Saturday, December 29, 2007
Jim Dine is an American pop artist who is sometimes considered to be a part of the Neo-Dada movement. He was born in Cincinnati, Ohio and first earned respect in the art world with his Happenings, which he pioneered with artists Claes Oldenburg and Allan Kaprow, in conjunction with musician John Cage. The "Happenings" were chaotic performance art that was a stark contrast with the more somber mood of the expressionists popular in the New York art world at the time. It's basically the same modus operandi that the Dadaists had in Europe but twenty-five years after those initial noise concerts. Since then his drawings and sculptures have been exhibited in just about every fine art museum across the States.
Now the reason why I bring him up is to highlight what influence he has had on contemporary sleeve art and most particularly on Trevor Jackson's art direction for his Playgroup 'DJ Kicks' album.
Jim's work Name Painting (1935-1963) #1, 1968-1969, which I saw in the modern art wing of the National Gallery of Art here in Washington, DC yesterday is most certainly the basis for the artwork for the !K7 release. Jim's work is almost a journal in that it chronicles everyone that he came into significant contact with during the period beginning in the top left hand corner and working its way down to the bottom right. The interesting bit is that you can work out when he starts to come into contact with the art world, and especially art dealers, as these famous art pushers names become more and more predominant indicating a tremendous shift in his life.
What Trevor has done is use the same idea but write the artist and track names in much the same way and using the same medium, charcoal on canvas, to form what is easily one of the most striking record covers in recent years.
Trevor is probably best known in the music world for the sadly defunct Output Recodigs, which was the initial home to bands such as Blackstrobe, Four Tet, Fridge, George Demure, DK7, The Rapture, Soulwax, LCD Soundsystem and many more, and he recently released a retrospective compilation for the label called 'I Hate Music', which should be in all half decent record stores now. He is also part of Playgroup who had a relative degree of success with their album 'Number One' released back in 2001. Personally I love his Chromeo remix, which is 115 bpm sax-driven smack house of the finest order. Seek it out. He is also the original Underdog under which he released some of the finest hip hop influenced dance music of the mid-90s.
What I particularly appreciate about Trevor is his work in art direction. His work is immensely original and appeals to both the font nerds and the image conscious designers. His work is bold, brave and invariably always stands out amongst the dirge of shit design that litters art work in this day and age. A few years ago at the zenith of his popularity he took over the art direction for the cover that he appeared on for Jockey Slut magazine and what he produced was a strikingly simple but effective cover that beautified the newsstands for a month. His work utilizes some of the most forward thinking photography, loads of open shutter work, and combines it perfectly with font choice to form some of the most pleasing aesthetics that I've ever had the pleasure of seeing. I'm gushing now, so I'll digress but you can gather that I love and respect the man's work immensely. Do yourself a favour and check his portfolio on his website, startling stuff. I'd love to see him and Chuck Anderson work together.
Jim Dine - Name Painting (1935-1963) #1, 1968-1969 (I'd have used a better image but the guy at the gallery was taking his job very seriously and threatened me with expulsion from the place if I so much as dared to take a picture. The only option was to go to the press office and ask for permission, which they weren't going to give me for a lowly blog so this is as good as it gets unfortunately.)
Below is the artwork for the DJ Kicks album.
Inside of the gatefold
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
I'm off to DC, Maryland and Virginia for a week, so all the best for the new year to both of you that read this. All I want for Christmas are wins over Blackburn and Liverpool at home and a draw against Newcastle away... actually fuck that, the bar codes are rubbish, I'll take three more there.
Here's a couple of mixes from one of the most underrated DJs in Manchester, Adam H.
Adam is one of the heads behind Stay Free and you can be assured that anywhere that quality balearic, disco, house or techno records are being played in Manchester that he'll be somewhere on the dancefloor giving it horns. He's also one of the finest DJs in the city with his ability to weave seamlessly through the gamut of quality music a cut above. I can remember when we were driving back to Manchester after one of David Mancuso's Loft parties a year or so ago and our tired bodies and minds were endlessly entertained by Adam's mix-tapes which got us more and more into the mood the longer the journey went on. Even in my knackered state I had to seek out a few of the records that he introduced to us on that trip as soon as I stumbled through the door and they've become staples of mine.
Easily one of the best sets that I heard during my time in Manchester was after I hurried off to the Music Box after DJing at Dry to catch the last 90 minutes or so of a criminally under-attended party in the Shack, and during that time with only about 15 or so of us on the floor he effortlessly weaved through Underground Resistance rockers, disco goodness, quality house music all the way to his inevitable stamp of approval on a great night - Ashford & Simpson's 'Stay Free', which is a record that never sounds as good as when Adam is playing it. It was a cracking night.
