Archive for May, 2011

Date: May 25th, 2011
Cate: Design

Malmö Art Academy | degree exhibitions

Malmö Art Academy’s (Malmö Konsthögskola) annual exhibition was open until last Sunday, and unlike most art schools this was not a degree exhibition since the school is small enough to let all student exhibit. The most interesting works were by master students Kah Bee Chow (New Zealand, installation pictured above), Sarah Jane Gorlitz (Canada) and Ove Kvavik (Norway). The degree shows have instead been at their own KHM gallery at Bragegatan. The BFA show was perhaps not that interesting but the MA shows more so. Only two students exhibit at a time because the space is small, and the next show is António Leal & Titas Silovas opening next week.

Again, Gorlitz and Kvavik who had a joint degree show, have been the most rewarding so far. Ove Kvavik (his A Closer Void pictured above) who seems to work mainly with photographic and digital prints, touched upon several references and phenomena close to home for me, with his exhibition titled Markings of Descent. As a designer it’s always nice to see an artist that also has an awareness of how he/she is presented in signage, catalogues etc. and perhaps even making this a part of their practice. It’s also a useful perspective to maintain early in your career.

I’ve always been fascinated with how titles and signs interact spatially and conceptually with works of art. Since, in traditional painting, titles are of little value and usually appended much later to accommodate dealers’ and collectors’ needs of identification, it is interesting how some scholars and artist still tend to belittle titles and regard them as extraneous to the work. According to Derrida it is this very determining and defining of inside/outside that “gives rise to the work”. His concept of “the parergon” (or framing) is that which is neither inside nor outside the work (cf. the definition on p. 3 here). Parergon addresses the “problem” of the art world functioning on the assumption that art exists in separable, tangible “works” with a fixed set of attributes and sometimes even with a given meaning. This, in turn, gives rise to the canonization of particular works and rubs of on the way artists themselves are seen – as isolated masters or icons, in effect becoming the ultimate Gesamtkuntverk: a brand.

The work’s in Kvavik’s Markings of Descent are manipulated photographs mainly taken off the internet and manipulated to create new meanings, all on the theme of accidents. For example, Exercise in Worsening below, re-orders photos from a scientific experiment to say something about both scientific photography (Muybridge et. al.) and the comedy of the experiment.

Date: May 24th, 2011
Cate: graphic design

Typo Ballet

Here’s a classic for you today. I’ve been reading Teal Triggs’ The Typographic Experiment, and one of the most interesting chapters is “Visual Poetry”. Peter Bil’ak is a renowned graphic designer and typographer currently working in Holland, and runs the Typotheque type foundry. His most famous font is FF Eureka, which includes a wealth of accented letterforms. The Typo Ballet from 1998-99 explores all variations of the font in the same manner that Ferdnand Legér’s Ballet Mécanique explored industrial imagery in1924. This tiny video is from Bil’ak’s website.

Those are all the serif glyphs in the typeface. But personally I prefer the elegant sans serif version. If you click on the images you’ll be taken to respective fonts in FontFont’s shop.
Date: May 24th, 2011
Cate: new releases, rediscovered

Back From the Jungle

Groovie Records just released this compilation of Brazilian garage 45s from the 60s. It must have taken a lot of work, but there’s already a 2nd volume in the works. It includes loads of great and original tunes, as well as Wanderléia’s cover of “Pushing Too Hard”. One of my favourites is the bass-heavy minor key haunter “Amando Você” by Fátima Reis & The Rolling Fevers, which you can hear below. Several of the artists count as part of the Brazilian avantgarde, Jovem Guarda.

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Date: May 19th, 2011
Cate: graphic design, new releases

Record #1

I’ve done a number of record sleeves this spring. The first one is being pressed right now, the second one in July and a couple I am still working on. The third one was for Wake the President, who are releasing a new album and single. The single arrived today, and it’s a split-7″ with Miniature Dinosaurs released by Electric Honey. “Elaine” sounds fantastic and so will the album that’s out soon. The graphic concept carries across both releases of course, and I’ve used Caslon 224 again, which simply looks great at higher point sizes. It also ties in nicely with Andrew Symington’s design for previous releases. Symington, if you don’t know him, has been running the Divine! club night in Glasgow for the past 20 years and created several record covers for Belle & Sebastian. I incidentally came across this feature from The List, about the club’s 20th anniversary. It’s happening on June 4 and you should definitely go if you’re around cause it’s the last one at the Vic Bar. It’s part of the Glasgow School of Art student union building, which is apparently closing “for a planned programme of demolition and redevelopment”. I’ve been to Divine! a number of times, and I’ve never been disappointed.

