Archived posts: Music

Share More Air

What would happen if you asked a group of children to write the lyrics for some songs, and then asked a bunch of adult musicians to write and record music to go with the lyrics? That’s the premise for the brilliant new album Share More Air, released jointly by the Ministry of Stories and Communion Records. It features lyrics from children aged 8-13 from east London, and music from artists including Ben Folds, Matthew and the Atlas, and Marcus Foster.

It’s a really wonderful project, and the finished songs sound fantastic.

We put together the CD book and the microsite for the album (built with skill and speed by Alex Wybraniec).

If you want to know more about it, check out this wonderful short film – there’s a humdinger of a moment part way through that may well get your tear ducts going:

Jarvis Cocker even dropped by to chat to author & Ministry co-founder Nick Hornby (one of the founders of the Ministry of Stories) about the project for his show on BBC 6 Music. Look, here are Jarvis and Nick hanging out at Hoxton Street Monster Supplies:

Buy the digital download of Share More Air now on i-Tunes, or pre-order the CD from Hoxton Street Monster Supplies (available from 25 November).

3 Dreams of Black

So this is rather lovely – the new interactive promo 3 Dreams of Black, for the song Black, from the upcoming Danger Mouse & Daniele Luppi album, ROME.

The promo, produced by Radical Media, is directed by Chris Milk (the guy who created the brilliant The Wilderness Downtown promo for Arcade Fire’s We Used to Wait), and makes use of WebGL technology – so you’ll need to have the latest version of Google’s Chrome browser installed, and be running Windows Vista or Mac OS 10.6.

The promo features three dreams of a girl born after an apocalypse, and certain parts of it allow you to roam (see what we did there?) around a virtual environment.

It’s a bit like a fusion of pop promo and video game, where for part of it you can wander around a (literal and virtual) sandbox. You can also create your own physical relics to leave in the space, using a 3D model creator tool – the best creations being added to the promo.

It’s an engaging and playful experience, and it’s interesting to watch it without interacting, and then to ‘play’ it – a subtle switch between passive and active entertainment.

The album ROME is inspired by Italian movie soundtracks from the 60s, and was recorded with the orchestra which performed the soundtrack to Sergio Leone’s The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

Scenes from the Suburbs

This little piece of brilliance just popped up on the radar (via Kottke). It’s Spike Jonze’s haunting new promo for Arcade Fire’s single The Suburbs. The film is credited on You Tube as being ‘Taken from the short film: “Scenes From The Suburbs”‘, but that’s all the info that’s available, apart from the key crew list.

We love the band’s music, and they’re just going from strength to strength when it comes to creating beautiful and moving films to go with them (their previous single, We Used to Wait, features a fantastic online interactive video that uses Google maps to place the action in a setting where you grew up).


Arcade Fire + Sergio Leone

It’s a bit old, but we’re loving this edit of Once Upon a Time in the West, used as an unofficial promo for Arcade Fire’s My Body Is A Cage (from their fantastic Neon Bible
album), by Chicago based designer J Tyler Helms.

And it give us a chance to link to this little promo piece the band have put together for their upcoming 12″ double-A side, The Suburbs/Month of May:

A. The Suburbs

AA. Month of May

Gorillaz Plastic Beach preview


We're just listening to the new Gorillaz  Plastic Beach
album in the studio (it's being previewed on the Guardian's site, and comes out on 8 March). As expected, the album's a delicious fusion of styles and artists, including collaborations with Snoop Dogg, Kano, Bobby Womack, Mos Def, Gruff Rhys, De La Soul, Mark E Smith, Lou Reed, Mick Jones and Paul Simonon. Not a bad crowd to make some tunes with.

Incredibly, it's ten years since Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett launched 2D, Murdoc, Noodle and Russell on the world, with the Tomorrow Comes Today EP. Back then the world's first virtual band sounded like an amusing side project, a way for Albarn to flex his musical muscles without having to engage with the usual PR circus that accompanied every new Blur* album, and for Hewlett to stretch his legs away from the comic page (where he was best known for his Tank Girl strip).


