'Fury And Hecla' by Loscil / Fieldhead



We were very pleased to be able to work on this job for a split EP between Loscil (Kranky Records) and Fieldhead (Gizeh Records). This was a collaborative release between these two excellent ambient artists coinciding with their joint European tour of February 2014. The concept was the area exactly midway between their respective homes in Vancouver, Canada and Newcastle, England. More specifically, the starting point for the artwork was this map showing the Fury & Hecla Strait.


We designed this sleeve in-house. First, the contour lines were abstracted into a regular form. The printable relief lines that are commonly used to separate sections of text were arranged into pattern form and this, alongside minimal text, created the front cover panel.


Next, for the rear panel, we again abstracted a single contour line and used the discolouration on the old map to determine the colour. This bold orange element deliberately offsets the cold blue and silver colours, emphasising the distance and separation between the artists. Without it, the sleeve would have appeared too minimal.

More information about - and streamable tracks from - this release can be found here.

Long Division With Remainders present: ‘Collision/Detection’ (2013)

image

Another job for the Front & Follow label, the ‘Collision/Detection’ double CD set is a series of remix collaborations created around a common set of samples. Highlighting the excellent illustration work of Paul Loudon, the design and print remit was a straightforward case of allowing the images space to breathe. An interesting question with the package was how best to solve the issue of there being two single-panel CD sleeves (and therefore without a spine). We settled on a wide bellyband that would hold the two sleeves together loosely pictured at the top of this photo.
image

And lastly, a close up of the back cover label credits. Fitting with the label’s usual minimal style, this sits on the rear of the bellyband in the bottom right.
image

Read more about (and buy) this release here.

'Trio Riot' by Trio Riot (2013)

image

Radical new jazz label Efpi Records commissioned the press to print the text panels for the debut album by excellent Anglo/Swiss/Danish outfit Trio Riot. Designed by Simen Engen Larsen, Hot Bed Press printed the images in a two-colour screenprint and, finally we printed the text.
image

Trio Riot’s music is sharp and clipped, so a simple, clean layout was necessary. No mess, nothing extraneous. The typeface used is New Clarendon Light.
image

You can buy the album direct from Efpi Records. Watch them play right here.

Candid - Trio Riot from David Meier on Vimeo.

Ephemera #1

The press regularly collaborates with artists and printmakers on other projects. This post shows a few examples. Suggestions for new projects are welcome, via the ‘Contact’ page.

+++++

'Lead & ink' (2012)

'Lead & ink' was created in collaboration with book artist Elizabeth Willow as part of a residency programme at Hot Bed Press in Salford. The project comprised a handmade box of letterpress ephemera, printed material and letterpress soundscape CD. It came in an edition of 35.

image

image

The ‘Lead & ink’ website is here.

+++++

'PitaPata' (2012)

A  commission from book artist and printmaker Gemma Lacey, this text piece accompanied a series of etchings. A particular challenge was setting the text in the correct position (as indicated by the design sketch) to give the effect of rain settling on a level surface.

image

The Outer Church compilation on Front & Follow Records (2013)

image

It was a real pleasure to be asked to work on this job by Justin Watson, the label boss over at Front & Follow Records. The Outer Church is “the UK’s foremost uncanny audiovisual event”, a regular event held in Brighton. Chief programmer Joseph Stannard has compiled a stunning 28-track double album of all-new previously unreleased material from a host of incredible conspirators.

K. Craig created the illustration for the front cover, an image that perfectly reflects the strange, esoteric obscurings of the Outer Church nights. As usual, we had it made into a photopolymer plate to then run through the Adana 8x5 press.
image

Here’s a couple of shots of the unglued sleeve in the press.
image

image

And here’s a close-up of the label logo and credits on the rear. A nice, clean, simple design.
image

And finally, here we have the two inside panels. Clever design trick: reuse the same plate flipped around for both panels.
image

Find out more about this excellent release, and view a huge array of photos of the final package, over on the Outer Church site. (Apparently the label have sold out of the first pressing but it’s still available in some shops.)

'Raw Love' by Violet Woods (2012)

image

Violet Woods are an excellent psyche-pop quartet from Cambridge. 12 string guitar, Casio keys, garage rhythm section, 3 minute songs. They asked us to print their debut single on Great Pop Supplement. The band did all the design work but the difficult part of this job was the size of the main cover image. Too big for our regular 8x5 Adana press. So, as an experiment we decided to use the recently-acquired (but untested) Pearl treadle press which allows for a bigger print area and potentially greater depth of impression.
image

Despite many proofs being run off, the dots image wouldn’t allow itself to be printed more evenly than the photo above shows. We decided to run with it, knowing the band would probably appreciate the distressed look. The Pearl was fun to use, but it definitely needs some careful setting-up before we can use it regularly.
image

