Various Artists: Pop Ambient 2011

Posted by Jakub

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For the readers that come here for the design mostly then your mind must = blown after seeing the album art for Pop Ambient 2011. I personally love the color scheme and subject but hey… font wise and pixelated cutout background might be causing small paper cuts on some readers brains. If I remember correctly the designer of the 11 year series is no other than Mr. Kompakt himself aka Wolfgang Voigt aka Gas which in my mind he’s allowed to do anything he wishes. If he wants puppies in santa hats in July then we do puppies in santa hats and we do it the way he wants it but I do truly admire the consistent flower theme that he has stuck with, its a brand now and I respect it and buy it every year.

Now for the music, I selected 4 cuts from the compilation, I know this weeks playlists have been super ambient and I was committed to breaking up that streak today but I couldn’t hold off, this compilation is sprinkled with stunning moments.

I’ll start off with what floors me, I mean honestly makes my jaw hit my desk then slams to the ground and goes thru the floor and hits my downstairs neighbor in the face, it’s San Fran’s Bvdub. Bare with me here, if there are angels in heaven and they play music I could see them hearing this song and thinking they haven’t written anything as beautiful as this, there, thats out there now.

Now we go to the music scholar in my mind who goes under the name Marsen Jules, everything by him is made with so much care, the releases are perfectly timed and the atmosphere is dialed in with such precision, a proud moment for modern classical / experimental music.

If you come to the blog often for music then you’ll see me post a ton on Mr. Fehlmann, the man is a genius when it comes to gentle dance music and could make a sample of a baby crying thats playing with fireworks sound like something you could fall asleep too, don’t take my ideas, I might try and make that happen.

The more unknown project here is Bhutan Tiger Rescue, it starts off like what most people would describe as a lullaby but then bells, a sliding bass guitar line and flutes gently crawl in and within moments you’re rocked into a very calm state.

If you pick up Pop Ambient 2011, I highly recommend you grab the vinyl from Kompakt directly, that label has done soo much to inspire new musicians I prefer to support them that way.


Posted by Jakub

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With the big electronic goth movement happening here in NYC comes some pros and cons, one definite pro that has come from it is the music, nothing has grabbed me more than this oOoOO remix, this could have been on the last Telefon Tel Aviv album and I wouldn’t have blinked twice, pretty perfect sounding.

I always get super giddy for new Tim Hecker, I can close my door to my room and let his songs fill my room, its always an experience like walking thru a hurricane at night.

If you want to take it up a notch on the noisy ambience listening I highly suggest someone like Yellow Swans, alil more harsh but so rewarding.

I’ve really never done this but I finished a small EP last week under the name Heathered Pearls and made it available for free to download,its very loop based with hints of subtle changes and meditative i’d say, hope you enjoy.


Posted by Scott

To-Genkyo is a Kyoto based studio specializing in product design. Their stated goal is to “make a small utopia of daily life” which I’d say sounds like a good plan. Among their innovative product designs is an hourglass shaped label which reacts to ammonia released by aging food giving a clear visual indication of it’s freshness. Great idea, I hope this actually makes it from concept to the shelves. Sorry, no clue what “milk soap” is.

To-Genkyo via Swiss Miss

Steven Hill / Film Screens

Posted by Alex

I love film titles, I think most designers do. If you’re looking for a comprehensive collection, Steven Hill’s Movie Title Screens Page is a good place to start. While there is video, there are thousands and thousands of screencaps. Only one shot from each (and you’ll have to look past the old school web design), but it’s a good place to jump off from if you’re looking for some kind of inspiration.

And of course it’s always worth mentioning the amazing Art of the Title Sequence again.

ISO50 EXCLUSIVE: New Aarnio Mix

Posted by Jakub

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I made this semi continuous new Aarnio mix last night of songs that I love to loop and fall asleep to and shared it with a friend. Its a pretty rewarding listen if you enjoy collections of songs in a row that concentrate on depth in tone and calm airy patterns.

Made for people who love the admire the beauty of the ocean at night, listening to trains from a distance and the echos from a large church bell.


Bill BairdSlow Implosion
Rafael Anton IrisrarriBlue Tomorrows
YagyaSnowflake 9
GasZauberberg 3
Casino Versus JapanVessels That Float Out of Metals That Sink, Part 3
LoscilLake Orchard
The Sight BelowBurn Me Out From The Inside
BiosphereHouses On A Hill
Jan JelinekDo Dekor
SlowdiveMelon Yellow

If you want anymore of my mixes, head to Percussion Lab for free downloads and full streaming, thanks for taking your time to listen.

