It seems like records and turntables are the last remnants of the analog world. Our phones are pocket computers, our alarm clocks are Hell, our cars aren’t even mechanical anymore! The industry standard for turntables, the immortal Technics 1200, have been discontinued. Built like tanks and costing almost a downpayment on a car, these have been used by… well everyone. Jazzy Jeff, DJ Shadow, Tiesto, Jam Master Jay, DJ Premier, Orbital, you name it.
And you would think, as turntables get discontinued, that vinyl would die as well. We couldn’t be more wrong. This is a collectors market with rare pieces as valuable as a 1954 mint version of the New Yorker or an original Noah Webster bible. While book prices have always been crazy, especially for first editions, modern vinyl is following suit. Even Sigur Ros LPs are being sold for well over a hundred dollars. And rare funk? Well that’s a sellers market if you’ve ever seen one. This re-release of Jay-Z’s classic album, The Blueprint, has a potential to reach those rarefied and lofty heights of the ultimate hip hop collector’s vinyl. This is a classic hip hop record and, in my opinion, Jay-Z’s best. But the kicker with this pressing? Only 2001 have been made, all blue, on 180 gram vinyl. As of right now they are still for sale, get them while they’re hot and lock them in a vault.
When I get mine, that will be the start of my first child’s savings. I don’t have kids, but I’m not joking.
How had I not known about the work of Scott Albrecht before? Scott is an artist and graphic designer currently working in Brooklyn. A few years ago he graduated from The Art Institute of Philadelphia and since then he has been making artwork for a number of exhibitions as well as creating some beautiful hand-drawn type. Words play a large role in his work and small phrases become moments for reflection and words become tangents for thought. His three-dimensional pieces are particularly striking and I absolutely love the way in which he uses wood throughout his work.
I’m really partial to Scott’s use of found materials; his old books, pieces of maps and discarded wood all add a beautiful texture that sits perfectly against the clean-cut nature of his work. Not only do these elements compliment his style but they also enrich his great ability with pattern, shape and color. Make sure to check out more of his work online by clicking here.
Inspiration is everywhere, you simply need to know how to look. For Diego Stoco, he found inspiration at the dry cleaner around the corner from his local bakery. With dry cleaning equipment as his instruments, he created this unbelievably rhythmic music that’s pretty fantastic. It’s great that you get to see his process, that he really did walk around this dry cleaner for a few hours recording the various sounds, ultimately creating something beautiful. You can see more photos from the making of this video by clicking here.
MAD Architects has recently completed the Ordos Art and City Museum in inner Mongolia. The museum is the first public building completed by the firm, lead by Ma Yansong. (There are some great construction photos here.) The project is also the first in a series of prominent commissions to be completed by MAD. What’s remarkable about this project is its context: a city that barely exists in the Gobi desert. The form of the museum is a response to this context; in an interview with Will Jones, Yansong says “Inner Mongolia has a lot of horizontal landscapes: sand dunes, windswept land, big skies. I decided to make a building that would be set into the desert. Even though the museum would eventually be within an urban context, I wanted it to connect directly with the desert.” Above is a video of a horse walking through the shiny, new museum… which seems like a funny way to create a narrative connecting the museum to the desert.
Warp Records has a knack for pulling out great UK beatmakers. By slowly introducing them into the scene, they end up becoming another part of the sonic collage that the record label releases. Rustie, a recent addition to Warp and a Glasgow native, is about to drop his first full length on the label in the next month called Glass Swords. His style of UK bass melds the mechanism of Detroit techno with the boogie funk of the 80’s. Synths are abused and drum machines hammered into a precision, creating this sort of bombastic funky drum beat.
His first single All Nite is a perfect example of his craft. You can hear the dub plates, an 80’s booty bass line, a gratuitous synthesizer and Kanye’s chimpmunk-esque samples. This is an awesome blend of pop styles. It’s a track that should be turned way up as it builds into melding melodies. A bass line with a sick, flat low end flows against a pulsing synth melody that is just so sweet and gratifying. Add a techno break down and a sick melodic turn at the end and it is a real banger. To me, it’s something you wish a recently departed king of pop could really cut loose over. It’s so smooth and easy to enjoy that I feel guilty of loving something too fast. Don’t you love when that happens?
If this is any indicator, Rustie’s debut, Glass Swords, might be one of the most anticipated records of the year. I can’t wait.
Some of you might already know Geoffrey O’Connor as the frontman for Australian pop group Crayon Fields. This week he’s releasing a new solo LP called Vanity is Forever and from what I’ve heard I quite like it. The lead single from the album is a sort of down-and-dark synth-pop number called Whatever Leads Me to You. It’s a great track and it combines an excellent edgy bass-line with some nicely textured 80s-style synthesizers.
The video above captures the mood of the song really well and I’m particularly drawn to the lighting and the colors in it. Overall though, it’s the decidedly soft-rock quality of the whole thing that does it for me, and the the combined video and music captures the essence of classic synth-rock from the 1980s (for better or for worse). Currently O’Connor is streaming the whole album for a limited time on his Soundcloud page here, which I recommend you check out.
I know, I know, it’s been too long since I had a new mixtape on the site. Thankfully I have some cool folks writing me to see if they can make mixtapes for the site, and well, I took one of them up on their offer. You may remember Philip writing about a certain fella’ named Canon Blue, also known as Daniel James, who’s an awesome musician in his own right. When he wrote to see if he could make a mixtape, I absolutely took him up on his offer.
He’s created an awesome mixtape that I’m jealous I didn’t make, mostly because I couldn’t. I know two of the 12 songs on this mix, and I love all of them. It feels very much like right now, kind of the end of something, the seasons shifting from one to another. A lot of it is folk-y, there’s a lot of strings and guitar plucking. It’s a really bright feeling mix, which is why I made the cover you see above. If you’ve been in need of a new mix, or new music in general, I think you’ll be pretty happy with how this turned out.
Here’s the tracklist:
Apparat – “Ash Black”
Son Lux – “Chase”
Owen Pallet – “Midnight Directives”
Nico Muhly – “The Only Tune Pt. 3”
Muteson – “Water Rising”
Gotye – “Somebody That I Used to Know”
Murder – “Providence”
Valgeir Sigurdsson – “Hot Ground, Cold”
Stina Nordenstam – “The Morning Belongs to the Night”
Wildbirds & Peacedrums – “The Lake”
Brian Eno & John Cale – “Lay My Love”
The Magnetic Fields – “You Must Be Out of Your Mind”
A few weeks ago I had what I called an “Artsy Bro Dinner”, which was basically a reason to get together with some friends and chat over a good meal. A member of this dinner was my buddy Damien Correll, an awesome illustrator and designer from New York who is also one half of Part & Parcel. I’ve known Damien for years now, he’s contributed to wallpapers on the site and all kinds of things.
I was super excited to see that he was guest posting/creating over on Friends of Type, hands down the best place on the web to see beautiful, experimental type on the web, so inspirational. Damien did five pieces total, the last came out today, and all of them were so well done, you should be totally jealous. My favorite of the bunch was the first piece, which I would seriously get tattooed on my body, I love it that much.