Wednesday, 14 April 2010

James Mason (killer)

James Mason : Rhythm of Life.
Chiaroscuro 1977
I was always intrigued by this record, originally because it’s one of the most amazing album covers that I’ve ever seen, but then upon hearing the music…it really sealed the deal. This has to be one of the most official acid jazz/fusion records in the history of the genre. James Mason played with Roy Ayers Ubiquity on the Lifeline LP, which produced one of the hottest disco/boogie tracks of the late 70’s, “Running Away”. But back to the album at hand, Rhythm Of Life has pretty much everything you could want in a record, breaks, killer grooves, nice vocals, synth experimentation, and most of all, ENERGY. This was James Mason’s only solo LP, he did it once, and he did it right. Again, this is one of those amazing LP’s that didn’t do well (as far as sales) during it’s original release back in ‘77, jazz fans weren’t ready for this type of sound, and the mainstream wasn’t quite sure what to think of it just yet. It was essentially just way ahead of its time, any of these tracks could be released today, and nobody would have a clue that it’s from ‘77. To me, that’s genius, and not just anyone can write, produce, and arrange timeless music. James Mason, a slept on legend with a classic LP.
Another one of the most amazing covers ever! Who can disagree? The typography is very minimal but works very well within the space (for the other design nerds out there, the font looks to be Gill Sans CAPS). The central figure, James Mason, has a glow surrounding him (reminiscent of Bruce Leroy from The Last Dragon, lol), that puts this cover over the top. Without that powerful glow, this instantly becomes an average cover, but with it…it’s above average. Simple design details, they work ALL the time. One of the dopest things about this album cover is that it sounds as good as it looks, diggers know, most of the time that’s not the case…which is why I make it a priority to listen to every album that I think might be good (when I base it on cover design).

Obey (front)

Obey (reverse)

Movin and Groovin

Brain Police