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Archive for September, 2009

Tycho/Ghostly Seattle Show Update

Posted by Scott

gho10corr
As some astute readers pointed out in the Tycho Live in Seattle post, the event is not quite as “free” as originally stated. I checked in with the organizers and apparently only the lobby area — where Michna and Lusine will be playing — is free. The auditorium show — where The Sight Below and myself will be playing — is actually $10 (unless you have a Decibel Fest pass in which case it’s included).

The event is the opening gala for this year’s Decibel Fest, you can get tickets here. I’ve heard they’re almost out so get on it if you haven’t already.

Sorry for the confusion, see you out there!

Mayer Hawthorne+Ben Benjamin+o9+PST

Posted by Jakub

Mayer Hawthorne
Mayer Hawthorne has been rocking it everywhere recently, both Justin Timberlake and John Mayer have said over twitter that they love the record. The funny thing is that its on Stones Throw and I think it was just suppose to be a fun/joke record at the beginning. All the smaller hype started when he released a clear red 7 inch heart shaped record that was a great unique merch piece that definitely caught my eye then the major hype hit when iTunes picked him up as the free single of the week and then everything just spun out of control for him in a good way. Don’t get me wrong, I love it and I love this “Maybe So, Maybe No” song, its so catchy and I can probably sing it after only hearing it 3 times, just such a ballsy record to make, I can’t even imagine making a whole motown record today, definitely takes some guts and Hawthorne couldn’t of done a better job in my opinion.

The man behind Midwest Product and PostPrior has kept the torch lit for us instrumental electronic indie rock fans by making music under the name Ben Benjamin. The sound of his song Sideways Cerebus is pretty fascinating to me because the beginning sounds like Midwest Product or an electronic version Mercury Program to me busting thru the ceiling of what they use to do and taking it to another level when the piano comes in, it almost has this Telefon Tel Aviv feel after awhile but without the huge lovely whale sized synths surrounding you, just for the record “huge lovely whale sized synths” are a good thing I just couldn’t think of a bigger sized object, i’ve already used Ocean liner recently.

I probably will never stop posting IDM on this blog, it always takes me to a fantastic and aesthetically pleasing place in my head. One of the guys that I do keep posting about is o9, he was a pretty big unsung hero even among the IDM followers, probably because he never released on a netlabel which was a pretty popular thing to do for an IDM producer back then which was just a label giving your music away for free on their site. Notice the precisely placed static in this song, is that intentional?

What a name to pick Porn Sword Tobacco, its like he was choosing his name out of a hat that contained key words from an old Monty Python script, if you like this song collaboration of piano and guitar than check out older Bibio or Canyon Country.

Mayer Hawthorne – Maybe So, Maybe No

Ben Benjamin – Sideways Cerebus

o9 – Seven Milliseconds

Porn Sword Tobacco – Spectrum Campfire

Klas Ernflo and My Favorite Letters

Posted by Alex

goya
cano
davinci
A few rejected book covers by Klas Ernflo. Beautiful typography at work here — I especially can’t get over how amazing the uppercase G is in the top image (looks like Didot, but I’m not positive). Surprising (and not at the same time) that these were rejected by the publisher. I would have bought them on the spot, regardless of their contents!

Recently I’ve been trying to determine my favorite occurrence of each letter of the alphabet. I’ve picked a few, like the “G” seen above, but most letters remain up in the air. The eventual goal will be to have a list of 52 shapes; representing my absolute favorite renderings of each letterform, upper and lowercase. After that I guess I’ll move onto symbols and numbers (I already know my favorite “7″ — Clarendon). A few other examples might be the “W” from the Westinghouse logo, the lowercase Avant Garde “a”, and maybe the “H” from Scott’s recent post.

Would love to hear everyone else’s favorites! It’s hard I know, to narrow it down outside of the context of application, but I’m sure there are some standout letters for each of you. Let us know!

