Jeff Mills - Free Fall Galaxy

Jeff Mills is a living legend of techno. Part to the Detroit originators side of the genre, a real turntable wizard, and heralding minimal techno at its beginning, Mills is one of the few artists of Techno that is widely recognized beyond the "milieu". And deserves it!

But he is also one of the first and few originators who accepted (or decided?) to go for the iconisation of himself : since 1996 (and his Live in Liquid Room Mix CD), he started to use self-portraits on some of his albums, and has more and more accepted to be somewhat "The Face" of Techno.

A fact that really matter as most of the originators really tried very hard to remain in the shadows, hidden behind their instruments, their music or their fights  : Mike Banks' Underground Resistance galaxy, to which Mills was originally connected, still epitomizes this. Techno was above all about machines and futures, perhaps robots, but certainly not Rock-like star system. Even Richie Hawtin waited long before accepting such an iconic status (and the bad haircut that goes with it). Before the cash-minded era of the Guetta clique, it was nearly sacrilege to self-expose. Beyond the conceptual "rigueur" of this, it also helped a lot the movement to focus on graphic design and typography, and participated to the revitalizing of the domain.

So a new sleeve for the legendary master is a good opportunity to look at his body of work, on a sleeve design point of view of course.

Shook - Continuum

From Netherland, beautiful illustrations for this album and limited bonus CD, by Gustaf Holtenas, a Swedish artist based in Malmö/lund, who also did the video clip.

Applebottom – The Rid

On the label Bird That Fly, a single release from Techno/House artist AppleBottom. Catchy painting unfortunately spoiled by too much-too big typography and branding (symbol and label's name all over the place!)

Talk Talk - The Party's Over

It may seem a bit odd to have in the same review a classic Hardcore Techno-house record from 1991 with a famous New Wave band of the early eighties like we did  in our post about "Dominator", but they did resonates together beautifully. 
Now, the original sleeve by Talk Talk deserves a bit more talks. Let's see why.

FabricLive 62-64

Last part of our round up of recent series of artworks from the Fabric label/club, these ones from 2012 offered yet another string of unusual sleeve designs : odd still life compositions with nice modern-yet-classic typography as contrast. Striking, at least.

Fabriclive 65-67

Continuing our review about the output of label/club Fabric, let's have a look back into the previous series. The most recent was using Heraldic and esoteric and naive illustration. Quite a refreshing style for club music compilation, isn't it ?

Note : all the artworks of FabricLive can be browsed at, but there no way you can find infos about the artists...

Fabriclive 68

While talking about Fabric outputs, let's mention their other serie of compilation, Fabriclive, that seems also very consistent in term of design. The latest serie is photographic, with this visual pun for Drum & Bass artist Calibre, and a more classical industrial landscape image for the forthcoming Fake Blood opus. Nevertheless great photography, served by sleek graphic design.

Fabric 65 to 69 Compilations

Fabric continues with its visual sequences of 2 or 3 releases. After a series of "sonic impact" visuals or the Fabric serie, it now uses softly bizarre illustrations based on medical-like drawings.

Below are the artworks of the previous serie : 

TOKiMONSTA : Half Shadows

The debut album from LA artist Jennifer Lee (aka  TOKiMONSTA) on Ultra Records comes with a very graphic portrait that strikes the eyes, especially compared to the label's website design (Erhh...who said ugly?). This sleeve on the contrary expresses nicely the eclectic nature of Miss Lee's music.

#777 #1 : RAS_G & GONJASUFI

On Hit & Run label, the lastest release form gonjasufi continues to use the "portrait-turns-graphic" vein we already mentionned here. This time, it's a painting. Always great to se an idea evolving with the artist's work.

Taz & Akka – Synergy

On Rwina records, a nice typographic way to express a collaboration between those two artists. And 3D but not ugly, for once.

Woodkid - The Golden Age

You can't have missed it, as the hype for his new album was perfectly marketed, but Woodkid is nonetheless interesting as a striking example of the new generation multimedia wiz kid that can create stunning music, design, video or anything. Check his director/photographer website for a bowl of splendor. Art Direction Pierre Le Ny - Illustration : Jillian Tamaki.

Anthony Naples – El Portal

On Trilogy Tapes Records, a deep house 12".

Sigha - Living With Ghosts

Released on Hotflush, the latest opus from James Shaw aka Sigha has a beautiful and surprisingly emotional artwork that he art directed himself. The picture is from Jimmy Mould and illustrates the very sensual yet very abstract electronic music from Sigha. But there's more to it.

Funkin Matt – I Wish

Released on Fool's Gold records, this electro techno single has a beautiful typographic mash-up as main visual. A refreshing way to be retro-electro without the 8-bits feel.

The advent - Sonic Intervention

In the world of banging refined techno, Cisco Ferreira dominates since a long time. Far from his early releases on Belgian label R&S, Cisco has been producing more and more powerful techno records on various label like Tresor, Gigolo or on his own Kombination Research imprint.

Since 1996, he uses the same logo, sharp and pointy, but here, he's back with some artwork that is quite a change. No more minimal designs like on his KR labels, nor self-depictions via Abdul Haqq-ish drawings. 
Starting from his eyes (and his mind ?) this photographic palindromic experimentation expresses the flourishing yet tough (and a bit ominous) compositions that the album offers. And yes, there's a skull here.
More details from Cisco himself (Facebook is useful for one thing, then!) : "Its an artist from Sweden called Ziggy & Tony Villanen, they do a lot of art work for Cari Lekebusch.. & off course H-Produtions"

The Advent logo, since the releases on Internal, in the mid-90'

The album art of New Beginnings (1997), with illustrations from Jason McFee

Madeon - The City

While their previous artworks were a bit too much cheesy-disco to our POV, this new single release from French artist Madeon (famous for his video "Pop Culture") has a nice painting as main visual.

Tycho - Past Is Prologue

While experiencing this color invasion, let's have a thought for a release of 2006 by Tycho, with some beautiful artwork by Scott Hansen, the San Fransico artist releasing his music and design works under the name Iso50

Blackbird - Boracay Planet

Want some more flowers ? Here's the new release from Indie electronic band Blackbird. The design and Art Direction is from Samuel Johnson Design, like previous and coming releases (see below). (More art for SJD available here). This is elegant design in essence.

Darkstar – Timeaway

More flower power artwork with this single on Warp. You can't avoid thinking about Peter Saville's Dichromat for New Order back in the 80'.  Striking anyway.
Photography by Tyrone Lebon, and Design by Edward Quarmby.