What goes on? Well…

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It’s been a bit quiet on here as I’ve hit the ground running after a very refreshing New Year break and am ploughing into several graphics jobs that include albums, cassettes, zoetropes, x-rays, laser-etched boxes, stickers and probably more, it’s hard to keep track and there are many unknowns to work out. Music: I want to make some pretty badly but have to pay the bills so the graphics come first and the accounts also need doing. There’s a short video to edit too, left over from last year, a track to make for a compilation and another two audio projects to find time for.

I played a set of fave tracks from 2019 on Jan 5th on the Out of the Wood show which you can hear here (excuse the shoddy mixing early on) and appeared on the Big Mouth podcast a week later talking about the film 1917, the BBC’s new take on Dracula and The Rise of Skywalker among other things. You can hear that here.
I also just dug out some mixes from 2000 from Solid Steel and tweaked them for Edzy from Unique 3’s 99.9 Emergency FM station, they’ll be scheduled in soon and I also found something quite special while I was at it. That’ll get an upload in March on its 20th anniversary if I remember.

This Saturday I’ll be in Lisbon at the Kalimodjo 18th birthday party, playing a drum and bass set with AV accompaniment, should be fun. Then next month I’m down in Hastings presenting my Kraftwerk AV mix at the Sonic 2020 festival alongside Mr Thing, Tim Exile and more on the Sunday session. After that I only have one more gig in the diary, which is slightly worrying so, if you or anyone you know needs a versatile DJ for their gig, party, festival or opening then please get in touch. I’ve still not managed to secure a London date for the Kraftwerk AV show and a fan in Belgium wants to see the Boards of Canada one pretty badly too so any leads in that area are appreciated.

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Desire Records covers

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The Desire Records sleeves I mentioned Pete Isaac referencing on the new 45 Live release were a brief series at the end of the 80s when the label switched into the dance music genre, most specifically, acid house. Artists like Adonis, Bam Bam, Corporation of One, Fingers Inc.,Charles B and Dolbie D all got the snake skin and twisted Xerox type treatment. Desire was a subdivision of the indie Fiction label, most known for releasing The Cure. The design for these sleeves is uncredited but I believe them to be the work of Andy Vella, at least he did the ‘In The Key Of E’ LP cover and a lot of work for Fiction.

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Type 303 new 45 Live 7″

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Double whammy from 45Live to kick off the new year – Type 303 with a double helping of new acid on 7″. Both sides kick, black and super limited psychedelic & clear vinyl. Seriously good on both sides, a heavy swung skacid A side that will get any party going and a deeper funky acid killer on the flip. Nice nod to the old Desire Records sleeves by label owner/designer Pete Isaac.  Order now

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PS: in case you missed it, the 45 Live 100th episode radio show special was up on Mixcloud, iTunes and other platforms over Xmas, where the whole crew got 5 minutes to do whatever they liked. My mix comes last but one but the whole show is worth catching as there are some real standouts.

2019

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What a grim end to the year and the decade, good riddance to the last four years at least. Writing this on the morning of Friday 13th as the results and fallout of the election come in, it’s hard to muster the energy and will to rejoice in anything when the turkeys have voted for Xmas. I used to be largely ignorant of current affairs and politics, back in my youth, I thought it was dull and boring, why would I be interested in any of that? But you grow up, you have a family and these things start to matter because they affect your life whether you like it or not. Back in the first half of December it felt like there was still hope, a chance to pull things back from the brink, but not now when the country has voted overwhelmingly for Johnson’s government in the belief that he will fix things that he helped engineer in the first place.

Sometimes I wish I was ignorant again, as ignorant as those who didn’t vote or voted on personalities, believing the lies and propaganda peddled by the media. But you can’t just turn that tap off, not once you’ve understood how the system works and see the soap opera play out. You CAN however blot it out for a bit by reading, watching, visiting or listening to great art made by your fellow man, or woman or non-identifying person. There was a lot of it this year and here’s some of the favourite ways I blotted parts of this year out.

