Monday, December 31, 2012

A Toast

It's the last day of 2012, so here's a little spoken word curio to toast the New Year. This recording features the rather sonorous vocal tones of actor Gavin Mitchell and was written by a bloke who finds both drawing and the formation of letters a bit of a challenge. I should probably mention that this recording is not suitable for those of a sensitive nature or indeed small children and most places of work. I've posted it on Soundcloud which unfortunately has a limited number of downloads but if enough folk nag me later I might post it up somewhere else. Time to raise a glass.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Social Sculpture

Structure and Substance

"A style shouldn’t impose, it should always, as it were, arrive, be taken in, absorbed. If we look at any movement, religious, cultural, national or supra-national, and that movement is dedicated towards some kind of homogeneity – like, say the Nazis, who had the most effective corporate identity there has ever been – this should warn us."

For the past week or so I've been delving into the the remarkable and thought provoking world of British designer Ken Garland via a recently published monograph by Unit Editions. Ken Garland is without a doubt one of Britain's most influential post war graphic designers, a fervent educator, theoretician and political activist whose uniquely playful brand of modernism and intellectual rigor has for the last six decades consistently challenged and expanded the philosophical landscape of British graphic design. Balancing the graphic refinement of objective Swiss formalism with an emotive energy and sometimes eccentric vision, his work exemplifies the importance of human relationships and ethical forms of communication within the field of design. It's a fascinating survey of work which clearly demonstrates the manner in which many of his once unpopular ideas regarding social engagement and political responsibility within the design profession are in fact more relevant today than when they were first espoused. An essential book for non-practitioners and practitioners alike. 

“Ken Garland - Structure and Substance” is published this month by Unit Editions.

Saturday, December 08, 2012


Blatz ozozap gazwrx. There it goes again. That noise. That strange noise. In a career that spanned some forty years, Jeff Keen is probably best known for his unique celluloid marvels of expanded cinema than being a noted practioner of sound art. Blatz, zoop, j-j-kino zoop, there he goes again, more odd noises. B-B-B-Bom. Blatzom. This is a strange record of giddy stroboscopic pixilated noise art. A wonderfully curated collection of radical musical gloopage featuring saturated day glo synths, interstellar incantations, lurid thrift shop sound edits, strangely decaying Atari presets and cheap 1950s microphones. It’s all a bit mental, it's all a bit back to the future-ish if you know what I mean, a curiously odd interzone of toyshop musique concrete, archaic B-Movie electronics and bubble gum sound poetry. As your ears adjust to the noise, a gloopy, joyous mess of audio primitive pop art is revealed. A most curious, wonderful and perplexing release.

Jeff Keen "Noise Art" is released in a limited vinyl edition of 500 copies worldwide. Each run of 100 copies has a different screen printed image selected from the sketchbooks of Jeff Keen. More info here.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Dusk & Dawn

This morning, I discovered this odd bit of sound art via the wonderful resource which was Continuo. I only hope someone, somewhere, sees sense to archive his endless and remarkable collection of strange sounds for future generations. More information here.

Echoes, Voices, Medium, Scenes

...... just a little post to say that if you're in the vicinity of Glasgow,you may wish to visit The Good Press Gallery in order to cast your critical eye over an exhibition of curiously odd spectral Modernism by graphic designer Julian House.The exhibition runs throughout November - December and is well worth a peek or two.Highly recommended.

A selection of limited run prints are for sale,contact for further information. 

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Where It All Happened Once

I visited the Richard Hughes exhibition at the Tramway yesterday and was struck by both its conceptual rigour and beautifully crafted artifice. Many of the sculptures appeared to be discarded ‘found objects’ but upon closer inspection revealed themselves to be remarkably eerie simulations which had been painstakingly crafted in polyester resin, fibreglass and painted bronze. These carefully rendered models of urban detritus seem caught within a state of strange flux; a full scale replica of a dilapidated community centre hovers in mid air, bewitchingly tilted, its windows and doors barred and hermetically sealed to all visitors. Yet, despite all its absurd location in space and foreboding presence, its internal lights and extractor fans are switched on, presenting a curious halfway house between social function and oneiric ritual. A building where youthful optimism and childhood wonder once flourished is now revealed as yet another grim reminder of the dark wasteland of failed civic idealism and haunted nostalgia. Disquieting stuff indeed. Richard Hughes has an uncanny knack of magically transforming the neglected, burnt out and grime smeared objects of our social decay into curiously enchanting artifacts which are powerfully charged with cultural history and urban alchemy. An exhibition very much worth seeing. 

Where It All happened Once, Tramway, Glasgow, Fri 26 Oct - Sun 16th December

More about Richard Hughes here.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Haunted Radio

As a little prelude to All Hallows Evening, here's a little audio collage of oddly atmospheric spectral wonder by one of my favourite purveyors of 'haunted pop'. Dymaxion [comprising of duo Jeremy Novak and Claudia Newell] produced only a handful of singles in the late nineties but each one is a sonic wundercabinet of layered and playful composition. I hope you enjoy this four minute trip into the uncanny as much as I do.

David Noonan Monograph

This month sees the publication of the first comprehensive monograph on artist David Noonan and I'm delighted to report that it exceeded all my expectations. Designed with a typographical restraint only the Swiss seem to manage, the book beautifully presents a chronological overview of the artist’s work to date. Accompanying texts by Jennifer Higgie, Dominic Molon and novelist/cultural provocateur Michael Bracewell explore the many cultural references found within Noonan's work with insightful observations. Michael Bracewell, in particular, delivers graceful textual incantation on Noonan’s lucid dream house of images to intriguing effect.  Wonderful stuff and very much worthy of your investigation.

David Noonan is published this month by JRP|Ringier.

Sunday, October 21, 2012


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

David Noonan - New Work

If you're visiting London between the 10th October and 10th of November, I strongly recommend that you try to see David Noonan's exhibition of new work at Modern Art which is a darkly theatrical exploration of veiled narratives and gender politics. I particulary enjoyed trying to decipher the paper collages on linen which combined a strange meld of functional representation and oblique abstraction.