East Village Other covers pt.1

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Perusing the Wisconsin Historical Society G.I. Press Collection I came across a stash of East Village Other papers, all scanned in high res, (much higher than here) and started going through them. Here’s a selection of things that caught my eye from the covers and back pages.

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Possibly Susan Morris‘ work above?

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Is that an early Spain Rodriguez inking the figure above? The clouds don’t look like his work but the darker ink work doesp15932coll8_57300_full p15932coll8_57353_fullp15932coll8_18538_full

Clocolan – This Will End In Love LP

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Another bit of sleeve design I did last summer emerges from the vinyl log jam. I was asked by Clocolan to illustrate the cover of his 3rd album (second for Castles in Space), ‘This Will End In Love’. Out Aug 6th in pink Nebula vinyl and red or blackberry purple cassette housed in a rave tape case.
No pre order on this but the label has them in hand I’m told so look out for it in a month’s time, I’ll be posting a process video of the cover then too. In the mean time you can get his previous album and single here.

clocolan - TWEIL Pink Nebula Vinyl Clocolan cassette

Krash Slaughta & Phill Most Chill – Rebel Base 7″

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Sure, Star Wars packaging has been done before, not least by I Love Acid for their Rave Wars 7″s (including original figure sealed to each cover). But this new 45 from Krash Slaughta featuring Phill Most Chill has nailed it and stuck a 7″ to the cover of a 12″ sleeve. Love the Snowspeeder spiral detail on the label. There are even some still left on his website!

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Also on the retro Star Wars tip – now that The Mandalorian has at least restored some of the old school faith in the franchise – modern and retro Mandos.

Mando x2

Celestial Mechanic – ‘Citizen Void’ vinyl out today!

Finally released on vinyl today on Utter – Celestial Mechanic – ‘Citizen Void’ LP – a soundtrack to the
Rian Hughes novel, ‘XX’ published by Picador Books (paperback released Aug 9th)

Music by Celestial Mechanic – a collaboration between DJ Food, Saron Hughes, Robin The Fog (Howlround) & Peter Harris

Yellow vinyl LP + 7″ + print + info sheet – designed by Rian Hughes with silver spot print and inner sleeve – this is limited so don’t sleep as it will be out in shops too.
Pre-order https://bit.ly/3y5C7eK

Animation generated at ASCII Playground
*un-mute for sound!

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CM packshot full

Celestial Mechanic – ‘Citizen Void’ vinyl sting 3

Finally released on vinyl tomorrow on Utter – Celestial Mechanic – ‘Citizen Void’ LP – a soundtrack to the
Rian Hughes novel, ‘XX’ published by Picador Books (paperback released Aug 9th)

Music by Celestial Mechanic – a collaboration between DJ Food, Saron Hughes, Robin The Fog (Howlround) & Peter Harris

Yellow vinyl LP + 7″ + print + info sheet – designed by Rian Hughes with silver spot print and inner sleeve – this is limited so don’t sleep as it will be out in shops too.
Pre-order https://bit.ly/3y5C7eK

Animation generated at ASCII Playground
*un-mute for sound!

IMG_0820CM packshot full

Celestial Mechanic – ‘Citizen Void’ vinyl sting 2

Finally released on vinyl this Friday on Utter – Celestial Mechanic – ‘Citizen Void’ LP – a soundtrack to the
Rian Hughes novel, ‘XX’ published by Picador Books (paperback released Aug 9th)

Music by Celestial Mechanic – a collaboration between DJ Food, Saron Hughes, Robin The Fog (Howlround) & Peter Harris

Yellow vinyl LP + 7″ + print + info sheet – designed by Rian Hughes with silver spot print and inner sleeve – this is limited so don’t sleep as it will be out in shops too.
Pre-order https://bit.ly/3y5C7eK

Animation generated at ASCII Playground
*un-mute for sound!

