Love is…Receiving an Attractive Mix Disc

Perhaps the middle of August isn’t the most ideal time to be talking about Valentine’s Day, but let’s not get bogged down by semantics. It’s always a good time to talk about clever ideas and well-thought design, both of which are perfect descriptors for Dan LaMee’s “Red Roses Mix” project. We caught up with Dan after finding photos of the project he’d posted on Flickrand asked if he wouldn’t mind telling us about it. He didn’t mind at all and thus, we have the full report:

“As it was approaching Valentine’s Day five or six years ago, I was unsure of what to do for all my single girl friends. I wanted to do something special, memorable, and more lasting than a cut flower, so after thinking about it for awhile I decided to make a music mix of 12 songs and thus the first “Red Roses Mix” was born. The first discs were “packaged” in simple slim cases with no special artwork, but for the last few years I’ve used Jewelboxing cases to help make the mixes even that much more memorable. For this year’s artwork, I had what I consider a brilliant and funny idea to use some Valentine’s Day print boxers as the main subject. I knew they would generate a laugh and would also fit the theme of the holiday. It took me several iterations to get right, as well as some discussion with a friend, but in the end I think I achieved my goals of a semi-professional looking packaging design using mostly photos I’ve taken! And the finished product, well, it had the effect I wanted it to!”

“I went with Jewelboxing cases after seeing what other people were doing with them on your blog and the examples page. Those examples were the inspiration for me to think that despite having no official “graphic design” training and only a few art classes, I could create interesting and cool cases for people! So I did! In fact, I should probably send a copy of the latest one to the Swap Meat, if it’s swap worthy.”

Here’s to hoping that, after Dan’s lead, there’s lots more love and laughter-inducing material being created in New York, Santa Monica, Tucson, Philadelphia, Bangor, Uniontown, La Palma, Essex, Northampton, Dublin, San Jose, Bradford, Santa Clarita, Falls Village, Bournemouth, Santa Barbara, Minneapolis, Alexandria, Brooklyn, Miami, Glendora, Harrisburg, Maple Ridge, Winnipeg, Chicago, Fresno, Allentown and Toronto.

A Wedding Invite in 1’s and 0’s

If you follow this blog at all, you’ll know that the people who use the Jewelboxing system aren’t solely directors, editors, musicians, and motion graphics firms. We’ve had the privilege of highlighting painters, photographers, record collectors, new parents, instructors, typographers, and everything in between.

Out of the huge variation of uses for Jewelboxing we’ve seen are those who apply the system to weddings. We know that a lot of wedding videographers place their final edit in the cases, leading to memorable packaging that compliments an unforgettable day. But recently, we’ve also seen couples who are forgoing the traditional frilly paper wedding invitation in favor of a well-designed Jewelboxing case with something enjoyable included on a disc. A few months back, we highlighted an invite from Peter Fishman and Dara Mochson, who, in addition to a map and a start time, included a mix disc with all their favorite songs.

Recently, we saw another terrific use when we receive a case in from Ronn Kilby (winner of our second Jewelboxing-sponsored “Crash Ballet 2”). Beyond the classic cover, Ronn, a director/editor by trade, included a DVD. The disc served as almost a commercial for the wedding, with a contemporary jazz score and a professional narrator, in addition to photos of the couple, as well as information with the important whens and wheres. It was one of the most unique things we’ve ever seen done with a wedding invitation.

We wish Marti Steele West and Ronn Kilby all the best, as we do with everyone in San Anselmo, Chislehurst, Bodoe, Acton, Atlanta, New York, Vancouver, Irvine, Venice, and Statesboro.

In the Mix

Sure, things like file sharing and iPods are hogging the spotlight, but who says the art of the mix tape is dead? Okay, maybe the “tape” part isn’t around so much anymore, but that beloved practice of sitting around with stacks of albums, trying to make the greatest possible compilation, is alive and well. And it’s never been more attractive, thanks to Jewelboxing. Designer Sean Klassenwrote in to tell us how he’s using the cases:

“I recently joined a mix cd club with a bunch of friends. There are twelve of us, so one person creates a new ‘theme-based’ mix cd each month and then mails it to everyone else. It’s a really fun way to find out about new music and to let others know what you’ve been listening to. My month is February and I actually created two mixes. One with the theme of ‘leaving/change’ and the other is a collection of sweet songs from sweet movies. Thanks for the sweet cases and templates!”