LPs 2019

Music / podcasts –
way too much new music to keep up with only so much time and money, I probably listened to Adam Buxton‘s shows from the archive more than anything else this year:
Pye Corner Audio – Hollow Earth LP (Ghost Box)
Various – Corroded Circuits EP 12″ (Downfall Recordings)
Chris Moss Acid – Heavy Machine 12″ (Balkan Vinyl)
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Fishing For Fishes LP (Flightless)
Pictogram – Trace Elements cassette (Miracle Pond)
Vanishing Twin – The Age of Immunology LP (Fire Records)
Big Mouth podcast (various) (Acast)
Beans – Triptych LP (Gamma Proforma)
Roisin Murphy – Incapable single (Skint)
Ebony Steel Band – Pan Machine LP (Om Swagger)
People Like Us – The Mirror LP (Discrepant)
Coastal County – Coastal County LP (Lomas)
Adam Buxton podcast (various) (Acast)
Ghost Funk Orchestra – A Song For Paul LP (Karma Chief)
Jon Brooks – Emotional Freedom Techniques LP (Cafe Kaput)
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Organ Farmer (from Infest the Rat’s Nest LP) (Flightless)
Jane Weaver – Fenella LP (Fire Records)
Polypores – Brainflowers cassette (Miracle Pond)

Seemed to acquire a lot of tapes this year too…

Tapes 2019

 

Designs 2019

Design / packaging – so much good stuff out there, Nick Taylor goes from strength to strength, Reuben Sutherland‘s work for Sculpture always inspires and Victoria Topping continues to do great art for On The Corner Records:
Pepe Deluxé – The Surrealist Woman lathe cut 7″ (Catskills)
Various – Science & Technology ERR Rec Library Vol.2 (ERR Records)
DJ Pierre presents ACID 88 vol. III LP (Afro Acid)
Mark Ayres plays Wendy Carlos – Kubrick 7″ (Silva Screen)
Tomorrow Syndicate – Citizen Input 10″ (Polytechnic Youth)
The Utopia Strong – S/T LP (Rocket Recordings)
Jarvis – Sunday Service LP (ACE records)
Andy Votel – Histoire D’Horreur cassette (Hypocrite?)
Sculpture – Projected Music 5″ zoetrope picture disc (Psyché Tropes)
Lapalux – Amnioverse LP (Brainfeeder)
Hieroglyphic Being –  Synth Expressionism / Rhythmic Cubism LP (On The Corner Records)

films 2019

Film / TV – I really don’t watch too much TV or get to the cinema as often as I’d like to:
Sculpture – Meeting Our Associates (Plastic Infinite)
This Time with Alan Partridge (BBC)
Avengers: Endgame (Disney/Marvel)
Imaginary Landscapes – Sam Campbell (Vinyl Factory)
What We Do In The Shadows (BBC2)
The Mandalorian (Disney+)

Books 2019.2

Books / Comics / Magazines I read constantly, all sorts of stuff, a lot online, I found less interesting new comics this year or there were fewer that made an impression. Also many of my regular reads came to an end so there was less to consume on that front.
Beastie Boys Book – Mike Diamond & Adam Horowitz (Spiegel & Grau)
Cosmic Comics – A Kevin O’Neill Miscellany (Hibernia Books)
Electronic Sound (Pam Comm Ltd)
Eve Stranger – David Barnett / Philip Bond (Black Crown)
Bicycle Day – Brian Blomerth (Anthology Editions)
Moebius – 40 Days In The Desert (expanded edition) (Moebius Productions)
Rock Graphic Originals  – Peter Golding w. Barry Miles (Thames & Hudson)
2000AD / Judge Dredd Megazine (Rebellion)
Silver Surfer Black – Donny Cates/Tradd Moore (Marvel)
Help – Simon Amstell (Square Peg)
The Scarfolk Annual – Richard Littler (William Collins)
Wrappers Delight – Jonny Trunk (Fuel)