The State of “Popular” Music

Posted by Jakub

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I know i’m not the person that should be writing this since some of you who follow the blog sometimes have to snowshoe/pull your hair/wade through my odd writing style, but I just need to get all this off my chest. It started off with this Facebook post I wrote because I was just so bothered after putting on MTV for the first time in I don’t know how long:

Took a peek at the MTV’s music video awards tonight to see if pop music has stepped it up but still no luck at all especially instrumentally, christ! What do they do with their money? Big time creativity/musicianship/entertainment fail. Let’s just hope people like Fever Ray, Matthew Dear, Atlas Sound, SVIIB, Erlend Oye, and Benoit Pioulard keep pushing forward because that was embarrassing to watch.

Continue reading →

Brands: Dead, Dying or Defunct

Posted by Alex

panam
My most recent assignment for my MFA program is a pretty exciting one. Our task this semester is to pick a dead, dying or defunct brand and revitalize it. We are free to choose pretty much whatever we want so long as we can make a case for its need of a makeover and/or repositioning. The goal is not only to develop a new identity system for the brand, but also to extend its focus into untapped commercial avenues. For this part especially, we are encouraged to let our imaginations go wild. At the end of the project we will have an overhauled identity system, new product extensions, and an imagined history starting from wherever we picked up — the only thing that must be carried over is the original name.

Pan Am, a most beloved brand, would be a great example of something that would work really well for this project. Picking something that is familiar to people and in the public consciousness is always a good strategic choice. Although, you do run the risk of competing with a powerful history and a previously very effective identity. Another good example that Scott and I discussed was General Dynamics.

Today in class we went over everyone’s choices and there were some pretty cool ones; some very random, and most with lots of potential for sure. I am still on the fence with my choices, but I think I’ll come round this weekend when I have more time to think of potential futures. Right now, I’m thinking it might be fun to try and make No Fear cool again. They obviously aren’t an extinct brand, but if you visit the website you’ll see there is room for some…improvement.

Anyone think of other brands that are in desperate need of a renovation or rebirth? We found this list, but most I had not heard of. I’m sure there must be some others out there just screaming for an overhaul. Sound off in the comments.

UPDATE: The brand I ended up choosing was Playboy. Read about it here.

Braun Catalogues

Posted by Scott

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Braun-Aspekte-M.JPG

Some very nice vintage Braun Catalogues from Thimet. Looks like Braun’s influence on Apple extends beyond just hardware; I’m pretty sure that last one came with my Macbook. The site also has some great shots of classic Braun calculators (bottom of page) –one of which you will recognize if you’ve ever used the iPhone calculator. My favorite will always be the ET11 though, which clearly influenced the Omron 86R’s design.

MemoryTapes+Madlib+R.Dokes+Atlas S.

Posted by Jakub

Memory Tapes - Seek Magic
I keep seeing all this among friends kind of “press” on Memory Tapes and a ton of remixes by him so I bought his Seek Magic LP to see if I could find something I like and i’m not so surprised I found a couple great tracks. The one that stuck the most with me is Swimming Field, its full of airy slow melodies and builds to an outro with these huge lo-fi drums, woodwinds, and a fantasy spaceship sound, I know it doesn’t sound that good of a description of something you’d want to hear but i’d suggest you give it a listen.

The Beat Konducta needs to do a soundtrack stat, give the man a cool mill., what are you movie directors doing not hounding this guy for music daily.

Reggie Dokes was brought to my attention by Tom Croose a few weeks ago and I just got around to listening to his catalog. The sound of Chicago Pimp might actually define what I love about calssic sounding House music, it has that militant kick that has a ton history behind it from the Detroit and Chicago original heads, a looped key melody thats stripped down, these stretched out open ride cymbals and hi hats, and this gradual feeling that the song is taking over the space you’re in. All these together is a recipe for what makes a huge Detroit crowd lose their minds without yelling, pure body music.

Okay I can’t get enough of Bradford Cox as you can tell if you follow any of the recent music posts but there’s nothing wrong with that, I mean listen to this song from his upcoming Logos album, holy crap its like he’s serving me my nostalgia in a glass and its thick as syrup, I feel i’m just lost in a stare while watching large amounts of pink taffy being made, so lush, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Memory Tapes – Swimming Field

Madlib – The Payback (Gotta)

Reggie Dokes – Chicago Pimp

Atlas Sound – Washington School