Monday, October 31, 2011

Planet Mu (2010)

Happy Halloween! I figured this would be a fun -- and appropriate -- label to make my return to blogland...

I can remember the moment this sick puppy arrived in the mail. I pulled it out of the box, flipped it over from the standard Planet Mu b-side and had one of those oh-snap-it-puts-the-lotion-on-its-skin-type moments when I saw this label. Scary clowns man. Kinda curious about the use of the picture. For me it doesn't really match up with what's happening sonically -- with a visual like this you're really expecting some balls-out (juggling balls, that is) electronic stompers. This is the second time I've written up an Ikonika label and she's pretty true to form here, albeit somewhat mellowed out. She comes with a chip-tune Caribbean stylee and piggly-squiggly bass line on "DCKHDBTCH," then heads for a sorta-kinda druggy bonus level of dungeon adventure on "Ingredients." "Shouldn't Be Here" is more four-to-the-floor, but definitely stays on the melancholy synthesizer side of life with a ghost of a vocal sample. Peep all the samples here.

As for the label itself, not to get too Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, but I wonder what this clown-man-monster is looking at off label. His gaze is certainly fixed on something something. Is he readying an attack or is his hand up to ward off another plastic-masked crazy? I'm going to go with the idea that this is one hongry circus freak with stubble-mouth looking to take a bite out of that pointed pizza bianca coming his way.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Light (1971)

This label design includes one of my favorite things to see on a record - a variation on the off-center concentric circles seen in Duchamp's rotoreliefs. If you close one eye and stare at the label at it spins, it creates an effect of depth.

The Cross and the Switchblade
is an Evangelical Christian film where Pat Boone brings the word of Jesus to some street gangs and troubled youths, one of whom is played by Erik Estrada.

Cool horns and drums all over the place on this record. The track "Addict's Psalm" is particularly interesting, with a spoken passage from Psalms mixed with reverb over a jazzy breakbeat.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Brunswick (1969)

This reminds me of the really classy Decca label from the early 70's.

Young & Holt played on some classic Ramsey Lewis albums before forming their own group.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Lizard (1969)

It's called Lizard, but the mascot is a cat. A cat named Lizard? A lizard-cat? Either way, it's a great logo.

This record is an awesome piece of funky instrumental soul. Humphrey wrote a book called "No. 1 Soul Drums," so you know he's not kidding around. Check out "Detroit" for extra-exciting drums.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

National Film Board of Canada (1977)

How about this: a National Film Board of Canada double LP? This rare beast features soundtracks from some interesting NFB short films, notable highlights being three of Norman McLaren's scratched and synthesized pieces for his animations Blinkety-Blank, Rhythmetic, and Neighbors. The keeper on here for me is the soundtrack for Peter Foldes' early computer animation Metadata. This track starts with a long passage of some wicked-sounding synthesized squalls that transition into a funky psychedelic rock thing. A real rare groove to look out for.

The graphic NFB logo character is great but somewhat under-used on this subdued silver-gray label. In comparison with how energetic and visually thrilling the films represented on this record are, the label and package design are pretty low-key and serious.

Thanks to animator and record-collector Matt Marsden for finally putting this treasure into my hands after years of searching!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Dark Horse (1974)

Check out the fantastic DARK HORSE RECORDS text in the outer red band on this label. Not to mention the amazing horse!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Kuckuck (1979)

Collector Not Completist is back in action!

This excellent Deuter album has one of the most beautiful labels around.