Gigs 2019

Gigs / Events – I spent a lot of time in Café Oto, socialising to the sights and sounds of Jonny Trunk & Martin Green or watching groups that featured Cathy Lucas this year:
Vanishing Twin @ Prince of Wales Pub, Brighton
Stereolab @ Concorde 2, Brighton
People’s Vote march 23rd March, London
Wobbly Sounds book launch @ Spiritland, London
Confidence Man @ The Electric, Brixton, London
Mostly Jazz Funk & Soul Festival, Moseley, Birmingham
Bluedot Festival, Jodrell Bank, Manchester
HaHa Sounds Collective play David Axelrod’s Earth Rot @ Tate Exchange, London
School of Hypnosis play In C @ Cafe Oto, London
Palace Electrics, Antenna Studios, London
The Delaware Road, New Zealand Farm, Salisbury
Breaking Convention closing party, Greenwich, London
Jonny Trunk & Martin Green’s Hidden Library @ Spiritland, Southbank, London
Negativland / People Like Us @ Cafe Oto, London
HaHa Sound Collective plays the David Axelrod songbook @ The Church of Sound, London,
Sculpture, Janek Schaefer, Mariam Rezaei + the 26 turntable ensemble @ The Old Baths, Hackney, London Vanishing Twin & Jane Weaver’s Fenella @ Studio 9294, Hackney Wick, London

Art 2019

Exhibitions – there was so much art to see in 2019, I managed most of it but London does spoil you sometimes and you can’t see it all. Just a stroll round the Brick Lane area of east London will delight with the free art painted, stuck or sprayed on the walls for all to see:
Sister Corita Kent @ House of Illustration, London,
Augustinbe Kofie @ Stolen Space, London,
Victor Vasarely @ Pompidou Centre, Paris,
Mary Quant @ V&A Museum, London,
Stanley Kubrick @ The Design Museum, London,
Tim Hunkin’s Novelty Automation Museum, London,
Keith Haring retrospective @Tate, Liverpool,
Nam June Paik, Tate Modern, London,
Takis @ Tate Modern, London,
Shepard Fairy @ Stolen Space, London,
Damien Hirst ‘Mandalas’ at the White Cube, London,
Bridget Riley @ The Hayward, London,
Museum of Neo-liberalism, Lewisham, London.

Openmind 2019

Another year over and what have I done? quite pleased with this lot this year:  
Become by own agent for the first half of the year (not fun)
Designed As One’s ‘Communion’ LP sleeve for De:tuned
Toured my Kraftwerk: Klassics, Kovers & Kurios AV set
Contributed to the Wobbly Sounds book on flexi discs published by Four Corner Books
Performed a 30 minute reimagining of Kraftwerk’s ‘Radio-Activity’ album
Appeared on Big Mouth, Out Of The Wood, Jonny Trunk’s OST, Dusk Dubs, Mix-Ins, 45 Live, Mostly Sounds podcasts / shows
Continued the design for De:tuned’s 10th anniversary with a 10th volume, poster, tote bag and more
Built a modified turntable with three extra floating arms for future performances
Designed a fold out 3″ CD Xmas card for The Real Tuesday Weld – more to come in 2020…

For no other reason – Badges, along with the cassettes it’s like the 80s never stopped

Badges 2019

RIP: Daryl Dragon, Ron Smith, Ken Nordine, Peter Tork, Mark Hollis, Keith Flint, Magenta Devine, Hal Blaine, Scott Walker, Quentin Fiore, Dr John, MAD magazine, Vertigo comics, Rutger Hauer, Ras G, Peter Fonda, Richard Williams, Pedro Bell, David Cain, Patsy Colegate, Clive James, David Bellamy, Phase 2, Gershon Kingsley, Emil Richards, Dave Riley (Big Black), Vaughn Oliver, Neil Innes, Syd Mead.

