Really chuffed for my friend Sarah J Coleman who has been lucky enough to illustrate the cover of a Korean edition of Harper Lee’s ‘Go Set A Watchman’ which is released today. She also did the 50th edition of ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ a few years back, read more about it and see her extensive working process on her blog.
Here are 5 prospective logos I knocked up for the Psychedelic Sushi night I’m doing with Matty Skylab. The top two were deemed too obvious, my favourite was the mouth although it wouldn’t translate easily into a black and white logo. Matty liked the coloured eye but thought it was too cartoon-y so I swapped it for a photographic one instead. The night is on July 24th, 8pm -1.30am at Brilliant Corners and is free – turn up, tuck in and freak out as we play anything we deem psychedelic enough whilst they serve from their lovely Japanese menu. More info here…
Sonorama was a monthly French audio magazine that debuted in 1958. Following the format of Echo magazine as featured last week, it folded back so that the pages could be placed on the turntable and the discs played from there. The design may not have been up to the standard of Echo but it ran for considerably longer, reaching over 40 issues with usually with between 5 and 8 flexi discs in each publication.
The plain white, extremely thin discs in my copy of No.6 (they should be floppy discs, rather than flexi) contained nothing but a number on each. There’s a short film at the bottom of an issue being played, not the one featured here though, where you can see the construction of the mag and hear an example of the disc (he has a job to get it on the turntable at one point). There seem to be many of these available through Discogs for between €4-10 each.
A new The The record is always cause for celebration and the first on vinyl for over 15 years (not counting reissues) is an even bigger one. That this beauty appears on Death Waltz in a leather effect gatefold sleeve with 12×12″ booklet, obi strip, lobby card, coloured and etched vinyl is more than anyone could have hoped for. The icing on the cake for me here is that I introduced Matt Johnson to Spencer from Death Waltz, suggesting that he would be the best man to put his music on vinyl and release it to the world. He’s more than outdone himself and the soundtrack is a perfect fit for DW’s style and ethos. You can order it now from Mondo and listen below.
Above is the flyer for Psychedelic Sushi the first of what I hope will become regular nights at Brilliant Corners in Kingsland Road, London. Myself and Matty from Skylab will be playing Psychedelic music in all its myriad forms on vinyl whilst diners scoff from the excellent japanese menu. After 11 the tables get pushed back and we go until 1.30am – entry is free so Turn up, Tuck in and Freq out!
How good is this? Cover version from Moscow band Grant Minasyan – nice one guys
After the news that the NME was going to be free as of September yesterday I dug out these old covers from over 30 years ago. I never read it until the late 80s and 90s but have since gone back and waded through years of issues for various research purposes and the breath of subjects covered, the writing, the photography and even the design sometimes, was taken for granted on a weekly basis. Barney Bubbles designed the logo seen on these covers too. Check the Sly & Robbie feature below for the skewed design and the Frank Sinatra wraparound cover which seems apt after the news.
Along with the Melody Maker, Sounds and Record Mirror (four weekly music mags!) it was the only one to survive, having weathered the storm since 1952. This latest move – this ‘last throw of the dice’ as someone called it – seems to indicate that we’re another step down the road, another nail in the coffin, where the worth of others’ creativity is reduced to practically zero. Rockin’ in the Free World.
Music Journalist Simon Reynolds – author of Rip it Up & Start Again, Retromania, Energy Flash and more – has put some articles up that he wrote about the Ambient scene in the UK for Melody Maker in 1993 on his blog. The reason I’m including them here is because this was the first proper interview I ever did for a music publication and I love Reynolds’ writing in general (despite his need to define and compartmentalise micro scenes before they’ve fully evolved all the time). An interesting look back but I think he was shoe-horning what we were doing into his collection of interviewees and possibly using us as a link the other bands to the Ambient/Chill Out scene at the time.
I love what they’re doing at the Cube Cinema in Bristol, shame I missed this night a couple of months ago.
Made me laugh – not sure why Operation Twilight is mentioned though as this never came out on that label.
