John Brown

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By hitching himself to the Bill Laswell mule train, this graphic artist has signed up for 18 hour days, seven day weeks and absolutely no holidays. Even an unemployed artist might feel pity for a fellow…
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By hitching himself to the Bill Laswell mule train, this graphic artist has signed up for 18 hour days, seven day weeks and absolutely no holidays. Even an unemployed artist might feel pity for a fellow faced with the consequences of a contract requiring a new CD release every three hours. It would be misdirected sympathy, however, if it turned out there was no such person as this, always a possibility with people named John Brown. Someone in the kinetic Laswell organization might be doing the artwork on some of these releases, but is too shy to take credit--or feels there is no need to take credit for a cover that is completely dark. Which brings the subject around to design, the essence of Brown's work and a discipline that Laswell has crowned with a new descriptive term every bit as unique as this designer's name is ordinary. "Material design" is the credit awarded Brown on many of his creations for Laswell, guitarist Nicky Skopelitis, Herbie Hancock and other performers. This is sometimes trimmed down to "material," creating a clever tie-in with Laswell's band of the same name, but perhaps suggesting that there is no design involved.