Electronic music visionary Aphex Twin, aka Richard D. James, is known for his avant garde approach to music, splicing, cutting, and destroying digital sounds for the last 20+ years. Still, it’s been 13 years since his last “studio album” Drukqs was released, leaving a peculiar gap in the electronic music landscape. Since then he’s been DJing across the UK and relocated to Scotland. And now he’s ready to release a new album.
Titled Syro, a word created by his children, the album features 12 tracks and will be released on September 19 (or 22nd depending on your format of choice). I’m not sure what exactly to expect from the album but it sounds like he’s excited for the album and that this is only the beginning. Speaking to Rolling Stones, James said:
Horny. I’m feeling really horny about it. And very smug … I’m in that mode now, so hopefully I’ll stay in it for a while … I’ve got a few more things planned—at least a couple more albums, some EPs, things like that. Some more dance-y things I did about 10 years ago. Experimental things, noise things, weird things. Shitloads of stuff. They’re all pretty much ready to go.
Looking forward to it.
From a design perspective the album features a minimal, slightly cheeky packaging design from The Designers Republic. Long-time Aphex Twin collaborators, the album represents an unseen aspect of producing an album: the cost. TDR founder Ian Anderson explains.
“The intense, and ultimately pointless detail of the list really appealed to me … it was good working with James Burton and the team at Warp to stretch out this mantra that tells the reader everything and nothing about the creation of what I hear was an intensely personal album in the making reduced to the numbers of an album in the marketplace,” he adds.
Quite a conceptual way to go but it makes sense when you think of an artist like Richard James. For me it’s all about the half face screen printed onto the plastic which I’m sure looks crazy on the white sleeves. You can read more about the design of the album and an interview with TDR over on Creative Review.
Per Emanuelsson and Bastian Bischoff founded their studio in 2009/2010 while they were both taking a Masters course at Gothenburg’s School of Design and Crafts. Realizing that they were both born in 1982, they chose Humans since 1982 as their name, then they found a studio to work from in Stockholm and they’ve been making work together ever since.
Perhaps their most exciting project to-date has been the ‘A Million Times Project’. Started last year, this project presents time in a way I’m sure you’ve never seen before. Graphically conceptual, their design combines engineering and mechanics to create an incredible kinetic installation that takes the arms of a traditional analogue clock and turns them into something new and exciting. Check out the video below to see what I mean.
Using 288 analogue clocks, the original work uses an iPad to create a series of wonderful visual patterns; playfully turning a collection of minimalist analogue clockfaces into a fully-functioning digital clock. Now a series, the duo have worked on a number of variations, with each piece being unique. They describe these creations as “objects unleashed from a solely pragmatic existence”. And in doing this I feel that they have discovered some wonderfully figurative qualities within their design without detracting from the clocks original function. It’s a pretty commendable achievement… and also it clearly looks amazing!
See more projects from Humans since 1982 on their website.
In the last few years we’ve hit a maximum saturation point when it comes to weather apps. They’re easy to make with weather data readily available and a rather straightforward functionality. That said I was surprised by the newly updated version of Weather Dial which features a slimmed down UI and straightforward experience.
The app focuses (as it should) primarily on the weather with a subtle reference to the days to come. Swipe left and you can see information on the times of the sunrise and sunset as well as the humidity and wind speed. A light and dark mode rounds things out nicely. The one surprise is when you turn the phone sideways you access an hourly view of the weather which iconically shows you the type of moon and the chance of precipitation chart which animates in nicely, as you can see below.
My current weather app is Yahoo! Weather, though as I’ve been using Weather Dial I appreciate the straightforwardness of it. The app reminds me of the phrase, “a place for everything and everything in its place.” The font choice allows for a clear legibility, the iconography is considered and overall you see that it’s just the right amount of information to make it perfectly useful.
You can download it for yourself by clicking here.
Finding the intersections between music, technology, and design are often challenging but when it’s done well it can certainly open up new worlds. A perfect example of this is the partnership between James Murphy, of LCD Soundsystem fame, and technologies company IBM who together creating “music” from tennis data supplied by the US Open. The video below does a good job of explaining how they code works and how they created an interface that was familiar to Murphy.
The outcome is quite unique, especially something on this scale. You can visit IBM’s Soundcloud page to get a taste of all the music that’s been created so far based on the data and it’s pretty staggering. It’s like an endless mix of chiptune tracks endlessly looping into one another. This Round of 16 collection is a perfect example as it runs almost 7 hours in total length, non-stop, back-to-back.