Echo – ‘the magazine you play on your phonograph’ – was first published in 1959 and came with 5 or 6 flexi discs fixed inside each issue, mostly containing music and interviews with the subjects profiled within. The ring-binder design let each page fold back under the last and a spindle hole through the centre meant that you could place the whole magazine on the turntable to play each disc.
An 8″ x 8″ quarterly publication that ran for at least 4 issues as far as I can tell (of which this is #3), it had beautiful page layouts courtesy of Designers’ Collaborative from New York and United Artists served as the agent supplying the entertainment talent. This one features music and interviews with The Trapp Family / Mary Martin / Brigitte Bardot / France Nuyen / Eva Gabor / Siobahn McKenna / Brendan Behan / a Shelley Berman monologue / an interview with The Kingston Trio / Fiorello La Guardia reads the comics and an advert for Springmaid Fabrics.
There are some extracts from the discs over on WFMU’s excellent 365 Days Project entry by Katya Oddie for the same issue. Here’s the cover for #2 – pretty advanced design for 1959 – if anyone has any of the other issues that they’d like to sell then I’m interested.
An Old School special this time round with vintage cuttings from early 80s copies of the weekly UK music paper, Sounds. Traditionally a Rock and Heavy Metal-biased magazine, they still found time to cover some of the bigger stars from the emerging New York scene. They went all out in 1984 with an Electro Funk special issue (above).
Below is an early Bambaataa chart – check #10. An early UK rap gig at the Comedy Store is reviewed and Kurtis Blow, Grandmaster Flash, Bam, the Sugarhill Gang and more are interviewed.
I like looking back on images and articles like this from a time when I was too young to know that this was even happening, you see a less revisionist history as the movement and artists are in the midst or even before their peak years. Details that have been lost in time are revealed and a few oddities pop up that make you re-evaluate accepted norms. Click on each image for the full size.
I only just discovered this – there was a launch for a iOS app to go with it last night – “Longplayer is a one thousand year long musical composition. It began playing at midnight on the 31st of December 1999, and will continue to play without repetition until the last moment of 2999, at which point it will complete its cycle and begin again. Conceived and composed by Jem Finer, it was originally produced as an Artangel commission, and is now in the care of the Longplayer Trust.”
A beautiful 2001 poster by Kilian Eng that I came across today whilst looking for something else. Two years old, long gone from Mondo like so many of his others, there are three variants and some unused versions that are just as nice. I also found a Heavy Metal one too that’s of a similar ilk – I don’t always like his images, usually down to the colour choices he makes, but these are superb.
RIP Shusei Nagaoka – not a name I was familiar with but all of us must know at least a handful of these album covers? ELO, Earth Wind & Fire, Maze, Deep Purple, Boston and more. Big respect.
Soviet flexi discs, ‘bones’ or ‘ribs’, music pressed on old X-Rays due to lack of resources. Stephen Coates aka The Real Tuesday Weld has been collecting and exhibiting these for a while now and Strangeattractor Press are publishing a book of them this autumn. Pre-order is here and there is a limited edition with a free flexi disc which I will no doubt be featuring in the Flexibition at some point.
Next week, Tuesday 30th June, Stephen will be telling the story of the X-Ray Bootleggers at The Last Tuesday Society. More details and tickets here…
…and on Friday 3rd July Stephen and Aleks Kolkowski will be presenting a special evening at the Masonic Temple of the Andaz Hotel as part of the East End Film Festival. A new x-ray record will be cut live with a 1940s recording lathe from a live performance by Marcella Puppini of The Puppini Sisters. Go HERE for more details and tickets
I’ve spent most of the evening looking at the work of Kája Saudek – a Czech artist and designer who worked in comics and created film posters – after being tipped off about him by Markey Funk. Markey had just visited ‘Batalion’, a bar and museum in Prague dedicated to the man and thought I would like the work. He was right, check out all that amazing detail and hand drawn typography – what a find.
I’d seen the Barbarella poster before but never checked on the name, the rest was new to me, a mixture of Rockin’ Jellybean, Robert Williams with shades of Moebius in places. Sadly, upon checking the wikipedia entry it seems that Saudek died the same day that I discovered him after spending nine years in a coma at a hospital in Prague. Art like this can never die though, he left a huge body of work for us all to enjoy.