The New Obsolescents LP repress

IMG_3686
The repress of The New Obsolescents‘ LP on Castles In Space is finally ready and the pre-order goes live on Friday 22nd October at 8am UK time on the Castles In Space Bandcamp. Some will also be available in selected record shops and a few left over for the Levitation festival in Whitby on Nov 5th/6th.
IMG_3678
The album is presented in a revised second edition sleeve. After the first run of LPs with the Heliophore foil covers (see below) sold out in 25 minutes I started looking for other options for a repress that would equal the first as the stocks of foil were now depleted.
IMG_3687
I chanced upon a prism effect card which gives the illusion of depth and was a new addition to a card-maker’s stock. Inverting the original design and printing white onto black, I gave them to Jonas Ranson at paperHAUS who (again) expertly screen printed the covers – front and back this time – before they went off for assembly. IMG_3683 As with the cover, we decided on a silver and white hybrid moon surface effect for the vinyl, hopefully making the repress just as covetable as the first.IMG_3692IMG_3688
The prism card is very difficult to photograph as it gives a 3D effect and catches whatever light is nearby, colouring the card. Here’s a quick clip of it to illustrate, the white print appears to float on it.

IMG_3689IMG_3690IMG_3691 IMG_3701IMG_3699
Here are the original and the repress sleeves side by sideIMG_3697IMG_3698
Also available will be these enamel badges with screen printed backing cards by Kvist using offcuts from the original foil sleeves.IMG_3671

Steven Rutter – Close Your Eyes And Breathe 12″

IMG_3657 Finished copies of the Steven Rutter 12” I designed for De:tuned arrived yesterday and I couldn’t be happier with the final result.IMG_3662This took a while, not least because of the worldwide delays with vinyl production, but also because we had to change details of the design after an initial die cut cover option proved unworkable. No matter because the final result is one of my favourite designs in recent years. Available in black or copper/brown vinyl.
IMG_3664IMG_3658And that’s not to forget that the music it houses is absolutely beautiful, a career high for Steven. Available now from all good record shops and De:tuned just launched the full label on Bandcamp last week too.IMG_3660
IMG_3665
IMG_3659

Mini CDs #26: Various Artists – RolitoMix

Rolito CD 2
An email from the mysterious ‘Rolito’ arrived one day in 2003 with an offer of being one of 6 designers to customise a new line of toys he was making. Each toy had a tiny body and a large, dome-shaped head inside of which was another, smaller, stash box. I was intrigued as I’ve been a fan of the vinyl toy ‘thing’ since Michael Lau came out with his Crazy Children around 2000 and the thought of having my own one was something that appealed greatly. The other thing that appealed was that Rolito had a crazy website based around a load of characters he had created that inhabited Rolitoland. There was little or no explanation about these creatures but the attention to detail and graphic ideas were more than enough to hook me in.

The brief was open and I decided to adapt my Ninja logo around the toy using various different existing graphics and logos to make a ‘RolitoTune Ninjaboy’. The process for getting the graphics onto the toy were slightly limited so I wasn’t able to do some of the things I wanted to. I suggested we include a 3″ CD in the package with a selection of Ninja music to add to the promotional aspect of the toy so that people who didn’t know where it came from would be introduced to the label via the disc. One of the beauties of the Rolito packaging is that it dismantles without having to tear, cut or unstick anything, this meant that the empty vacuum packing would ultimately become the ‘sleeve’ that would house the CD.

There were only 450 made, Ninja got around 150 I think and sold the lot within a weekend over the net, some of which have since appeared on eBay for up to £99. I also contributed a short soundtrack to an animation on his website that showed the shipment getting stuck at the French customs – a scenario that actually happened.

Ninja disc
Ninja Toy + packaging x3 Ninja Toy (packaging 1)

Clocolan – This Will End In Love cover process

Clocolan 750 3 fades
Out tomorrow – on sale at 8am GMT for Bandcamp Friday so set your alarms – Clocolan’s This Will End In Love album on Castles In Space.
Orange vinyl LP and red or purple shell cassette in clamshell case – from the Castles In Space bandcamp page.
Above is a scroll through different stages that the cover image I made went through before reaching the final state.

clocolan - TWEIL Pink Nebula VinylClocolan tapes Cloclan tapes 2

Humanoid – 7 Songs mini LP out today

DE034 front cover Humanoid – ‘7 Songs’ on De:tuned (black and coloured vinyl editions) is out today!
Artwork by yours truly, cover includes a spot varnish finish on the circles too.
Listen on SoundCloud:

DE034 back cover

Humanoid -Cover- Black mockupOrder now: Black vinyl
Bleep: https://bit.ly/2S0SGsF
Phonica: https://bit.ly/3opugVP
Red Eye: https://bit.ly/3omvp0z
Norman: https://bit.ly/3ydoyej
Juno: https://bit.ly/3hqTdyN
Horizons: https://bit.ly/3by4pWq
Deejay: https://bit.ly/2RZiTIc
Decks: https://bit.ly/3wcqz8S
HHV: https://bit.ly/3hADjSF
Clone: https://bit.ly/3wf67UN

