You can press play to the right to listen to the ELK Experiments track list while you view the project, or alternatively, you can listen to each individual track relative to its design by pressing the play link above each image.
The Kollektiv Turmstrasse Experiment
"It was a really long time ago, when you were a friend of mine. And I would really like you to know, that it would help to ease my mind. I would hold you up again, if you asked me."
This design is meant to convey the very hip, dark, classy feel of Kollektiv Turmstrasse's remix of "Touch Too Much" by Hot Chip. Elusive and unpredictable synth lines float in and out of the soundscape. The base line hides in the background (represented by the black of the garment), as the Hamburg producers continually introduce new melodies that appear and then disappear, as do the graphic shapes that float around the model. These shapes all lead towards the models head, as do the track's melodies eventually lead to the Hot Chip vocals. The track is a flowing chaos, which is what I tried to convey in this design.
The Muwekma Experiment
I was extremely impressed by Köln based Marcus Worgull when I saw his set at the 20th Annual Nation of Gondwana techno festival in the forests west of Berlin. Dark, sharp, repetitive, beautiful, iconic. I attempted to reflect these themes that Worgull achieves in his track "Muwekma feat. Frank Wiedemann."
The Blue Clouds Experiment
This design was created from a less analytical and more emotional approach. It is meant to evoke the ethereal, epic, slightly tragic quality of Berlin based Modeselektor's "Blue Clouds." The constantly redirecting pathways on her skin suite could represent the tumultuous path she is on, her weightlessness implying her lack on control on her journey.
The Moderat Experiment
Berlin's Moderat are some of the best in the industry at creating a heavy, dark, epic, yet beautiful sound, and "Milk" off of their second LP is a perfect example. This song gives the feeling of being in the middle of some sort of beautiful struggle. It has an incredibly sad edge to it, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. The Moderat Experiment is meant to convey this; a woman rising from murky waters, wearing the dirt and grime of her troubled past, but emerging beautiful, elegant, and triumphant. The garment design comes from the main synth melody that begins looping at 2:02 and slowly grows in clarity and dominance from there. It is a soft sound, looping over and over, but changing slightly as the song progresses, just as the key shape that hangs from the model's neck, framing her face, multiplies into slightly different versions around her mid section. ELK branding is present in her scarf; this element adds a contrasting sharp geometric shape to the rounded garment, as the sharp beats do over the soft main synth.
The Schories Experiment
Oliver Schories was my first truly impressive DJ that I saw in the Berlin club scene. In his remix of Jamie Woon's "Shoulda," the vocals act as the overarching theme. The shapes on this ELK poncho are meant to reflect these vocals, leading the eye through the figure as the vocals do through the track. A classic collar and gold ELK logo necklace add elegance to this look.
The Transmission Experiment
As we move through the track listing, we come from Oliver Schories' chilled out, slick "Shoulda" to Boys Noize's aggressive, evil sounding "Transmission." Unlike most of these tracks, I new this song and its legendary producer way before I went to Berlin. "Transmission" is badass, cool, raw, and dark. The large graphic shapes that run from the jacket's wrists to the bottom of the zipper and frame the model's face in a square signify the in-your-face sounds that Boys Noize is constantly throwing at you. The small tight ELK logo patterning of the shirt represent the cool little beats that are introduced at the 00:22 drop.
The Solomun Experiment
I knew that for a design to represent "After Rain Comes Sun" by Solomun, it would have to feel iconic, epic, powerful. I started by curating the model photography, using a favorite head shot I discovered on Tumblr. I then painted in her body so I would have a figure to work with, and tried to create a garment silhouette that was simple and iconic, with a strong and interesting read from afar; something that would make the performer look like a god to an audience on a festival main stage. Printed on the dress and head piece are large ELK logos in reflective 3M, creating interesting 2nd read shapes and prominent branding. The decorative element in the center of the dress (the 3rd read design element) is created from another Tumblr photo, and adds elegance, luxury, grandeur and repetition, all things that I think "After Rain Comes Sun" has.
You can see some of the Photoshop process for this experiment in the process towards the top of this project.
The Falling in Love Experiment
“Can't understand it,
Just wanna feel you again.
I couldn't help it,
I guess I'm falling in love with you”
The song lyrics repeat this mantra of the desire to be with one's lover, but the minor chords and underlying tone of the song are rather tragic, implying that this is not possible, or very dangerous. This ELK Experiment shows a man is open and ready, but with an X over his heart, his face hidden behind a sharp shape. The garment makes the model appear vulnerable, easily torn away in order to reach his forbidden heart, but at the same time, it is a warning not to.
The New Error Experiment
This design was created through an analysis of the structure of "A New Error's" intro. The limb and torso areas of the design are made up of repeating triangles moving upwards from her feet towards her head, representing the intro (made up of repeating triplets, 1-2-3, 1-2-3, 1-2-3). The song then comes to an unexpected and dramatic bloom at 00:34 that completely changes the context and feel of the song, represented by the large blooming feathered collar.
For a visual breakdown of The New Error Experiment's design methodology, see the process slide towards the top of this project.
The Fade Out Lines Experiment
"But the shadow it grows And takes the depth away Leaving broken down pieces To this priceless ballet
The shallower it grows The shallower it grows The fainter we go Into the fade out line"
The Avener's rework of Phoebe Killdeer's outstanding "Fade Out Lines" is an international hit, and Berlin was no exception. Marcapasos, out of Liepzig, remixes this track to great effect. This song, with it's triumphant horns and gorgeous electric guitar work, is epic, classy and tasteful. I wanted to create something that was reminiscent of this glamorous track. The gown in The Fade Out Lines Experiment is simple, with thin white lines running over the shoulders down to the floor, highlighting the layering at the bottom of the garment. These lines do the same over the shoulders and down her back on the opposite side. It is also a nod to the Berlin's "Golden 20's," the origin of the city's music and party culture that is today most alive in its Techno scene.
This image is made up of a head shot found on Tumblr, environmental and fabric photos from Google Images. Her lower arms, the top of her head, the dress, the background, the foreground, are all painted and/ or photo-bashed around the original cropped head shot.
The Recondite Experiment
Recondite: adjective, (of a subject or knowledge) little known; abstruse.
Bavarian Recondite's "Tie In (Acid Test)" is all about the playful synth keys that permeate the track. They are irregular and tell a story. I wanted something that visually represented these synth notes, that being the irregular shapes that work their way around the figure. They are also consistent with the bold graphic language that many of the ELK designs have. White army boots with a large ELK logo and a silver ELK logo necklace are playful elements consistent with the song's playful production and add branding.
The Braemer Experiment
Berlin based Sacha Braemer's "People" is utterly cool, chill, and confident. The track is very minimal, with a powerful single synth note introduced at 2:33, repeating on the fourth note of every eight note measure. This note seems to come in and out of the blackness of a very empty soundscape. This compositionally significant note is metaphorically represented with the white graphic of the hoodie that wraps around the hood, splitting the garment in half as the note does the measure.
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