Thursday, February 24, 2011

Album Cover Album: Redesigned

I recently bought a new, redesigned copy of the Album Cover Album by Storm Thorgersen and Roger Dean because my original 1977 edition was coming apart from it's glued-in spine and I found a new, hardcover copy on Amazon for $0.99.

First, The Cons:
For all it's touted redesign this book suffers slightly from it. The axiom "If it ain't broke don't fix it." applies aptly here as the original has larger images on pages with more than one cover displayed. The new editions images may seem sharper and the colors look to have been corrected (though a little too much contrast in some) but I'm at a loss as to why they were reduced in size by about 10%. The type redesign is "prettier" but less legible as the font is too light to stand out on the neutral gray background. It also baffles me that, as a book on design by designers, all the individual design credits are set so small and in an even lighter font as to render them insignificant.

And now, The Pros:
The biggest advantage this edition has over the original (which I also own, by the way) is the beautiful hardcover binding. With the old edition being a budget-minded paperbound with a glued-in spine it has long ago become separated from the cover. This new version is a sturdy sewn-in binding with matte finished board covers and a matte dust jacket with spot varnish on the images. The addition of a neutral gray background for all of the pages is an improvement as it allows the images to stand out more than the older layout with each chapter having different muted colors. There are also some additional full-bleed album images added though conspicuously absent is the original, highly controversial cover for the first Blind Faith album by Bob Seidemann of a nude teenaged girl holding an airplane model. It has been replaced with another controversial, though less so by today's standards, image from the Rolling Stones' "Sticky Fingers" LP depicting a close-up of Mick's denim clad crotch with a real zipper (closed, of course).

All said, this is worth more than the $0.99 that I paid for it on and I recommend it for anyone interested in collecting records on vinyl or for those interested in the history of 20th century graphic design.

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Monday, February 21, 2011

Bachelor Father

Sunday afternoon I go out to buy some food and find a kitten just chillin' on the stairs.It doesn't seem to be afraid of me so I pet it because TheGuy likes the kitties a lot. When i come home it's still there and the kids from next door say she's been there all day. I suggest to DJ (the youngest kid of the group who lives across the courtyard from me) he take her home since Chico (the oldest of the three next door kids is afraid of cats) but he says his mom doesn't like cats either. So, after they go out to play, i go back to my apartment and the kitten follows me in. Okay, so what to do now? I guess i could make a flyer to say i found her. Later.
I figure that she might be hungry because i vaguely remember that kittens (she looks to be about 4 or 5 months old) are sorta like puppies in that they need to eat a lot like the growing things they are. I gave her a little bowl of water and a fairly good sized piece of fried catfish. Not only did she eat 3 pieces of fish she also drank all of the water. I guess she'd been with out food or water for awhile. I just happened to have a bag of cheap litter to use in my car in case i got stuck in the snow. I put some in an old plastic dish left from some catering job and she used it...bonus! Housebroken! She follows me from room to room and will only get up on what little furniture i have if i'm sitting on it. She spent the night sleeping next to me without incident. So far, so good.
Today i went out to buy some proper cat food as all i had been feeding her was rice with a little nam pla (Asian fish sauce). Apparently, she is very comfortable here alone as she was still in the same place i left her when i came back from the store with her food. Again, bonus! I saw my neighbor, Curtis, who adopted an abandoned Siamese that lived up the street before it's owner's moved away and left her. He said the kitten was in his building not long before (all of the buildings here share a common basement). I showed him the flyer i'd made an he said to forget about trying to find an owner, "It's yours now. Best get used to it."

Yeah, i guess she is.

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Friday, February 18, 2011

Pather Ke Log: M.Aziz v/s M. Rafi

This is a compilation of songs, from different Hindi films, performed by "playback" artists (singers that dub the songs for the actors in Bollywood films) Mohammed Rafi and Mohammad Aziz. I guess the idea behind this cassette was to show how Mohammad Aziz's reverence for Mohammed Rafi made him a shoo-in as his successor in pop music after M. Rafi's death in 1980. Both of them are excellent singers with very pleasant voices so it would be hard to say which I liked better than the other. Admittedly, M. Aziz' songs have better sound and production than some of the older tracks by M. Rafi and I can't comment on the quality of the material they worked with but the whole thing is an entertaining listen.

A curious thing about this album is that, apparently, it's the 4th part of a series and it has spoken vignettes between each song with a man and woman talking. It sounds like they're shilling for the films related to the songs or for other albums in the series. It reminds on those 30-minute infomercials for the Time-Life soul CDs with Peabo Bryson and a woman I don't remember gushing about how fantastic the CDs are.

The Tracks:
A1Mohammad Aziz - Teri Bewafai Ka
A2Mohammad Rafi - Kya Hua Tera
A3Mohammad Aziz - Tera Gham Agar
A4Mohammad Rafi - Mere Dushman
A5Mohammad Aziz - De Raha Hai Dua
B1Mohammad Rafi - Teri Galiyon Mein
B2Mohammad Aziz - Mitwa Bhool Na
B3Mohammad Rafi - Jis Ke Liye Sab Ko
B4Mohammad Aziz - O Be Wafa O Be
B5Mohammad Rafi - Agar De Wafa

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