Humanoid -Cover- Pink mockupColored vinyl (Limited Edition)
Bleep: https://bit.ly/2S0SGsF
Phonica: https://bit.ly/2SY8DQX
Red Eye: https://bit.ly/3ojM6cI
Juno: https://bit.ly/33Oo1kU
Deejay: https://bit.ly/3yhwon2
Decks: https://bit.ly/3uRdvp6
Clone: https://bit.ly/2Ro5B7V

Kaleidoscope reissue and new Companion LP out now

Kal:Kal Comp outer + discs Kal inner + discs The 4xLP reissue – the original Kaleidoscope LP repressed on blue/white vinyl and the all new Kaleidoscope Companion featuring unreleased/alternate tracks ’97-2000 on orange/red vinyl in gatefold sleeve w. download – is out now! The average price seems to be around the £25-30 mark which is a bargain for 4 bits of coloured vinyl in a gatefold sleeve if I say so myself.Kal front + 4 discsKal label A

Buy here : (support record shops if you can)
Norman Records. http://bitly.ws/dZwy
Bleep http://bitly.ws/dZwC
Resident http://bitly.ws/dZwJ
Sister Ray http://bitly.ws/dZH8
Phonica http://bitly.ws/dZHq
Ninja Tune http://bitly.ws/dZwN
Bandcamp http://bitly.ws/dZwR
Full Digital / streaming links: https://djfood.lnk.to/kaleidoscope
Kal discKal Comp label + titles

The new Companion LP tracklist: The Crow features in two forms – Crow (Slow) and The Rook + Type 3The Quadraplex EP has been remixed and edited into a new 13 minute epic that includes unreleased material, the keen-eared with recognised Stealth as the backing for the Xen Cuts remix of The Ageing Young Rebel although this is a different mix, and Boohoo is an early version of The Sky At Night. All tracks on the companion were recorded around the time of Kaleidoscope.

Kal Comp front + 4 discs Kal Comp front + disc 2Kal Comp disc

Amon Tobin – Out From Out Where repress

Amon OFOW
Just announced, Amon Tobin‘s 2002 classic, Out From Out Where, is being repressed in a new edition this September. Pressed on opaque gold vinyl with fully printed inner sleeve, a 60x30cm poster and phosphorescent varnished sleeve. I remade the artwork from the original near 20 year old files and I’m so pleased with this as it’s one of my personal favourite designs, not just for Amon but for any artist I’ve worked with.
Pre-order here:

Clocolan – This Will End In Love LP

clocolan - TWEIL - Cover

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

Kaleidoscope reissue + Companion album

KAL Comp titleHeads up – New/old release/reissue package now up for pre-order – 4xLP – the original Kaleidoscope LP repressed on blue/white vinyl and the all new Kaleidoscope Companion featuring unreleased/alternate tracks ’97-2000 on orange/red vinyl in gatefold sleeve w. download, out mid July (and yes the label has them in hand, no 6 month wait)

Pre-order here : (support record shops if you can)
Norman Records. http://bitly.ws/dZwy
Bleep http://bitly.ws/dZwC
Resident http://bitly.ws/dZwJ
Sister Ray http://bitly.ws/dZH8
Phonica http://bitly.ws/dZHq
Ninja Tune http://bitly.ws/dZwN
Bandcamp http://bitly.ws/dZwR
Full Digital / streaming links: https://djfood.lnk.to/kaleidoscope

New Companion tracklist: The Crow features in two forms – Crow (Slow) and The Rook + Type 3The Quadraplex EP has been remixed and edited into a new 13 minute epic that includes unreleased material, the keen-eared with recognised Stealth as the backing for the Xen Cuts remix of The Ageing Young Rebel although this is a different mix, and Boohoo is an early version of The Sky At Night. All tracks on the companion were recorded around Kaleidoscope
1. The Ents Go To War
2. Prototype I & II
3. The Crow (Slow)
4. A Strange Walk
5. Hip Operation
6. Skylark
7. Zoom Zoom
8. Quadraplex (A Trip to the Galactic Centre)
9. See Saw
10. Stealth
11. The Rook + Type 3
12. Boohoo

Kal:Kal Comp outer + discs2Kal.Kal Comp inner highKal front + 4 discs2Kal Comp front + 4 discs2Kal front + discs 22 Kal label A KAl back + discsKal discKal inner + discs2Kal Comp label + titlesKal Comp front + disc 22 Kal Comp back + discsKal Comp disc

Openmindesign Instagram

IMG_1015
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.

IMG_1011IMG_1012
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.

IMG_1013

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

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.

