HARDHOUND

Musica Improvvisa

Author: Colin | Published: 26/2/11

Musica Improvvisa (Die Schachtel)

Musica Improvvisa (Die Schachtel)

Musica Improvvisa (Die Schachtel)

Musica Improvvisa (Die Schachtel)

Musica Improvvisa (Die Schachtel)

Musica Improvvisa (Die Schachtel)

Musica Improvvisa (Die Schachtel)

Musica Improvvisa (Die Schachtel)

Musica Improvvisa (Die Schachtel)

Musica Improvvisa (Die Schachtel)

Musica Improvvisa (Die Schachtel)

Artist An Experiment in Navigation; Xubuxue Elliptical; Thau; Ossatura; Tumble for Tumbling; Wintermute; Ligatura Territori; A Spirale Viande; Amuleto; Amp 2
Title Musica Improvvisa
Label Die Schachtel
Year 2010
Design Bruno Stucchi, Dinamo Milano
Music Improvised
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Notes Musica Improvvisa curates an impressive insight into contemporary Italian free improvisation. Ten groups are presented over ten CDs and a DVD. The stark black and white design applied to each unique sleeve and disc within the box makes for a memorable identity for a diverse range of music. The graphic shapes suggest the 1950s sculpture of Eduardo Paolozzi and his contemporaries, in which there’s a shared a sense of striving, exploration and passion as well as an anxious angularity. The figures are clearly derived from life though some appear hybridised or almost entirely abstract: new forms teased out. They also bring to mind the name of The Spizzle’s (nee Spizz Energy) album Spikey Dream Flowers.

Listen - Tumble
- Xubuxue
- Wintermute
- Ligatura
- Amuleto
- Amp 2
- Ossatura
Also - Die Schachtel Zeit – New Composers

Kayo Dot – Coyote

Author: Colin | Published: 19/2/11
Previous Portrait of Milt Gabler, Herbie Hill, Lou Blum, and Jack Crystal, Commodore Record Shop, New York, ca. Aug. 1947 Next Musica Improvvisa

kayo Dot - Coyote

kayo Dot - Coyote

kayo Dot - Coyote

kayo Dot - Coyote

kayo Dot - Coyote

kayo Dot - Coyote

kayo Dot - Coyote

kayo Dot - Coyote

Artist Kayo Dot
Title Coyote
Label Taiga Records
Year 2010
Design Drawings, paintings and other artworks by Toby Driver; layout construction by Loaf Nest
Music “Experimental/Gothic/Psychedelic”
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Notes When this arrived in the post, I was impressed by the weight of the sleeve and the record, but the design appeared to be a little underwhelming. It was just a little too simple. I let it sit on my desk for a couple of days, then on impulse I peered inside the sleeve and saw that the white outer band could be removed. On doing so I discovered the artwork on the reverse of the band and the letterpress details secreted underneath. The hidden details suddenly made the whole design make sense. I can’t think of any other similar examples on Hard Format, except perhaps the colours printed on the inside sleeve of Junior Boys’ Begone Dull Care.
Listen
Also - Map, Douglas Quin

Portrait of Milt Gabler, Herbie Hill, Lou Blum, and Jack Crystal, Commodore Record Shop, New York, ca. Aug. 1947

Author: Colin | Published: 16/2/11
Previous Die Schachtel Zeit – New Composers Next Kayo Dot – Coyote

Now that’s a record shop.

From the rather marvellous Gottlieb Jazz Photos collection, Library of Congress, on Flickr:

Gottlieb was both a notable jazz journalist and a self-taught photographer who captured the personalities of jazz musicians and told their stories with his camera and typewriter. His portraits depict such prominent musicians and personalities as Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, Thelonious Monk, Ella Fitzgerald, and many more.

Die Schachtel Zeit – New Composers

Author: Colin | Published: 12/2/11
Previous Vinyl production video Next Portrait of Milt Gabler, Herbie Hill, Lou Blum, and Jack Crystal, Commodore Record Shop, New York, ca. Aug. 1947

Die Schachtel - New Composers Series

Die Schachtel - New Composers Series

Die Schachtel - New Composers Series

Die Schachtel - New Composers Series

Die Schachtel - New Composers Series

Die Schachtel - New Composers Series

Die Schachtel - New Composers Series

Die Schachtel - New Composers Series

Die Schachtel - New Composers Series

Die Schachtel - New Composers Series

Die Schachtel - New Composers Series

Artist 1-3: Girolamo De Simone; 4-6: Luigi Archetti; 7-9: Angelo Petronella; 10-11: Manuel Zurria
Title 1-3: Shama; 4-6: Null; 7-9: Rimandi e Scoperte; 10-11: Repeat!
Label Die Schachtel
Year Various
Design Bruno Stucchi, Dinamo Milano
Music Contemporary composition
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Notes It’s a great pleasure to feature here on Hard Format the work of Bruno Stucchi, co-founder with Fabio Carboni of Die Schachtel, the label/publishing house specialising in electronic/concrete/avant-garde music, sound poetry and artists’ records. In fact, this is only the first in a series that this website will be publishing in the near future. The graphic architectural images which adorn this series suggest deChirico, Borges, J.G. Ballard and Julian Opie to these eyes. There is a pleasing sense of simple, blank but enduring mystery about these empty, elegant spaces. Stucchi recognises these influences and expands upon them thus:

I want to recover and give back a little bit of that lost intelligence and bravery, by taking inspiration (apart from the music itself) from the ideas of the Italian artists and the designers who produced some of the most impressive work of the last century: clearly De Chirico (the Magic Architecture series for the new composers’ series – and yes, Borges too, in the sense of being stranded in some arcane landscape, feeling a sense of nostalgia for some lost myth); but also the Italian “informal” art of the fifties (MAC, Capogrossi, Burri) for the Zeit series.

