Jonathan Barnbrook mix-tape

Author: Colin | Published: 20/8/10

As the author of this blog post observes, if you’re of a certain age and a music fan you’re likely to have been responsible for production of at least one mix-tape – if memory serves, I’m responsible for quite a few. In fact, I produced custom cases that refused to sit neatly alongside each other because they were so jagged or strangely proportioned. I wonder whether any survive now. Anyway, here’s a rather delicious example by the designer Jonathan Barnbrook.

Visit the Barnbrook blog for more details.

Inteview with Vaughan Oliver

Author: Colin | Published: 18/8/10
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Well worth reading: Imprint Magazine – particularly for the passionate engagement of the man’s views:

It’s all an intuitive process. I wouldn’t say it always comes from there, but I feel my way around the job. It’s poetic.

Have you backed up your records lately?

Author: Colin | Published: 16/8/10
Previous Ninja Tune exhibition, London Next Inteview with Vaughan Oliver

Forget about your hard drive crashing.

Full instructions on Do It

Ninja Tune exhibition, London

Author: Colin | Published: 15/8/10
Previous Thomas Köner – Nunatak, Teimo, Permafrost Next Have you backed up your records lately?

Label of DJ Food - Jazz Brakes Volume 1, 1990

“Opening in 2 weeks time will be Ninja’s first bonafide exhibition in the UK to celebrate the publication of the book, ‘Ninja Tune: 20 Years of Beats & Pieces’ (…) It will feature lots of original artwork, models, posters, sleeves, flyers and promo bits from across the years (…) It opens Friday, 20th of August at Black Dog’s gallery space, 10 Acton St. London, WC1X 9NG between 12-5pm weekdays and is only on for a month.”

Ninja Tune 20 year exhibition in London

Thomas Köner – Nunatak, Teimo, Permafrost

Author: Colin | Published: 14/8/10
Previous Innovative synchronised artwork from Arcade Fire Next Ninja Tune exhibition, London

Artist Thomas Köner
Title Nunatak, Teimo, Permafrost
Label Type Recordings
Year 2010
Designer Artwork: John Twells; layout: Radu Prepeleac
Music Frozen
Desktop Download image
Notes Beautiful, minimal artwork for beautiful, minimal music. Nary a credit to be seen on verso or recto, just five images of the arctic cold. This is a reissue of Köner’s first three recordings, rare as hen’s teeth in their original releases. I have the second two, but never could score the first for any kind of a reasonable sum. If you’ve any interest in deep ambience or are unacquainted with Köner’s work, run don’t walk in the direction of this release.

Buy from Boomkat

See also:
Asmus Tietchens + Thomas Köner – Kontakt der Junglinge
Chain Reaction (Thomas Köner was one half of Porter Ricks)

Innovative synchronised artwork from Arcade Fire

Author: Colin | Published: 12/8/10
Previous Eye magazine Next Thomas Köner – Nunatak, Teimo, Permafrost

This article in The Guardian looks intriguing and, if it works, should go some way towards utilising all that computing power, only a small percentage of which needs to be used in playing back MP3s. Strangely, the download/purchase page linked to doesn’t mention any of the following at all. Are there any Arcade Fans out there who want to report back about this?

The Montreal rockers have devised bonus material for the download of The Suburbs, providing images, lyrics and videos to the accompany the songs.

The idea was conceived by Vincent Morisset, director of Arcade Fire’s Miroir Noir live DVD, together with designer Caroline Roberts. “Most of us now buy, share and listen to music through computer and portable devices,” he said on his blog. While the artwork for most digital releases consists of a jpeg image of the cover, “I wanted to find a way to get closer to [the physical experience]”, Morisset explained. “I thought about the relation we have with the vinyl cardboard cover or the paper booklet while listening to the songs. Flipping through the lyrics, looking at a band picture or a cool drawing related to a song while listening to it. With the MP3 player, we [lose] that.”

The solution, Morisset proposed, is “synchronised artwork”. Using the M4A format, artists can tag images to particular moments in an audio track, making them appear in iTunes or on an iPod screen. Traditionally, this is used for podcasts, to distinguish different topics of conversation. Morisset’s idea was not just to use images to distinguish each album track, but to synchronise graphics and hand-drawn lyrics with each musical moment. These images are drawn from the printed artwork designed by Roberts, and particularly Gabriel Jones’s photographs of the Houston, Texas suburbs.

Besides images, Morisset was also able to synchronise hyperlinks at particular points in the songs. “This gives the possibility for the band to add, at any moment, all kinds of references,” he said. “They plan to change and update those links occasionally.” The result is an album of fascinating connections: on the song Deep Blue, Arcade Fire point to Neil Young’s Harvest Moon and the cyberpunk fiction of William Gibson; on Empty Room, they reference an experimental classic by Alvin Lucier; plus veggie burritos, Woody Allen and lots of Ramones lyrics.

Although Apple invented the M4A format, the supercharged version of Arcade Fire’s album is not available in the iTunes Music Store. For access to the synchronised artwork, fans must download The Suburbs from Arcade Fire’s site.

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