Wednesday, August 20, 2008

happy birthday!

image: wordle

tell me what you hoped to say on your birthday.

the secrets that we held that day will be kept
straight. everyone will be dismayed if you run

if you will stay with me we'll face the hardest
part. now, let's go out and have some fun.

happy birthday! from modeselektor

we are the image-makers.

autechre - quaristice (album cover)

music is my imaginary friend.

music is like the air, after that, it's gone.

what is the relationship between graphics and music,
especially in the age of ipods and torrents, when the
dissemination of music appears to rely so little on it?
well, the job of the visuals is both to announce - before
you've even heard the music - and to remind you of
its core attributes. it can arguably be said that music
is the one art form that has absolutely no basis in
reality. it purely exists at the time it is being heard,
other than that it's intangible. good artwork has the
ability to give the music credibility and vision that
plays an important role in creating a world for the
listeners to immerse themselves in. it can be the link
between what they're hearing and imagining. maybe
that's the relationship, then - perhaps the graphics
are a function that can make the ethereal slightly
more visible and less transient.

Monday, August 18, 2008

kidz at the disco: modular.

modular is now 10 years old. really? really. one of the
record labels at the forefront of music right now, you'd
never guess it's been around since 1998. started in
sydney, australia by music promoter steve pavlovic,
the label made its name in 2001 by releasing the
staggeringly brilliant since i left you by the avalanches.
wolfmother, remember them? well people actually
bought their album, and it came out on modular. fast
forward to 2004, Year Zero for modern electro and the
first cut copy album, bright like neon love. in case you
didn't quite believe that cut copy would go on to rule the
world then, we're sure in ghost colours was quick to
change your mind. the rest of modular's current artist
roster reads like the dream festival bill: van she, the
presets, bang gang djs, ladyhawke, KIM (from the
presets/acidgirls), bumblebeez, ghostwood, softlightes
...and those are just the australians, before we even get
to the international signings and distribution list: the
tough alliance, new young pony club, chromeo, yeah
yeah yeahs, soulwax, klaxons, the whitest boy alive,
and MSTRKRFT. what, no mgmt?

the label has made heavy investments in talent for 2008,
so the recent financial losses come as less of a surprise in
that context, appearing as more of an ebb than a gloomy
end point. critics have pointed out part of the problem is
that its high-profile artists take too long to make albums,
citing the recent pushbacks to 2008 from cut copy, van
she, the presets and the avalanches, but maybe it's all a
clever strategy on the part of the label in an attempt to
cultivate a loyal and long-standing fanbase for its artists
in a notoriously fickle blogosphere. you can't buy the
priceless blog love that anticipation leads too. whatever
it is, it appears to be paying off - cut copy's in ghost
and the presets' apocalypso have already gone
to #1 on the ARIA charts - and will continue to do so with
the buzz about the recently released full-length from van
she, V.

the sun-kissed disco pop of modular is matched in equal
parts with graphics that convey a retro-futurist visual
language: technicolour shades with a whimsical sense of
humour, and madcap fonts. welcome to your childhood,
kids of the 80s, you'll love it here. popularized already by
so-me for ed banger and those four capital letters written
in gold, it's a sense of nostalgia without being old, and that
would explain how it's been so quickly assimilated as the
frontier aesthetic for dance music's blog culture.

it's not really a surprise to learn that most of modular's
branding and artwork is done by alter, the design studio
that includes dan whitford from cut copy. we shift into
music + graphics mode for week 2 of our design focus by
presenting you with a taste of alter's work for modular:
a balance of music and design, en vogue yet timeless.
stay with us, this week the dance party goes visual and
you're all invited.

modular people

far away: the modular magazine.

image by modular people - it's the harbor bridge between city and north sydney.

in a distant arm of the design galaxy of modular but no less
awesome sits the magazine. if you've ever wondered what
exactly the presets eat while on tour, what on earth would
make the klaxons and label boss steve pavlovic travel to a
dalmatian island and about masturbation in music through
the generations, this magazine is for you. featuring beautiful
art direction from jonathan zawada from alter, it's a feast for
the eyes and even more proof of the diverse visual language
of modular. we couldn't have predicted the waves of envy
that descended on us upon discovering this and the inevitable
comparisons to the great escape issue that followed. we'll get
there, eventually, though. thanks for the push, modular, see
you on the other side.

modular magazine 01 (download)

time stands still: alter + modular.

