HARDHOUND

Pop Will Eat Itself, Age Of Chance

Author: Colin | Published: 29/4/12

Designers Republic

Designers Republic

Designers Republic

Designers Republic

Designers Republic

Designers Republic

Designers Republic

Designers Republic

Designers Republic

Designers Republic

Artist 1-7: Pop Will Eat Itself; 8-11: Age Of Chance
Title 1-4:: This Is The Day… This Is The Hour… This Is This!; 5-7: Ich Bin Ein Auslander; 8-11: Kiss
Label 1-7: RCA; 8-11: FON
Year 1-4: 1989; 5-7: 1994; 8-11: 1986
Design The Designers Republic
Music Vocal
Notes These Designers Republic sleeves still sing with a brash, passionate engagement that’s downright infectious a quarter of a century after they were produced (give or take a few years at time of writing). That’s due to the brilliance of their design and also perhaps because we’re continuing to experience the sort of heightened geopolitical paranoia that is referenced in the Pop Will Eat Itself sleeves. I don’t think PWEI were necessarily exemplary, but they actively engaged with political issues including the Cold War and racism.

I wonder who’s capable now of creating graphics to highlight and protest the endemic levels of propaganda, surveillance and racism we’re now subjected to? There are significant traces of the political in Optigram/Manuel Sepulveda’s work and there’s a strong sense of isolation/disconnection captured in DJ Food’s graphics for The Search Engine, but my vote would go to Jonathan Barnbrook who’s very much politically engaged, as illustrated by his work for the Occupy movement and much else, and whose work betrays a strand or two of tDR’s DNA. That then begs the question as to whether there are any musicians out there able or willing to articulate and protest our current conditions – Mark Stewart, Laurie Anderson, Public Enemy, but who else younger, nearer to the mainstream, to Pop? Suggestions welcome.

Also Age Of Chance – One Thousand Years Of Trouble
Pop Will Eat Itself – X Y & Zee
Autechre – Quaristice
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Various – Lonely Is An Eyesore

Author: Colin | Published: 22/4/12
Previous Hard Format is 5 Next Pop Will Eat Itself, Age Of Chance

Loneliness Is An Eyesore

Loneliness Is An Eyesore

Loneliness Is An Eyesore

Loneliness Is An Eyesore

Loneliness Is An Eyesore

Loneliness Is An Eyesore

Loneliness Is An Eyesore

Loneliness Is An Eyesore

Loneliness Is An Eyesore

Artist Various
Title Lonely Is An Eyesore
Label 4AD
Year 1987
Design Vaughan Oliver
Music 4AD
Notes There is an amazing, tremendously valuable wooden box limited edition of this 4AD compilation. This is not that one. Here is a picture of that version replete with foliage for you to feast your eyes upon:

Terribly overrated I’m sure you’ll agree. You’d laugh in the face of anyone offering you a copy wouldn’t you?

This version is rather lovely in itself with truly creative use of type typical of Mr Oliver. Look at that first ‘L’ in the title, what a lovely gestural sweep. Just that one letter against Saville’s minimalism from last week speaks volumes about the two designers. Chalk and cheese.

Where Saville, if he had ever been moved to devise or deploy such an ‘L’ in the first place, would have left it at that, Oliver goes on to add a variety of riches to play against it – the textures redolent of printing ink (which you can almost smell) and etching plates, the widely spaced artist/track listing (which in close up is a real delight), those colour bars inching in from the left and the bottom right corner (I’ve no idea what they’re there for, but they work) and that printed, not real, masking tape at the top. And that’s just the front cover!

Oh and in case you don’t read the news section. Hard Format is 5 years old!

Also Designer page for Vaughan Oliver
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Hard Format is 5

Author: Colin | Published: 22/4/12
Previous Soundtrack to a Catastrophic World Next Various – Lonely Is An Eyesore

Lord, lord – this place is five years old. Not cat or dog years, I’ve been doing this for five human years. If you doubt it, check the date of this post. It’s a bit of a weird thing to be doing for that long. Time for a mini crisis? Ah, oh yes, I already had one of those recently – too soon to have another one. Should I have sourced an album cover with a 5 on it? What about stats? How many people, countries, comments, that sort of thing? To be honest, I’m not the sort of person who usually tells people about their birthday so this is an exception in itself and quite enough already.

If you want to do something for the site, you could email/tweet/tell someone about Hard Format who you think might not know about it. Thank you.

In the words of, er, Jim Morrison, the future’s uncertain and the end is always near so here’s to a post appearing next week ;-)

In the meantime, here’s a big 5:

Soundtrack to a Catastrophic World

Author: Colin | Published: 19/4/12
Previous Hard format: Creative Review app Next Hard Format is 5

It’s a thing of beauty designed by John Barton. I would have loved to have featured this in a weekly post, but it was a limited edition produced for an exhibition and there are no copies left. Sigh.

Spotted via Machinedear’s Twitterstream.

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Hard format: Creative Review app

Author: Colin | Published: 16/4/12
Previous Joy Division – She’s Lost Control/Atmosphere, New Order – Everythings Gone Green Next Soundtrack to a Catastrophic World

Creative Review have just launched their new iPad app and I’m pleased to say Hard Format will be contributing on a monthly basis in the hi-res section. Read all about the new app on the Creative Review blog and download a free sample edition. (The free copy doesn’t include the Hard Format contribution which is in the paid, April edition.)

Joy Division – She’s Lost Control/Atmosphere, New Order – Everythings Gone Green

Author: Colin | Published: 14/4/12
Previous ‘Program your 808′ posters by Rob Ricketts Next Hard format: Creative Review app

Artist 1-5: Joy Division; 6-8: New Order
Title 1-5: She’s Lost Control/Atmosphere; 6-8: Everythings Gone Green
Label 1-5: Factory; 6-8: Factory Benelux
Year 1-5: 1980; 6-8: 1981
Design Peter Saville; 1-5: photograph Charles Meecham
Music Joy Division, New Order
Notes One very well known design and one slightly less so. One with an apostrophe where it should be and one without. One with Ian Curtis, one without. Both produced by the late, great Martin Hannett and both designed by the still active Peter Saville, of whom you may have heard. Two gorgeous designs. One track I never warmed to (Atmosphere).
Also Designer page for Peter Saville
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