The band name is in a strange typeface called something like Ekko Dekko. We had that made into a photopolymer plate, so the only actual type used was on the reverse. (The Great Pop Supplement label logo was also made into a plate.) We think the typeface is Standard, but we may be mistaken.
image 

And finally, we end with a lovely cover shot bathed in the evening Autumn light.image 

'Greedy Magicians' by Quiet Loner (2012)

'Greedy Magicians' is an album of contemporary political protest songs by Quiet Loner and the artist was keen to create an object that reflected the honesty and quality of design and craft.  The album has a theme of political and financial misdeeds, of those who use smoke and mirrors to deceive people for their own gain - these are the Greedy Magicians.  The cover image (all images are by K. Craig) had to be direct and unambiguous, and the two-colour separation of a threatening hand works perfectly.  (Silver ink / silver coins perhaps?)
image

image

The back cover is a clever, almost disorientating image of hands framing the tracklisting.  A clear echo of the front cover, these hands could be read two ways: either as more dirty hands, desperate for money or power; or, they could represent strength in community, another theme of the album.  Either way, the image and its size was a real challenge to print as it snakes its way onto the inner panel you see further below.  For this, we used an old Pearl treadle press to get a size and depth of impression that would be hard to achieve on the Adana 8x5.  (The Adana is our press-of-choice currently.)
image

image 

The inside-left panel contains the musician credits whilst the inside-right panel features those grabbing/strengthening hands coming over the top, pointing towards a key lyric quote from the album’s title track.  ”With misdirection and sleight of hand / greedy magicians took over our land.”  Silver ink for the quote means it is slightly difficult to read to in certain lights, a deliberate reference to the veiled nature of the sentiment.
image

image

We’ll never tire of being satisfied with this: a big pile of assembled sleeves!  These are the promos, hence the artist/title on the front cover.  (Making things simple for journalists.)
image

Finally, the type sitting composed and ready for locking-up prior to printing.  (That’s ink, not blood, by the way.)
image

Called “probably the most important record of the year” by No Depression magazine, you can read more about this album here.

This print job was created while on residency at Hot Bed Press in Salford.  Many thanks to Sean and the fantastic team there for the opportunity.
image
 

'Your heart, it carries the sound' by Last Harbour (2012)

Last Harbour wanted a combination of subtle design and packaging alteration for their 2012 album release ‘Your heart, it carries the sound’ (listen to the album here). Thus, an early decision was taken to print black-on-black, but with the black ink lifted from the card surface by printing a fairly deep impression and mixing a little silver ink with the black to make it shine out.
 

The tracklisting on the reverse was especially challenging. In certain lights, the panel looks as if there is just a line and the label’s logo in gold. But, the tracklisting is there, in black, so the impression had to be very even for it to be legible.
 

The band wanted the standard 4 panel packaging altered to become a little like a pop-up book. Almost like the listener is discovering a box of secrets.  So, the left-hand interior panel was left unglued, and a square panel containing the heart image (reprised from the front cover) was affixed. This opens up, revealing an insert, a photograph unique to each copy, label flyers and a download code for a remix album (early copies only).
 

Close-up of heart drawing.


The insert contained all the album credits information, plus a diagram of the recording location (St. Margaret’s Church in Manchester).


 

'A Solution To Everything' by Model Village (2012)

Model Village are a indie-pop band from Cambridge and London. They wanted a limited run of two panel sleeves for the release of their debut album. More information on this excellent band is here.



For this project, more photographs were taken throughout the process to illustrate how a job progresses. The front cover was printed first. The band wanted texture to the print with a significant deboss (opposite of emboss, naturally), so a reasonably strong impression was required. As an experiment, this was done on an Albion relief press, rather than the tabletop Adana press (which is used for all the type printing). Here are the sleeves drying in the rack:

 
Next, the band name was printed in a subtle green on the cover. This was a mix of 3/4 Phthalo Green and 1/4 Umber.
 

Now for the back cover. This is a simple panel containing the band name, album title, tracklisting and label credits.


And then drying in the rack. All the printing is done now. All that remains is to fold and glue.


And here’s a very satisfying pile of completed sleeves. Job done.
 

'Lights' by Last Harbour (2011)

This job was to create a simple 2-panel sleeve plus postcard and lyric sheets. The brief was to create a bold, clear design that filled most of the space available. The band felt the songs were some of their most direct so the design and print approach needed to complement that.


All the tracklisting and title text is set in Gill Sans, echoing the classic design of 1950s British Railways posters and the like. ‘Lights’ on the cover is an unknown face that was discovered lying, unloved and unsorted, in an old tray at the bottom of a casement. The label credit text is in New Clarendon, chosen to provide contrast to the clarity of the text above it.


The postcard and lyric sheets were an added extra given away to fans buying early copies of the release. The lyric sheets take a sample of words from each song and were used as a test in making a simple chapbook.
 

Close-up of insert credits sheet: