Marc Bessant

graphic art and design

John Metcalfe ‘The Appearance of Colour’

design, Music

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When I first spoke to John Metcalfe about his new record I immediately had an idea of what I wanted it to look like, but I wasn’t sure how to achieve it. I was certain the cover should be an image which indicates a sudden bursting into (or out of) life, that flicker of electricity from which all things are born (or end). Some time ago I saw an exhibition of photographs depicting the moment a cathode ray tube tv is turned on/off and I found them immediately fascinating. I showed these images to John and he was equally taken by them. We got in touch with Kenzee Patterson, an Australian artist who works across a wide array of media, materials and technology and He was really into being part of this record  – “TX-21PS72AQ (2008) is from a series of photographs depicting the flash that occurs the moment a cathode ray tube television is switched off. The random scattering of electron beams produces unique patterns in an array of colours. This fleeting moment has been fixed on photographic film, rendering visible a normally imperceptible phenomenon. As a medium, analogue photography has withstood its own imminent demise, making it the ideal witness to the death throes of an obsolete technology.”

We all immediately agreed the image was too good to spoil with titles or additional information of any kind as that would detract from its ‘non-verbal’ impact. This ties into one of the core ideas behind John’s album -‘that the absence of a specific narrative can provoke much more intense reactions in our subconscious emotions’