Christmas in America: Happy Birthday Jesus is an on going photo project by photographer Jesse Rieser. This project of Jesse’s has to be one of my all time favorite projects because deep, deep down I am a Christmas fanatic (I’ll just never show it). This series captures a wide array of Christmas traditions across America. Everything from families who seem to never have enough Christmas decorations for their front lawn to an obscure gas station’s simple approach to the holiday season you would never bat an eye at. My favorite is the first image because I’m a sucker for weird, slightly dilapidated, isolated Americana imagery.
ISO50 Playlist 17 – Compiled By Heathered Pearls & Tycho Track Listing
Tycho – Awake
Gardens & Villa – Bullet Train
Midlake – Antiphon
Atoms For Peace – Dropped
Nitemoves – Veaquis
Clu – Jade
Jon Hopkins – Breathe This Air feat. Purity Ring
Keep Shelly in Athens – Madmen Love (Braxton/Palmer Remix)
Fort Romeau – Jete?e
Todd Terje – Spiral
Dauwd – Heat Division (Tim Goldsworthy Remix)
Sly-One – Come to Mine (HNNY Mix)
Drake – Too Much ft. Sampha (Jessie An
Clubfeet – Cape Town (Panama Remix)
Dark Sky – Rare Bloom
Beautiful Swimmers – Running Over
Evan Michael – After All
Almunia – 3 ode to mom
Erlend Øye – La Prima Estate
Rollmottle – Mustang 1966 (Black Fastback Rmx)
Isolée – Allowance
Four Tet – Lion
Xeno & Oaklander – Sheen
The Range – Metal Swing
Absolutely Free – Clothed Woman, Sitting
Automelodi – S’rait Bon D’s’Revoir
Museum of Love – Monotronic
This is like the archetype for every retro-styled with the synth-soundtracked logo build in and the crackly PBS voice over. Can’t believe this was made in 1980, would have guessed earlier from the quality.
Machinedrum and Ninja Tune have expanded nicely on the continuation of keeping Vapor City an experience beyond just an album release with a release date.
Introducing “Vapor City“, sort of looks like Africa broken up into boroughs. I’m guessing you sign up and join as a citizen and once a month for the new few months new boroughs unlock and i’m sure new music will be given away like today. Vizion Center just went live which is a above, its a really special collection of ambient tracks from Travis.
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.
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We’ve finally reached it, the Top 10 songs of the year. Make sure to check out the rest of the playlists easily by using the Featured Post Section on the right side, I hope you’ve found something new or just a playlist to sit back with.
**Side note: I didn’t include Moodgadget or Ghostly International releases because that would just not be fair.
#10 Jessy Lanza – 5785021
Just how everything expands after the 3 minute mark does it for me, Junior Boys perfection.
#9 DJ Rashad – Pass That Shit (feat. Spinn & Taso)
I need the extremes of both ends of the music spectrum to make me feel normal, being from Detroit you couldn’t get enough Ghetto-Tech, this song just makes me happy.
#8 Diana – Born Again
“The Pop Song of the Year” for me, all ages and genres, nothing matters but the music here.
#7 Ptaki – Krystyna
The Polish in me and my love for slow disco bumped this song into the Top 10. Really though you can’t deny that bassline and the sample, just heavy lush disco, its like the West Coast Rap of Disco.
#6 Toro Y Moi – Say That
If anyone deserves Top 40 support its Chaz, keep him happy and in the studio.
#5 Boards of Canada – Nothing Is Real
They came back in such a perfect way this year.
#4 The Field – A Guided Tour
My favorite listening album of the year, beautifully prepared, a formula that doesn’t need adjusting.
#3 Majical Cloudz – Childhood’s End
The only emotionally vocal song that hit me this year, he does simplicity soo well.
#2 Dirty Beaches – Casino Lisboa
This song is the definition of passion and drive.
#1 Bibio – A Tout a l’heure
Uplifting done right, changes my mood instantly, music is priceless when it can do that to you.
This Mercedes-Benz W196R won the 1954 German and Swiss Grands Prix with Juan Manuel Fangio behind the wheel. It sold at auction this year for an astounding $29,619,826. Love how it hasn’t been restored; the wear lends an authentic feel.