When I was a young man, with the limited funds that young men have, I had to be picky about the records I bought with my pocket money. Luckily, as a child of the internet, I had the chance to submerge myself enough strongly-held opinions to point me in certain musical directions. Like many music obsessives, I floated towards certain labels — Cologne’s Kompakt, say, or Load Out in Rhode Island — because they offered a sense of stability and cohesion. If I liked Load’s fearsomely noisy duo Lightning Bolt, then it stood to reason that I’d probably like Pink and Brown, another fearsomely noisy duo on that imprint.
A 60-page Risograph-printed book compromising of over 300 record label logos, collected and compiled by DJ, producer, and designer, Lucas Hunter, AKA, Luca Lozano, Record Label Logo Archive Vol.1 is the kind of publication I’d have done borderline illegal things for a decade or so ago.
Lucas tells us that his introduction to the joys and sorrows of record buying started in the early 1990s. As is the case with many of us, he was drawn to the way certain 12”s looked just as much as how they sounded. “I had a friend who was an aspiring jungle DJ and he had a lot of records from labels such as Strictly Underground and Reinforced,” he remembers. “There was a perfection in the simplicity and DIY look of those record sleeves. They were awe-inspiring and holy but somehow it was still possible to imagine yourself doing something similar someday.”
Inspired by the records he was flicking through, Lucas and his mates used to fill their exercise books with logos plucked straight from the 12”s that filled the shelves of HMV and beyond. Back then, and still to this day, it was D&B label Suburban Bass’ look which stole his young heart. “The black and white was so striking and it was so perfect for the time. Looking at those designs whilst listening to the music created a whole universe in my head, it was like a perfect unification of style and sound,” he says.
Released on his own Klasse Wrecks imprint, an immaculate collection of snapshots of worlds, sounds, and labels, long since vanished, Record Label Logo Archive Vol.1 is a publication which puts the content ahead of the form. Lucas says he, “didn’t spend too much time on the arrangement,” for fear of disrupting the book’s flow.
“When I was laying it out, I did pay attention to the general coupling of images, if a logo looked too heavy for the page I swapped it out with something else. The overall balance was important and giving some of my favourites their own page in the book was a consideration but I wanted the overall collection to be rough and ready, allowing the reader to give their attention to the logos themselves as opposed to the design of the book.”
We recommend digging through the book, finding a label you’ve never heard of before, and furiously searching for everything they ever released on YouTube.
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