Somewhere Between The VCR Heads

Another record cover I designed recently has been getting a surprising amount of love… Nu:Logic’s second album ‘Somewhere Between The Light’ has been out for a couple of weeks now, and is my first Instagram post to not just reach but blow past 100 likes!

The design is a homage to old VHS packaging, which was an idea suggested by Nu:Tone and Logistics themselves. It was down to me to turn this idea into a record package, which tied together nicely with a retro thumb-hole cutout, printed inner sleeves for the records, and a solid black jewel case for the CD version too.

Even the shrink wrap looks good with the thumb hole design. Nice!

A Quick Cuppa

Here is my latest and greatest record cover artwork! It’s for St. Petersburg’s Bop, and a collaboration between Med School and Microfunk.

Bop wanted the artwork to look “pretty but a little bit dangerous so you wouldn’t drink it”. I tried using petrol to get a thin-film effect, but it made my Rickmansland studio smell like a garage. After a different approach, I ended up on this psychedelic cup of cha. It’s one of my favourite pieces of artwork in a little while, and it’s out today!

Tiny Dance

Flea Waltz

The latest cover art project to come out of Rickmansland is Frederic Robinson’s Flea Waltz. It’s his second album, but first on Med School and first I got to create artwork for, and it’s a good one!

The brief started with Joan Miró, but I brought in a little bit of a Matisse to it too with the cut-out vibes, then I made it all out of wood. It turned out really well, and compliments the music too (if I do say so myself). Thanks to all involved for indulging me, and to Frederic for making a great album to inspire it!

Mystery Machine

Krakota's Strange System

More newness! Here is the artwork I created for Krakota’s debut album. He called the album ‘Strange System’, which is totally up my alley when it comes to record titles.

The title made me think of black boxes (as in science/engineering, not aerospace), which are systems that you can give input to and get output from without having any idea of what happens inside the system. I had some crazy idea to create some artwork completely obscured by a black box, but that was too, well, obscure. Everyone on the project seemed to like what I was drawing to go into the box though, so we ended up with that as the cover itself.

Krakota Black Box

Everything is connected in this artwork! Clearly some of the objects are straight out of the mechanical/system corners of my noggin, but a lot of it comes from Krakota – his love of vinyl, celebratory beers and coffee to fuel the writing process, audio bits and pieces, and objects taken from some of his track titles. On the cover is a xylophone (from Xylo), a ghost, some samphire, an ice machine (for Ice Hands), some bones (for Lazy Bones), and the odd elastic bands. There are more track titles in the gatefold artwork too.

krakota-gatefold

I kept my illustrations on this artwork as geometric as possible to make it feel very mechanical, so to contrast that and bring it back into the world of humans, we had all the artwork printed on a nice and heavy unbleached card stock. It roughs it up just the right amount and looks pretty fresh in physical too.

Check the Hospital Shop if you need a copy in your life!

Record Cover Roundup: Spring Tingz

Spring Records

Hello Internet! I thought I should show you some highlights from the record covers I’ve been designing over the past couple of months.

NHS283-Packshot-1200px

rainbows

2016 started a lot like 2015 at Hospital Records, just with a lot more rainbows. It’s a trusted design, now with rainbows on everything (just how I like it!) – CDs, picture discs, posters, T-shirts, stickers, slipmats, you name it.

MEDIC56-Packshot-1200px

futurist-gatefold

Over at Med School the first album of the year was ‘Futurist’ by Keeno. Young Keeno picked the title just because he liked the word, so I came up with this futurism-inspired illustration of a man composing at a grand piano. Of course, with a title like Futurist, I had to use the typeface Futura for the artwork!

tyoms

Med School hit the decade landmark in 2016, which is a terrifies me if I think about it too much because I came up with the original blood-stained identity for the label back in 2006. The Ten Years extravaganza took a few twists and turns, but ended up here, in what I’m affectionately referring to ‘Tennis Years of Med School’.

tyoms-early

Also included here are a couple of earlier ideas for this artwork – one looking back at some of the artwork from the past decade (which made no sense as this album is all new material!), and one papercut version of the final artwork that got downvoted by the label.

maduk-gatefold-brighter

onecolourpertrack

Lastly for now is Maduk’s debut album, Never Give Up. Maduk had 12 tracks on the album and a concept that each track corresponded to a position on a clock-face of colours, which gave a nice rotational direction to the artwork. Creating the artwork involved working backwards, trying to minimise what I started with his single last year. I’m really pleased with this one, but as is no secret, I’m always pleased by bright colours!

