Year of the Boris

Considering that it’s probably the biggest project I’ve had the pleasure of working on to date, I’ve come to realise I haven’t said much about the work I’ve been doing for Netsky over the past twelve months!

2012 has really shaped up to be our Belgian friend’s year- I remember being astonished at how quickly he ascended over the course of his debut album in 2010, but that was nothing in comparison to his follow-up! The sheer expanse of this project has really brought it together – it’s not just record covers; the artwork goes much further! Continue reading “Year of the Boris”

Inside the Machine

Aside from having to say goodbye to my old Vespa, one of the projects I worked on this Autumn was that of Enei’s debut album, Machines, on Critical Music. When I was given the heads-up, the first thing that struck me about the project was just what a great title Machines is!

I immediately thought ‘I like machines!’ and began dreaming up all the ridiculous things I could draw for the artwork: Washing machines, sewing machines, vending machines, washing machines, fax machines, robots, washing machines, salami-slicing machines and so on. Did I mention I wanted to put a load of washing machines on his album cover?

The daydreams didn’t last long, and from the giddy highs of domestic machines, I fell to the low of realising that all of my typical inclinations would be way too kitsch for the album, and my usual tact of just-getting-on-with-it wasn’t getting me very far either. Continue reading “Inside the Machine”

Speed & Ecstasy

This winter I worked concurrently on two album projects: John B’s Light Speed and High Contrast’s The Agony & The Ecstasy. Both projects are for different artists and evolved in different ways, but since the art was completed and wheels were set in motion, I’ve been noticing increasing unintended parallels between the two projects and their artwork.

Both album covers were driven by the artists themselves and both had different motivations- High Contrast rather controversially wanted the baroque Caravaggio classic The Martyrdom of Saint Matthew to represent The Agony & The Ecstasy, while John B had some press photos done last year complete with full make-up and styling, one of which he wanted to use for his album cover.

Both albums use transitional serif typefaces – I tend not to use serifs very often in my line of work, so two at once was a rarity! HC pushed for Perpetua on his – I have to admit this wouldn’t have been my first choice (the upper-case U having a tail bugs me) – I was angling for either Garamond (historically appropriate) or Bodoni (classical Italian), but Perpetua works in the entirety of the project. John left it up to me so I took the extravagant haute-fashion stylings of his photos and decided Baskerville fit that aesthetic and the more grown-up sound of this album quite well.

As well as both being driven by the artists’ own motivations for the cover image and both using transitional serif typefaces for different reasons, the most curious parallel that struck me was in this interview John B did with This Is Drum & Bass:

TiD&B: If you could compare your sound, and your new album to perhaps a work of art, what would it be?

John B: No idea… Maybe one of those crazy Renaissance scenes where there’s loads of stuff going on; someone dying from a dagger wound, a bunch of sexy Renaissance ladies with their boobies showing, some angels, and a lion or two.

I’m reasonably sure John hadn’t seen HC’s album cover at the time he did this interview, but it struck me as curious that he pretty much described it (minus the boobies and lions, of course) to analogise his own sound!

Lastly, both albums were a long time coming! It has been six years since Electrostep and five since Tough Guys Don’t Dance, both of which facts are a slightly alarming reminder of how long I have been doing my job now!

Light Speed is out now on Beta Recordings, and The Agony & The Ecstasy is out tomorrow on Hospital Records.

Reverberations (and Riots)

This week has seen the release of Unquote’s debut album Reverberation Box, an album project I have had the pleasure of working on over the past couple of months. The artwork I created for this album has been greeted so warmly I thought I’d show it a bit of love on Notes!

Unquote is a St-Petersburger signed to Med School after he had a couple of fantastic tracks on big sister Hospital’s Future Sound Of Russia project in 2009. His debut single, the substantially titled ‘Hide Your Tears Because We Are In Heaven‘ came out last year, and my artwork for this is where Reverberation Box started.

Continue reading “Reverberations (and Riots)”

“It’s almost 3D, this album!”

Today’s the day Rave Digger comes out- Danny Byrd’s latest album and my latest project for Hospital. This has been my biggest project both in terms of the amount of stuff I’ve created for it and the amount of exposure it has been getting, so in my usual feigned attempt at quantifying the work I’ve put in, here is a blog post showing everything I’ve managed to round up from the album, along with a bit about the process of designing it.

Continue reading ““It’s almost 3D, this album!””

Learning, Improving things and Play:musik

DJ Flight’s label play:musik is back! I was only nineteen when Flight very kindly gave me the opportunity to create the original artwork and identity for the label, but I have learnt a lot in the past five years, so the label’s relaunch was a good time to make some improvements to the artwork. This post is about the changes I have made, the things I have learnt, and the artwork, so if you’re interested, Continue reading “Learning, Improving things and Play:musik”

Little Oranges

Good work comes from good projects, which in my line of work, usually means good record titles to design for. ‘Little Oranges’ has to be the best track title I’ve had the pleasure of working with since Credit Crunch! Was B-Complex thinking of satsumas? Clementines? Tangerines? We may never know!

More pictures after the fold. Continue reading “Little Oranges”

Still Ill

I have a bit of a funny relationship with my Sick Music artwork. Maybe it’s because I float around between artist and designer so ambiguously that when I do work like this, I don’t feel like I’m being as creative as I can be. The job is kindof a find a stock image, make it a bit more interesting/relevant and lay it all out! Anyway, it’s all meant to be clean-cut, largely grid-based and stylistically a modern reference to the old Plastic Surgery albums that Sick Music is a spiritual successor to.

Anyway! Here it all is, and there’s a lot of it! I realised it’s a lot more satisfying when I put it all together- it’s a big graphic design project! I should have it up on my Flickr now (as today’s creative activity) here -the nice thing about Flickr is I’ve managed to annotate everything in the image, in case you wondered what each item was.

It’s also worth noting that the image here is reallllly big! You can click on it to see the big version in all its detailed glory 🙂

Sick Music 2 is out this weekend- its formal release date is Monday 26th April, but shops (including Hospital!) have began shipping it already. Yeah!

Remix Your Mind

OK, so here is the artwork I did for the remixes of Bop’s debut album, Clear Your Mind. As it’s a remix EP, like the musicians featuring, I was given the original in pieces and left to produce my own take on it- a remix! Clever huh?!

Scott AKA Ithinkitsnice was responsible for the original artwork. He is probably the most inspiring person to pass through the Drum+Bass artwork world in a while- his drawings are genius and make me wish I was less afraid of pencils and sheets of paper bigger than post-it notes!

Anyway, despite it meaning less work for me, I was rather pleased when I found out Med School had commissioned him to do the artwork, as it was like nothing I would’ve thought up! I was quite excited when I was asked to give it a rethink, as I had a few ideas of where I could take it. I tried a few things, including an ill-thought-out idea for projecting the graphic with light to form the image, but after some fruitless experimenting with lights and some time spent mucking around with the art on the computer, I ended up with a cleaned-up and rejigged version of the original artwork.

As for the book, if you follow my SCED project, you will have seen it already. When Tom at Hospital saw the artwork, he said he liked it because it looked like some kind of old 70s textbook cover. I thought yeah! so I set about turning it into one with a bit of photoshop fun. The book ended up even more interesting than the record cover in my opinion, but the cover had already gone to print. I guess you need the actual record cover as the middleground for it to make complete sense.

Remix Your Mind by Bop features Remixes from Blu Mar Ten, Lynx+Hellrazor, Subwave, Unquote and remix competition winner Thinnen. It is out now on full-artwork promo, and will be out on general release 2×12″ doublepack and MP3 Download on 10th May 2010 on Med School.