Synthetics aka Ben Cook is an electronic musician and audio-visual artist based in London. He has been a member of the Instructions collective since 2003. He is also Founder and Creative Director at Radio Design.
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I’ve been composing in a cinematic direction lately, and my new track, Traurige Filmmusik, is drifting into film score territory. Music for me can conjure raw emotion and unfold vast scenes in the imagination. I hope the track will help evoke some pictures in the mind of the listener.
Bokhari Records are a vinyl only indie label who like to keep their releases exclusive and good-looking. They commission bespoke sleeve artwork from illustrators and artists for each of their strictly limited runs.
It was a privilege to be asked to create the artwork for their second release Siafu/Disrupted Project – Slunk Dub 12″. Paul from the label said he liked pyramids and eyes (and who doesn’t?), so it seemed only reasonable to embark on this psychedelic voyage into a world alive with acidic geometry, dismembered hands and a lone, vigilant eyeball.
I designed the sleeves so they would tile horizontally if you arranged them in a strip front-to-back (you can see this effect in the 3rd image down). The idea being if you had enough records you could line them up and create a visual loop repeating forever… If you really wanted to. Since I usually work in moving image I saw this repetition effect as a way to suggest some rhythm and motion in the artwork. I wanted it to feel a bit like a video timeline or musical score, with the shapes themselves representing the different notes and creating a loose kind of visual music.
I was approached by photographers Tom Oldham and Tom Bunning to help out with their cover shoot for the Sept 2012 edition of The Fly music magazine. They wanted to project visuals onto the psych-rock quintet TOY (Heavenly Recordings) and thought my stuff would be the right kind of aesthetic. After experimenting a bit with different designs it was obvious that geometric symmetry was the right way to go – well, isn’t it always?
Image: Tom Oldham
Villa Nah asked me to design t-shirts for their UK tour, where they supported the mighty OMD in October/November 2010. Having created and performed a lot of bespoke visuals for Villa Nah’s live shows it made sense to continue this style in print. The tour was a sell out and so were the shirts!
I’m honored to be invited back to the Hackney Film Festival for its second year running, and it’s exciting to have the opportunity to showcase brand new material for the first time on the festival’s opening night. I’ll be performing a 45 minute audio/visual set that combines my musical compositions with synchronised visuals. There’s no sneak peek yet, but expect videos to be posted here shortly after the event.
Hackney Film Festival Opening Night
Thurs 15th September, 18:00 – 23:00
Platform Bar And Terrace, Netil House, E8
More info on the gig here
Synthetics performing live visuals for Finnish synth pop duo Villa Nah at The Drop, London on 7th July 2010.
Special thanks to Tom Bunning for his beautiful camerawork.
Visuals, Edit and Post Production -
Director of Photography -
A film by Synthetics.