Of all the things I work on, I think the stuff I get to do for the Scottish music label Fence Records is my favourite. I've been a fan forever and this latest project has allowed me to be involved in something that I remember wishing I could do back in college.
Back then, Fence would release really cool little EPs on CD-R as a kind of record-club called Picket Fence. I had tons of these things. The artists had complete freedom and, because it was quite a small-scale set up, you'd get loads of odd music and weirdness that you couldn't find on 'proper' albums. Each PF release came in a neat wee cardboard sleeve with artwork by the act themselves and, if I remember correctly, a spray painted issue number. *
I loved that stuff. I remember showing them to my classmates saying how cool it would be to work on something like that.
Well, recently Johnny and Kenny asked me if I'd be interested in working on the artwork to a kind of spiritual-successor to the Picket Fences. Of course I bloomin' would! Didn't they know I'd said to my classmates how cool it would be to work on something like that 10 years ago?
So, as of last month, I'm happy to announce the launch of Chart-Ruse. The initial set in the F3NC3 R⅓CORDS’ 33s subscription-based EP series. **
Kicking things off, is Heart Heart EP by Edinburgh's mighty Withered Hand. The 7'' vinyl features 3 tracks plus a King Creosote remix which is exclusive to the record itself (as in, you can't even download it like you can the others). The title track is particularly fantastic and can be enjoyed here:
For the artwork, I gathered together dozens of ancient maps, charts and diagrams and set to work with my (digital) scissors and glue to collage together a bright green (chartreuse - get it?) fantasy-world of mountains and sea monsters. The reverse (which can be seen properly here) features a broken-heart design that I adapted from Withered Hand himself.
The end result is something I'm really happy with. I tried to keep it loose and fun and, well, Fencey, while at the same time giving the series its own particular look and feel.
Moving on from here, the artwork for the next two Chart-Ruse EPs (by Delifinger and a still-secret third artist) will feature different islands and additions to part 1. Following that, we'll change the colour, change the title and change the artwork for the next 3. And so on, and so on. Confusing? Yeah, kinda, but that's the fun of it. As time goes on, it'll start to make sense.
The Chart-Ruse subscriptions have sold out but you can buy Withered Hand's Heart Heart EP and pre-order Delifinger's Escapes EP individually. Keep an eye out for news on the third release, and subsequent sets in the series, by following Fence or myself on Twitter. The full artwork is on my site and there are more photos on my Flickr.
* The spraypaint would make the CD stick inside the sleeve in the most maddening way. It somehow added to the charm, however.
** Fence, as you may have noticed, LOVE a convoluted title and a bad pun. KC's doing, I think.