, all protected until needed. See the last pic for a flat pack, make-your-own version.

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Tomorrow Syndicate poster and LP

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Fantastic artwork by Nick Taylor on the new Tomorrow Syndicate album and promo poster. You can get both from the band’s Bandcamp page – the poster is A2 and in the merch section but the album is only available in digital form frustratingly. Much as I love the music Polytechnic Youth are putting out, they don’t make it easy to actually buy it. Small runs are sold via pre-order from their Facebook page with no audio previews and few represses, you have to be quick and, as the label gains popularity, if you’re not on the web when pre-orders go up then you have to chance your luck with mail order from the likes of Monorail or Norman Records. Still, it makes it all the more fun and precious when you do manage to get one. The album’s great and takes in most of their previously released tracks (two 7″s and a VHS) with nods to La Dusseldorf krautrock and Radiophonic Workshop spacey synth madness.

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Dig magazine

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Dig magazine is a new mini magazine that will fit in your pocket (perfect to take to the record shop) full of esoteric info and ones to watch for from a selection of fine DJs. Mr Thing, DJ Format, Mr Krum, Si Spex, Susanslegpolicy and more all spill the beans on a curio from their collection including anecdotes, info and cover images and there’s even a URL at the end so that you can preview said tracks in an online mix. It comes in a neat stickered sleeve that makes it look like a milk crate which the (ironically) CD-sized mag slips inside, waiting to be dug into.

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Oh yeah, and some chancer called Strictly Kev has a page in it too, you can order it for £3.50 here…

Dig Format:Food

Logan’s Run repress

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There’s a new, double vinyl repress of the Jerry Goldsmith score to Logan’s Run just out from Waxworks. This is the expanded score that was released on CD by Film Score Monthly in 2002 boosting the track count from the original’s 12 to 23. The beautiful artwork above is by Martin Ansin who has done many a Mondo poster, see his takes of Alien and Prometheus below. Transmission still have copies in the UK.LogansRungatefold Prometheusposter AlienposterMartinAnsin

The original Logan’s Run theatrical poster with another, possibly fan made, example below.
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It was 30 years ago today

PE Nation of Millions coverAnother anniversary post, this occasion being three decades ago that Public Enemy released their second LP, ‘It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back’. This post isn’t entirely about that though but about their debut London gig as part of the 87 Def Jam Tour, supporting LL Cool J at the Hammersmith Odeon, the November before. Also on the bill were Eric B & Rakim (notice the spelling below – and the upcoming Bad News live show posters) and the whole thing was being recorded by the BBC for their ‘Fresh Start To The Week’ rap show.

Hammermith Odean Def Jam Tour 87
Keen-eared listeners will of course know this from the opening lines of the album, MC’d by Fresh Start… host, Dave Pearce, “Hammersmith Odeon are you ready for the Def Jam Tour? Let me hear you make some noise!”. Parts of the gig were interspersed throughout ‘Nations…’ courtesy of The BBC who had already broadcast it by the time the album dropped the next year. Somewhere in among the hollering and whistling were my friends and I as well as many others I would later go on to meet along the way. But first some context:

This was PE’s first trip to the UK, their debut, ‘Yo, Bum Rush The Show’ had been out a while but they’d also released the iconic ‘Rebel Without A Pause’ on the B-side of their last single, ‘You Gonna Get Yours/Mi Uzi Weighs A Ton’. They were supporting LL Cool J on this trip alongside Eric B & Rakim (who were having their own hits like Paid In Full). PE rose up the ranks with incredible speed though. Their first single, ‘Time Bomb/Public Enemy No.1’ was a real oddity, the album dropped in February ’87 and was even weirder but was released on Def Jam so was given perhaps more time than an unknown. When they dropped ‘You Gonna Get Yours’ with the crazed Terminator X Getaway Mix and ‘Rebel…’ on the B side, it was a done deal.

‘Rebel’ was an instant classic – a summer anthem – and more of the same followed. In the autumn, ‘Bring the Noise’, (from the Less Than Zero soundtrack) proved they could do it again and once ‘Nation’ dropped to unanimous acclaim, they were premiere league. By the time they came back to the UK they were either headlining or co-headlining with Run DMC who were still riding off the back of their world-smashing ‘Raising Hell’ album and easily the biggest rap group in the world apart from the Beastie Boys, who still looked like a novelty at that point. But Run DMC’s star was fading and PE – arguably – replaced them.

Winding back to November ’87, they were still the new kids but they’d put quite a show together to make a good first impression. Before we even entered the venue, the unexpected happened, Chuck and Flav appeared outside – behind a barrier and escorted by S1Ws – and chatted with fans. At first they were hesitant but there was such a clamour that they embraced it for a bit, well, Flav did as you can see below.