Date: May 16th, 2011
Cate: new releases

Testbild! | Barrikad

Another album being released this month is Testbild!’s 6th effort Barrikad. It’s coming out on Kalligrammofon and is limited to 300 vinyl copies. Below is a video for “En kartbild utan sand” and you can download it along with the title track over here. The band’s ambition this time around was to use only acoustic instruments and all the lyrics are in Swedish for a change. Among other instruments, the record features an old harpsichord found at The Royal Danish Academy of Music, and I can see why Petter spoke so lyrically about it last year. All in all, it’s one of Testbild!’s most intricate and beautiful releases, suitably played on a slow spring morning. There’s a launch party for the album at Galleri Krets in Malmö where both Testbild! and Death and Vanilla will play. The latter finally released their first ep earlier this year. More info about the event is on Facebook.

Date: May 16th, 2011
Cate: new releases

Amor de Días | Street of the Love of Days

As you might have already discovered, the debut album by Amor de Días (The Clientele/Pipas duo) is streaming at Merge’s site for a limited time (it’ll be released tomorrow!). The whole album is fantastic, and favourites include “Dream (Dead Hands)”, “House of Flint”, the obviously Louis Philippe-arranged “Wandering” and “Season of Light”, as well as the delicate ballad “Wild Winter Trees” . The only thing I can possibly wish for is that most songs weren’t so easily identified as penned by Alasdair or Lupe. Also on the record is a version of The Clientele’s “Harvest Time”. And “Late Mornings” features Lupe finally singing in Spanish again! And here’s an ace video for it.

Date: May 15th, 2011
Cate: graphic design, rediscovered

SIDE 13 | podcast

Here’s a new podcast, put together from some leftover tracks from the mod-themed Record Turnover night a week ago, as well as some of my favourites from the era. The full tracklisting is below.

Read more…

Date: May 13th, 2011
Cate: new releases

Here to party

If you’re anything like me, this photo of the insert to German Measles’ new album will tell you everything you need to know about the band. A German Joke Is No Laughing Matter includes new versions of “Color Vibration” (released as a single last year) and “Mosco Street” plus “It’s Me, Babe” from their demo tape. Like “Sometimes Good Guys Don’t Wear Plaid” on their previous 12″, which was a Standells reference, “It’s Me, Babe” sounds like a reply song to The Turtles. They’ve even managed to work some slow songs into the flow of this LP, and “Earth Bound” and “Average” could well be your new anthems. As usual it’s singer Nick Curtin’s presence that makes this record, underpinned by Alex Curtin’s solid guitar playing (any fan of caUSE co-MOTION! will be familiar with his skills). But of course, they’re all Good Guys.

And you haven’t forgotten to pick up the Puddin’ Pops album right? Billed here as Bill Cosby & His White Puddin’ Pops, they really deliver the goods in the form of Party Platter of the Year, which is The Passion of the Pops rightly earned title. Excruciatingly lo-fi, mind-numbingly dumb, but krazy good! Seriously, this record is full of hits and nothing else.

Date: May 6th, 2011
Cate: rediscovered

A direct hit

Tonight it will be the second Record Turnover event of the year, which will involve me playing records at På Besök once again, this time on a mod theme. And what better way to get in the mood than with this live clip from Germany, 1986, of The Direct Hits playing the pleasant ditty “My Back Pages” from their first album Blow Up?

I also found a band called just Direct Hits (without the definitive article) who were from Manchester, and who recorded this fantastic number called “Back to the Sixties“. Hear it on the compilation LP Identity Parade (1980). They recorded a full-length as well but it was only ever released as a bootleg.

Date: May 4th, 2011
Cate: rediscovered

Los Negativos

One of my favourite bands at the moment is Los Negativos from Spain. Their first album Piknik Caleidoscopico, pictured above, was recently described on Popsike as one of the six ‘holy grail’ LPs of the garage revival era. Musically, I’d agree with that as well, and this album gives you an unusual but potent mixture of garage-punk and jangly psych-pop. The group have recorded four albums, the latest from 2009, and I’m currently getting into their second one 18º Sábado Amarillo. The track below is “El Club Del Cerdo Violeta”.

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