But blimey, Gorillaz developed into so much more than that, producing two truly fantastic albums, Gorillaz
and Demon Days, some killer videos, some pioneering 'live' shows; and in the process picked up the Designer of the Year award for Hewlett in 2006. All the while, they manage to appeal to both kids and adults, which is a damn fine trick. 

Frankly it's just great to watch two extraordinary talents at the top of their game.

UPDATE: Check out their fantastic Stylo promo, which just launched. 

* Their new concert DVD No Distance Left To Run
is out now by the way.

Design for Music / Music and Design


So this looks rather delicious: the latest conference at the ever brilliant St Bride Library is Design for Music / Music and Design. It features a stellar line-up of speakers including Gerard Saint (Big Active), Karsten Schmidt (aka toxi), Fred Deakin (Airside/Lemon Jelly), Adrian Shaughnessy (Unit Editions, Sampler), Tony Brook (SPIN) and Kate Moross (that's her Midnight Juggernauts design above).

The conference is a day-long affair on Friday 29 January, so you'll need to book super quickly to grab a place – tickets are £75 (£30 for concessions), with a further £15 discount for Friends of St Brides

Check out the full programme.

The Death of Bunny Munro by Nick Cave


So this looks pretty damn interesting. 

On 3 September Nick Cave's new book, The Death of Bunny Munro, is being published by Canongate

That's worth mentioning in its own right; but it gets better. Rather than just making do with a standard hardcover book, Cave has also created a deluxe box set featuring an audio CD version, read by himself, which includes a soundtrack by he and his long-time collaborator, the largely-bearded Warren Ellis. On top of that, there's also a download version, which has been especially mixed to be listened to on headphones. Smart eh? And according to this Guardian article, the download version includes an enhanced edition available as an application for the iPhone, which you can both read and listen to (though there's no sign of it on iTunes at the time of writing).

And heck, they're not done there, as there's also a signed, numbered, limited edition slip-cased edition being made available exclusively through the book's microsite, where you can also check out audio samples of the book/soundtrack, and video clips of Cave reading.


It feels like a fantastic mash-up of formats (the marketers might call it convergence), perfectly suited to Cave's polymath tendencies. Here's a man who's made (often incredible) music, lectured on love, written a novel (And the Ass Saw the Angel, being re-published at the same time as Bunny Munro), and who even wrote the screenplay for a fantastic movie, The Proposition.

It's a frankly disgusting amount of talent for one man.

Looks like there also might be some kind of tour – you can sign up for news on the site.

Labuat ‘Soy tu aire’ interactive promo


'Kay, so we try not to re-post stuff we find on the web, but sometimes something truly great comes our way, and we just have to share.

Cast your mind back, and you might remember the rather tasty interactive video for Neon Bible by Arcade Fire. Well, here's something that outdoes it by a country mile. It's the promo for the single Soy tu aire (I'm your air) by recently formed Spanish band Labuat (they opened for Beyonce in Barcelona recently don'cha'know), and it's quite staggeringly beautiful. 

During the promo you paint the song, with your mouse moves determining the movement of a beautifully inked line. It's utterly beguiling, particularly as the speed of the line tracks the passion of the song. 

It was conceived and art directed by Herraiz Soto & Co, animated by Jossie Malis, with creative programming (we think we're translating that right) by Badabing!

Music to design to – the album


Heck, you lot are a diverse bunch.

Following on from our Music to Design to post, here's the Music to design to playlist on Spotify. We've selected (in a fairly haphazard way) some of the more popular tunes from the albums everyone's been recommending. We generally picked the first album mentioned in each case, though not all of them were available via Spotify. The running order is just set to the order the comments came in. We'll keep adding as long as people keep suggesting stuff.

Music to design to


Here's the scene. You've got a deadline looming, so it's time to stop Twittering about what you had for lunch and get on with coming up with some startlingly fresh ideas.

But, first, you need to put on some tunes to get you in the mood. What do you listen to? What's the music that does it for you when you're designing? Is it a bit of Vangelis, some Steve Reich, a dose of Autechre, or a chunk of Radiohead?

Drop us a comment, and let us know your three top albums (in order of preference) for designing to. Or, if you're one of those freaks people who likes absolute silence, let us know that too. 

We won't judge. Much.

And once we've got a solid list together, we'll put together a Spotify playlist or somesuch.