Percee P – Perserverance

Another quick post. And yes, it is another Stones Throw release. Sorry.
This is MC Percee P’s debut album (he’s been in the business for at least 20 years), with Madlib taking care of the production. The next Madvillain? No, but it is a solid album. Rugged rhymes, rugged beats and all that good stuff.

The cover photograph was taken by Joao Canziani, “born and raised in Lima, Peru, spent adolescence in Vancouver, and is now based in Los Angeles.” His site has some amazing work on it, like the portrait of singer Mia Doi Todd above.

Joao Canziani’s site
Percee P at Stones Throw

Joanna Newsom – Ys

This is a quick post about psych-folk artist Joanna Newsom’s 2006 album, Ys. Her unique voice, her harp and orchestra arrangements by Van Dyke Parks make for a great storytelling album. With only 5 songs reaching 55:38 minutes, the album feels epic. I enjoy it.

The painting on the cover (at the top) was done by an artist named Benjamin A Vierling. He has a collection of interesting paintings on his website. I especially like his portraits. He has prints of the Ys cover for sale.

Benjamin A Vierling’s Site
Joanna Newsom at Drag City

Baron Zen – At The Mall: The Remixes

Baron ZenBaron Zen Theme (Danny Breaks Remix)

Another Stones Throw release, yes. But this time it does not involve Jeff Jank.

Before he was DJing and running his own record label, Peanut Butter Wolf was programming drums for Baron Zen with a guy called Sweet Steve. The insert does a better job of describing the music than I could: “post punk/no wave/industrial/experimental/electro clash/goth hop.” The remix album features interpretations from a few Stones Throw artists (Madlib, J.Rocc, James Pants & PBW himself) along with some other names I’m not familiar with. Either way, it’s good music. The CD also comes with the full original album, something I wasn’t aware of until I picked it up.

The artwork and design was done by a group called Hypnotic Overlap, specifically Stephen Serrato and Kristian Henson. I don’t have much information on them, but I recognize some of the work. Henson’s site is under construction but has a PDF for download. I was surprised to see an Ubiquity Records t-shirt design (I’ve always wondered who did them) and a Motorola ad. Serrato also has some impressive design work. At the top of this post is the spread in the middle of the insert, though I’m not sure which of the two designers is responsible for it. The image below is Serrato’s. Both of their sites are worth a look-through, along with the rest of the team.

Baron Zen Info
Hypnotic Overlap’s Site

Hanne Hukkelberg – Little Things

Hanne Hukkelberg is a Norwegian artist, known for her use of unorthodox instrumentation. I discovered her album a few years ago through her association with the great Jaga Jazzist group. Her music is beautiful and dreamy with a hint of jazz, good for listening to in the car on a rainy, cold day. I feel like I’ll be seeing more days like that soon.

As for the album artwork, it is incredible. It is printed in black, white and gold. It folds out to display the CD, album information and her photo all printed in gold. The gorgeous lettering and curly design was done by Si Scott. Please click the cover to see it up close. All of his design work is hand-drawn (according to his site) and he has an impressive client list. I highly recommend checking out his portfolio site.

Hanne Hukkelberg’s Site
Si Scott’s Portfolio

Joe Zawinul – Zawinul

Joe Zawinul: July 7, 1932 – September 11, 2007

One of the masterminds behind legendary jazz-fusion group Weather Report, keyboardist & composer Joe Zawinul, died today. Very sad…
I’ve wanted this particular album for years and only came across it once on vinyl, in horrible condition. I’ll continue to look for it, especially now. It came right after Miles Davis’ In A Silent Way, which Zawinul had a direct hand in composing.
A pioneer of jazz-fusion, he will be missed.

I will post more often soon, I promise. School and such…

Shape of Broad Minds – Craft of the Lost Art

Lex Records and Ehquestionmark really know how to push the envelope when it comes to album packaging. I’ve posted about them before, but Jneiro Jarel’s Shape of Broad Minds album was released Tuesday so I’m writing again. The most interesting thing about this album’s packaging is the glossy pattern embossed across the surface. It’s hard to see on the scan, but in person it’s pleasing. Then there’s the weird, mico-biological motif happening and a brain placed on the cover, hinting at Jneiro’s cerebral, surrealistic future-hip-hop him and his partner supposedly created in a secret underwater studio. It all fits together nicely. The only thing that would have made it even better would be to use a digipak. Embrace digipaks! Or possibly the faux-vinyl covers that Lex used to be fond of. I can only imagine what the limited edition vinyl looks like. I’d buy it just to hang on my wall… Make sure you enlarge the scan of the insert. It’s beautiful.

Alice Smith – For Lovers, Dreamers & Me

This is the album insert for Alice Smith’s first LP from 2006 on BBE Records. A New York-based singer, Alice’s music is an interesting mix of soul, rock and blues. The design work was done by David Bias. A lot of people will instantly recognize the artist behind the cover, Audrey Kawasaki. Audrey is popular for her Art Nouveau-ish girls usually drawn and painted on wood.

Other magazines and blogs have talked about her a million times, I’m sure. Either way, you can find her website here. For more (including samples) on Alice Smith, visit her website.