Every time he came down to play a few at our Music Is Music night I'd invariably step away and get on the dancefloor while he was on as I knew that I could learn a lot about selection and technique from the floor and be thoroughly entertained the whole time.
Adam and the rest of Stay Free also pulled off a major coup by getting the legendary New York DJ Nicky Siano of The Gallery fame to come and play for them, which from what I gather (I was out of the country at the time) was one of the great nights out for everyone who had the privilege of being there. I am still kicking myself for missing it.
Adam will probably come and tear the roof off your party for the princely sum of a couple of pints and some space to dance. The spirit of acid house is strong in this one and hopefully people will begin to recognize this and give the man the platform he deserves to showcase his vast talents behind the turntables in 2008.
Enjoy the mixes, I know I do.
Adam H - World 25.12.07
Timmy Regisford - African Jazz
Juzu Aka Moochy - Lugar Precioso (Kulumbe Forest)
Erol Josue - Papa Loko (you Can't Steel Papa Loko's Thunder)
Juzu Aka Moochy - Lugar Precioso (Precioso Dance)
Joe Claussell - Spiritual Insurrection
Francois K - Road of Life (Quiet Village Remix)
Franck Roger - Dom Drum
Force of Nature - Afroshock
Unknown - Arp 001
Far East Band - The Call Up (Martin Buttrich Remix)
Jerome Sydenham - Blacktro
Eric Kupper Presents K Scope - Electrikiss
Manoo & Francois A - Magnetic
Adam H - Shaped
Underground Resistance Ft Yolanda - Your Time Is Up (UR 01)
Office Gossip - Carbon Copy
Tracey Thorn - It's All True (Martin Buttrich Dub)
Tracey Thorn - It's All True (Martin Buttrich Remix)
Markus Enochson - Red Coffe (Redshape Sweat Mix)
Green Velvet Presents Jamie Principle - The Choice
Tommy Bones - Focused Energy
Larry Heard Presents Mr White - The Sun Can't Compare
Future Beat Investigators - DUK (Dixon Edit)
Dubfire - Ribcage
Kevin Saunderson - Till We Meet Again (Carl Craig Remix)
Redshape - Unfinished Symmetry (Pts 1 & 2)
Adam H - How II House
Vince Watson - Rendezvous
Faber & Sydenham - Timbukto
Fish Go Deep - The Cure & The Cause (Ferrer)
The Enigma - Man on Fire
Leela James - Good Time
Ron Trent - Love To The World & Maxine Innes - I Appreciate (Percapella)
The Enigma - Schmoov
Kerri Chandler - In The Morning
Ron Trent - Love To The World (Beats)
TOT - Voices
Jon Cutler - South Slope
Ibadan 10 - #7
For the Mind, Body & Soul.
Monday, December 24, 2007
Sunday, December 23, 2007
Northern Comfort is a blog/website run by Manchester's tallest man, Rob D and featuring contributions from Catcalledmorris (Chris to his mum) and Treva Whateva of Tru Thoughts and Ninja Tunes fame as well as various other contributors here and there. They cover many bases musically but with a predominance of hip hop posts, something which the three of them are very well versed in, they tend to provide me with more than enough information and enthusiasm on a genre that has defined a culture. There is also a decent amount of humour involved which can make for a highly entertaining read.
One of the many strengths of Northern Comfort are the mixes on offer. My personal favourite mix is by Rob's better half, Elisabeth Kurtis, which concentrated on all-girl bands from over the years and, to be honest, what Elisabeth doesn't know about all-girls bands quite simply isn't worth knowing. Rob and Chris are also superb DJs who have guested just about everywhere from Last Rites to Northern Disco and beyond and they've both contributed to Ema Nosurak's Nu Boogie radio show on Salford City Radio. Rob has been kind enough to let us link to his Xmas Mix, which should keep you jolly over the festive period. Northern Comfort is also the home to Kelvin Brown's impeccable mixing and selections, which have never been in more evidence than on his latest Celestial Blues.
Not content with keeping things on the Interweb, they're going to be starting a monthly night in Manchester in 2008 as well as guesting at other nights such as the awesome Northern Disco. Their site will also be featuring mixes from Hot Pot radio, which used to be broadcast on Samurai FM and featured the likes of Mr Scruff, the Unabombers, Treva Whateva and guests.
Rob is also adept at making records and you can download a few of them here.
Northern Comfort is definitely going from strength to strength but don't take my word for it, visit them here and see for yourself.