M|A|R|R|S - Pump Up The Volume

We talked recently about Chris Biggs's contribution to the design style of House Music, and how the influence of his mentor Vaughan Oliver could be felt in the result. But Oliver himself also did some brilliant design for a House record, and a famous one : "Pump Up The Volume" by "M|A|R|R|S.
Yet released in 1987 on the famous Indie Rock label 4AD, this record was to become (one of ?) the first House hit made in Europe, and initiated what would later be refered to as the "Home House" trend.

This was a collaborative effort from the members of Colourbox with A.R. Kane, and it used extensively dozens of uncleared samples. The idea was as much to challenge the legal boundaries as to show the potential of sampling to re-create with the existing.

12 Inch (Back)

On a design point of view, it is a triumph of pure Graphic Design. And, although Panni Charrington is also credited for the artwork, it shows all the characteristic elements of the flourishing style of Vaughan Oliver.
Starting with the way the name of the band was written :  these bars between each letters, were a way to express the collaborative and one-off nature of the band : each letter stood for the initial of one member of the project, and through these bars, remained separated. Amusingly, since 1987, fans around the world keep scouting their keyboards to faithfully reproduce the bars when typing the name! Aaah, the power of a reasoned design!

Another sign of the encoding nature of Oliver's designs is the circle with the AA inside, that subtly differenciates the A side from the B side. This tendency to create codes, and in general to create elements for the sake of it, is typical of Oliver, and represents his way of creating ornaments. 
In the 90', this would also became a defining element of The Designer's Republic style.

Remix 12 inch (Front)

Remix 12 inch (Back)
The artwork of the remix is another proof of Oliver's ability to endlessly recycle textures, patterns and images, in order to create new variations.
Taking into account the specific constraints of the 7 inch and CD single formats, Oliver focused these designs on the name and title graphics, ensuring a maximum readability, while remaining highly recognizable and original.

Single 7 inch (Front)

Single 7 inch (Back)

CD Single (Front)

CD Single (Back)

CD Single (Inside)




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