IMG_0815CM packshot full

Celestial Mechanic – ‘Citizen Void’ vinyl LP out this Friday

Finally released on vinyl this Friday on Utter – Celestial Mechanic – ‘Citizen Void’ LP – a soundtrack to the
Rian Hughes novel, ‘XX’ published by Picador Books (paperback released Aug 9th)

Music by Celestial Mechanic – a collaboration between DJ Food, Saron Hughes, Robin The Fog (Howlround) & Peter Harris

Yellow vinyl LP + 7″ + print + info sheet – designed by Rian Hughes with silver spot print and inner sleeve – this is limited so don’t sleep as it will be out in shops too.
Pre-order https://bit.ly/3y5C7eK

Animation generated at ASCII Playground
*un-mute for sound!

CM packshot full

Grunt Free Press

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I was sent a link to the Wisconsin Historical Society G.I. Press Collection online which is a treasure trove of alternative and free press publications surrounding the US military 1964-1977. One of the best finds was a monthly paper called the Grunt Free Press, full of counterculture news and graphics from the hippy years including colour double page spread posters in the psychedelic style. Here are some of my favourite details.

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Loki title graphics and design

Marvel‘s new TV series, Loki, started this week on Disney+ and the title animation and design is fantastic, playing on ever-changing fonts, presumably to highlight the different facets and sides to the main character’s personality. Marvel have had some superior title work going on with both Wandavision and Falcon & The Winter Soldier recently, the former having individual, time-specific intro themes created for each episode. With Loki, this has stepped up a gear.

*slight spoiler alert!!* In the debut episode that appears to be a set up for a time travel chase caper where Loki may be both the good and bad guy, most of the ‘action’ is spent inside the TVA, a processing centre / court for those who disrupt The Sacred Timeline. The whole design of the Time Variance Authority has shades of Terry Gilliam‘s ‘Brazil’, with retro-modern tech, yellow tungsten lighting and 50’s styled public info posters adorning the walls.

TVA room TVA room 3 TVA room2TVA lift TVA console TVA console 2
TVA poster 1TVA poster 3+4TVA Miss Minutes

One of the highlights is a short animation, voiced by TVA mascot Miss Minutes, explaining what the agency does – for the audience’s benefit as much as Loki’s. It’s beautifully realised in what starts out as an 80’s Ulysses 31 homage before slipping into a 50s style similar to Charley Harper or some of the Halas and Batchelor cartoons like ‘Automania 2000’.

TVA film1 TVA film2 TVA film3 TVA film4 TVA film5 TVA film6 TVA film7 TVA film8
The TVA identity is nearer a 60’s/70’s airline / IBM look with employees wearing enamel badges, belt buckles and uniforms bearing the insignia as well as using headed notepaper and retro tech. Just like the work they do, design timelines seem to converge from different eras at the Authority.

TVA badge TVA scanner
But the icing on the cake is the end credits, beautiful short focus close ups of many of the production details yet with contemporary typography details that you’ll miss if you blink. Everything is saturated but sepia-tinged for that nicotine-stained, low lighting look. Forgive me such a graphic-heavy post but this is all so tastefully done, so many great details like the clock with multiple hands.

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Posted in Comics, Design, Film. | 1 Comment | Tags: , ,

Openmindesign Instagram

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Thanks to Coldcut sharing my Openmindesign account on Instagram yesterday we just went over the 1000 followers mark, thanks guys. I’ve been saving this entry for just such a milestone.IMG_1009

I remember well, setting up the huge flight case that would become the toy box on the cover of this album in Matt Black’s Spacelab studio at Ninja Tune HQ in Clink St one sunny spring morning. Matt and Jon More had pulled out various items that they felt were part of the Coldcut story for inclusion and Hex’s Rob Pepperell had created a game box with graphics of the duo and added a copy of his book, ‘The Post-Human Condition’ too. I’d made a set of assembly instructions with the album title on it the night before as we’d decided on no obvious typography on the front cover.