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Kev + Flav London 1987

That’s me above on the left in the black Kangol hat, what you can’t see is the black body warmer I had on over my leather jacket with a hand-painted Public Enemy stencil logo on the back. This was back before the band even had merch for sale. Chuck was impressed. Below is the concert ticket with a message from Flav scribbled on my train ticket. In hindsight, I think they were perhaps a little overwhelmed at how the UK embraced them on that first tour (remember, ‘Yo, Bum Rush the Show’ was their current record, hence the faded intro on the opening segment on ‘Nation…’). But once the second album dropped, with its BBC recordings and copious thanks to DJs and artists from the UK alongside PE’s US peers, it seems that we made as big an impression as they did.

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Public Enemy were on first – the stage was packed, there were air raid sirens and the enormous PE logo. Terminator X flanked by two gun-toting, S1Ws on pedestals either side, Professor Griff stalking in the shadows with Chuck and Flav in bright white, bounding all over the place. It was a full on, high octane experience from start to very quick end (about half an hour I think), a scrappy, stop-start show that didn’t let up, and if it did then the whistle and foghorn posse just filled in the gaps as can be heard on the recording.

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Above is the ‘Terminator X!’ moment from ‘Rebel Without A Pause’ which the crowd went absolutely nuts for.
You can see actual footage of the gig on the DVD, ‘The First London Invasion 1987’.

In the middle we had Eric B & Rakim who seemed dwarfed by the huge stage with Eric B largely static, high up on his DJ pedestal and no backdrop graphic, leaving only Rakim to prowl the stage for visual entertainment. I’ve actually cropped more off these photos but wanted to show the enormity of the space they occupied. The sound was poor and Rakim called for more volume a few times.

Eric B + Rakim 2 Eric B + Rakim

After this slightly underwhelming middle act it was LL’s turn and at this point he was the bonafide star of the show. At the top of his golden era hip hop peak with his second album, ‘Bigger & Deffer’, out and the forumla-breaking but uneven ‘Walking With a Panther’ yet to come. His intro blew nearly everything before it to pieces. Set in a mocked up Farmer’s Boulevard street scene (his home, referenced on countless numbers of his rhymes), bookended by two DJ booths, a huge, flashing mothership of a boom box descended from the ceiling to the theme tune of ‘2001’ as his DJs, Cut Creator and Bobcat, scratched over the Original Concept’s ‘Can You Feel It’ until the ‘legend in leather’ walked onstage.

LL Boombox descends

Oozing youthful arrogance, you could see why there were a LOT of women in the audience there for him, here was your first young hip hop heartthrob, only just out of his teens. He was in amazing shape too (see bottom photo) and knew exactly how to work the crowd with a choreographed set involving both DJs (Bobcat even played hype man I seem to remember). His one misstep was to do ‘I Need Love’, the soppy, skip-it-please-ballad from the second album, and he was booed mercilessly for it by a large proportion of the crowd from where I was standing, eager to get back to the high-testosterone beats and cuts. At that point, love ballads had no place in hip hop such as this but the joke’s on all of us as LL and Def Jam had seen some sort of future where RnB would slowly blend with rap so as to become one. James Todd Smith can claim to be a pioneer of that scene, for good or bad, (he didn’t do too badly out of it).

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New music

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I thought I’d better post some new music recommends on here seeing as the Four From Food Fridays thing took a back seat since I moved house late last year. I went to the Independant Label Market in Spitalfiends the Saturday before last and picked up a good haul of music at affordable prices, direct from the artists or labels. No queues, no waking up at silly o’clock, some limited editions but I managed to get everything I was after and I arrived a good three hours after it had opened.

Clockwise from top left: Pink Lunch (Trevor Jackson alias) – S/T LP (Pre), Dark They Were And Golden Eyed (Trevor Jackson alias) – Design Your Dreams LP, (Pre) Jon Brooks – 52 (Clay Pipe Music), Larry McGee Revolution – The Burg 7″ (Dynamite Cuts), Concretism – For Concrete & Country LP (Castles In Space), Heavenly Records sampler CD, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Gumboot Soup LP (Heavenly), Soundhog – Newtown Parkway / Astrablast 7″ (Castles In Space), The Twelve Hour Foundation – Bunch of Fives lathe cut 7″ (Castles In Space), Trevor Jackson – System CD (Pre), Of The Night (Trevor Jackson alias) cassette (Pre).

