Weekly Bits 17/2009

My favourite mixtape this week comes from from Berlin’s Robot Koch, who is responsible for the second Brainfeeder Podcast. This sample-laden mix features a variety of styles from jazz to folk, afrofunk and some obscurities. Highly recommended!

Stones Throw is about to release a new single from soul-singer Mayer Hawthorne and for that occasion they’re giving away a free MP3 of Maybe So, Maybe No. Also, Mayer joined Gilles Peterson for a conversation on the all new Worldwide Podcast.

A new edition of Shook Magazine is finally out. Subscribers should have it in the mailbox by now, while the rest should be able to order a copy starting next week!

The book Designed by Machine was previously featured on this blog, but only now it is available from selected bookshops. I have spotted the book at Rush Hour, where you can conveniently order it by mail.

Let me also mention The Art of Partying from the Parra Soundsystem. This is a collection of re-edits from Tom Trago, Piet Parra and the rest of the team. I have some mixed feelings (ABBA?!) about this, but chances are there’s something in it for you! Plus it’s a free download.

Machine, the Design of Kindred Spirits

Dutch label Kindred Spirits has been among my favourite labels ever since the first Rednose Disktrikt longplayer came out. It’s not only their versatile catalogue making them special, but also the beautiful artwork that comes with each and every of their releases. Responsible for these are Machine, two designers hailing from Amsterdam. If you call yourself owner of the records by Build an Ark, Jackson Conti, Kid Sublime, Legends of the Underground or  Dorian Concept, you already have a Machine design in your shelf.



Today, Machine answered the questions I sent them the night before, this is what they wrote:

Who is behind Machine?
Machine is Mark Klaverstijn (Amsterdam, 1973) & Paul du Bois-Reymond (Berlin, 1974). We started working together during our studies at the Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam. We did a lot of stuff outside of school, our first flyers and shirts but also web and video experiments. Our first company was called DEPT, and since 2001 we work under the name ‘Machine’

What’s your relation with Kindred Spirits?
It has always been about the Love so to speak. It is to small a label to get involved for anything other than the love of music and design. We see KS as our very own Bluenote. We are in it for the long haul-it should be a constant that is very open to change, to experimentation. Working on the marriage of sound and visuals on album covers doesn’t get old somehow.

What’s your usual approach to making a cover?
The first decision is obviously the Music. Thats were it starts. That music, artist, atmosphere leads to the designs. Sometimes the artist or someone from the label has a certain angle or approach in mind. When this is workable we use it. Otherwise we lead the way.

Usually this works out. Sometimes it leads to drama. But we do claim a lot of freedom. We feel that an artist has to trust us on the visual side of the release. The guys at KS respect this, it’s even in the contract an artist signs. If it weren’t for this trust, we wouldn’t do the project. It has to remain a platform. It has to become an entity of it’s own. You put on the album, maybe roll a joint and listen to the tunes while disecting the artwork and track info. The whole thing becomes 4 dimensional. Thats more or less what we envision when doing the work.

Anything to look out for?
Yes. Next to some covers we just did for Dorian Concept and Carlos Nino, KS is sitting on something secret and new, so watch out for that at your local dealer. We just finished our book ‘Designed By Machine’, which is an overview of our studio and our history. Published by Black Cat, ISBN nr 978-90-810418-6-7 Check it out. Machine says Bye!

Designed by Machine

The book mentioned above will be available from Black Cat Publishing for 27,50 Euros. I’m conviced that Rush Hour will have copies once it’s available.

Mar 27, 2009 At last, the book is now available!