Magic Architecture is how I call my design project for this series. These composers are creating completely new sonic worlds, opening up new horizons. I just wanted to reflect this approach, and give the music a wider scenario to live in (each cover is specifically designed for the music on each CD).

The design approach also creates a common ground for these publications, and that is a reflection on the way we choose the music: we want to create an original and coherent vision both musically and visually.

Stucchi has also kindly furnished Hard Format with some of his preliminary sketches:

Listen Manuel Zurria:
- László Sary – Pebble Playing in a Pot (1980) versione per 4 flauti [mp3]
- Tom Johnson – Kirkman’s Ladies – Rational Harmonies in Three Voices (2005) [mp3]
- Morton Feldman – Trio for flutes (1972) [mp3]
Luigi Archetti – Null (excerpt) [mp3]
More The links below are to the Die Schachtel website and contain more information and sound samples:
- Manuel Zurria
- Girolamo De Simone
- Luigi Archetti
- Angelo Petronella

Vinyl production video

Author: Colin | Published: 9/2/11
Previous Tim Catlin, Francisco López, John Duncan and Carl Michael Von Hausswolff, Chop Shop, Zbigniew Karkowski, Joe Colley Next Die Schachtel Zeit – New Composers

This is a rather lovely and distinctly hypnotic film of a German vinyl record factory recorded by deafstar.org who state:

Footage recorded @ Pallas Records in Diepholz, Germany, one of the last factories in Europe producing vinyl records. Footage covers many aspects of the production of a vinyl record in a loose manner, combining it with the sound of Bunker Hill and the track “pushing …”

Tim Catlin, Francisco López, John Duncan and Carl Michael Von Hausswolff, Chop Shop, Zbigniew Karkowski, Joe Colley

Author: Colin | Published: 5/2/11
Previous David Toop and Max Eastley – Buried Dreams Next Vinyl production video

Artist 1-3: Tim Catlin; 4-6: Francisco López; 7-10: John Duncan and Carl Michael Von Hausswolff; 11-12: Chop Shop; 13-14: Zbigniew Karkowski; 15-16: various; 17-18: Joe Colley
Title 1-3: Radio Ghosts; 4-6: Live in San Francisco; 7-10: Our Telluric Conversation; 11-12: Oxide; 13-14: Antimatter; 15-16: Variable Resistance; 17-18: Desperate Attempts at Beauty: Conceptual and Research Exercises
Label 1-16: 23five; 17-18: Auscultare/Ground Fault
Year 2002-07
Design Randy H.Y. Yau
Music Sound art
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Notes Randy Yau is active in an impressively wide range of roles: graphic designer, practising sound artist, sonic curator, broadcaster and executive director of the label 23five. The quality I most appreciate about his work is its understatedness. In combination with a keen sense of subtlety, the result is a series of highly elegant designs. Yau’s use of standard jewel-cases is highly distinctive. Where this form of packaging is generally disparaged, he makes convincing use of it. This may in large part be attributable to his use of card slip-covers (a la ECM) as a device to both mirror or enhance the design and provide tactility.

Each CD identifies and utilises a particular motif, whether it be an embossed logo (Chop Shop), die-cut lettering (Zbigniew Karkowski), darkness (Franciso López’s CD comes complete with blindfold) or touch (the upper face of the John Duncan and Carl Michael Von Hausswolff CD not only presents a line of Braille, but the outer case also feels almost like skin to the touch). There is never a sense that any of these devices is contrived, but instead that each is presented as a thoughtful response to the artist’s work.

Randy Yau writes:

I have always been partial to designing for the genre of ‘experimental music / noise / sound art’ because it intersects my professional work as a designer and my personal work and interest in the sonic arts. As a designer, the aim is always to facilitate—to discover and design some kind of truth for the client with a discerning eye. With the same philosophy toward music design and packaging, I will always engage with the artist to discover the story behind the music in order to arrive at some conceptual approach toward the design. The intensity and conceptual foundation of the genre itself always presents a rich narrative that goes beyond aesthetics, and fuels much of my design thinking. Of course there is an overall consistency in design sensibility, but each individual design was arrived at with some discourse and intent to reveal, support and elevate the conceptual nature of the music. For example, for Jason Kahn’s “Vanishing Point”, I approached printing methods with layers of ink the same way Kahn approached his music with white noise. As music is totally experiential, tactility and touch has always been an important element to consider in packaging. For me, it completes the experience.

Short Biography:

Randy Yau is a designer, sound artist and curator. He is currently an art director and designer at the distinguished San Francisco firm, Tolleson Design. Yau has been active in the sonic arts since the early 90s and continues to advocate the arts as Executive Director of the non-profit sound arts organization, 23five Incorporated.

Listen - Tim Catlin – Mirage [mp3]
- Chop Shop – Oxide [mp3]
Visit The 23five website