The instances of great visual artists combining their work with great musicians are regrettably few and far between, as such joyful unions are almost always culturally enriching. Recently I’ve come across a rich vein of artists crossing over to do the jiggy jiggy, thanks to hip hop producers N.A.S.A. who thrive on partnering other great musicians (which faceless producer doesn’t?!). But they don’t just get it on with other musicians, they also persuade some of the worlds greatest visual artists to craft their videos. I found this out whilst searching for a video, any video, by Shepherd Fairey, he of Obey street art fame. So I was uber delighted to find an awesome tune that also features well known bed-hopper David Byrne, himself no slouch with the visuals, and best of all a video that slots neatly into my set’s money moment.
Whilst you’re up to your neck in Tube, check N.A.S.A.’s other videos too.
Got me thinking about other music/visual crossovers that I’ve enjoyed. An obvious one that springs to mind are av pioneers Coldcut, who released their entire last album Sound Mirrors on dvd, with specially commissioned videos from a range of artists. Looking back I was always a big fan (still am) of Underworld, who also founded their own art & design company Tomato, though I was never convinced they brought art and music together as well as they might have. In a similar vein I bought Lemon Jelly’s first album on the strength of the design of the album cover, so it was no surprise to find out that one half of them, Fred Deakin, is a graphic designer.
Going even further back, the fact that Pop Will Eat Itself had all their artwork done by Designers Republic, who went on to style seminal playstation game Wipeout, and do most of Warps design work, was a major selling point. And of course the Velvet Underground were wigging out with Andy Warhol and some slide projectors way before even I was born, but I’m hep to their vibe daddio.