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• • • Being a journal by artist and designer John Coulthart, cataloguing interests, obsessions and passing enthusiasms.


 

Das Haus zur letzten Latern

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From HP Lovecraft to another writer of weird fiction, Gustav Meyrink. Das Haus zur letzten Latern is a tribute to Meyrink by Silence & Strength and the package I designed late last year for Horus CyclicDaemon has just been released. I’ve mentioned before that Horus make a particular effort with all their CD productions, choosing their materials carefully, and this release is no exception. An envelope of green textured card has two of my designs embossed on either side. Inside this there’s another envelope containing the disc and an 8-page A5 booklet of dark green ink on heavy paper with a grainy texture. The music is suitably dark and atmospheric and would work very well as a soundtrack to Paul Wegener’s Der Golem, wie er in die Welt kam (1920). Seeing as Wegener’s film is the most famous Meyrink adaptation I borrowed the shapes of Prague buildings from one of the original film posters. The rest of the graphics are done in a very spare, quasi-Expressionist drawing style which was a pleasure to do since it’s quite different to my usual work. The background of the booklet pages show an old map of Meyrink’s city, Prague.

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When people have asked me recently what I think about the proliferation of music downloads I tell them that the best way for record labels (and book publishers for that matter) to continue to attract purchasers is to make beautiful objects which people feel compelled to own. The content is always endlessly reproducible, the packaging isn’t. As far as this argument goes, Horus CyclicDaemon has been ahead of the game for some time.

Previously on { feuilleton }
New things for November II
Hugo Steiner-Prag’s Golem
Nosferatu
Barta’s Golem

 


 

Posted in {books}, {design}, {electronica}, {film}, {horror}, {music}, {work}.

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4 comments or trackbacks

  1. #1 posted by scott carpenter

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    I second that emotion, Mr Coulhart.

    The ‘song’ has become disembodied via itunes and yet 7 inch vinyl sales are increasing.

    Labels such as Warp/Factory and Souljazz have shown the way.

    I believe vinyl sales should include access to a digital WAV file.

    The Portishead/ Monkey box sets by Simply Vinyl have also raised the stakes for those who want a tangible product/artefact.

  2. #2 posted by John

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    Hi Scott. This question interests me, of course, since I’m a designer but I also find it interesting as a general issue. As you say, vinyl has refused to die–I’ve been designing for more of that recently–and I’ve even been told that cassettes are undergoing a minor resurgence.

    One thing people forget when making sweeping pronouncements about a medium’s death is that pressure isn’t only coming from the consumer’s side. Many artists are determined to keep producing objects rather than files, they want the character which pertains to the object. Works of art seen in this context are more than just their content, they’re the content and container combined. I’ve been asked to do another interview recently which raises some of these questions so I’ll be expanding on the subject there. I should note that I’m not a digital refusenik. I have all my music loaded into iTunes, it’s great to have instant access when working. But I was also listening to the Nuggets box set this week while looking through the big booklet which comes with the four-CD set.

    For more great package design, Hardformat is the place to go.

  3. #3 posted by Thombeau

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    Awesome graphix!

  4. #4 posted by John

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    Thanks. :)

 


 

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