So the much anticipated / extremely controversial Beijing Olympics are in full swing and despite the issues surrounding the host country, the games themselves have been incredibly entertaining. From a visual perspective the whole production is off the charts. If you didn’t see the opening ceremonies, do yourself a favor and watch the replay. I can’t even begin to describe it so I’ll just say there was a roll-up LCD screen about the size of a football field and a mass-scale drum display that looked like some sort of giant human Tenori-On.
Obviously branding and information design are central to each Olympic experience and while I’ve posted a lot on past Olympics, I thought it would be good to get all of the logos together in one post. It’s very interesting to scan through these; the stylistic transitions say a lot about the country and historic era of origin. Helsinki kicked off the modern approach, but then Melbourne and Rome had to go and screw everything up for 8 years. Tokyo ’64 started what turned out to be a 24 year winning streak of incredibly well thought out, masterful logo designs which continued unabated until Seoul decided to kill the party with something that can only be described as inexplicably bad. From then on out it was a lowest common denominator free for all of middle of the road mediocrity. This, of course, coincided with the dawn of cheap, accessible desktop publishing where everyone all at once decided to forget everything they had ever learned about typography and color theory. I think this was also around the time that the Olympics was maturing into the massive corporate money machine it is today, so the shift in style makes a lot of sense given the new set of imperatives driving the branding (i.e. MAKE AS MUCH MONEY AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE).
Although there were 8 games prior 1924, I’ve started with Paris as it seemed to be the first of the modern games that had a specific logo mark associated with it. Most of the earlier games had posters but nothing you would consider a logo. Also missing are 1940 (Tokyo > Helsinki) and 1944 (London) which were both canceled due to World War II.
And it wouldn’t be completely without a peek into not-so-distant, yet oh-so-hideous future (London 2012). To tell the truth, something about this is starting to appeal to me. At the very least I can say I prefer the 2012 logo to some of it’s more boring ancestors (i.e. 1988-2008).
Most images via Sachin Tomar
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Director Brian Levi Bowman has released a new short film entitled Meridian which features the Tycho track Daydream. I think it came out beautifully, those particle effects are amazing. They simply licensed the track for this so I had no input on the project; in a situation like this it’s always interesting as a musician to see what directors will do with your work. The finished product rarely reflects the meaning you originally had for the song, but it’s always nice to see a different take on things.
There are a few viewing options below, I recommend the Quicktime if you got it, the quality is much higher.
> View Meridian Quicktime
> Download Meridian Quicktime Hi-Res
> View Meridian in Streaming Flash
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Here are who i think might be the best indie hip hop producers at the moment when it comes down forward thinking, more on the electronic end and catchy. Its great to see that a few went the extra mile and got a proper designer for album covers like Dabrye’s WK Interact artwork and Eliot’s someoddpilot artwork.
Flying Lotus – Roberta Flack (feat Dolly)
Dabrye – In Water
Eliot Lipp – The Outside
Daedelus – Get the Door (Live)
So I’ve been really getting into Mike Oldfield lately. This album is his second follow up to the wildly successful Tubular Bells, but has a slightly more “world” sound.
Since each of the two tracks is almost 20 minutes long, I pulled a 2:00 excerpt.
Mike Oldfield – Ommadawn
Here are a couple old DEC ads, one for the PDP-8/I and one for the PDP-8/S. The 8/I would make a wonderful piece of furniture or a nice synthesizer stand. Unfortunately you rarely see these in good shape; here’s a banged up 8e on the bay.
I know, I know, flash mobs are so last year. But I hadn’t seen this one yet and thought it was a good example of the concept as art. This must have been a pretty surreal scene to randomly stumble into, although I would have to think that most New Yorkers are pretty jaded to these sorts of stunts by now. The real trick would have been to do this in the 1930’s or 40’s. It would have caused a city-wide panic, people would think it was the rapture or something.
I’ve never seen one of these in person, but here in San Francisco I’ve witnessed Critical Mass a few times. It’s a pretty amazing sight to behold except for the part where I can’t walk across Valencia to get a falafel.
Everybody’s got a little soft spot for some Italo Disco, and you really can’t miss with Kano.
Unfortunately it’s a little hard tracking down his (or any Italo Disco) original singles without paying a small fortune, but luckily Unidisc compiled the duo’s best stuff onto CD.
It took me 10 minutes to pick which track to put on here. I still haven’t decided, but I’m throwing this one up. Luckily there’s a great video for It’s a War, so you get a double dose. Lucky you.
Kano – Now Baby Now
Kano – It’s a War
I’m sitting in a friend’s studio and he asks me what would you love to hear really loud since he has an amazing setup and my first reaction is wanting to hear the guitar’s right after the intro of where Slowdive’s Souvlaki Space Station drops in. I’ve always wanted to hear this song live over anything in my life.
After that, i wanted to compare that sound to The Verve’s spaced out Gravity Grave so i can compare in my opinion the 2 ultimate shoegaze tracks. It was lovely, almost as good as it being live in a few parts.
Then, to really take it to a dark and heavy side we put on The Reflecting Skin’s (who is pictured above) Year of the Knife which is an absolute monster. You look at movie trailer’s these days and they end up using some weak heavy metal track or some bad sped up Orbital rip off electronic track from the mid 90’s, why not something with more of an emotional connection that people won’t forget? The latest trailer for the movie Watchmen was perfect, i think it sounded like Billy Corgan from The Smashing Pumpkins, it couldn’t of been a better pick for the footage shown, I still remember it now perfectly clear.
As for the last track, it’s an edit that Addled did for M83’s You Appearing, i felt like i couldn’t of posted these songs without an M83 track but needed a song that was exclusive for you guys, you can download the song on Addled’s myspace. The original is very similar to this but he added the perfect touch to the rhythm section so its a little more driving.
Slowdive – Souvlaki Space Station
The Verve – Gravity Grave (Extended Version)
The Reflecting Skin – Year of the Knife
M83 – You Appearing (Addled edit)