modular presents leave them all behind (album cover)

if you had a band, you'd do it too. it's not a surprise that
modular and alter have linked arms, since dan whitford
from cut copy is a member of the studio. the graphics of
cut copy evoke a distinctly 80s flavour with kaleidoscope
hues and playful stenciling that lends a dimension to the
band that is inseparable from their music. it's fair to say
that the cut copy covers are heavily influenced by the
style of international realism, arguably the most perfect
style for a band like cut copy that mixes emotion and
technology together into one synthful whole. here we
go, alter for cut copy:

cut copy - bright like neon love (album cover)

cut copy - future (single cover)

cut copy - saturdays (single cover)

cut copy - in ghost colours (album cover)

modular posters:

Sunday, August 17, 2008

want it all?

where to turn when bored of the bland AA
options in your
closet, but scared of the
garish and over-patterned jerseys
scream at you from every main street window? luckily
there can be a harmonious
marriage of graphic design and
one that is both witty and original -- of course
it's from japan.

Design Tshirts Store Graniph. the answer to your t-shirt
prayers. graniph takes the
next step from where AA basic
leave off. what sets graniph apart are collaborations
with contemporary
and up-and-coming artists from around
world. they also delve into the vaults of design history
using images from great
minds of the 20th century. always
looking for more without pretense, graniph accepts ideas
designers, type artists and photographers submitted
through their website to ensure the constant
flow of amazing

maybe you don't want to drop 2000 yen ($20!) for a tshirt,
but just want an accessory that complements your style?
graniph translates their ideas into
portable mediums as
well -- the
lighter! there's graniph all over japan and a
handful of locations around southeast asia and
and if you get the chance to visit the Ueno location in
you will be rewarded with a stunning store and lovely staff.
but even if you only visit their website, you will still be
presented with a modern and forward-thinking approach to
graphic design, complete with
artist biographies, current
items for the season,
and wealth of archived images that are
a feast for the eyes after all that
boring cotton out there.

design tshirts store graniph

stay another season.

i'm flying down to rio just to meet my girl cleo and then
go to venezuela and there be no better bitches. from the
beaches of the gaudiest and most fun party city in the
world comes this sparkling gem of tropical pop because
it's sunday, and we know you just need that extra pull
to get out of bed and into the sun. etienne de crecy amps
up the salsa-infused keyboards that backdrop the original,
throws in a few carnival samples and whips it all into
shape with sparkling, clean, tropical production. the result
is the perfect soundtrack for some girl-on-girl holiday fun.
as if you needed the extra incentive...

bumblebeez - rio (etienne dub remix)

Friday, August 15, 2008

the importance of being dada

the large turf: image by flickr user christophotography

"nothing is greater than anything" else states dada, and
this is the first sign of hope that the artist can discover
the meaningless importance that has been invested in
the term ART. dada is irritated by those who write "art,
beauty, truth" with capital letters, and who make them
entities superior to humankind. dada scoffs at capital
letters, atrociously. dada scrapes from us the thick layers
of filth deposited by the previous centuries. you have for
once the invitation to make merry in our new and
unprecendented experience of art, with it's now reduced
front letter. at last! art and life are now the same thing,
resembling each other so closely in reality that it is never
a question if it should be set down on paper or canvas, or
given any greater degree of expression that we give a
morning walk, a good cup of tea or a rest in the sunshine.

cbc: inflatable dog turd sculpture escapes museum, wreaks havoc.
bbc: inflatable feces raises a stink (with image!)
bbc: two killed as artwork 'lifts off'
bbc: art lovers fall into the tate's crack

Thursday, August 14, 2008

time travel is possible.

international realism: image by elise castrodale.

international realism rose to prominence with the
technological possibilities of the late 1990s, combining
real life with an imagined reality to create a style that
could be from any era and all places. the marks of this
style are: a fluid sense of data, dignified elegance, and
flowing timelines that are neither synchronistic nor
linear. the style was created as a means to bring mystery
and graphic potency back into the international imagination
by transporting the viewer back to a time more innocent
of the normalization of the exotic.

international realism is set apart from other realism styles
by its revivalist use of perspective in international settings,
giving it the ability to hint at secrets of the past that never
actually reveal themselves. with the rapid advancement of
digital photography techniques and accessibility to photo-
manipulation software in the later part of the last century,
international realism developed into diverse and somewhat
abstract components combining identity and travel, each
representing a micro-style relating to either local history or
national vernacular.

it's philosophy is both simple and profound: eventually,
things will get to where we want them to be.

field guide to style & colour

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

deutsche liebe

started in 1988, japanese company Delfonics creates
a variety of minimal, functional, and
intelligent paper
products. their philosophy is
simple (albeit slightly lost
in translation):

the stationery opens up your idea

of particular note are the Rollbahn series of notebooks,
(lined, grid, or sketchbook) that comes with
pages of pouches at the back, and
elastic to hold closed.
the notebooks also come
in convenient and cute japanese
mini size.
these products demonstrate the immense
popularity of the current trend in japan
ese design for all
things "german designed" --
even if not authentic. Delfonics
manages to
meld a sense of german cleanliness of design
with japanese aesthetics, and for this we love.


