The Vinyl Countdown
It's been a very busy couple of months here at the Mansions. Following the success of Secret 7 we have produced artwork for SEVEN ('spooky', as Storm would have said) never before released on vinyl albums by Leisure Cruise, Villainy and Alan Parsons amongst others, as well as re-worked re-issues for The Mars Volta and Pink Floyd. In between this and work on The Pink Floyd Exhibition - Their Mortal Remains we still found time to don wetsuits and waders in the lakes of North Wales - all will be revealed...
Pink Floyd - The Division Bell 20th Anniversary
It's been 20 years since the release of Pink Floyd's last studio album, 'The Division Bell' and to mark the occasion the band have just released a deluxe box set version. The album was one of the first major projects created by StormStudios in an early incarnation, and working on this box set reminded us of Storm and what a great time it had been back in 1994 with so many images, graphics, illustrations, films and sculptures of enormous heads being made, and all the people involved. It also gave Peter the opportunity to revisit and tidy up his graphics from the original version.
The box is a definitive archival release, including vinyl and digital discs, a large booklet, poster, cards and art prints with many of the images being previously unseen versions of those used in the 1994 release. It also includes a brand new image that we created to accompany the track 'Marooned', of a vessel floating through the Milky Way - Spacey!
Kan Wakan - Moving On
Newly arrived at your local record showroom is Kan Wakan
's debut album 'Moving On
'. The Los Angeles based band (though with seven members we could call them a mob) approached us last year and played us some really impressive rough mixes. To even use the word 'rough' would be a gross misinterpretation, as the songs were already swathed in complex orchestral arrangements and some very spacey production, not to mention the strong soulful voice of singer Kristianne Bautista. It was all very much like an imaginary soundtrack to a film we'd never seen.
When grilled, the band's mastermind, Gueorgui Linev, implied that if there was a loose thread running through the songs it might be about disillusionment, struggle and the hope of transformation or transcendence. Throughout their short history the band had also used a black circle/sphere as a recurring visual motif and several of our ideas picked up that particular ball and ran with it, as you can see in the final cover. We packed up our usual bags of equipment and sandwiches and headed for Joshua Tree desert in California, which is hot, alien and full of strange shaped rocks and trees, and luckily the ball was there waiting for us, for airlines don't often accommodate such voluminous spheres. Our final image clearly deals with a struggle of some kind: a gargantuan ball prevented from falling into a chasm of no return, by two (or is it one?) eternally struggling beings. Shades of Sisyphus perhaps. Maybe twin human scarabs hoisting a negative sun (the moon?) up to the heavens? The struggle was worth it, and if you'll pardon the awful pun, we definitely had…a…ball!
The Gathering Storm - Exhibition in Monza
The northern Italian town of Monza is world famous for its Formula One racing track, but this summer there's something much more interesting happening than a load of noisy old cars, namely 'The Gathering Storm', one of the largest exhibitions StormStudios has ever held in Italy. Produced in collaboration with Milan's Galleria Arteutopia and Clarart in Monza, our show fills the eccentric Palazzo dell'Arengario, a 13th century building raised on stone arches and accessed by a stone spiral staircase and a beautifully odd setting for our work. The hallucinatory zoo of fine art prints range from some of our best known images for Pink Floyd, Biffy Clyro, Muse and Mars Volta to lesser known but much loved artists like Powderfinger, Shpongle and Thornley.
StormStudios' very own Dan Abbott zipped over to Monza to assemble the show, babble incoherently to the Italian media and shake hands with the Mayor at the busy (and very hot) opening night. A day later Dan gave a talk/workshop revealing how and why StormStudios do what we do, concluding with an audience portrait (a tradition Storm started a few years back, utilising cabbages in London, melons in Mexico and kiwis in New Zealand) making use of the ubiquitous Italian espresso cup!
The Gathering Storm runs until 24th August, Palazzo dell'Arengario, Monza, Piazza Roma 1.
And finally...we are delighted to reveal the answers to our Secret Seven competition, which ran in a previous newsletter. Correctly uncovered by only one person (well done Anna Lam!) our designs, scattered throughout a huge gallery, were the following numbers: 029, 137, 269, 364, 525, 598 and 695.
See them all HERE and roll on next year!