This morning, we kicked off our new mix series with a badass selection of house and techno from Dutch producer Legowelt. The art for the mix was created by our friends Harry Gassel and Eric Hu, the New York-based graphic designer duo behind Talk, a magazine about the politics of style in contemporary culture. When we reached out to them about creating a visual identity for the series, our only requirement was that they craft something that eschewed adjectives like "dark," "mysterious," and "technological"—basically, all the stereotypical visual signifiers you might typically associate with contemporary club culture.
Below, we asked them to explain what they came back with. Hint: between the use of found imagery and the poster-like shape, it was about creating a hand-made feel, one that captures the unique moment in time in which each mix was created.
Harry Gassel and Eric Hu: We started by thinking about the act of listening to new music as a conversation with the world at large. Mixes pull sounds from multiple sources, and it didn't make sense to strive for a singular cohesive image or aesthetic. We want to revisit and rethink the act of collaging as a useful metaphor for that, placing news headlines, financial indexes, and everyday objects alongside found and made textures that bring together different traditions of mark-making on the same surface.
There's already a historical precedent for this in music culture—specifically the connection between punk and rave fliers and the Situationists, and how the latter chose to draw from their surroundings to create new and challenging visuals. Just like the phenomenon where people remember exactly what they were doing when recalling a significant historical moment, we're attracted to the idea of people remembering what was going on in their lives and in the world when they hear something great for the first time. The artwork is dated to the final audio file export by the artist as a way to think of the mix itself as a kind of time-capsule collage.
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