From the minute he strode into our field of vision, hands in pockets, sporting his trademark black roll-neck and heeled leather boots, we knew there was something rather special about Edward Carvalho Monaghan; he’s one-of-a-kind and a bit of a card. Edward applied to the It’s Nice That Graduates 2013 and was immediately picked as one our 12 favourites, chosen both for the standard of his work and ability to embed both humour and a wealth of cultural references into a single piece – a rare talent in someone so young. In plump lines he creates instantly recognisable objects and creatures, most of which have a certain mystical quality to them whether they reside in the dreamlike panels of comic strips or alone on seas of primary colours. What keeps us returning to Edward’s work is the way it gives the subtle, uneasy feeling that he’s very intelligent, and these colourful fountains of illustration are a complex intellectual joke that perhaps only he is in on.
When we found out about his fanatical interest in music we decided to ask Edward to create a visual mixtape feature for our winter issue, for which he could pick his top five songs and illustrate each one. Favouring the psychedelic end of the musical spectrum he chose a heady mix of jangling psych, including songs by Pink Floyd, Love, and The Monks along with the more obscure Atomic Forest, Os Mutantes and Edzayawa; a teenage rock band from Ghana who made it big in the 1970s. Edward’s illustrations, though simplistic and digitally finished, still suggest the clanging bells, stained tie-dye and oil projectors so common in the period from which he draws musical inspiration.
A heavy viscous trudge recalling the band’s nomadic journeys in the desert.
Pink Floyd: Take Up Thy Stethoscope and Walk
A mutated offspring of Syd Barrett’s doing that has somehow succeeded in being enjoyable, jarring and regularly cited by experimental musicians.
Love: Little Red Book
A more rigid and pop structured gem of early psych, with Arthur Lee as usual ruminating over lost love and heartbreak.
The Monks: I Can’t Get Over You
A great song on an incredible album that challenges in the same way as The Stooges or Sex Pistols but still manages to remain tighter and more listenable than any band to have had an anarchic or dramatic agenda.
Os Mutantes: Bat Macumba
This is just some super happy shit!