Adding to the experience is the fantastic artworks created for round by New York based artist and illustrator Karan Singh. I had been thinking about featuring Singh on the site recently though this seemed like the perfect opportunity to do so. His work is this mish-mash of hyper-saturated, flat colors which create the illusion of 3D shapes. I imagine this had to be a pretty fun yet exhausting project to work on. I’ve selected some of my favorite images below to give you a sense of the variety he’s created.
You can also see more of Karan’s pieces over on his Behance page.
The last time we checked in with British designer Joseph Perry he was artfully reorganizing the periodic table, artfully recreating it into something less functional but certainly more aesthetically pleasing. Now he’s back with a new silkscreened print which can turn even you into a novice meteorologist.
Every Cloud celebrates the scientific work of Luke Howard, the amateur meteorologist who brought order to the ever-changing skies. In his book ‘The Modifications of Clouds’ (1803) Howard harnessed the unpredictable beauty of the clouds, classifying them using a Latin naming structure.
I love that he chose to screen the white on to the electrically colored indigo paper which provides such a lovely contrast. These are limited to 100 so be sure to snag one while they last.
It’s going to be a big week for Apple. They’re announcing new products on Tuesday in a live event, likely to be a new NFC-able iPhone and some sort of wearable, and last week they made one huge announcement: famed Australian industrial designer Marc Newson will be joining the Apple design team. Vanity Fair broke the news late Friday afternoon, which included a short note about the new union from Jony Ive.
“Marc is without question one of the most influential designers of this generation,” Ive said in a statement provided to VF Daily. “He is extraordinarily talented. We are particularly excited to formalize our collaboration as we enjoy working together so much and have found our partnership so effective.”
In my eyes this is a huge win for Apple. I believe that Newson is one of the best living industrial designers and having his mind join that of the Apple design team is incredible. I have two of his products which I still cherish and use to this day – the Zvezdochka shoes he created for Nike and the Pentax K01, one of the coolest cameras I’ve ever used.
It’s also interesting to think of Newson in regards to the rumors of an Apple wearable. As you can see above Newson does have a history of designing time pieces so it’s not hard to imagine that Newson may be contributing to this effort in some way. In a video with designboom which you can watch below he speaks about designing (and hand building!) watches way back in 1986.
My friend Ed was speculating that the Jony Ive and Marc Newson (RED) Auction at Sotheby’s could have been a ruse to cover up their collaboration on said wearable.
I’ve included a few more of the fantastic pieces he’s made over the years as well, a bike for Biomega and the Ford 021C concept car, to give a sense of the range of products Newson has created over the years. Hell, he’s even designed a space plane. It’ll be fantastic to see how Apple’s industrial design changes with his presence at the company.
“I wanted to have an estate sale of my own but obviously I couldn’t get any enjoyment from it myself if I was dead. So I decided to do it now.”
That’s the quite peculiar thinking of acclaimed designer Nigo, the founder of Japanese clothing branding A Bathing Ape, on his upcoming Sotheby’s auction titled NIGO® Only Lives Twice, which takes place October 7th, 2014 in Hong Kong.
The auction is filled with an eclectic mix of art and design unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. Amongst the objects up for auction are a number of paintings and sculptures from KAWS, paintings by Andy Warhol, lots of Eames pieces, many vintage signs and memorabilia, and of course, a Gucci christmas tree designed by Tom Ford. Clearly he’s a man of great taste though to me it shows how insanely lavish the super-rich can live. What do you want to bet that this is but a small part of a much larger collection?
You can see the entire ridiculous list of lots by clicking here.
Came across a piece over on Medium by Kevin Ashton which I thought made a pretty great point: Creatives know the power of no.
Creators do not ask how much time something takes but how much creation it costs. This interview, this letter, this trip to the movies, this dinner with friends, this party, this last day of summer. How much less will I create unless I say “no?” A sketch? A stanza? A paragraph? An experiment? Twenty lines of code? The answer is always the same: “yes” makes less. We do not have enough time as it is. There are groceries to buy, gas tanks to fill, families to love and day jobs to do.
Learning to say no to the right and wrong things takes time, as does learning the true value of your time, but once you do life gets remarkably better. Personally I’d add my favorite word to the bucket: Why? As a creative director I spend most of my day asking people pointed, specific questions. Why that color? Is that the best way to lay this out? What’s the value of doing something at all? Those two words combined have served me well, allowing my team to focus on better projects and make higher quality work. Hopefully it these words do the same for you.