Ai Records – Farewell to Goodbye

Author: Colin | Published: 1/1/12

Ai Records - final release

Ai Records - final release

Ai Records - final release

Ai Records - final release

Ai Records - final release

Ai Records - final release

Ai Records - final release

Artist Various
Title Time To Exit
Label Ai Records
Year 2011
Design Jason Smith
Music Electronic
Notes It’s sad to see Ai calling it a day, it’s been a real pleasure to highlight their work here on Hard Format. Still, Jason’s reference to his new endeavour, RUR, raises hopes of further visual/musical delights to come.

Ai032LP: Time To ExitAi records is celebrating its 52nd release with a very special release. New music by ERP, Datassette, EOC, Najem Sworb, Plant43, Pathic, Sinner DC + one new signing. Three different hand screen-printed versions of this release are available. Fifty Two copies of each version will be made.

1. Brown card sleeve – with red/ clear marble vinyl record
2. Light grey card sleeve – with white / clear marble vinyl record
3. Reverse board sleeve – card with black / clear marble vinyl record

Take your pick, or take all three.

The project was started in September 2010. The idea of the release was all about the birth / death / spring / hibernation / theme. It was to be released during the Chinese new year / which also happened to be the year of the rabbit. These elements all came together nicely. ROA was consulted in September 2010 about my ideas and we worked together on some ideas for the sleeve. It was then decided the interactive 3d decaying hand screen printed rabbit was the way forward. So the lengthy process of manufacturing the records and hand screen printing the sleeves twice. Begun…….

Then when it was released no one knew of its significance.

As inside was a press release telling the people who brought the record the sad news.

This is what came inside the record.

Interview with Jason Smith

What made you set up Ai in the first place?

Airecords was set up in 1999 by three friends – all designers – who shared a love for electronic music. We all went into the studio to record some tracks, cut, manufactured and self distributed this release. The release got great reviews and sold out in a few days.

What did you want to achieve and do you think you did so?

We never set out to achieve anything. We just wanted to put out good music, wrapped in good design. I think we definitely achieved that.

Did you have any particular inspirations design-wise for the label?

A very early reference point for me were some amazing slides that tDR made for the newly opened Warp records night in Finsbury park. (Blech).

What was your worst experience running the label?

As Ai is all about great music with innovative package design we push our manufacturers with different techniques we want to try. Because of this the manufacturing v release date process can be extremely stressful…

What was your best?

Too many to name just one. Heres some of my faves..

* The first time I ever walked into a club and heard my record being played to thousands of people. Amazing..
* When I took over sole ownership of Ai I started to really push great design and music collaborations.
* Djing at the last ever Ai party on the Sunday of sonar this year in Barcelona.

Favourite releases?

Ai015LP – Ai022LP – Ai032LP. I like to test and try out new things with vinyl..

Why are you folding now?

After 12 years of great releases. I thought it a good time to stop and try something different. I wanted the last release to pay homage to Ai’s heritage but also point to the next chapter. This project took about a year to plan and was definitely a good one to bow out on..

Do you think there’s still a place for records in the future?

There is still a credible place for records in the music industry. Vinyl has survived this far despite the record shops, record labels, marketing, the downloader’s, piracy and the rapidshare doing their best to kill it off. Music packaging is where music, art, design and fashion meet. It would be a tragedy if this creative platform is lost.

Any music-related plans for the future?

After taking a year off music to enjoy my oldest hobby – Graffiti – I’ve begun the next phase… working on my new label RUR. Four releases by four amazing artists.


Listen Farewell to Goodbye by EOC


Also Ai Records (Part 1)
Ai Records (Part 2)
Ai Records – 10
Plant43 – Burning Decay


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