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!

Appendix: A Nice Way to End a Strange Year

It’s not often you get the opportunity to revisit a commissioned design project, but it happened to me this year. To close out their twentieth year in business (and the coincidental timing of the big-number NHS300 in their catalogue), Hospital has published another book.

NHS300: Appendix

We called it Appendix, which I’m sure my more loyal followers wouldn’t be surprised to hear was my idea, given my puntastic instagram feed. It’s a 180-page hardback book, approximately the size of a 12″ record, that comes with a six-track EP of collaborations between some of the label’s current album roster. It’s a proper coffee-table art book!

Appendix: Identity

NHS300 is like a bigger, better version of NHS200. As well as being a lot larger and more robust physically, it also includes a lot more content. Naturally, it includes all of the label’s history and artwork roots, a lot of which has been expanded upon and rephotographed for the project.

Appendix: Early Logistics

It also encompasses the five years that have (unbelievably) happened since NHS200. In that short time, there has been a hundred more releases on Hospital, another 38 on little-sister Med School, a huge shift in the stable of artists working on albums for the labels, and countless ever-growing parties, all of which is covered in this book.

Appendix: New Blood

As well as rethinking the design of the book from the ground up, another new feature is more writing from me! I seem to have made a bit of a career at Hospital of writing silly things on products as placeholder, only to have the label staff tell me to leave it there as they like it.

Ricky's RejectsThis has come out in Appendix in the form of a running ‘Ricky’s Rejects’ section, where I pick out some of my favourite record covers that never were and explain why they didn’t make the cut. From my first-ever album project at Hospital a decade ago, all the way up to NHS298, things are still getting caught in the filters, and I pick out some of the highlights. You’ll have to get the book to see them!

Appendix: Are We There Yet?

Appendix: 2016

I also got to illustrate a unique cover for this, which is another satisfying improvement over NHS200. It’s a hospital room entangled with all the things that make Hospital Records what it is – music, medicine and making things, which I hope is reflected in this book!

To promote the book, Hospital MD Chris came out to my studio in the shires and we chatted about some of the artwork highlights from the catalogue. You can see the video (and some odds and ends from inside my world!) here:

NHS300: Appendix is being sold exclusively on the Hospital Shop. It’s a totally limited product – we won’t be manufacturing any more once they’re sold. So if you want one, you can have it, and just in time for Christmas too. They’re shipping now! It’s an essential object for fans of the label.

Appendix: Spines

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!

Still Not There Yet

One day in a meeting at The Purple Gates, Tony said ‘I’ve had a great remix done from Are we There Yet, maybe we should do a whole album of remixes’. A few weeks later, I was briefed on ‘Are We There Yet: The Med School Scans’.

Tony’s idea for the artwork was Soviet X-ray bootlegs, but this wasn’t something we could produce with any kind of authenticity, even on a small scale, without looking like just another X-ray record cover.

Instead I came up with an idea for coloured vinyl with a purpose (rather than coloured vinyl for novelty), and made a cover design that you have to scan with the record to be able to read.

The whole project looked great once printed – fluorescent Pantones worked perfectly with the colour-blocking idea and look super-tasty in person!

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!

Kinda Literal

crinkled

The first of two big albums I’ve been working on this year is out today – Etherwood’s second album, Blue Leaves. There was a lot of artwork involved in it, so here’s a drop of some imagery, notes, and a few exclusive bits that didn’t make the cut.

final-YABAPOM

work on the project started way back in January with the single ‘You’ll Always Be A Part Of Me’. Continue reading “Kinda Literal”

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

Moving

I like to dip my toes into the waters of animation, and in this YouTube-dominated era of the music business, the importance of the video-sharing site has given me new opportunities to mess around with the medium. I’ve created some small animated loops for a pair of albums this summer, for Hospital Records and its sister-label Med School.

Hospital’s most prolific artist Logistics is back with a new album called Polyphony. Matt comes from an incredible creative, artistic background and has frequently collaborated on or designed his own record covers. The cover for this album was no exception – it was something he created himself on his phone (!), and I found on his Instagram account. We all thought it was fab in the Hospital office, so it became the cover for Polyphony.

Inside Polyphony

I loved the kaleidoscopic style, so I reverse-engineered it in the process recreating a small, hypnotic animated loop. This proved useful not only for the YouTube videos (as embedded above) but also became the source for the rest of the artwork on the album.

Keeno’s debut Life Cycle was a bit of a puzzle for me. He is a brand-new artist that incited a lot of passion from the Hospital CEO Tony Colman – many thoughts were expressed about classical music, reference points were made that I wasn’t getting and dead-ended sketches were produced.

After a while I gave up on the reference points and just followed my nose – I figured as the album was called Life Cycle, I should try and represent a life cycle visually. I remembered back to my past experimentation with phonotropes – using a turntable and a camera’s shutter speed to create animation. After all the sums and technical experimentation, I got the design working. The little guy gets eaten by the big guy all the way along the cycle, which made the nice radial image used on the cover.

Keeno Picture Disc

The next most difficult part of the project was convincing Med School to release the album on limited-edition picture disc, to make it all make sense. It’s taken me such a long time to write this that they’ve all sold out already, and it’s had to be re-pressed on regular black vinyl! If you were speedy and got a copy, put it on a turntable under a really bright light, and if you look at it through your phone’s camera, you should see the design come to life like it does in the YouTube video!

Flyers by Hand

medschool131213

Here are some flyers I’ve been drawing for Med School over the past few months. I really like them! I’m slowly trying to steer Med School into something a bit more raw than Hospital, and these hand-lettered flyers are a small step in that direction.

medschool051213

medschool300114medschool080314

It’s fun to hand-draw them, but it can be a bit of a pain in the backside if anything needs changing after they’re done!

medschool230514

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)”

 
You are currently reading
Page 1