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

everything old is new again

image: elise castrodale

i had a dream about a storm. it washed through
italy and took away all the old.

so the new could finally be seen?

but the best part was the rain.

the best part is always the rain.

italy: art in the private sector

Monday, August 11, 2008

make make

you always had a way with words.

you always had a way with design.

Sunday, August 10, 2008


photos: sandra croft

is it august already? soon the leaves will fall in the
park, and the whole thing will look like a M83 album
cover. oh, which one? you tell us. let's go, xo.

Friday, August 8, 2008

5am in a perfect world.

words: burial, photo: sandra croft

"i would sit around waiting for night to fall, wait for
summer to end. or i would go out, wait for it to get
dark, and then i'd go back and work on it, sort of
hypnotise myself. i love that feeling when you know
that almost everyone in your city is asleep, or you
go out and listen to your tunes in someone's car at
night. it's like hibernating. when i'm awake all night,
sometimes i see the people and the city waking up
around me. i feel a little bit moody at them for
stepping into my night-time. what i want is that
feeling when you're in the rain, or a storm. it's a
shiver at the edge of your mind, an atmosphere
of hearing a sad, distant sound, but it seems closer -
like it's just for you."

burial - near dark

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

it's wasted in the night.

words: david castrodale, photo: sandra croft

my first fight was a couple of summers ago, and it was
pointless and unsatisfying. it never amounted to more
than a bunch of strangers blindly clawing at each other
on a street dried up of traffic and excitement. we tussled
outside the club while everybody watched slack-jawed
until the bouncers put a merciful end to it. you expect it
to be high drama - bodies pummeled, then restrained,
sweat-covered, shouting, veins throbbing, blood flowing -
but it wasn't that at all.

he came at me and i was confused more than anything;
if i were wearing a jacket he would have dragged me by
the lapels, but it was a t-shirt and he just dragged me by
the fabric while i calmly waited for somebody to step in
and stop it. nobody did, though. the specatators were as
calm, curious and confused as i was - we were all just
watching a situation develop.

finally, i got an arm free and hit him on the side of the
head. it probably didn't hurt, but he was drunk and it
knocked him off balance and i went with the momentum,
leaning forward while he reeled back, and we both went
down. he hit his head on the concrete and i bounced
back up while he stayed down and rolled over on his
side. i lunged forward to kick him and then instinctively
looked over at the gathering crowd to make sure i was
doing it right, that this was the correct way to act, but
nobody seemed to know whether i was supposed to kick
him or not. it was probably the right thing to do, but
neither me nor anyone else seemed certain about it either
way. I stood poised and bewildered, utterly motionless,
petrified, while he slowly pulled himself up. we looked at
each other and waited to see what was going to happen
next. finally, a bouncer came in and reasoned with the guy.

"look" the bouncer said. "he could have kicked you while
you were down, but he didn't. what does that say about
him, huh? what does that say about him?"

i couldn't say what it said about me. anyway, that was
the end of the fight.

the fight happened because he had offered me $10 for
a cigarette and i told him to just go buy a pack. and then
somehow in a way i couldn't quite comprehend, one thing
led to another. i was with my friend joelle, and all she had
to say afterwards was "well, he had a cool shirt on." and
he did, it was true.

anyway, i guess he had given me the $10 at some point in
the fight's preamble, and we went into the club, upstairs,
to the deserted dance floor, and shuffled around to ironic
new wave music while a cheap lighting show crashed
around us. i spent his money on beer, and all of a sudden,
my nerves caught up with me and it all hit at once, like i
had crashed into a wall. and, still, compulsively, i kept
dancing, jerking spasmodically around the dance floor
to the jangle of the cure like a broken automaton in a cage.

junior boys - teach me how to fight

Monday, August 4, 2008

nobody lost, nobody found.

photos: sandra croft

burning in the face of love, staring at a silver sun.
i can see you almost in my town. nothing but a sea
of blue separates the seasons, and i think of you.
black out, keep your colours dim so nobody can see
you. leave me heading to the ground, always from
the same height, always falling down.