We’re currently dubbing “You Light Up My Life” for all those in Belfast, Mexico, Aberdeen, Visalia, Santa Cruz, Milton, New York, Birmingham, Santa Monica, Cleves, Council Bluffs, Delray Beach, Los Angeles, Warren, Minneapolis, Eden, Cliffside Park, Clinton, Portland, Cleveland, Orlando, Washington, Kumla, Olive Hill, Bloomington, Modesto, Stevenage, Puyallup, Brooklyn, and Diemen.

You Are What’s On Your Playlist

Anyone with the tiniest bit of interest in music has, at one time or another, compiled songs onto blank media. And since the days of reel-to-reel, people have been judged by their mix tapes. The songs you choose, the order of the tracks, the theme, even the design (or lack thereof) of the case, can reveal your inner psyche. By just looking at your tracklist, a music fan will likely comprehend you better than your parents, or your psychiatrist, ever will.

So if you’ve ever needed further proof that the rich and famous are pretty clueless, take a look at Apple Music Store’s Celebrity Playlist feature.

Is it really a surprise that Fred Durst has the same musical taste as a relatively unhip high school kid? Is it kind of creepy/sad that Beyoncé’s list includes several of her own recordings? Do we believe that Andrew W.K. listens to nothing but Parliament? Who would have guessed Ruben Stoddard really likes Luther Vandross? Is there a rule that all playlists must include OutKast? Does Ed Norton even own a stereo?

While many are flat-out obvious or weak, others try too hard. John Mayer appears to have stayed up all night toiling to create a list so diverse that it makes us wonder how such a wide range of influences could result in such utter mediocrity in his own work.

Quirks of the Apple Music Store add another level of scrutiny to the playlists, with unavailable songs replaced with subpar live versions or gaping holes. (Interpol’s list doesn’t include Joy Division? are they worried people might realize how derivative they are, or was Joy Division’s catalog not available when they posted?)

Of course there are good lists, too. Burt Bachrach chooses a set of top standards that would probably never see the day if licensing got in the way. Tom Petty compiled ten fantastic soul and blues tracks without being either obvious or obscure. Alice Cooper lists songs by both his influences and influencees. Phantom Planet, Sleater Kinney and the Flaming Lips’ mixes are convincing documents of what they’re probably actually listening to these days.

The point is, Celebrity Playlists are fascinating in so many ways, and we thought it’d be fun to choose some celebrities Apple hadn’t talked to yet, and guess what songs and themes and gimmicks they’d choose if confronted with such a task. Choose any celebrity, and explore their innermost thoughts and feelings, whether comical or sincere, by choosing songs from Apple Music Store. Post your list at slatch.com and with the crew there, we’ll choose the winners based on how convincing your picks are.

We’re sure to find some good lists being assembled in Syracuse, NYC, Boston, Redding, LA, Santa Clara, Farmingville, Toronto, Mokena, Highland, Menlo Park, Houston, Ottawa, Fairview and Edwardsville.

We Have Winnahs

The Big Smoker’s In12 contest winners have been announced. And the people who called themselves a contemporary art co and “”used six songs we’d never heard of by people we’d never heard of for the first leg of the journey and then just repeated those same six songs for the second leg didn’t win. Congrats to Ian Pointer of Bicester, UK and Allison Bloom of Madison, Wisconsin who did. Continue reading

Chicago to London in Twelve Songs

We’re sponsoring a cool new contest at The Big Smoker. It’s called In12, and you could win a 60pack or a 30pack of our “New Standards.”

“We want you to come up with a tracklisting for a mixtape. That mixtape has to take the listener on an aural journey from Chicago (where Jewelboxing work their magic) to London (where we are). And you have to do all that in twelve songs. Clever huh? How you manage this task is up to you. We just want a dozen tunes which conjour up a transatlantic voyage in an imaginative and original way. You’ve got until the end of June to get your entries in.

Other places you might go in twelve songs include LA, Milwaukee, Roanoke, Brighton, Southampton and Roswell.