North / South / East / West

If you’re racking your brain trying to figure out what to get me for Christmas, English photographer Shaun Bloodworth has collaborated with Give Up Art and Bleep to put together this gorgeous package. It contains 14 photographic prints and a compilation album, documenting electronic music artists from 4 regions, including the likes of Flying Lotus, Daedelus, Mike Slott and Hudson Mohawke (below). A few of these are shots from Bloodworth’s LA Dope series.

It’s great to see a photographer documenting a musical movement this way, reminiscent to what Francis Wolff did with jazz or Martha Cooper with early hip-hop. I’d also be interested in seeing photographs of the artists in their creative spaces, like Rafael Rashid’s “Behind The Beat”. Maybe that will come next?

The standard edition is limited to 500 copies and includes the 14 prints and CD. The deluxe edition comes with a poster and what looks to be different packaging. If I had more money at the moment I would have already made my pre-order. Maybe Santa will get me a copy? Preview of the tracks below…

Shaun Bloodworth
Give Up Art

Dock Ellis & The LSD No-No

James Blagden, a New York-based artist who’s had work in a variety of publications including WaxPoetics and URB, created an animated short chronicling the hallucinogenic baseball antics of Dock Ellis. Ellis was well known for his no-hitter in 1970, performed while under the influence of LSD. A recorded interview with Ellis inspired Blagden and Chris Isenburg of No Mas to make this short.

I’m suprised I’ve never featred Blagden’s work before. I’ve been a fan of his wobbly neon-colored drawings for a while. Above is a great piece he did showing Grandmaster Flash permorning one of his signature moves. Below is a slightly creepy illustration of Dangermouse and Cee-Lo. He’s also done an intriguing album cover for Spank Rock and Benny Blanco. You can view more of Blagden’s work in his online portfolio.

James Blagden
No Mas
Dock Ellis

CoverCast #5: WAVE

Download: ♪ CoverCast #5: WAVE

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It’s been a while since my last CoverCast, but I finally put something together this week. Partly inspired by the new Shafiq Husayn album, this is a selection of future soul/funk tracks. I hope you enjoy! Click the cover or link to download.

1. Sonar Kollektiv Orchester – Ain’t No Dream
2. Electric Wire Hustle – Perception
3. Ta’Raach – Catch My Breath (World) (Featuring J Mitchell)
4. Shafiq Husayn – Dust & Kisses (Featuring Noni Limar)
5. Eric Lau – I Don’t Do It To (Featuring Tawiah)
6. Dwele – Workin’ On It
7. Platinum Pied Pipers – Pigeon Hole
8. The Sa-Ra Creative Partners – Can I Get You Hi
9. Dam-Funk – (My Funk Goes) On & On
10. Muhsinah – NetKnot
11. The Foreign Exchange – Take Off The Blues (Featuring Darien Brockington)
12. Robert Glasper – Butterfly

Shafiq Husayn – Shafiq En’ A Free Ka

Last month Shafiq Husayn, 1/3rd of the Sa-Ra Creative Partners, released his solo debut on Plug Research. The album’s an eclectic blend of soul, hip-hop, jazz and electronics with an African spirit throughout. It’s a deep, soulful record and is some of the best music I’ve heard this year. A surprising release that I highly recommend. It also features fellow artists Bilal, Count Bass D, Om’Mas Keith, Daedelus on accordion, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson on arrangements and others. More than a solo record, it’s a family affair.

The beautiful cover and insert photos, in what looks like an African antique shop, come from Cover Up favorite Eric Coleman of Mochilla. As Shafiq explains in the video below, Coleman actually helped come up with title of the album after they watched “Shaft In Africa”. The packaging’s design was handled by another favorite, Stephen Serrato.

Be sure to check out Plug Research’s other videos for more insight into the album. At the bottom of this post you’ll find a sampler of the album.

Shafiq Husayn
Sa-Ra Creative Partners
Plug Research

Various – 5 Years of Hyperdub

While lurking around I ran across a thread essentially talking trash about the cover of Hyperdub’s 5 year anniversary compilation. “So, Hyperdub 5 has the ugliest cover art ever known to man”. I’ve got to disagree. The cover was designed by Manuel Sepulveda, the same designer behind the cover of Harmonic 313’s latest releases. I think the abstract pattern and symbols fit very well with the dark, digital, futuristic themes Hyperdub plays off of.

Someone in the thread linked to Sepulveda’s Flickr account, which I hadn’t seen before. It included some detail shots of the cover. If you look closely you can see a repition of the Hyperdub logo (I didn’t notice that until a few minutes ago). He has quite a few other pattern-based pieces on Flickr which I think are worth checking out, along with a set of album covers, including that Squarepusher cover I love so much.

Another interesting note is that the album is packaged in a miniature DVD case, about the size of a regular jewel case. I’ve never seen a case like this and it’s a great step to make this release unique. The compilation features one CD of new tracks by Hyperdub artists and friends, including Kode9, Burial, Flying Lotus, Samiyam and others. The second disc includes older Hyperdub tracks, some being released on CD for the first time. I was really anticipating this release and got exactly what I expected. Two hours of dubstep and dubstep-related music, all of it good. I highly recommend it.

Manuel Sepulveda

Embedded With Mos Def in Japan

Current TV’s new music-focused show, Embedded @, premiered last night. The first episode is a 48-minute documentary following Mos Def’s experiences during his tour in Japan along with some insight into him as an artist. Of note is his use of a mask during his stage show, inspired by MF Doom. They should do an album together already! They know they want to. Stop teasing.

Hopefully the forthcoming episodes of Embedded are this good. Later features will include Common, Ben Harper, Thievery Corporation, The Decemberists and the Silversun Pickups.

Embedded @
Mos Def

James Pants – Seven Seals

James Pants’ new album Sevel Seals, “inspired by being in the mood to start a cult”, is being released on November 25th. Above is a video of “some dude called Max who explains [and] breaks down the deeper meaning and hidden themes in the artwork” by Matt Rex. Download “Thin Moon” from the album and dance around as if you’re in a cult.

Download: ♪ James Pants – Thin Moon

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James Pants
Stones Throw
Liger Vision