IMG_1010Suzi Green was in charge of photography and we arranged the box a number of different ways as well as shooting the underside for the back of the sleeve. You can see all sorts of items in and around the box; badges, CDs of samples, previous records, a portable turntable, a flyer for Stealth, tapes of studio sessions, a toy Ninja and the Journeys By DJ mix tape. Hex – including a pre-Hexstatic Robin Brunson – computer generated the ‘toys’ of Matt and Jon and perfectly photoshopped them into the cover image afterwards.

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I used old children’s play blocks for the lettering on the labels and a 3D box typeface for the Let Us Play titles, also finding an image for each track. There really wasn’t an inch of space that wasn’t used on this, a crazy amount of information. I’d do it differently these days of course but I think it was what was needed given the smorgasbord of contents inside.

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There was so much info to go into this album, it was never going to be a minimal design. Suzi had taken various shots around the Ahead Of Our Time studio which featured around the edges of the inside sleeves and gatefold, then there was a freaky ‘chakra’ inner sleeve, lyrics, loads of collaborator credits and info. Then there was the CD with bonus enhanced disc of games and digital toys, the cassette, the video and multiple press ads, posters and more, it went on and on, one of the biggest album campaigns of the label’s history up until that point and quite rightly.

Then there was the remix album ‘Let Us Replay’ in early 1999… read and see more at www.instagram.com/openmindesign and give us a follow as there are daily postsIMG_1014

UFO Club adverts from International Times magazine

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Recently researching light shows in London around the mid 60s I was perusing the International Times archive online and noticed that the UFO Club had various ‘flyers’ present in each issue around its tenure at the Blarney Club and The Roundhouse during ’66-’67. It’s no surprise as UFO initially gave money to IT and you’ll notice the first event was called Night Tripper / UFO as they couldn’t decide on a name.
There was no format, some had to be decoded and the 27th October ’67 issue featured a piece stating that UFO is Dead! Reading between the lines you can detect some general annoyance that some promised cash flow had been cut off. The final image here maybe or may not be connected but it was on the same page as the club obituary and features lights in the sky.

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IT_1967-02-13_B-IT-Volume-1_Iss-8_016 IT_1967-02-27_B-IT-Volume-1_Iss-9_016
IT_1967-04-28_B-IT-Volume-1_Iss-12_012 IT_1967-05-19_B-IT-Volume-1_Iss-13_014 IT_1967-06-02_B-IT-Volume-1_Iss-14_015IT_1967-06-16_B-IT-Volume-1_Iss-15_012IT_1967-06-30_B-IT-Volume-1_Iss-16_016IT_1967-08-31_B-IT-Volume-1_Iss-18_020IT_1967-10-05_B-IT-Volume-1_Iss-19_020IT_1967-10-27_B-IT-Volume-1_Iss-20_013
There was a posthumous analysis of what killed UFO in IT nearly a year after it closed, comparing the audience’s locations as the popularity grew.

IT_1968-04-19_B-IT-Volume-1_Iss-29_003 UFO is Dead

Steven Rutter – Close Your Eyes And Breathe

Steve Rutter 12 front + shadowIt’s a busy day for releases I’ve been involved with today, Blood by The Real Tuesday Weld is officially released today with artwork by myself, the Celestial Mechanic I co-wrote with Saron Hughes album went up for pre-order this morning (see other post) and now Steven Rutter‘s (B12) solo release on De:tuned is available to pre-order.
It’s a really excellent 3 track EP and I designed the release with a die cut cover that reveals the inner sleeve and inside printed cover – available in black and ‘safari’ vinyl versions.

Steve Rutter 12 front + shadow + inner safariSR v5 mock up 3 Safari SR v5 mock up 1SR v5 mock up 2SR v5 mock up 3 Steven Rutter 12 back
Listen and pre-order now (full links are on the Soundcloud page) – out Friday, 25 June 2021.

