As you may have noticed I haven’t been very active on the blog over the past year. This is because I had decided to focus solely on my music project, Tycho for a while. I spent the last 9 months or so working with the band on a new record which is now complete. Of course, Tycho is very much an audio / visual project so I’m still working consistently on design whether it be album covers, show posters, or online assets. I was working on the cover art and developing the packaging in parallel with the recording process this time around. We recently shared the final artwork for this LP, entitled Awake (listen to the title track here). I’ll go more into the reasoning behind and making of the artwork later, but for now here is a quote from this Reddit discussion of the cover art that I commented on:
This design was mean to be a flag; more of a symbol than what I would think of as traditional album art. I felt that, with physical mediums disappearing, album art didn’t necessarily have to fit a given format and I wanted something that could be readily transported.
If you look at earlier artwork you’ll see that I was pursuing a more maximalist / photographic direction for Tycho (e.g. http://imgur.com/a/kk93f ). But this album has a more stripped down, visceral thing going on and I wanted that reflected in the artwork. Really this is meant to be an inconized form of the sun / circle motif present in a lot of the Tycho cover art to date. Kind of like a unifying symbol for all the output that preceded this release. I see this, for various reasons, as the first true Tycho album and so wanted to focus everything into a simple form that encapsulated that idea. On a side note, there are eight color bands in the circle, each one representing a track.
The beauty of creating the artwork for the music over all these years is that I am free to develop a cohesive lineage with the imagery. From what I have seen of my peers over these past 13 or so years as a designer, we generally tend towards simplification as we go along and I think that is an important part of design: efficiency of communication. Whether this particular design is effective in that respect obviously isn’t something I have the objectivity to comment on, but that was the goal at least.
The album will be released on March 18th, 2014. Here is the track listing:
Tycho – Awake (2014)
And those who were following along on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter know that we released the artwork first via a 9×9 grid. I printed the artwork, cut it up, and photographed it using various pieces of musical equipment as backdrops. Here’s the grid in one image:
Makeshift lighting setup. All my camera gear was stolen recently so limping along with a point and shoot setup for now.
You can listen to the title track from Awake now on the Tycho Soundcloud page
More to come soon, thanks for the support!
Uwe Schmidt aka Atom TM designed most if not all of the inserts for his legendary techno imprint Rather Interesting under the credits “design sampling by linger decoree”. The CD booklet for Midisport – 14 Footballers in Milk Chocolate is a favorite example of the deadpan humor, fearless oddity and demonstrative detail found throughout the Rather Interesting catalog both visually and musically.
A beautifully shocking portrait that we love. I still always look twice when shuffling through house crates. From 1997, the ‘Monsieur Guy a Paris’ mix of Acacia’s Maddening Shroud from this 12″ remix ep is a perfectly cunning piece of french house.
We love Ariel Pinks drawings of detailed sexual dysmorphia. The original drawing used for the My Molly 7″ is in Austin’s personal art collection. Here Ariel musically clones a song by an asexual man with “This Night Has Opened My Eyes” (Smiths cover).
Donald Byrd (Donaldson Toussaint L’Ouverture Byrd II, Detroiter 1932-2013) leans suavely aloof behind his spaceage sportscar on the cover of A New Perspective. This is a favorite cover by graphic designer Reid Miles who created all of the Blue Note album covers in its first 10 years of existence thereby inventing the classic look of the legendary jazz label. Ironically Reid Miles did not particularly like jazz.
The art for Plexure by Plunderphonics (John Oswald) which blends the defiant stances of Bobby Brown, Bruce Springsteen and Garth Brooks is an icon of the “audio piracy as compositional prerogative” movement. This is Urge (Marianne Faith No Morrissey).
Once in a while we have artists that we post about Guest Post music they’re listening to. Today we did something a little different had Jensen Sportag share their favorite album covers.
Jensen Sportag’s “Stealth Of Days” is out now on Cascine, available on vinyl.
I saw Italian trio Soviet Soviet last week in Brooklyn, I was super attracted to the quickness of getting in and out of the hooky driving songs. They obviously have their similarities to old bands but they deliver it with youth and catchy basslines. I highly suggest checking out “No Lesson” first and then streaming the album
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Do you have a friend that doesn’t buy physical music? does it make you want to pull out your hair? well send him or her this. Its literally physical music porn weekly in your inbox. I just get the email and instantly become jealous and fall in love with vinyl. Cheers to the guys at Boomkat for making these photos always unique.
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Modern Love is home base for Andy Stott and also this elegant LP from Miles called Faint Hearted. Its not one of those records you skip around and see if you have a track that you might listen to, its a full start to finish listen. I like to imagine i’m taking a solo trip to Berlin in fall, taking the train and not having to socialize with anyone and just enjoying the ride and the view.
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02 Reach for the Dead
03 White Cyclosa
04 Jacquard Causeway
06 Cold Earth
07 Transmisiones Ferox
08 Sick Times
10 Palace Posy
11 Split Your Infinites
13 Nothing Is Real
15 New Seeds
16 Come to Dust
17 Semena Mertvykh
Update – Got the credits on this (via Tetsuo in the comments):
Art Direction – Brett Kilroe, Fab Moretti*
Design – Brett Kilroe, Tina Ibañez
I don’t really know The Strokes’ music so I can’t speak to that but the cover art for their new album, Comedown Machine, caught my eye today. I absolutely love it. Sadly I wasn’t able to find much information on the designer / art director. Does anyone know who did this? The artwork is derived from the packaging for some old RCA Magnetic Tape and the oversized RCA logo is an apparent reference to the fact that this was The Stroke’s final album of a five album deal with the label. The execution is absolutely perfect; it appears as if they really printed the label and sleeve up, weathered / distressed them, and then photographed it. I’m wondering who pitched this idea, the band or the art director? At any rate, I want this framed on my wall.
This album doesn’t need much explanation, it easily rivals the beloved Tame Impala but with a slower more colorful flavor.
The Holydrug Couple have done a lot of growing since their first release with Sacred Bones Records in 2011. The “couple,” consisting of Ives Sepúlveda and Manuel Parra recorded Noctuary in Santiago, Chile. They put together a home studio and recorded the entire album themselves, from start to finish. Feeling that no one else had been able to capture their sound, Ives decided to take a risk and produce and engineer the album on his own. After four months of obsessively working and barely leaving the house, Ives emerged with a final product of which the band is truly proud. All of this hard work has manifested in a more elaborated, astral sounding album than its predecessor, Awe. While Awe and their Ancient Land EP had a bluesier, woodsy sound, Noctuary plays out like a slow motion 60’s beach party dream that you never want to wake from.
This is not your typical motorik beat kraut album; rather it sounds more like a breezy take on Love or Beau Brummels. The way that songs like “Willoweed” and “Paisley” flow seamlessly into one another, it is easy to see how listeners will become entranced by this new, dream-like world that The Holydrug Couple have created. These two stand-out tracks, as well as “Follow Your Way” really exemplify the growth of this band and signify the new direction they’re headed in.
The Holydrug Couple
Buy the LP