A slightly different project for Hospital Records has gone live! The label needed some artwork for two looping videos to use for 24/7 live streams, so they brought the project to me. I was gifted with a tonne of creative freedom for the videos, so I put a bit of effort into them both. Hospital then brought in motion graphics maestro Adobe Toby to bring the two projects to life.
The first one is Drum & Bass Non-Stop Bangers, a 24/7 stream of the more club-oriented music from the Hospital catalogue. I drew up a huge urban cityscape for this project featuring notable venues from Hospitality’s rich history – from the early days of Herbal and Heaven, right up to the tents of Hospitality In The Park, as well as a few other easter eggs.
The second is Drum & Bass Non-Stop Liquid, which digs into the label’s more musical side. This artwork was well into my wheelhouse – pictures of all kinds of ridiculous machines – medical, musical, and pointlessly domestic, and all strung together in a completely nonsensical way. Classic Hospital, and fits the mono illustration style I’ve been employing on several label-focussed projects over the past couple of years.
The live streams have been a success for Hospital so far, which is particularly good to know in an era when the live club event business has been decimated by our pandemic. I’m glad I put the time in, and glad that Toby did too, as the videos feel so alive now!
I’ve got into the habit of making my own fresh flour tortillas. They’re more satisfying and less alarming than the store-bought ones you get here in Britain, and as a bonus you can make them the right size for the job, instead of the not-quite-burritos-but-too-big-for-tacos one-size-fits-all approach they have here.
They’re not difficult to make either, but things do start getting a bit jugglesome when they’ve finished their second rest and it’s time to cook them. I usually find I could do with several extra pairs of hands between the rolling out, transferring to the pan, flipping, and putting in the tortilla warmer, which happens on loop until I’ve run out of dough.
Several extra pairs of hands, or a squad of small robots! I realised the process was prime for the production line treatment.
As ever, this is an animated gif that loops about every second, but there is a lot more to look at than just one second of looping. As the dough disappears off the bottom and top (under its cling film), you have to imagine it’s going to rest for twenty and ten minutes respectively.
These robots are doing a pretty legit job of making these tortillas otherwise. We’d need an army of hungry people to eat them before they go stale though!
“This isn’t what I expected when I said I was looking for a more fulfilling job”
A recent experience of having a letter go missing in the postal system inspired another looping factory gif. This one is simultaneously simpler and more complicated than the previous robot-laden ones – there’s a lot less happening in this one, but it’s also a seamless tile. That means this one loops in three dimensions – horizontally, vertically and in time.
A bit like my missing package!
One of my favourite cakes is a coffee and walnut cake. I got the recipe from my gran – she still makes the cake, my mum makes it, and now Lilly and I make it too. The only thing about the cake is it has a secret ingredient – it’s not coffee in any way I’ve known it.
Can you tell what the secret ingredient is? Chances are, if you’re American, you probably can’t tell (as Lilly and I learnt last time we were on the other side of the Atlantic). If you’re British you might not know what it is either – the only occasion I’ve ever known to use it is in this cake.
Look at the robots go though! And the electric butter cow! Never stop making those little cakes guys, coffee and walnut forever!
If the title of this post didn’t make it clear enough, I was really pleased with the hyper-detailed looping animated gif of a robot factory I made earlier this year. So much so I have decided to make another one. This time they’re making – you guessed it – washing machines!
It took a lot of energy, but for a 1.1 second loop, you can spent a whole lot longer than that looking at it to follow what’s going on.
My favourite bit is the robot who stretches the drive belt over the drum. It feels nice when things come out of my brain in the way I imagined them!
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.
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.
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!
My blog is like a bus stop, as the metaphor goes- you spend ages waiting for one, then two come along at once! Today, we have some work for BBC Radio 1, in the form of this animation:
The observant amongst you will have worked out this kinda follows on from the animation I did for DJ Q’s M1X Show on 1Xtra earlier this year, which sadly never got picked up. You can read about that there though, as this post is about the Benji B one that has just gone live!
It seems to be getting a positive reception so far, which is fantastic! I’m pretty pleased with it too- considering how much I hate working with flash, it’s turned out rather well! It might be a little daft having made a video for a radio station, but it’s all good in the internet age!
It’s nice to do stuff outside of my D&B corner of the music industry, even if it is still music-related. I didn’t really know much about Benji B before I did this, but he’s taking over Mary Anne Hobbs’ slot, who I had heard of, so he must be good! He must have good taste too, because by a bizarre coincidence, one of the tunes they picked for this video is one of the few records outside of Drum & Bass that I did the artwork for- MJ Cole & Wiley’s From the Drop:
If you’re wondering why his mouth doesn’t move, I did do a second version (which I may or may not upload somewhere in the future) with talky mouths, but it was a bit on the ghetto side- I guess too ghetto for the BBC. Probably for the better really. Anyway- cool! It’s my work on the BBC! You can see it on the official Radio 1 page here if it being embedded in a BBC player here wasn’t enough, or you can see it on Radio 1’s official YouTube channel here too.
The views expressed here are quite clearly mine and not the views of the BBC or anyone who works there, just in case I inadvertently upset anyone
I should probably write about the things that influence me more often. A couple of weeks ago, I rediscovered The Secret Life of Machines, a Channel 4 TV series from the late eighties / early ninties. I used to watch this with my Dad when I was really small- it was on TV when I was between the ages of 2-7 apparently (!) – and despite being so young, it clearly made an impression on my tiny mind!
Here is a clip from the show, where Tim Hunkin describes what the concrete ballast in a washing machine is for, with the assistance of Rex Garrod:
Genius. They picked such an expressive washing machine for the demonstration too! It’s great watching this stuff again as the longstanding lines of influence are pretty apparent. For example, here’s a series of post-it notes from 2007 that bear a subtle resemblance to the above clip:
Which is a concept I revisited last week:
Now there’s an idea that is going somewhere!
Anyway! If you like washing machines, you can see more of my washing-machine-related daily artwork by clicking here, or if you just like machines in general, you can find links to watch more of the secret life of machines on Tim Hunkin’s website.
Here is a pitch I did for BBC Radio 1Xtra earlier this year. The producer of the 1Xtra M1X shows had an idea to do some promos to go on the web- animations of ‘A Day in the Life of…’ for each of the five M1X show DJs, and asked me if I wanted to have a go at one.
I hadn’t really done much animation prior to this (other than a few random stopmotion experiments), no less serious animation, but it was only meant to be short so I thought why not give it a go! I was sent a script which I had a little think about and drew a storyboard up to. I’m not very good at drawing caricatures, but DJ Q has a nice big smile so I ran with that. After I showed them the storyboard, the producers and DJ Q made the audio track for me to animate to, then after a bit of feedback and tweaking, it was finished!
I didn’t really know what to make of it when it was done (having never done anything like this before) but the reaction seemed to be positive, which was a relief! Even all my silly visual puns seemed to go down well! I’m rather proud of it now, but I’m not sure on what its future is, so I figured I’d put it up on my site to show people I can do stuff like this!
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