Celestial Mechanic – Citizen Void vinyl pre-order

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Online today is the vinyl version of the Celestial Mechanic album, ‘Citizen Void’, that I co-wrote with Saron Hughes last year. The album is a soundtrack of sorts to Rian Hughes‘ book, ‘XX – a novel, graphic’ after he tasked us with created the actual music for a fictitious album review featured in the book.

The release which is immaculately designed by Rian, is a lavish package featuring an LP and 7″ on yellow vinyl with inner sleeves, 12″x12″ print and original album press release. The cover is finished with silver ink and features a slightly reworked version of the sleeve that appears in Rian’s book. Part of the book focusses on an alien signal from space that is detected on Earth and is used at one point to make an album, a QR code inside takes the reader to a Bandcamp page with the music on it. For more info see my original post about the book.

Upon release we were contacted by Alex Egan of Utter who was excited to put it out on vinyl to compliment other multi media entries on his label. We had a problem in that ‘side 1’ of the album on the digital release was 30 minutes long and an LP can generally only cram 24 mins tops onto one side before the sound deteriorates. After unsatisfactory edits and deleted track line ups the solution was to snip the final two tracks and place them onto a bonus 7″ – more artwork for Rian! The whole package is a perfect visual companion to the book and differs slightly from the original digital version in that side 2’s side-long epic, ‘The Signal’ is the remixed version from the follow up digital EP.

UPDATE: It’s come to my attention that the pre-order from Bandcamp now adds tax onto the record and shipping total for the LP – seemingly as a result of Brexsh*t continuing to shaft us in all sorts of ways we never could have foreseen in the name of ‘taking back control’. If you pre-order via the Phonica link you should be able to get around this. It’s limited to 300 copies so be quick if you want one – release is early July.

Ninja Tune x AIAIAI Headphones

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I saw these announced today and just had to share – Ninja Tune have teamed up with AIAIAI to produce a version of their modular TMA-2 headphones. Not only are these great headphones, I’ve used them myself at home for listening, but the difference with these is that some of the parts are made from recycled Ninja vinyl records! They’re not cheap but they are great quality, completely modular so you can change parts or replace one if it wears or breaks. More info and pre-order here BLEEP

ReleaseProduct-228764-134136ReleaseFormat-715867-134523ReleaseFormat-715867-134515 ReleaseProduct-228764-134142

Posted in Design, Ninja Tune. | No Comments | Tags: ,

The Real Tuesday Weld ‘Blood’ and ‘Tape Dust Memories’ albums

Blood front cover red vThis has been a long time coming but… ‘There will be Blood!’. More specifically The Real Tuesday Weld‘s ‘Blood’, the first in a trilogy of albums under the umbrella of ‘Swan Songs’, the final bow of Stephen Coates‘ 20 year+ recording career under this name. ‘Blood’ is the first, to be followed by ‘Dreams’ and ‘Bone’ over the next 18 months and each will be supplemented by cassette versions with completely different tracks in sympathetic packaging to each main title.Blood back cover poster DLBlood red contents

The whole design concept was started over a year ago, pre-lockdown, but stalled like everything for months mid year until we picked it back up in the summer, reworked the concepts and mapped out the whole set. With the benefit of hindsight it was worth the rest and the design is better for it as we went through various stages and ideas, coming back to it with fresh eyes. There’s a small books-worth of unused elements and ideas that never made it for this series, a huge folder of work that was slowly honed into shape over months as the artwork formed.
Blood red contents back Blood splatter contents Blood splatter v light TRTW

The ‘Blood’ vinyl comes in red or red & black splatter vinyl versions, has an inner sleeve with a short story (a feature of all the albums), die-cut back and inner covers and download card. Depending on how you insert the record / inner sleeve or poster you can have different back covers.

