Making Art With Historical Records

So you probably saw on Folk Radio UK that Josienne Clarke has a new album out, available exclusively on Bandcamp right here, right now. The press release puts it best it can be put:

This is the artist alone in her bedroom-studio-office, it’s where the magic lives, the bits you don’t normally get to hear, that first spark of an idea as it appears, complete with missteps and mistakes and the frisson with which such creativity is charged. It hisses and crackles with pure, imperfect, creative endeavour, the nearest you’ll get to seeing how it’s really done. Take a peak over the fourth wall, behind the stage curtain, way beyond the dressing room and into her home to take a seat with a view over her shoulder as she pens some of the finest songs in her catalogue, a catalogue which is among the finest original song-writing this country has to offer...’

I made that cover & I’m pretty proud of it. That’s an old photograph of Josienne. I’ve tried to get in touch with Ondine Goldswain, who Josienne thinks took the photo, but I can’t contact her to confirm. If Ondine or anyone connected to her reads this, let us know so we can give you credit.

Here’s a section from the press release, explaining my work on the cover:

The cover of Historical Record Vol 1 & 2 was designed by photographer & videographer Alec Bowman, using a photograph taken of Josienne in 2009 during a shoot for her first album ‘One Light Is Gone’. Alec explains “Josienne is almost lost in a fog of digital degradation, but not quite; she’s standing, still, defiant in the face of all the noise. I used a hex editor to violate the integrity of the file & create the impression of a slow data collapse out of which Josienne appears, a quiet ghost in a static roar.’

A fancy way of saying it, but such are press releases. There are hundreds of iterations of that cover design. I knew exactly what I wanted the outcome to be and achieving it was very satisfying but took a while to get just right. There’s an element of chance, working with a hex editor. You break the thing, then look to see if the damage is the right kind. It’s a beautiful & time consuming way of working.

I made this one using the same technique. This one is based on an image I took myself during a shoot last year. We did it to make posters with and you will have seen some of these images out in the world in various forms, like this Slovakia tour poster.

Here’s a few others that haven’t seen the light of day yet, including the one I broke to make the AVI that JC is using now.

I made the video for ‘throwing love’, too. Well, sort of. Again, I’ll let the press release explain:

The accompanying video for ‘throwing love’ was made using footage shot by Josienne on her phone during her travels over the last ten years in music, then edited by Alec Bowman. We join Josienne on her endless travels, always coming & going, never arriving, no direction home or away. The only conclusion appears to be a moments quiet repose from some familiar window in a snowy street and the birds in the sky.

It was a satisfying video to edit. There was reams of footage, all unrelated and usually with her messing around, singing along, eating haribo or whatever on her way to or back from a show. Harrowing to sift through, in some ways. Satisfying in others. As with the cover, I knew what I was aiming at with the video. The story I wanted to tell. I just had to find the parts that told it. This is recovered footage, digital archeology. I edited it into the 2.35:1 aspect ratio, gave it a bit of drama. It doesn’t always scale well on youtube but it does sometimes & I think it’s worth it, what do you reckon?

More from the press release:

Historical Record vol. 1 & 2′ will be released on Corduroy Punk Records on 15th May 2020. It will only be available as a digital download & only on Bandcamp. “It will not be available on any streaming services, I’m sick of other people making more money from my creative endeavour than I do…”

Aside from the statement on the state of the #BrokenRecord music industry, documented elsewhere, the other thing you might notice is mention of a thing called Corduroy Punk Records.

If you visit that website, you won’t find much other than this statement:

I made those graphics. I’m not going to say more than that, here, now, or maybe, anywhere, ever. It is what it is & that’s all it can be.

“(Historical Record 1&2) is a candid and exhausted documentation of a whole life spent in song and how utterly, beautifully pointless that is.” says Josienne.

Buy Historical Record vol. 1 & 2 now.

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