I posted on the new Wolf Parade album a while back so after letting that sink in I thought I’d post some tracks from their first album, Apologies To The Queen Mary. I do love the Queen Mary album, although I have to say I am partial to the new one, At Mount Zoomer. I ran into the guys from Better Propaganda last weekend and we got to talking about bands we’re currently listening to. No matter how hard I tried I couldn’t convince them that Mt. Zoomer was a better record than Apologies. They actually seemed indignant at the mere suggestion that this new one could be better. I then ran that same crazy idea by another friend who knows a lot about music and got the same response. So apparently I’m crazy, but I feel like Zoomer has a decidedly darker tone, it sounds like the product of a maturing band finding their way out of the somewhat crowded category that I felt Apologies placed them squarely in. Apologies is a brighter, more energetic album to be certain, but I guess I’m not really looking for bright or energetic from this band.
At any rate, they are both classic albums in my book with a razor thin margin separating the two in regards to their relative quality. The beauty of the set is that they make such good companions to each other; play them back to back and you have a very fulfilling listening session.
Alex Cornell is a student at the Academy of Art Graduate Design MFA program here in San Francisco and he also helps me out around the studio with various design and music related things (in addition to being a designer he’s also a ridiculously talented guitarist and a knowledgeable sound engineer).
Recently he brought over a project he was working on to get some critique. Since I never went to school for design it was great to get a glimpse inside the classroom through his project and also very interesting to hear what his professor thought of my input. I had a great time working with him trying to refine the project so I thought it would be nice to have him do a process piece for the blog. I think this serves an apt companion to the Making of Obama post; a good counterpoint written from the student perspective. I am sure many of you were/are design students yourselves so you can relate, seems to me like the professor does a pretty good job of impersonating a client. The following article is his account of the process of creating the piece and working with his professor to complete the project.
Just djed in Kentucky last night and now i’m winding down with some old favorites. Ulrich Schnauss‘ “Stars” off his latest LP from last year was a great listen always on roadtrips. He recently just collaborated with A Shoreline Dream on a track called “Neverchanger” but I posted one of their older tracks that first caught my ear. They have a very nice old Verve sound to them, with all the shoegaze essentials like swirling guitars and wall-after-wall of sound.
As for Farben(aka Jan Jelinek) and Mujuice, I don’t think these could be any different from the other two tracks. The cover above is from a Farben 4x vinyl boxset called Starbox which included 4 photos of different bank robbers from the 70’s, i think they were all German but I may be wrong. I loved the layout of the whole package, if you get a chance to ever see one at the record store, pick it up and open it.
As for Mujuice i having nothing else by him but this track, I found it on a Russian internet radio station called deepmix.ru which I highly recommend if you like this track.
Afiler’s Flickr has some excerpts from a book by Ladislav Sutnar aptly entitled How To Show Telephone Numbers On Letterheads. As you may have guessed, the book features various examples of type placement in letterheads. It’s a very nice set of classic examples of a dying art form and is designed by one of the key architects of information design. I’ve always seen letterheads as a great opportunity to get away with being a minimalist in an otherwise standard design scenario. It’s pretty easy to convince a client that clean, efficient design is the answer in the case of a letterhead as most of the page is required to be blank by default. Of course they will probably still ask you to make the logo bigger. View the entire set on Flickr
Headphone time: The language in this video is potentially NSFW.
I don’t know where I stumbled on to this video, but It’s amazing, hilarious, and insightful all at the same time. Judging from the title I thought I was about to be subjected to some sort of right-wing rant about morals and values in America, little did I know I was actually in for a very down to earth lesson in design. I really like this guy’s attitude and it’s rare that you hear someone speak so frankly and unpretentiously about design. In my opinion, he hits the nail on the head with this and I couldn’t agree more. Even if you don’t agree with him, you absolutely must agree with the Futura titling.
I don’t have much info on this, but apparently it’s a trailer from an upcoming series called The Draplin Project featuring a guy named Aaron Draplin. Aaron’s site is full of interesting stuff and some very nice examples of industrial modernist design. I’ve posted the poor quality YouTube version above for ease of viewing, but you can also download the hi-res Quicktime version from Jess Gibson’s site.
Up top is the original handbook for the Digital PDP11 Microcomputer (front and back). This was a successor of the PDP8 line I covered earlier. This time around we’ve got a liberal shift into the magenta range for the interface. The lower image depicts the machine in use; funny how they’ve dubbed it a "microcomputer" yet it’s peripherals fill an entire room. Makes me realize that for all the ills of the modern world, we as digital artists certainly live in a fortunate time for our chosen profession. The great irony here (considering the proliferation of computer based desktop publishing) is that these brochures for computers were all set photographically, by hand. I’m not sure what typeface that is, it looks rather custom so perhaps it never made the leap to the digital realm as a font. Let us all know if you have any ideas about it’s identity.
Really liking the cream border on the handbook and it looks to be intentional in this case as opposed to being an effect of aging like we saw in the Blue Note covers. Also, here’s an interesting example of a programming card from the PDP, unfortunately it’s a bit cut off.
Here are 4 pretty guitar focused musicians that i think have nothing really in common that i’ve always shared with people in the past on mixtapes or as new music to get into.
Christopher Willits i don’t think could of made a fuller sound than this, usually known for his 12k glitched out guitar pieces before this release on the album Surf Boundaries. All the way thru he just packs in the drumming like Caribou and the guitar at 3:26 couldn’t be anymore insane and lovely, it really comes down to the detail in this track, i can’t imagine recording it all.
Ricardo Villalobos usually known for his 14+ min South American influenced minimal techno puts together one of my favorite tracks on his Alcachofa LP which is the artwork shown above and also a nice change up for techno fans and really opens the door to having new fans of the music. You can find more Villalobos on the Erlend Oye DJ Kicks compilation and his remix of Depeche Mode.
As for Sun Kil Moon, it’s a side project for Red House Painter’s Mark Kozelek, i’m not a good follower of lyrics but i think its about a true story of a boxer that died in a match named Duk Koo Kim, this song is a must have, it might be abit intense like most Mark Kozelek songs in an emotional way but even at 14:33 i end up pressing rewind to hear it again, make sure you have a nice upbeat track to follow it up.
The Boats barely have a guitar in this song but i’m guessing there’s a bass guitar and a harp sample in there thru most of it. This song always reminded me of if Portishead had to play unplugged or if Matmos and Bjork came back together for another release.
Christopher Willits – Medium Blue
Ricardo Villalobos – Waiworinao
Sun Kil Moon – Duk Koo Kim
The Boats – And There are Stars that Fell from The Sky