This is where the spirit of Record Store Day lives for me, it was busy, it was exciting, I spent a chunk of money that went straight to the artists/labels and even grabbed copies for friends who couldn’t make it. Every release I got was new bar one reissue that I was given and I bought vinyl, CDs and a cassette. 7″s were around £5 or £10 for a lathe cut with multiple inserts, LPs between £15 and £20 and there was food and booze nearby to enjoy afterwards. Later we dropped into a local record shop only to see multiple copies of unsold RSD Shaggy 7″s and the Florence & The Machine single retailing for £18.

The clue is in the title, ‘Independent Label Market’, twice annually in London at Spitalfields – and yes, I realise I’m lucky enough to live in a city where such a thing happens – but they’re expanding. Next month sees one in Berlin, another in Soho and October has one scheduled for Paris.

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Castles In Space are really killing it with releases right now, the Concretism album is excellent, the Twelve Hour Foundation‘s 7″ above is a great taster for the album to follow and Soundhog‘s debut for the label bodes well for the future. With the Akiha Den Den album last year and more on the horizon, this Brighton-based label is doing good things in electronic music – lovely design by Nick Taylor on the THF single and Richard Littler (Scarfolk) for the Concretism too.

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Outside the market there’s plenty to be scooped up on the web – The new Delights release is out any day, with only half the stock left – a new Group Modular 45 with an update of their Acid Wheels track and a brand new A side. Each comes with this lovely screen print too and it’s limited to 150 copies. Grab one here

Acid Wheels printAcid Wheels discAcid Wheels

If deep, dark modular electronics are your thing then you could do far worse than grab one or both of these releases which both feature Camberwell local Guido Zen. Vactrol Park is his band with Kyle Martin and this 3 tracker pre-empts a forthcoming album on Malka Tuti label – really nice stuff, similar in vein to their previous two EPs on ESP Institute. The PNZ ‘Shut Your Eyes On The Way Out’ LP is a collab between Zen, Colin Potter, who has worked with Nurse With Wound among others and Alessio Natalizia aka Not Waving.

Vactrol Park

Trunk comes up with another winner in the form of the spy-jazz KPM cues for the 2nd and 3rd series of the animated Spiderman cartoon of the 70’s. Fantastic spider-splat vinyl too although these may now be sold out.

Spider Jazz coverSpiderplate vinyl

Demdike Stare also just put out a tape of them remixing The Feed-back by Gruppo di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza (Morricone‘s infamous psychedlic jazz outfit) – I was hoping for something a bit more crazed and fuzzed out but it’s an interesting listen. Sadly I think this is sold out already

Demdike Feedback

Confidence Man – Confident Music For Confident People

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It’s seldom that I hear something so fresh, so immediate and so mind-numbingly good that I have to go out, buy it straight away and then play it on repeat. I found Confidence Man via a recent Bigmouth podcast (thanks Andrew Harrison), a group described as a cross between Dee-Lite and Girls Aloud by no less than The Quietus and who live up to the hype. It’s pop with a capital P, a male and female fronted quartet with two shadowy (literally) background players/producers who crank the sound up for the clubs as much as the radio (I see Ewan Pearson was on mix duties for most of the album).

303 acid squiggles vie with sampled breaks, Italo piano and singalong hooks galore, one minute there’s a dead-ringer for ‘Come Together’ from ‘Screamadelica’ and the next it’s going all ‘I Feel Love’. It’s played with a straight face but tongues are firmly in cheeks and if the basslines don’t have you from the off then you must be partially dead or deaf. The LP, ‘Confident Music For Confident People’, came out last month on Heavenly in the UK and if it’s not in every album of the year list at the end of 2018 then there’s something seriously wrong. Get a load of this

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Big Mouth podcast (with Infinity War spoilers)


I was a guest on Bigmouth last week – the weekly pop culture podcast – pontificating/nerding out on Avengers: Infinity War, Janelle Monae’s ‘Dirty Computer’ LP, new Sky Atlantic series, ‘Barry’ and the latest ‘Too Slow To Disco: Brasil’ compilation. There are masses of spoilers for Avengers so don’t listen if you’ve not seen it yet but it is at the end of the show so there’s plenty to listen to before we start giving the game away.

The Advisory Circle – Ways of Seeing album

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It’s that time again, for another Jon Brooks album to grace the turntable and record shelf/box/bag, returning under his The Advisory Circle guise to the consistently dependable Ghost Box label. Wrapped, as always, in a gorgeous gold mirrorboard sleeve design by Julian House, Jon has conjured up another set of gorgeous melodies and lush scenarios loosely based around the theme of photography. Gone are the uneasy undercurrents of his last outing for the label, ‘From Out Here’, and instead we get a summery set of beautiful library-like cues, never outstaying their welcome (some leaving too early) with a guest vocal from The Pattern Forms’ cohort, Ed MacFarlane on the final track. Pre orders just went live, get it here on LP, CD or DL.