Looking forward to: – not much to look forward to except a year of Brexit, economic downturn and US Presidential campaigns but these might lighten the mood…
Paul Weller and Plone on Ghost Box
A Touched Music special release in conjunction with De:tuned for World Cancer Day – 4th Feb.
The second Revbjelde LP, ‘Hooha Hubbub’, from the Buried Treasure label
More designs for The Real Tuesday Weld…
The next Group Modular album, released on a UK label
The Castles In Space label releasing a remastered vinyl version of Clocolan’s excellent 2019, cassette-only, ‘It’s Not Too Early For Each Other’ album.
The return of Slow Death Comix
45 Live releasing their first acid 7” with Type 303 in Feb
Ian Holloway from The British Space Group’s new label, Wyrd Britain – the first release will be his own ‘The Ley of the Land’.
The Amorphous Androgynous album, ‘Listening Beyond The Head Chakra’ and album-length single, ‘We Persuade Ourselves That We Are Immortal’ around Easter
Ninja Tune’s 30th anniversary in the Autumn
An exhibition about electronic music at the Design Museum featuring Kraftwerk, Jeff Mills, Ellen Allien, Jean-Michel Jarre and BBC Radiophonic Workshop among others
The Masters of British Comic Art book by David Roach in April
The return of Spitting Image (we really need this)

Happy New Year x

RIP Syd Mead

8213311102_fc032ff5ce_zAnother graphic giant leaves us – fittingly just as the date of the original Blade Runner film has passed into history. Syd Mead was just on another level in terms of vision,

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technique,

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execution,

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colour choice,

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lighting and perspective.

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I love how figures play a part in his work but they frequently face away from the viewer, have their heads cut off or are in the distance, the tech is the most important part.

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He also did the best reflections in chrome

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…and the most incredible detail in backgrounds with splashes of abstract paint that bought the stillness of his images to life.

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All of his tech was believable and his interest and work in the car industry showed in many instances that his concepts could be buildable too. He was visually ripped off many times – snow walkers for AT-ATs,

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a red racing bike for Akira,

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a party goer’s helmet for Daft Punk… but fans know the sources.

His Gundam robot designs were unique,

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his Spinner car design for Blade Runner is an all time classic

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and he did the best Xmas cards. What a legacy he leaves…

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RIP Vaughn Oliver

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Very sad to hear of the death of Vaughn Oliver yesterday – undoubtedly one of the most brilliant and unique designers to emerge in the 80s. His early 23 Envelope work with Nigel Grierson and V23 studio with Chris Bigg and others produced so much stunning work it’s hard to know where to start. His whole aesthetic and typographic techniques were so influential for me when I started out and I used to buy records purely for his sleeves. He should quite rightly be remembered as one of the great designers of his time.

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In the mid 90s I occasionally visited the Beggars Banquet offices and would always come away with posters, promo cards or leaflets and would get a glimpse of the space where some of the designs took place. I never met Vaughn but just to be that close to where the work was created was enough.

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I pulled out one of my archive books and took some quick shots of some of the ads, promo invites and the like that I’ve collected over the years, including an original PMT used for a Clan of XYMOX advert, given to me by a friend who worked at the office for a while.

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Instagram Top 9 2019

Instagram Top9 2019
There’s a way to go until my own end of the year post (Dec 31st) but I did that Top 9 thing over on my Instagram account and this is what came back. Interesting to see the old Ninja Tune logo three times (!) which bodes well for the label’s 30th birthday next year.
No surprise to see Beastie Boys and Kraftwerk there but odd that a patterned 12” record got so many hits.
I guess nostalgia is the biggest attraction and the FunkiPorciniFast Asleep’ cover was way ahead of the pack.

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Fan service in The Mandalorian

imperialtrooptransport-w-boxOne thing I’m loving about The Mandalorian (the new Star Wars spin-off series on Disney+); the fan service coupled with some extra touches to existing designs. The Imperial trooper transport – that was never in the films but existed as a toy in the 70s – makes an appearance in episode 7. Also the TIE fighter landing with foldable wings in the next scene was a nice touch.

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P.S. – Yes I have seen The Rise of Skywalker and there’s a lot to say about it, some of which I will be attempting on the Big Mouth podcast in the second week of January 2020.