Wormhole

Perspective

This week’s new release I had a hand in (literally!) is ‘Perspective’ by Anile on Med School. After MD Chris came up with the record cover in a record cover concept, we sent Hospital’s ‘resident doodler’ Snapclicker out with his camera to find us something to work for the title, and this shot from the Barbican Centre jumped out as being perfect for the job. I gave it a retro jazzy feel front and back, and with everyone happy, it went off to print.

When the final copies arrived at The Purple Gates, I couldn’t resist going back to Barbican myself to keep the image going, in kind of a wormhole style. It worked a bit better with the CD, I think. If I was to go any further though, I’d need a much wider lens!

Perspective CD

He Is Lynx

I Am Lynx

The latest release I’ve had the pleasure of working on is Lynx’s new album, and his first on Hospital Records, simply titled ‘I Am Lynx’.

We haven’t often done the full-on collage thing at Hospital, at least since 2006’s Computer Love EP, but we all thought it’d go well with Lynx’s idiosyncratic musical style. Steve was up for it too, so he sent through a folder of some classic childhood/family photos and a list of objects and memories from growing up in 80s/90s Britain for me to get to work with.

I pulled the collage all together in a way that radiated around Chelone Wolf‘s portrait of Lynx, to show all of these things making him who he is today, along with a few sillier lynx moments.

I’m really pleased with the cover, it’s mega colourful, totally ridiculous and very Monty Python (we even included Bronzino’s Cupid foot), but it’s also probably the most personal artist’s album cover I’ve ever designed.

Digital and CD are out on Monday, with the vinyl following soonafter (thanks, Record Store Day). Go and cop it!

More Soviet Spacedogs: Beta Autumn 2010

Record buyers should be seeing a trilogy of Beta Recordings releases hitting stores over the coming weeks, wrapped in artwork courtesy of me! BETA23 is by Terravita, BETA25 is an EP (and one of my favourite releases in a long time) by a Russian fella called Receptor, and BETA26 is by Xilent.

I wasn’t really given a brief for these record covers, so it was down to my initiative. I followed on from the artwork I did for Beta last year- black, white and a single hue in colour scheme, as seen in Edge of Mind EP by Camo + Krooked:

I like type! When working on a project, I will hunt for typefaces everywhere – in books, on my computer, on the internet, on the street – to find something appropriate for the job. I always cross typefaces I think are great but not right, and make note of them to try and use them in the future. When asked to do these Beta sleeves, I thought it would be a good excuse to use some of these finds, but it didn’t really work out that way as I ended up using some trusty favourites- Futura Bold Condensed, Cooper Black Italic and a Helvetica Bold variant.

I didn’t really set out to revisit soviet space dogs, having made a tiny tribute to them in last year’s Future Sound of Russia, but one of the tracks on this EP is called ‘Belka & Strelka’, named after the dogs who flew on Sputnik 5 together in 1960. Their appearance in this artwork was meant to be subtle- I used an old photo of them for the halftone pattern filling the text on the sleeve, but they ended up getting carried over onto the centre labels too. As it was a doublepack and Belka & Strelka were a double-act, I thought it’d be fun to have one record for each dog. I used the halftoned photo of them on one side of each record, which I sent to John B expecting it to be a bit silly, but he was into it. Although it wasn’t an idea I took seriously, I am glad they were liked as they look great on the finished copies!

‘Step One’ wasn’t much of a title to make a cover out of, but Irreversible was a winner, as I managed to make it irreversible by nature too, by reversing the letters but not the order they are placed in. Therefore, if you try and reverse it in a mirror, it will still be reversed!

I like the centre labels for this trilogy of releases too! I followed them on from the design I did for the Xilent single last year. It’s easy to forget when designing in a computer that records don’t actually have a specific way up as they are circular and rotate by nature. Therefore, the idea behind these centre labels is the text can be going in different directions, but will never be the wrong side up.

You can get full artwork vinyl from the Beta Store, or MP3s from Beatport or iTunes now!

“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”

 
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