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Haendehoch! phonographics

IMG_7597 A mystery package of three 45s and 3 posters arrived a few weeks ago from Dutch label Haendehoch! phonographics. Each single is hand-stamped on the label, wrapped in a risograph printed sleeve, folded inside a plastic sleeve and comes with an A3 sized poster to compliment the release.

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The idea for the label is to rescue music from the web that was never given a release on a physical format at the time and the first three releases glean their contents from Soundcloud files uploaded between 2011 and 2014. It’s a novel way to start a label and, whilst the music wasn’t really to my taste, the graphics are absolutely beautiful.

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The label seems to be the brainchild of the Haendehoch typographics studio in Utrecht who have been creating work for the music and club scene in the Netherlands for over a decade. You can judge for yourself and buy the single now here
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Sure Shot Tools custom 45 adaptors

Pablo+Food@PB I spent Record Store Day in sunny Krakow, Poland this past weekend, playing an instore at the excellent Paul’s Boutique record shop and later spinning at Club Alchemia.

IMG_7541Whilst I was there I was graced with a pair of custom made 45 adaptors by new kid on the block, Sure Shot Tools. Having recently invested in a pair of the SydDefJam 7″ middles I’m pretty much set up for life as far as centers go as they do everything you’d ever need an adaptor to do. The difference here though, is the personalised machine-finished logo on the top, which sets them apart from the Australian leader of the pack. Syd offers hand-punched lettering but it’s rough and ready whereas Sure Shot can take a logo and engrave it perfectly onto the top of the middle for that professional finish.

IMG_5681His centers are as heavyweight as Syd’s but lack the rubber ring that holds the records firmly in place. Another plus point for us Europeans is that the postage costs aren’t as prohibitive on the Sure Shot’s than on Syd’s but really it’s down to individual taste in the end, they both do the job admirably and look great into the bargain.

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Frank Zappa advert + poster collages Pt.2

GUAMBO poster
Continued from part 1
I’m not sure who did the design above but, from the date, I’d guess it was Zappa, regardless it’s a great poster

Around the end of making The Mothers of Invention‘s ‘Absolutely Free’, Cal Schenkel started working with Frank Zappa on artwork (he also appears on the ‘Freak Out’ album as one of the studio voices). From then on he became the graphic artist most associated with the Mothers and some of Zappa’s solo works, his collages, paintings and sculptures adorning many of their classic LPs. Here’s an ad for ‘Absolutely Free’

Abs Free ad CalSchenkel hit parader dec-67e

Cal created several ‘Moop’ ads, odd comic-styled pages, “…yeah, and we also did a series of ads which you might have seen at one point… for MOOP. You ever seen any of the MOOP ads? …but they were the weirdest ads, they were like just funny little surrealistic comic strips…and there’s a bunch of ads that were running–like, Hit Parader, and just the oddest places…” – from this interview

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This beauty below appeared in Marvel comics’ Daredevil #38

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By the 70s, things had started to change graphic-wise in publications and we go into what I call the ‘statement’ era of advertising where text played a big part in hooking the viewer in via an intriguing ‘headline’ and then selling the product in a quirky sales-pitch style similar to these examples below. Crazy graphics, surrealism and excessive detail were out and, as a designer, I can’t blame them. Much the same as the sometimes impenetrable psychedelic posters of the late 60s were only meant for the heads in the know to decipher, their time was up and now the marketing men had to sell this stuff to the masses rather than keep it underground. Cue straight, no-nonsense text in blank space and packshots of the album or group in question.

1969-06-14 Rolling Stone [UK] n35 051970-10-29 Rolling Stone n69 23One Size Fits all ad

Cuphead Posters

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I’m still loving the design of Cuphead, the recent release from Studio MDHR based on the look of the old Fleischer Brothers animation studios. There seem to be lots of great posters for it online, possibly official, it’s hard to tell these days. Many follow the multi-coloured, multi-character model but some keep in line with the look of the game. There’s also merchandise starting to appear, from enamel pin badges to the inevitable Funko toys but the best object so far has to be the 4xLP original soundtrack.

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Housed in a 30’s book-style sleeve with gold leaf cover graphics, separate leaves for each disc and yellowed ‘pages’, it looks like it could have come straight from your grandparents’ vinyl collection. There’s also a lovely 7″ with selections from the near 3 hr LP set. At an eye-watering £71 + postage it’s a bit out of my league at the moment but it looks worth every penny from the photos.

