Matthew Rich, Master Printer at Jealous has just created Camera Ready 1983, a new nine colour screen print which painstakingly recreates a piece of rediscovered artwork from Matthew's time printing fly posters in Manchester for Factory Records and their Haçienda club. Matthew explains...
"I started screen printing in the early nineteen eighties at a Manchester print shop called Community Expression. I printed posters, stickers and t-shirts for local bands and clubs, political groups and the students' union. Our first premises was in a university building on Oxford Road and then I can remember 3 or 4 more places before we moved to a bigger shop called Lola Publicity on Claremont Road in Moss Side.
I joined forces with the Manchester fly posting crew so as well as being poster printers for the Manchester music scene, we would pick up record company posters sent from London to the Piccadilly station Red Star depot. We would (not entirely legally) paste them all over town, sometimes travelling as far afield as Sheffield and Leeds. Continues below...
We had a good relationship with local promoter Alan Wise, making posters for his acts the Fall, The Blue Orchids and Nico for the brief time she lived and worked in Manchester. But most of our work came from Factory Records, firstly making fly posters for the original Factory club (AKA the Russell or PSV Club) in Hulme and then, from 1982 onwards, gig posters for the brand new Fac 51, The Haçienda.
Arriving at the club with a roll of freshly screen printed posters guaranteed free entry, strolling smugly past the queues and some cash in hand to spend at the bar. There were many memorable nights like Einsturzende Neubauten attacking the pillars holding up the roof with a jack hammer, Madonna's first ever show in the UK and William Burroughs on stage reading from his new book, 'The Place of Dead Roads'. Continues below...
Back in the printshop we set out the poster artwork with Letraset, Rubylith and Rotring pens. Shot negatives onto Lith film using a huge horizontal process camera - all brass hinges and ground glass screens - and hand printed onto MG poster paper with very smelly old solvent based inks. No health and safety back in the eighties!
Many many years later I found this bit of poster artwork in a box in the attic. So many people of a certain age remember that era of the Manchester music scene with such fondness and a few suggested I do something with my bits and pieces of memorabilia. Continues below...
I scanned the ancient artwork and dissected it layer by layer. The ageing off-white card of the artwork sheet. The palest blue lines (invisible to the camera) of the layout grid, some scribbled notes in pencil, a bit of Tippex covering a mistake and the matt black of the Letraset itself. We definitely ran out of letter Ys but that's fine, make a negative and print off as many new ones as you need.
There's a story here of my journey in screen printing from knocking out one colour posters on the cheapest stock to this nine colour, limited edition print in expensive Swiss water based inks on 100% cotton mould-made Somerset paper."
Our friend and collaborator Rob St. John (who we've had the pleasure of working with on Random Spectacular projects generated from Rob, Tommy Perman and Simon Kirby's Concrete Antenna sound installation) has just released a new album as part of chamber pop quartet Modern Studies.
Their quietly experimental landscape songs are played on analogue synths, cello, double bass, drums, guitars, a wine-glass orchestra and, at the creaking centre of things, a Victorian pedal harmonium. The band came together in early 2015, when Glasgow songwriter Emily Scott recruited old pals and collaborators Pete Harvey (King Creosote, The Leg), Joe Smillie (boss of Glasgow’s The Glad Cafe) and Rob St. John.
Modern Studies have created a short trailer for the album, shot on a Super 8 camera at Port Eliot festival in Cornwall in July 2016, where the band played for Caught by the River.
I've been meaning to post something about our friends at Caught By The River's latest audio release on their Rivertones label for a few days. What's been delaying my post is thinking about a way of explaining just how good it is.
I'm still trying to work that out, but as it seems to be (justifiably) selling extremely quickly (the first vinyl edition has sold out) I wanted to get this posted before it sells out completely.
It's the first long player on the Rivertones label and is the soundtrack to Wolfgang Buttress' award winning pavilion at the 2015 Milan Expo. The Hive is an immersive, multi-sensory experience inspired by groundbreaking UK scientific research into the health of bees and the audio release is a hypnotic conceptualisation of their life, work and living environment. The musicians involved in the project improvised in the key of C, playing along to a live feed of sounds from the a beehive.
A series of live performances are underway. Luke Turner has just reviewed the Nottingham debut of the Be collective's performance...
"It’s a genuinely immersive experience, as cosy as if we are in the hive itself. Indeed, there’s an old-fashioned wicker hive on stage, just in front of the keyboards. Although bees communicate by vibration, amplified recordings of their activities are audible to the human ear, and the sound of tooting queens and their subjects’ waggle-dancing hums in and out of droning melodica, Tibetan singing bowls, accordion, cello, guitar and occasional vocals." Read in full
There's not much more than I say other than do what you can to get a copy of the CD or vinyl release before it's too late.
This summer the installation will come to Kew Gardens. Find out more
Concrete Antenna, our third Random Spectacular project, is now available as a digital download and a deluxe 12” vinyl album package of new music, a set of art prints, a series of short essays and a specially created tide table created by Tommy Perman, Simon Kirby and Rob St. John inspired by their sound installation in the new landmark tower at Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop, loosely based on the urban history, architecture and ecology of Newhaven in North Edinburgh.
The sound installation is currently set to run until February 2016 (though this may be extended). Keep an eye on the Concrete Antenna website for details.
We recently asked Cameron Duguid to created this animated film that interprets Tommy Perman's designs for the packaging of our latest Random Spectacular project, Concrete Antenna, a 12" vinyl and print set by Rob St. John, Simon Kirby and Tommy Perman. The project is inspired by the trio's sound installation at Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop.
Copies of this limited edition release can be found over at our Random Spectacular store - you can also hear what Jarvis Cocker, Stuart Maconie and Gideon Coe had to say about the release.
We recently had the pleasure of letting Grafik know a little more about our Random Spectacular publishing imprint, looking at its inspiration, our current Concrete Antenna project and what we have planned for the future. Read in full.
In early July 2015, Random Spectacular No. 2 contributors Ultramarine played live on Northey Island, a National Trust property in the Blackwater estuary, off Maldon, Essex.
Although the island is generally leased to private tenants, once a year the Trust takes back the island for Castaway, a wild camping experience.
Music has always been an important aspect of the Castway weekends and this year Ultramarine (Ian Cooper and Paul Hammond) performed a live set (accompanied by saxophonist Greg Heath) which included Decoy Point, a track from their 2013 album This Time Last Year, which was inspired by the Blackwater landscape.
You can listen to three of the tracks performed live below.
Thanks to Ultramarine's Ian Cooper and LTM's James Nice for the photographs included here.