Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Ooops, got a bit sidelined by a few things and a touch behind on this.... busy times! Got a lot of exciting goings on at the moment, not least of which is recording a Kokerboom EP that'll be out before the end of the year on Wonkay..... And on the subject of dub (a fine subject indeed), my good friends at Dubmission Records have recently released two budget priced samplers in celebration of their 15 years of releasing top-notch music. At £1.50 apiece they're an absolute bargain and you really can't go wrong - solid selections of high-grade dubwise delights. Check this'n and that'n, but their whole catalogue is well classy and dead cheap from here (and I'm not just saying that - I was buying their music long before they became friends).

Some editorial pieces above - the top one's an illustration for an article about how tobacco companies are targetting young people at festivals, and the lower one's about how Iceland, the Faroes and the UK/the EU are squabbling over mackerel stocks.

I've managed to catch a couple of illustration exhibitions in the last month - the AOI's Images 34 and the University of Brighton's MA Sequential Design / Illustration show. I thought the Images exhibition was quite a mixed bag, to be honest - there was a lot of work, and a lot of it was very good, but I was surprised by the standard of some of it, which just seemed a little shoddy. Admittedly some was let down by the quality of its printing and (something which is always going to be an issue in an illustration exhibition) perhaps suffered from being viewed out of context, although there were several glass cabinets that displayed some of the books, magazines, products and so on that featured the works on the walls. The 'New Talent' section (students and recent graduates) especially exemplified the disparity of quality - some absolutely cracking images alongside some real dross (maybe it's just me but the current vogue for overly naive pseudo-outsider/semi-autistic looking illustration that is often painstakingly intricate and vehemently hand-rendered really gets my goat. You see more and more of it in every degree show and, due to its prevalence across the hippest youth-based magazines, music and so on, ultimately comes across as smugly self-indulgent in its lazy yet laboured non-aesthetic, as if knowingly poor drawing can be excused by proving that it took you hours. In these 'ironic' times, far too much seems to be deliberately bad and I'm not impressed). And perhaps I'm being a bit harsh, but, in what purports to be a showcase of the very best in a particular field of visual communication, is it right that the Critics' Choice Award goes to an illustration in which I counted (if memory serves) three spelling/grammar mistakes?

Blimey, I do like a good rant, don't I? Back to the positive, the standard overall was extremely high and there was some truly excellent work provided by, among many others, the ever awesome Andy Potts and Yuko Shimizu, Chris Haughton, Jill Calder, Sarah Coleman, Rachel Tudor Best, Good Wives and Warriors and fellow Brightonians Lee Woodgate and Tobias Hickey. The exhibition is now touring and well worth checking out - for an insight into the look of illustration today, there is nothing like it and it further shows just how invaluable the AOI is.

I'm afraid to say there was nothing to excite me in the MA show - see my rant above.

Been buying a lot of good music lately, namely the newey by the Soul Brothers (hooray!) as well as Pelican, Kekele, The Kinks, The Gladiators, Gaudi and the wondrous 'Ali & Toumani' by Ali Farka Toure & Toumani Diabate - not a patch on their previous effort (mentioned in a previous post and an instantaneous favourite of mine) but still a paragon of sheer aural beauty and effortlessly genius musicianship.

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