Illustrated Tapes 039: Evaporating Daydream Music

Curated by James Downing
13.09.19
spoti.fi/2lP1x0B



Sequenced for front →  back listening.
James is an artist and illustrator based in Leeds, UK.

Hey James! Can you tell us a little bit about your tape and your song selections?

I wanted to create a playlist of songs that would soundtrack a dream that you know you’re going to forget as soon as you wake up… you know those really ethereal ones that don’t necessarily have a narrative, or even any tangible quality, where you’re floating around in limbo? Then you wake up and go, “oh yeah, I’m a real person, here’s real life again”. It’s mostly a very ambient affair, with a few deviations, and an awakening ending! I recommend having it on while you crack on with some work.

How did you go about the artwork?

I drew it on my iPad, on Procreate. I wanted to draw freely, without too much planning. I started by just scribbling down some song ideas for the playlist, and then scribbling over that, and then scribbling over that, and so on until an idea took shape. As a fun challenge (to me anyway), I only added stuff, I didn’t erase anything.


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

There are some album covers I love that give you a lot of clues as to how the album is going to sound… Floral Shoppe by Macintosh Plus, Kid A by Radiohead, Monoliths & Dimensions by Sunn O))), Midnite Vultures by Beck… then there are some covers that just throw curveballs at you, but are iconic in their own right… Hello Nasty! by Beastie Boys, Gloss Drop by Battles, Double Negative by Low…


Floral Shoppe - Macintosh Plus
2011, Beer on the Rug



Gloss Drop - Battles
2011, Warp Records

AD, Design - Dave Konopka
Photography - Lesley Unruh

My favourite album covers are probably all the ones Pete Fowler did for Super Furry Animals. They heavily influenced my style, and having bought Radiator purely based on its cover art when I was 12, got me into one of my all time favourite bands! It also sent me down a long road of collecting Pete Fowler’s designer vinyl figures. I’ve got cabinets full of them now. Hundreds and hundreds of cabinets. 

Radiator - Super Furry Animals
1997, Creation Records

Artwork - Pete Fowler

I love a good audio/video combo. The Japanese musician Cornelius released an album in the 2000’s called Sensuous, which he toured with fully synchronised visuals playing behind him, created by loads of different artists. It’s one of the best gigs I’ve ever been to! More recently, I really enjoyed the short film on Netflix that accompanies Thom Yorke’s new album, Anima. Nobody looks less like they should be prancing around than ol’ Yorkie. But he pulls it off. 


CORNELIUS - OPENING - BREEZIN' (ULTIMATE SENSUOUS SYNCHRONIZED SHOW) 2, 2012


Anima - Thom Yorke
2019, Netflix

Director: Paul Thomas Anderson

What did you listen to growing up?

I spent a good chunk of my younger childhood listening to what my dad would put on. Loads of Kraftwerk, David Bowie, a fair bit of 80s new wave stuff, and then when I was a bit older, loads of Britpop, Blur, Sleeper, Dodgy, Pulp, and the Super Furries of course! I broadened my horizons a fair bit in my teens, and listened to loads of Warp Records stuff, some hip-hop, and now I listen to everything I can get my hands on that isn’t crappy.

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

I have a lovely relationship with the clothing company The Yetee right now. They let me have a wee store section on their site with some shirts, pins, posters and stickers that I designed. I’ve also wormed my way into the weird and lucrative world of YouTuber merch… a lot of content creators get financially shafted by YouTube’s constantly changing rules, so they’re taking things into their own hands. I had loads of fun creating posters for Internet Comment Etiquette!  In terms of personal projects, I’ve been sitting on a pretty-much-complete book for a long time now (not literally). It’s pages and pages of themed doodles. I’m pretty pleased with it, the only thing left to do is put it out there and get it printed. Who knows when I’ll force myself to do that, though.

Where can we find you?

︎ couk-art.co.uk
︎ @cooooouk
 ︎@cooooouk

Thank you James!