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* Beware of pre-orders of figures from PopInABox – my Cuphead and Mugman figures are now 2 months overdue, one has been dispatched from overseas without a tracking number and the other remains in limbo while they wait for stock, meanwhile I’ve seen them in shops in the UK.

Diggers Dozen DJ Food set

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On March 13th I was invited to be one of the selectors at Diggers Dozen, a monthly get together at the Ace Hotel in Shoreditch, where each DJ is asked to play 12 records. The rules are: vinyl only, no reissues, no compilations – aside from that there’s no stipulation on music policy but it’s a sort-the-men-from-the-boys kind of situation in an age where anyone can have anything in digital format and a large proportion of what were once holy grails have been reissued or compiled over the last two decades or so.

Which of course isn’t to say there isn’t still plenty of gold out there, not all of it expensive either, you just have to know where to look, be patient and dig a bit deeper sometimes. Of late I’ve been getting into spiritual records and rock operas which have provided many unexpected treasures, especially from certain eras. Above are the records I played and the mix itself. Thanks to Maxwell, who runs the night, for inviting me and you can check out the other sets and more over on the DD website.

 

Elzo Durt

couv-livre-elzoThrough an odd set of web links I chanced upon the work of Elzo Durt today, his modern take on collage and psychedelia catching my eye and making me investigate further. This Brussels-based artist works with the Recyclart people (I’ve played for them a couple of times and maybe, unknowingly, seen his work) and runs a record label too. Find out and see more of his work at www.elzodurt.com

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Mr Chop – CDL-001 EP 10″

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“New release on Drumetrics”, a phrase that strikes fear into the hearts of hardened record collectors. How limited will it be? How dope will the drums be? How cool with the design look? How much will it cost plus shipping? The latest release, a 10″ by Mr Chop featuring Malcolm Catto is not cheap by any means but it is such a beautiful package you can just about swallow that side of things. A die-cut ‘D’ in the front cover shows through an op-art Chop logo printed on mirrorboard card. On the reverse side there’s an embossed Drumetrics D logo and the inner boasts a debossed Chop logo. I hate to think how much that must have cost but that’s one of the reasons it’s expensive. The music bangs of course, as do all Chop releases, no need to worry about that. Get one here before they sell out, only 500 copies but digital is coming soon

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

William Stout bootleg covers

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A second reading of Clinton Heylin‘s excellent ‘Bootleg: The Secret History of the Other Recording Industry book led me to these covers and I remember seeing a few at record fairs over the years so decided to investigate and post a collection of the best here. As I dug even further into their history it became apparent that one artist was responsible for almost all of them – William Stout – and mostly for one label too.

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I was aware of his work from several different underground comix in my collection but didn’t realise how versatile he was as an artist, able to switch styles to suit different subject matter, hence why I thought the covers were works by different artists. For instance, who would associate the Rolling Stones style above with the Spicy Beatles one below? But they’re from the same hand. One of Stout’s visual calling cards on the bootlegs was to turn some of the artists he was illustrating into pigs, to tie them to the pig logo of the label (which he later redesigned as a smoking, bespectacled pig which became the logo for a breakaway label).

Beatles SpicySongs bob-dylanmelbourne-australia-1966-jethroTull JeffBeckFast LedZepCalifornia LennonOnoVirginThreeBack McCartneyWingsGreatDane R_SAllMeatMusic R-S-BrightLights R-S-CopsnRobbers

Originally working almost exclusively for the Trademark of Quality company originated by ‘Dub’ and ‘Ken’ out of LA in the early 70s, he gained a wide audience through his sleeve art and went on to illustrate many more, sometimes for legitimate releases by the very artists his images were covering the first time round. Later he moved into film posters and concept art and still works today.

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His website has a fascinating three-part interview about these times, extensively illustrated and peppered with personal photos of many great musicians from back in the day, taken backstage at numerous gigs. His comments about the reality of pre-stadium rock gigs back then are especially illuminating.

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And on my trawl I found a few, later examples that aren’t by William but are worthy of inclusion …

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Further is getting closer

Not long now until the final Further of the year on Nov 18th at the Portico Gallery, West Norwood, London – here’s a trailer and some little excerpts from shorts we’ve made for Simon James‘ Buchla performance.

Come down from 7.30-midnight for food, drink, a record stall and lots of leftfield music and visuals – Tickets here

You should definitely check out Sculpture‘s amazing site too as it’s full of stuff like this

and this