Because radio is by far the best medium to do a special about graphic art, we’ll dedicate an entire show to the legend and main influence on all we do, Ian Swift aka Swifty. Gamma Proforma just released a book about the man and his work that is a must have if you grew up with magazines like Straight No Chaser, got weekly lessons from Gilles Peterson through his radio shows, parties and other activities and were hooked to labels like Talkin’ Loud, Mo’Wax, Far Out and alike. So we’ll play nothing but records with sleeves designed by the man and will explain why he has been one of our main inspirations the past 20 years or so. To give you a taste of what to expect, here are 5 picks that you do not only need because it’s ace music but for the cover too.
Galliano – Jus Reach – Talkin’ Loud
Swifty was responsible for Gilles Peterson’s label’s look and set a standard still felt today. Through the big influence of Saul Bass on Swifty, as this sleeve clearly proves, we got introduced to this other legend’s oeuvre. The Swifty book will get its prime spot next to the Saul Bass one once we’ve soaked it in completely.
La Funk Mob – Ravers Suck Our Sound And Get Fuck – Mo Wax
From our favourite Mo Wax release. La Funk Mob aka Cassius when they were at their freshest released this absolutely essential 12” early on the label and has the classic white sleeve with Swifty designed obi containing all the info. He also is responsible for the labels logo. This EP is still on heavy rotation at Onda Sonora HQ.
Ronny Jordan – So What! – Antilles
Wore the 12” of this out. Break-laden acid jazz with a sleeve again designed by Swifty. Picked up IG Culture’s former copy at Soul & Dance Exchange in Nottinghill many years ago as the scribbled message on the sleeve indicates. A cherished one.
The Ipanemas – Icarai – Far Out
Another label for which Swifty designed covers, logo and more. This particular one is a firm musical favourite more than we like the cover (their second album on the same label we rather higher visually but maybe slightly less music-wise). At the end of the 90s it was through this label we got introduced to many classic Brazilian artists like Azymuth, Marcos Valle, Joyce and Os Ipanemas.
Hajime Yoshizawa – I Am With You – Especial
Once again a label whose logo and generic sleeves got the Swifty treatment. We’ve got a few Phil Asher ditties we love on this Japanese label but we’ve reserved that for the radio show. As a good alternative there are many Hajime Yoshizawa tracks to pick from.