Illustrated Tapes 029: BINARY

Curated by Isaac Smith

18.04.19



Isaac is an illustrator based in Leeds, UK.

Hey Isaac, can you tell us a little bit about your tape and your song selections?

Hi!

This is a mix-race-tape (lol), The feeling behind my selections comes from the experience of growing up as mixed black and white in England, and the expectations of fitting into one or the other group for an array of reasons from attitude to interests. This is an exercise in saying, no - embrace the duality of being from two different spheres rather than assigning one more value than another. The songs alternate between black and white artists as the tape plays, to illustrate this appreciation of both worlds. I chose 13 tracks to reference the 13th amendment in the USA, a big turning point for both black and white history.

How did you go about the artwork?

I enjoy working digitally because of the freedom with composition and colour that it easily allows, but I always start in the sketchbook. I find that's a more organic way to play around with potential ideas and figure out basically what works and what's naff. The basic idea for the artwork focuses on identity and the feeling of sometimes being disconnected from your own history in a way. The chemical formula in the artwork is the scientific representation of melanin, I wanted it to be present without being super obvious, as it is in real life.

What are your fave album covers, records with a great music and artwork combo, or musical projects with a visual component?

A band I love, Bad Sounds, had a whole campaign around their debut album Get Better,  which featured these mad visuals to do with “getting better” and weird ironic self help monologues. It was brilliant, like being on the surface level of a cult with all the weird laughs and none of the Kool Aid.


Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s music video for “Hunnybee”, animated by Greg Sharp, is one of my favourite music/artwork combinations ever because it balances beautiful imagery and the chill music with a visuals narrative that builds a sense of foreboding as if something bad might happen while this lovely song is playing. Nothing bad does happen (spoilers) but it keeps you engaged constantly. Love it


‘Hunnybee’ [MV] – Unknown Mortal Orchestra
2018, Jagjaguwar
Direction and animation: Greg Sharp

Polygondwanaland by King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard is a project that I found really cool and immersive, being a free album that encourages people to make their own CDs, vinyls and tapes. The band also made images and fonts that could be used by fans, which makes the whole album/visual inspiration a project that feels open to any interpretation or follow on project by basically anyone who comes into contact with it. Also, the default album art is bonkers amazing.


Polygondwanaland – King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard
2017, Self released
Artwork: Jason Galea


Polygondwanaland – King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard
2017, Joy Circle Records


Polygondwanaland – King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard
2017, Stolen Body Records


Polygondwanaland – King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard
2017, Shuga Records


Polygondwanaland – King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard
2017, Fuzz Cult Records


Polygondwanaland – King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard
2017, ATO Record
Artwork (stamp design) – Joel Melrose



Polygondwanaland – King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard
2017, WeWant2Wecord
Artwork (stamp design) – Joel Melrose



Polygondwanaland – King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard
2017, VEALS & GEEKS Records
Artwork – Mon Colonel & Spit.



Polygondwanaland – King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard
2017, Earthship Records


Polygondwanaland – King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard
2017, Analog Love Records
Artwork – Mon Colonel & Spit.



Polygondwanaland – King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard
2018, 5Seven Records



Polygondwanaland – King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard
2017, 5Seven Records
 

What did you listen to growing up?

We had a lot of Motown and British jangle pop albums in the car when I was young, which I would hear to and from primary school, often applying all my childhood experiences to the words I clearly didn't fully understand, which is probably why I have such a deep love for some of the songs included on my tape, as I loved their vibe before even fully understanding what they were about. Artists like Martha Reeves, The Beautiful South and Stevie Wonder are just a few examples of how I started to see music as a storytelling tool, much the same way I see illustration. Eventually it just made sense to me to combine the two.

What’s happening in your creative world at the moment?

I'm always trying to work on ways to improve through experimentation, so there's a few zines and hopefully t shirts in the pipeline that I'm using to get new skillz in. I think it's hard to leave uni on a creative course and expect to suddenly become “an artist now”, but I think it's all a big learning curve, get better and make the work that makes you buzzed. Sounds cheesy but so much good work doesn't get made because of reasons like self doubt, so I think it's worth giving it a go and just seeing what works!

Where to find Isaac:

︎ disco.riddles

TRACKLIST

Princess Nokia - Mine / The Beautiful South - You Keep It All In / Little Simz - 101 FM / Westerman - Edison / Kojey Radical - Water (with Mahalia) / Fat Night - Honest Man / Childish Gambino - III. Telegraph Ave. ("Oakland" by Lloyd) / IDER - You've Got Your Whole Life Ahead Of You Baby / Tyler, The Creator - Boredom (feat. Rex Orange County & Anna of the North) / Fleetwood Mac - Little Lies [2017 Remaster] / Anderson .Paak - The Waters / Talking Heads - This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody) [2005 Remaster] / Noname - Don't Forget About Me ︎