HARDHOUND

Website improvements

Author: Colin | Published: 25/4/09

Just to let you know what we’ve been doing lately on Hard Format:

That’s about it, but we’re always on the lookout for great new design or guest posts, so don’t hesitate to let us know if you see anything. Thanks for reading.

Charley Patton – Screamin’ and Hollerin’ the Blues

Author: Colin | Published: 25/4/09
Previous Victrola Favourites Next Website improvements

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Artist Charley Patton
Title Screamin’ and Hollerin’ the Blues
Label Revenant
Year 2001
Designer Susan Archie: art direction and design, additional design and layout: Henry H. Owings, illustration: Potsy Duncan
Music The Blues
Notes Screamin’ and Hollerin’ the Blues is such a playful, generous, imaginative design that it’s difficult to know where to start. It is an over-sized object that consists of box, binder, paperback treatise by John Fahey on Patton attached to the inside sleeve, lengthy and informative essays, pages of stickers reproducing the original record labels, numerous illustrations and photographs as well as the CDs themselves attached to 78-sized card mounts contained in facsimiles of the original sleeves. The whole package is based upon the original album format that collected 78s together in a single binder.

There’s perhaps a deliberate and certainly pleasing irony, that Patton (whose legacy survived on poor quality recordings and was eclipsed by Robert Johnson’s tragic story/mythos) should be afforded such luxurious treatment. A similar tension exists around the likes of Goodbye, Babylon and Albert Ayler’s Holy Ghost box.

Archie has spoken of the challenge to produce a design for an artist of whom there is but a single remaining photograph. She riffs on this through a variety of treatments and period illustrations. Note particularly the use of the ‘masked marvel’ illustration on the outer box (one of Patton’s songs was marketed thus by the record company) which is revealed unmasked in the same roundel on the binder.

There’s something monumental about this examination of a historical figure who might otherwise have slipped into obscurity. The crackle of the recordings actualises the time and distance spied in the imagery, design and informed consideration of Patton’s art. In a related vein, Screamin’ and Hollerin’ the Blues exists as an admirable bulwark against the increasing virtualisation of the medium.

Victrola Favourites

Author: Colin | Published: 18/4/09
Previous Artur Nowak, Daniel Menche Next Charley Patton – Screamin’ and Hollerin’ the Blues

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Artist:48 different artistes, from Groupo De Totoko Francois to Vishnudass Shirali via Goebble Reeves The Texas Drifter
Title: Victrola Favourites
Label: Dust to Digital
Year: 2008
Designer: Book design and layout by Uncle John Hubbard and his boys (Robert Mills and Jeffery Taylor)
Type of music: 78s from around the world
Notes: A visual and musical cornucopia and a reminder of the stupefying amount of musical culture secreted on 78s.

Artur Nowak, Daniel Menche

Author: Colin | Published: 15/4/09
Previous Tristan Perich – 1-Bit Music Next Victrola Favourites

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Artist:1-4: Artur Nowak, 5-8: Daniel Menche
Title: 1-4: Guitar Granulizer, 5-8: Animality
Label: emd.pl records
Year: 1-4: 2004, 5-8: 2007
Designer: 1-4: Cover art by The Tag Artist, a Reaktor instrument designed by Chris List, 5-8: Wojtek Bednarski
Type of music: Granular synthesis/abstract
Notes: Artur Nowak writes:

The music on “Guitar Granulizer” is an experiment with granular synthesis. Since the music is highly processed by the computer, I wanted the cover to be “digital” or “technical” as well. I have used same software, which generated the sound, to produce a graphical representation of the sound as an oscillator graph running in a circle. I hope it mimics the dynamics of the music and aggressiveness of it. Also, the tracks are very short and can be played at random to create new, surprising combinations – the cover art can be also randomly “mixed”, four pieces of translucent paper can be re-arranged. It’s up to the owner of the CD, how the cover looks like. It’s a kind of “invitation” for the listener to use his creativeness, open eyes and ears for the sound, which is not easy to absorb. We are trying to cover of every album unique, through different and usual materials, printing techniques and graphic.

See also: Zbigniew Karkowski and Lin Zhiying – Switch

Tristan Perich – 1-Bit Music

Author: Colin | Published: 11/4/09
Previous Goodbye, Babylon Next Artur Nowak, Daniel Menche

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Artist:Tristan Perich
Title: One Bit Music
Label: Cantaloupe Music
Year: 2004-5
Designer: Tristan Perich
Type of music: 1-bit
Notes: This is one music project where expensive headphones aren’t mandatory. See also: FME, Buddha Machine.

Goodbye, Babylon

Author: Colin | Published: 4/4/09
Previous Amazing archive of jazz sleeves at Birkajazz Next Tristan Perich – 1-Bit Music

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Artist: Various
Title: Goodbye, Babylon
Label: Dust To Digital
Year: 2003
Designer: Susan Archie
Type of music: Gospel
Notes: Another jaw-dropping design from the house of Anarchie/Susan Archie. Five of the CDs are filled to the brim with wonderful gospel music captured between 1902 and 1960, while the final disc contains 25 sermons recorded between 1926 and 1941.
See also:
Dock Boggs: Country Blues
Rhys Chatham – An Angel Moves Too Fast To See
Albert Ayler – Holy Ghost
Fonotone Records, Frederick, Maryland

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