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Archive for the ‘Chip Kidd’ Category

goSOUNDTRACK: SIGUR RÓS-untitled #1 (Vaka) (single) (2003).

19Sigur Rós lay dormant for a while after their successful tour and then they came out with the album ().  The album tracks were also untitled (although the band did have names for them).  This single was released as a 3″ disc and then as the version I have which has the same four songs and a DVD.

It was called variously “Untitled 1/9” or “Vaka” and it contains 2 or 4 songs.   The first song is “Vaka.”  Song 2 or 2 through 4 are called “Smáskífa” (or (untitled #9)).  It was originally listed as a 12 minute song but has been broken up on both releases as 3 shorter songs:

The first one is a slow mournful section, with Jonsi’s voice manipulated somewhat to make it sound a little creepier than it normally does.   The second part opens with the voice presumably sped up making it even higher pitched than normal.  Then comes the beautiful slow piano. The third part consists of slow, repeated synth notes and ends with what sounds like more of Jonsi’s singing, but slowed down.  It’s not the most inspired song by the band, but it shows them playing around with sounds a bit more.

The official track listing is

  • Untitled (Vaka) 6:43
  • Untitled (Smáskífa 1) 4:38
  • Untitled (Smáskífa 2) 2:47
  • Untitled (Smáskífa 3) 4:22

[READ: December 2, 2013] Go

This is an excellent book for learning about graphic design, whether you are a kid or an adult.  Even though I feel like I know a lot about graphic design, I learned some fundamentals.  Kidd explains not only how but why things work as they do.  And he begins but upending conventions (just look at the cover which should give you pause).

If you don’t know who Chip Kidd is, he is an amazing book jacket designer.  Some of the most beautiful jackets were created by him.  And, even though I’ve been a fan for a while, I didn’t know that he designed the cover for Jurassic Park (and made all of the iconography for the subsequent movies).

He talks about the history of design (from nature to man-made), showing how we learn things from nature and then proceed to produce beautiful things (I enjoyed his quick trip through the highlights of man-made design from the Book of Kells to the Obama logo).

He talks about simple tricks for making designs stand out like using very small or very large pictures, inverting images, using vertical or horizontal lines, and emphasizing light and dark.  [On a purely fun bit of coincidence, he designed the cover for Zbigniew Herbert’s Mr. Cogito.  I just read a review about the book by David Foster Wallace last week].  I also really enjoyed the way he plays with images and dpi. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: DO MAKE SAY THINK-Other Truths [CST062] (2009).

I’ve always enjoyed Do Make Say Think’s CDs.  They play instrumentals that are always intriguing and which never get dull.

But this CD far exceeds anything they have done so far (and  they’ve done some great work).   There are only four tracks, and they range from 8 to 12 minutes long.  Each track is named for a word in the band’s name: Do, Make, Say, Think.  And each one is a fully realized mini epic.

“Do” sounds like a gorgeous Mogwai track.  While “Make” has wonderfully diverse elements: a cool percussion midsection and a horn-fueled end section that works perfectly with the maniacal drumming.  “Say” is another Mogwai-like exploration, although it is nicely complemented by horns.  It also ends with a slow jazzy section that works in context but is somewhat unexpected. Finally, “Think” closes the disc with a delightful denouement.  It’s the slowest (and shortest) track, and it shows that even slowing down their instrumentals doesn’t make them dull.

It’s a fantastic record from start to finish.  This is hands down my favorite Constellation release in quite some time.

[READ: December 2009 – January 13, 2010] McSweeney’s #33.

The ever-evolving McSweeney’s has set out to do the unlikely: they printed Issue #33 as a Sunday Newspaper.  It is called The San Francisco Panorama and, indeed, it is just like a huge Sunday newspaper. It has real news in (it is meant to be current as of December 7, 2009).  As well as a Sports section, a magazine section and even comics!

[DIGRESSION] I stopped reading newspapers quite some time ago.  I worked for one in college and have long been aware that the news is just something to fill the space between ads.  I do like newspapers in theory, and certainly hope they don’t all go away but print issues are a dying breed.  When I think about the waste that accompanies a newspaper, I’m horrified.  Sarah and I even did a Sunday New York Times subscription for a while, but there were half a dozen sections that we would simply discard unopened.  And, realistically that’s understandable.  Given how long it took me  to read all of the Panorama, if you actually tried to read the whole Sunday paper, you’d be finished the following Sunday (or even two Sundays later).

Their lofty goal here was to show what print journalism can still do. And with that I concur heartily.  Even if I don’t read the newspaper, the newspapers as entities are worth saving.  Because it is pretty much only print journalism that finds real, honest to God, worthy news stories.  TV news is a joke.  There is virtually nothing of value on network TV.  Fox News is beyond a joke.  CNBC is sad (although Rachel Maddow is awesome!) and even CNN, the originator of all of this 24 hour news nonsense still can’t fill their airtime with non-sensationalized news.

Obviously, there are some decent internet sites, but for the most part they don’t have the budget to support real news investigation.  You either get sensationalized crap like Drudge or rebroadcasts of real news.

So, print is the last bastion of news.  And you can see that in journalistic pieces in The New Yorker, Harper’s, The Walrus, Prospect and, yes, in newspapers.

But enough.  What about THIS newspaper?  Oh and unlike other McSweeney’s reviews I’ve done, there is NO WAY that I am writing a thorough comment on everything in here.  There’s just way too much.  Plus, there are many sections that are just news blurbs.  Larger articles and familiar authors will be addressed, however.  [UPDATE: January 18]: If, however, like Alia Malek below, you bring it to my attention that I’ve left you out (or gotten something wrong!) drop me a line, and I’ll correct things.

There is in fact a Panorama Information Pamphlet which answers a lot of basic questions, like why, how and how often (just this once, they promise!). There’s also a Numbers section which details the size, scope and cost of making this (it shows that with an initial start up, anyone could make a newspaper if they talked enough about what the readers were interested in). (more…)

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