Archive for June, 2010

Here are some preliminary shots of Version 2 of the Merck Generic Jacket, as designed by Noah Conopask. We decided these were a bit too bright for the overall label vibe, so we went with the more subdued black and white with a hint of blue that you see on the last few 12″s we released.

Here are two unused items from the Various Artists – Dosage (Merck 020) CD. They were made by Adesh, kind of as a joke I guess, either way we weren’t using em. First one was intended to be on the inside sleeve, and a reference to the limited edition Merck Camo Trucker Hats we had made. The second was for the tray, and I have no clue what its in reference to.

I’ve been meaning to write this review for 2 years, but every time I listen to this album I find more depth that I feel I need to explore before writing it, I’m finally giving up and just going off about it. This album is just awesome. Instrumental metal (or heavy post rock if you will), written superbly. As far as ‘guitar music’ that I’ve been enraptured by in the last 5 years, it comes close, if not beats out, Pivot’s Make Me Love You. (Side note: Warp please don’t sign Pelican and drive them into mediocrity).

This album has it all, elements of Tool, Isis, Slayer, Oxes, and even some lighter Indie rock nods (and no vocals, thank god). The variety of styles doesnt come off as pandering though, it comes off as that they know thoroughly, a variety of styles of music, and understand how to combine them effectively. By that I mean when things need to get hard, they do, math rock nods, they do, when they start off soft and move you in the proper emotional direction, they do. Its quite amazingly done really, especially compared to the normal rhythm + chorus, rinse repeat, of todays modern rock. There are enough excellent riffs on this album to write 10 good pop albums, which brings up the other related point that this album may be a bit more poppy for Pelican as opposed to their earlier stuff. Really, who cares. Honestly, whilst listening to it now I’m out of words to talk about it anymore, I’m just gonna go sit on the couch and soak it up. Summary: if you like music with guitars, and aren’t on some soft skinny jeans shit, check this album out.

Discogs Album Link

Amazon purchase link ($8 for digital!!)

It has happened. I no longer have any interest in hearing ‘vocals’ in music. I’m over it. The whinings of indie rock’s newest heart-throbs, the ‘reality check’ of every new hip-hop act, the random poetry and other bullshit that is most likely coming from someone who performed poorly in even the most basic high school english class, I’m done with it. With very few exceptions (Aesop Rock being the only one I can think of offhand), I have lost all interest, and actively avoid, music with vocals in it now.

The most common sound I’ve heard in my life thus far has easily been the human vocal range. So when I sit down to listen to new and interesting sounds, quite frankly, the human vocal range is the last priority on my list. Not to mention people have such low standards when it comes to ‘acceptable’ writing quality for content conveyed by the human voice layered over music nowadays.

Here is an important lesson I learned in about the second year of Merck. Take any music, layer vocals over it, ANY vocals. It will sell 2-3 times as well as the version without vocals. That being said, I have to give out a little respect to individuals who have gone the instrumental route and ‘kept it real’ for many years, and are now adding vocals to reach a larger market (so they say). Cause people gotta eat. But please, release an instrumental version (and maybe even add some extra flare to those versions for my sake), cause there are people out there who will appreciate it. In my view, just like the guitar has faded from much edgey music nowadays… so has, or will at least, the voice eventually. That being said, my next post is going to be a review of a superb instrumental guitar masterpiece of an album, by Pelican.

I’m gonna start posting up unused or mostly unseen Merck related graphics that I have wasting away on my hard drive. First up is a dozen web banners that I made in the early years of the label, I think only a few were ever used, and only brielfly at that. I had some theory about including eyes in them to grab peoples attention and make them more interesting. Nonetheless, here they all are below. Eventually I’ll work up to some peeks at completely unused CD art that we ended up with over the years, but for now enjoy these hallmarks of IDM advertising.

I had to make an animated one.

On the left my friend Jay (rip) and his cat. On the right the famous mp3 communist.

Laetitia Casta FTW.

One of the alternate logos originally designed by Brothomstates.

Based off one of the early versions of the m3rck website.

I really have no explanation for this.

One of my personal favorites, mostly because Esa completely hated it.