Sculpture – Projected Music ‘Tom Richards – Comma and’ remix video

Sculpture: Projected Music (‘Tom Richards – Comma and’ remix) from Sculpture on Vimeo.

From the video write up:
Tom Richards‘ remix of Sculpture‘s ‘Projected Music’ (plasticinfinite.bandcamp.com/album/projected-music) uses his own invented synthesiser modules to control the motors of three modified turntables with syncopated voltage control.

Projected Music is a 5-inch zoetrope picture disc containing 26 locked grooves. Each loop is 1.33 seconds in duration cut at 45rpm reaching a total playing time of 34.58 seconds although the loops are intended to be played at any speed. In the possession of two or more disks, the listener can interact with a modular album whereby the source material is open to interpretation. Despite its minimalist size and composition, this release is intended as an LP. With the expansive nature of the turntable, there are almost limitless possibilities.

‘Projected Reworks’ is eight commissioned tracks by artists who use the turntable as an instrument. Using only physical copies of Sculpture’s 5-inch locked groove animated picture disc ‘Projected Music’, sonic materials contained within the 26 loops are transfigured into new imaginings by some of the most prominent and inventive artists working in the field.”

Philip Jeck – Projected Mix 1
Janek Schaefer – Languishing Under a Larynx of Lies
Me, Claudius – Sifonn-ed 4
Graham Dunning – Grill
Philip Jeck – Projected Mix 2
Maria Chavez – Berceuse5
Mariam Rezaei – Improvisation I
Tom Richards – Comma and

Posted in Film, Music. | 1 Comment | Tags:

45 Live radio show episode 100

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What a way to end the decade, the 100th edition of the 45 Live radio show, hosted by DJ Greg Belson on Dublab, features the 20 strong crew of DJs given 5 minutes each to do whatever they want. As long as they use vinyl 7″s of course. I chose to mash parts of 48 different tracks together to form a classic house and acid megamix – hear it and the others on Dec 20th from 8pm-10pm PST via Dublab or the archive on Mixcloud.

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Vote!

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There are a lot of good memes, slogans and piss takes surrounding this election, here are some that have caught my eye. The slogan above, using the same fonts at the mastheads of the right wing press, is by spellingmistakescostlives.com aka Darren Cullen. He has a pop up Museum of Neo-liberalism in Lewisham right now that’s worth a visit to find out the origins and architects of how the UK is in the state it is now.

I’m not sure where the Tories Over if you want it originates but the Heavenly Social posted it and I thought I’d Photoshop it into a picture of John and Yoko to bring the reference full circle.
The Monopoly box rearranged to No More Tory is by Andy Votel and I’m unsure about the rest but the sentiments either ring true for me or make me laugh. Please remember to vote on Thursday, unless it’s for the Tories.

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De:tuned DE.10.10 Bleep exclusive 12″, poster & tote

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DE 10.10 side BDE 10.10 back
I’m super-pleased to round out the year with these designs for both De:tuned and Bleep on the first day of their advent calendar countdown to Xmas. For those unfamiliar with my work for Belgian label De:tuned’s tenth year anniversary, there have been nine 12″s released monthly in 2019 which can be seen below.

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We’ve reached the 10th and final release and saved the best for last; Lone, Plaid, Steven Rutter, Erik Van Den Broek and Humanoid feature musically, which should be enough to have you hitting the ‘buy’ button alone. But we’ve pushed the boat out on the sleeve for this one with extra silver ink and foil on top of the full colour process.

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This one nearly broke me as version after version was sent to the printer only to be returned with changes to the artwork files before they were happy to run it on the press due to the nature of the inks and foil. The Bleep website have the absolute exclusive on it, De:tuned have pressed it on silver vinyl in an edition of 300 and there’s a tote bag and print to go with it, only from Bleep.