Blood back poster Blood back Stephen Blood back Blood

If you pre-order direct from the Real Tuesday Weld Bandcamp page you get an exclusive target print and beermat with the 10 track album plus there you can also find a bundle with the 11 track cassette companion, ‘Tape Dust Memories’ which is housed in a blood bag with medical-style lyric sheet and download card. This is a completely different album of extra tracks from the same sessions and possibly not available anywhere else. I’m extremely pleased with how these have both turned out and we’re forging ahead with the follow up, ‘Dreams’ for the end of 2021.
TDM blood bag TDM Blood bag 2TDM tape ATDM contentsTDM contents 2

For those wanting a CD version, there may be something at the end of the trilogy that collects them all, we’ll see…

Blood red v stamp

King Gizzard Fuzz Club Bootleg series

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Like many others last year King Gizzard raided their tape archives and pumped out live sets via their Bandcamp page to fill the void of cancelled gigs. Of course these were digital only releases and they later offered the recordings to anyone who wanted to press them up on the condition that they sent them a portion of the stock to sell. Fuzz Club have stepped up and taken eight shows plus a demos set and a teenage pre-Gizzard collection and made some of the best looking releases I’ve seen in a while. Grab these quick if you want them, they’re selling out fast, some independent shops have them on pre-order like Norman Records, and Resident Music. King Gizzard have form on this, giving away their ‘Polygondwanaland’ album to everyone to do their own versions in 2017, there are nearly 300 versions on Discogs as I write.
KGLW Auckland KGLW Brussels KGLW London KGLW Paris KGLW Rats Live KGLW TeensKGLW Demos 1 KingGizzardDemo_24

Under The Covers 001: Sleevenote interview

Openmind selectionI did a very enjoyable interview with Tom Vek from Sleevenote about design for music past and present with an emphasis on my work for Ninja Tune and how things have changed in the digital age. It’s the first in what will be a series of interviews with designers and features an example of how the Sleevenote site is digitising LP artwork for the streaming generation to preserve the art of the sleeve in the age of the thumbnail.

Read the interview here and have a look at Sleevenote too, you can browse cover art and play tracks by clicking the interactive sleeves which are linked to Spotify and Apple Music, work on desktop or mobile.

Sleevenote page

Mini CDs #7: XTC – Oranges & Lemons

XTC front
This beautifully unique object is possibly the first example of a full album presented across three mini CDs, housed in a fragile cigarette-sized box. Sporting a Yellow Submarine-esque flip up cover, the discs are stacked as you see them below in tiered slots but the box is easy to crush or tear – as you can see here. I always found it odd that they did this album after two Dukes of the Stratosphear LPs but maybe they had dipped their toes in the psychedelic waters enough to put it out as XTC by this time.XTC inside
XTC 3 CDs 2 XTC back

Posted in Design, Mini CDs. | No Comments | Tags:

Mini CDs #6: The The – Gravitate To Me

Gravitate frontThe post-Mind Bomb’ single, again released on multiple formats including 7″, cassette, two 12″s and another 12″ box set with photos, postcard and stencil, it also came as a 3″ CD in downscaled fold out card sleeve with pocket for the disc. It’s horribly fragile, isn’t easy to keep in good shape 30 years on and hasn’t any exclusive material. I’m not sure whether the German stamp on the inner cover is the previous owner’s or a shop address.

Gravitate openGravitate insideGravitate back

Buro Destruct 4 book kickstarter

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Those lovely guys from Buro Destruct in Bern, Switzerland have just launched a kickstarter for their 4th collection of design work (see excerpts above and below). I first became aware of them in the mid 90’s when we started touring Europe and when we played at the Reitschule in Bern the flyers and posters plastered over the walls were of a higher standard than normal. This was in large due to Buro Destruct who provided a lot of the work and it didn’t take longer for their work to feature in magazines and books of the time as well as their own publications collecting the work.
They’re now onto the 4th volume, featuring 12 years of work (volume 3 was back in 2009) including unused work, intermediate steps and experiments along the way. The softcover book will be 256 pages long and you can support the kickstarter here although only 5 of the early bird discounted price copies are left as I write this.

Buro-Destruct-4-08 Buro-Destruct-4-10 Buro-Destruct-4-11 Buro-Destruct-4-12 Buro-Destruct-4-13