HARDHOUND

Treader

Author: Colin | Published: 28/3/09

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Artist: Evan Parker with Birds, Trio With Interludes
Title: As above
Label: Treader
Year: 2004
Designer: Frauke Stegmann
Type of music: Improvised
Notes: Treader is a small label run by Spring Heel Jack who may have one of the most unusual careers around: they began life as a left-field breakbeat outfit, found fame producing Everything But The Girl’s rather lovely Walking Wounded and then launched into a jazz/free improv career working with jazz luminaries such as Matthew Shipp, Kenny Wheeler and Han Bennink. These two covers date from this latter period, they’re low budget, but those gold embossed creatures are a striking mix of Christmas card and surreal.

Kodwo Eshun – More Brilliant Than The Sun

Author: Colin | Published: 21/3/09
Previous Ever fancied yourself a cover designer? Check out Figment Next Treader

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Author:Kodwo Eshun
Title: More Brilliant Than The Sun: Adventures In Sonic Fiction
Publisher: Quartet Books
Year: 1998
Designer: Namara
Type of book: Musical
Notes: Okay, okay, I know it’s a book and er no it doesn’t come with a CD unlike Paul D. Miller’s Rhythm Science. So, strictly speaking, it shouldn’t be here should it? But here it is. Quite apart from it’s being a wonderful piece of design in itself, More Briliant Than The Sun is the most musical piece of writing I know, literally – Kodwo Eshun compiles, compresses, expands and invents new words and strings them together into sentences that are as brilliantly rhythmic as your favourite musician. It’s also challenging and hugely enjoyable and you should read it if you haven’t already. So it deserves its place here.

Ever fancied yourself a cover designer? Check out Figment

Author: Colin | Published: 20/3/09
Previous The 7″ single is 60 years old! Next Kodwo Eshun – More Brilliant Than The Sun

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Figment is a website where you can create a fake band, record an imaginary album, design the cover art, market it to discerning imaginary band fans, tour to support it and even sell your imaginary tour shirt.

They’re currently running a competition to find the best fictional album artwork. Closing date is 3rd April and it will be judged by John Coulthart, who wrote our Barney Bubbles profile. Most importantly of all, the winner gets a copy of Photoshop CS4 and a copy of the Barney Bubbles book. Worth a try!

Full details on the Figment website.

The 7″ single is 60 years old!

Author: Colin | Published: 19/3/09
Previous Zbigniew Karkowski and Lin Zhiying – Switch Next Ever fancied yourself a cover designer? Check out Figment

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The switch from shellac to vinyl came out of necessity. Beetles needed to make the shellac crust came from south-east Asia and supplies were blockaded during the war. In June 1948, CBS-Columbia unveiled the LP (long-player) on hiss-free, durable vinyl, and its own custom player. Nine months later, on 31 March 1949, RCA released the first commercial seven-inch single, spinning at 45rpm. Eddy Arnold’s Texarkana Baby / Bouquet of Roses was on bright green vinyl, soon followed by Arthur Crudup’s That’s All Right / Crudup After Hours on cerise vinyl – both rock’n'roll primers. The two formats, singles and four-track EPs, were colour-coded – green vinyl for country and polka, red for classical, yellow for children’s, blue for international, cerise for rhythm’n'blues.

My first 7″ single was Complex by Gary Numan. I wonder if I’ve still got it somewhere. I love the format, my only problem is that to change the speed of my record player from 33rpm to 45rpm I have to lift off the turntable and move to belt. Maybe I need one of these for my singles:

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Links: BBC article
See also: Data 70 – Space Loops, Volume One and Two, Kraftwerk: Pocket Calculator, Rhythm & Sound – See Mi Yah 7″s, The Journal of Popular Noise – Vol.1 Issues 4-6, Various – 3 x 7″s, Various Artists – Recovery.

Zbigniew Karkowski and Lin Zhiying – Switch

Author: Colin | Published: 18/3/09
Previous Sinistri – Timing The 183k Pulse Next The 7″ single is 60 years old!

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Artist: Zbigniew Karkowski and Lin Zhiying
Title: Switch
Label: emd.pl records
Year: 2008
Designer: Wojtek Bednarski
Type of music: Unclassified
Notes: Wojtek Mszyca contacted us about the label he runs with Artur Nowak recently and we were really impressed by the lovely designs and the ingenious method of presentation. Hopefully our pictures manage to convey how the CD is retained in the slot by a tab and the whole folds into a regular square. We’ll be publishing another post soon covering two more releases from the label.

Wojtek writes:
We wanted the design to reflect the cacophony and chaos of urban tension. That is why, after a brainstorm, we had decided to make the meshes for screenprinting of cut up fragments of previously used stencils. I work at an advertising agency and we work a lot for big shopping centres etc. We have chosen dozens of old stencils, cut them to fragments and placed on the meshes more or less randomly (the final effect, choice of colours etc was up to Wojtek Bednarski). What is more, by quite simple means we have achieved dozens of different covers. We have just used big B1 meshes and printed the paper before it was cut into individual CD covers. What is more, we had been turning the meshes around and flipping them over, changing the order of colours etc. After cutting each piece of printed B1 paper into 6, we could still shuffle the squares before cutting the final shape of the cover out of them.

See also: Artur Nowak / Daniel Menche

Sinistri – Timing The 183k Pulse

Author: Colin | Published: 14/3/09
Previous Sweet Billy Pilgrim – Twice Born Men Next Zbigniew Karkowski and Lin Zhiying – Switch

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Artist: Sinistri
Title: Timing The 183k Pulse
Label: Utech Records
Year: 2005
Designer: Unspecified
Type of music: Improv meets the ghost of rock meets the spirit of blues
Notes: This is clearly a budget sleeve, the card casing generic with the grey sticker used to tailor the packaging to Sinistri’s needs. All the same, I really like the texture of the card, the fact that there’s a little seal that must be broken to access the CD, the rubber-stamped limited edition number on the outside and the record label’s name on the inside of the gatefold. That beetle on the back is lovely too, I wasn’t sure whether that was a Sinistri mark or not, but looking at the record label’s website it looks like it’s theirs.

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