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

The New Obsolescents badges

TNO badges 1
I’ve just made some badges to go with The New Obsolescents album I made with Robin The Fog and Chris Weaver aka Howlround. These aren’t being sold, they’re just giveaways so if you see us please ask for one. There will be a very nice enamel badge on sale when the repress of the album arrives in a month or two though – both available through the Castles In Space Bandcamp no doubt although I’m hoping some of the albums get into shops this time round.
TNO badges x6TNO badges 2 TNO badges 3

The New Obsolescents LP repress

TNO comp 4
It was a surprise to see The New Obsolescents‘ album sell out in 25 minutes a few weeks back when it went up for pre-order and it’s been even more heartening to see people posting photos online once they received them. Inevitably though there’s a small downside in the people who missed out and the buyers who immediately put copies on Discogs for anywhere between £130 to £300. You can’t stop people doing this but Castles In Space are very good at tracking who these buyers are and striking them from any future sales from the label.
The good news for those who missed out is that a repress is on the way although it won’t be a foil version like the first run because those stocks are now depleted. It’s taken a while to source something that could measure up to the Dufex covers and I’ve gone a different route. The good news is that the new sleeve will be back and front rather than just a panel that I have to stick by hand on 300 copies! Prints tests were done in the last week from various samples and now stocks are being readied, vinyl pressed (in a different colourway too) and the 2nd edition will be with us as soon as the pressing plant can press it up. There may also be a number of badges to accompany it too. Here I’ve collected the various photos posted online and at the bottom is a sneak peek of the repress tests results.

TNO comp 3 TNO comp 2 TNO comp 1 TNO Comp 5 TNO comp 7 TNO comp 8 TNO comp 9 TNO comp 6TNO 2nd Ed test

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

Resonance FM fundraiser 2021

TNO StarburstIt’s that time of year again for the Resonance FM fundraiser, this independent radio station relies on donations to keep the lights on and having just had to relocate after what seems like years of waiting, they need it more than ever. They’re not doing the usual eBay auctions this year so Robin the Fog has taken it upon himself to put three special records up there with a little help from the Castles in Space label.
I’d like to bring your attention to a ‘Starburst’ edition of our The New Obsolescents LP, officially released today but totally sold out, this one was held back for just this occasion. Bid on this here

If you want to hear what it sounds like and maybe buy a digital copy then head to Bandcamp

HWLRD cover

Also a secret 31st edition of Robin’s last Bandcamp Friday Howlround lathe cut 7″ EP ‘Rec & Ruin’ – again, made specially. Go here to bid
HWLRND labelHWLRND back

Also available is a full package of CiS goodies in the form of Field Lines Cartographer‘s recent ‘Leaving In Storms’ 7″ test pressing with all the trimmings. Bids away!  All proceeds go towards Resonance FM

OriginalPhoto-632998857.178352

And if you have these already or they’re just not your bag but you want to help the station out then you can donate here  https://resonancefm.com/donate

 

The New Obsolescents LP cover process 2 – Cover assembly

TNO Printed stack

For the first part of this process and a little back story, see Part 1

TNO selection

Once Jonas Ranson at paperHAUS had screen printed each panel during the summer of 2020 it was down to me to assemble them. Each sheet was 18″ x 18″, sadly not large enough to fold round into a full LP sleeve, so each panel had to be trimmed to a 12” x 12” size and painstakingly glued to each already printed sleeve – 300 of them.

TNO cutting

I’d specified that the designs be printed dead centre of each pattern to take advantage of the symmetrical nature of the cover graphic so there were lots of offcuts (which will be used somehow on future projects).

TNO offcuts

This was all done sometime during the Autumn of 2020 in my studio while we waited for the vinyl to come back from the pressing plant. The original plan had been for Colin at Castles in Space and I to then rent a bigger space for a day and glue the foil panels to each sleeve but I quickly realised that this just wasn’t going to be possible in such a short time. The next lockdown put a stop to any thoughts of that anyway.

Eventually the vinyl turned up and Colin arrived one evening with 17 boxes of covers in the back of his car and, in a socially distanced handover, I hauled them up to my studio.

TNO plain

Just after the Xmas period, during the 3rd lockdown, I began the extremely long task of gluing a panel to each sleeve, padding every cover out with a card square then laying them between newsprint sheets to avoid anything sticking while drying. The glue would start to curl the card within about a minute as it dried and started to contract so it was imperative to press them flat under weights.

TNO sticking beginsTNO sticking 2

I could average two boxes of 17 a day in two shifts by the end; one box first thing in the morning then leave to dry. Once stuck they were inspected for marks, sleeved in PVC outers and then boxed. Clean the area, do another box before bed and leave to dry in a stack overnight. By the end I could do one box in under 50 minutes, below is the last box on the 8th or 9th day.

TNO Last boxTNO Boxes done

As a nod to the site of the original performance recordings at the Museum of London, with moon rock bean bags and a space travel theme, we decided on a silver and black hybrid moon surface effect for the vinyl. The whole process of making the sleeves probably took longer than the whole album but I couldn’t be happier with the results, I doubt it’ll see a repress in this state as I’m told the foil stocks are virtually gone now but it was worth it.

TNO Hyperspace
Hyperspace

TNO Spiral
Spiral

TNO Starburst
Starburst

TNO Cross
Cross

TNO Curls
Swirls

TNO Back