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DE tote 1 DE tote 2
DE 10 Poster

The print is something I’m immensely proud of, an A2 five colour images featuring the full modular from the covers, designed to showcase all the artists in the series, screen printed by the exceptionally talented Jonas Ranson at Blacklist Editions London in an edition of 100. This also took a lot of trial and error to achieve with Jonas running many tests with inks, paper samples and screen densities to achieve the print quality we desired. See the detailed photos below for the quality, this is not your regular promo poster, this is suitable for framing, the silver is hard to show in these photos. Everyone has worked so hard to pull all this together with the posters being hand-delivered to Bleep on Friday, thanks to Jonas for the fantastic job and for De:tuned for being patient and trusting me to do things a bit differently.

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The items here are available individually or as a bundle with a free Bleep X tote bag – BUY HERE (Bundle)
(Also the posters are an absolute steal at £12.99 each, other prints of this kind would be more).
Poster link
Tote link
12″ link

Eno’s web

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I’ve been on a bit of an Eno kick of late and was pleasantly surprised to find mention of our Telepathic Fish ambient parties in David Toop‘s essay for the Eno Box I booklet. Lamenting the fact that the definition of ambient seems to have got a bit confused with the new generation of artists practising and playing music under this banner, David highlights some of the people and parties of the early 90s who had caused such a resurgence of interest in the music.
In our defence, we were just kids in our early twenties, still learning about this music along with all the other exciting things that were happening at the time too (techno, rave, grunge, dub, hip hop and it’s offshoots into white rock in the US and the aftermath of the baggy/madchester filtering into the UK indie scene). The early 90s were one of the most musically-fertile times I can remember with new styles and cross breeds emerging constantly. It was the dawn of the internet but still a few years away from email and a decade from Napster’s free-for-all tidal wave, arriving in London we had soaked up information as fast as possible from every available source. The weekly music papers provided a running soap opera of indie comings and goings with a smattering of dance music thrown in, record shops held an unaffordable stock to be cherry-picked with our student grants and older DJs like Mixmaster Morris, Matt Black and Rockit Ron were treasure troves of information, which they thankfully shared with us new jacks.

Every generation will reinterpret what’s gone before in its own way, influenced by the goings on around them which weren’t present in the previous incarnation, location or time frame. Hip hop and rock today sound nothing like they did even a decade ago, being twisted to suit the current age by people fresh to the scene who want it to reflect their times. It’s testament to a genre’s longevity that it still has something to say and give after several decades and ambient music’s third resurgence in recent years proves that there’s still plenty of life in the genre. Eno continues to intrigue and produce interesting music, music, apps and thoughts, even if he is producing some questionable acts now and then, something he’s always done in hindsight.

Sculpture, Projected Music release party

Projected Music poster
A huge night coming up on November the 29th in East London, Psyché Tropes celebrate the release of the 5″ picture disc of locked grooves Sculpture have done with them by putting on a gig of avant garde turntablism. Janek Schaefer, Mariam Rezaei and Sculpture themselves will be headlining and interspersed will be a 26 turntable ensemble made up of: A’Bear, Arran Bolders, Ben Rodgers, Billy Pleasant, Bjorn Hatleskog, Blanca Regina, Chloe Frieda, Chris Thomas Allen (The Light Surgeons), Dan Hayhurst (Sculpture), Daniel WJ MacKenzie, DJ Food, Graham Dunning, Hems, Horton Jupiter, Janek Schaefer, Lia Mice, Mariam Rezaei, Merkaba Macabre, Odd Lust, Pierre Bouvier Patron, Rado Bogasch, Reuben Sutherland (Sculpture),  Robin The Fog (Howlround), Spatial, Tida Bradshaw, Tom Richards.

I doubt the same people will ever be in the same place on 26 turntables ever again – should be a riot!
The record is great and available here and tickets for the event are available here for the absolute steal of £5.

The making of the new Lapalux album cover

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Lapalux released his new album, ‘Amnioverse’, last week on Brainfeeder and the cover and packaging is superb. As soon as I saw it I was trying to work out how photographer Dan Medhurst and set builder Owen Gildersleeve did it and now you can find out. Over on the Eye On Design website they have a feature on how it was done with process shots – go here to check it out

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There’s some lovely, sympathetic packaging to go with it (inc. a 28 page booklet not shown) and you can buy the record here.

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