Arc Encoder

Posted by Scott

If you make music or follow artists like Daedelus you’re probably familiar with the Monome, the grid based OSC controller that gave birth to new ways of composing and performing music. The same people that make the Monome are back with a new controller, this time in the form of the Arc, a high-resolution OSC controller with two knobs which double as push buttons. Like the Monome before it, the Arc is beautifully designed, outfitted in the signature walnut/aluminum casing. At $500 I can tell you right now I’m not getting one, but the Arc sure is pretty to look at; that led ring is absolutely stunning.

Whenever I see an elegant interface like this I’m always left to wonder why we don’t have more control surfaces for Photoshop (I know people have found ways to control Photoshop with midi but I’m talking purpose-built controllers). Really, if Adobe were to open up to native osc or even midi support, we’d be off to a running start with all the pre-existing musical devices out there.

Here’s a video of the Arc and Monome in action:

Arc – Monome

Brand Talk: The Criterion Collection

Posted by Sam

Continuing with the wildly infrequent discussion of brands.

In an era where physicality in media is increasingly discussed, The Criterion Collection, a “publisher of premium editions of classic and contemporary films”, has established a strong customer loyalty through a combination of quality consistency and innovation (early adoption of Laserdisc, DVD and online streaming). Criterion has become one of the most recognized names in a field that isn’t commonly considered to carry prestige brands.

I retroactively discovered Criterion after purchasing one of my favorite films Rushmore, many years ago. The design of the original poster art always left me cold, as it attempt to market the film as a teen rebellion flick, sort of a suburban CHE. The sly illustration of the solitary protagonist WAS the movie to me, which made me put down the extra dollars for this film I knew I’d always own. It was only afterwards that I realized “The Criterion Collection” banner on the side was a mark of a unique brand of curated special editions.

The secret to their success seems multifaceted.

Curation: Criterion has been responsible both for releasing films that have been overlooked, under-distributed and even just unheralded amidst box office success, finding new life given the Criterion treatment. Can Chasing Amy and The Criterion versions often sit alongside the original or Blu-Ray versions, at a higher price, but given the quality of extras, these editions are deemed to be better thought out than their peers.

Scarcity: There is a time frame in which most Criterion releases exist, possibly due to short print runs for lesser known titles or presumably the duration of the license for the film they acquired. The limited nature of these DVDs creates a collector aftermarket eager not to miss out, much like the contemporary vinyl market.

And of course, Design: The quality and uniqueness of their packaging puts them in league with some of the best companies in media today. The design is never of one style, but always of a character that is distinctly theirs. It is a commonly held fact that the best brands are the ones that are able to be parodied. The presence of a ‘Fake Criterions” blog laughs at the prospect of weaker films getting this special treatment (Im a fan of the Air Bud one in particular, very Hoop Dreams).

It could be stated that a Criterion Collection library, sitting alongside a well appointed vinyl and book shelf, will not be something to sneeze at in the Netflix era.

Founded: 1984
Founders: Robert Stein, Aleen Stein, and Joe Medjuck (company info is rather circuitous)
Identity: Pentagram (Inspiration is here).

Monogold + FIF + Women + Catwalk

Posted by Jakub

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Monogold’s album is a soft spoken mixture of whats in the main vein of quality indie rock in Brooklyn hasn’t that been taken over by lo-fi. It has its psychedelic touch, that vocal delivery of ARMS, Grizzly Bear and Arcade Fire, and mingles with the handful bands that embraced the Animal Collective sound, I don’t usually have a bunch indie rock on here but I feel very comfortable sharing this song with you.

Toronto’s Foxes In Fiction is becoming my gateway drug to give away to people that don’t know much about whats going in music these days. Its friendly, poppy, and hooky but with thought out texture that I can respect which makes it easy to suggest or recommend to young and old listeners. Download this song off his Alberto EP on his site for FREE.

I’m always waiting for Women to come to Brooklyn, I want to hear an old song called Lawncare live but i’ve been trying to find my favorite on their new LP Public Strain, i’ve been leaning towards this song because of the guitars.

The Captured Tracks people can do no wrong, you follow up The Soft Moon with Minks then a slew of amazing 7 inch singles?! half way thru this song I feel like summer is almost here.

Would love to give photo credit, anyone have any ideas?