One of the great losses in our modern download era has to be the erosion of the link between music and physical art. In the days of vinyl records the artwork, the best of which was often on large gatefold sleeves, would be taken home and pored over by the music buyer. This made it a massive part of the experience, with artists being specifically chosen to create work to compliment what you were hearing. This relationship was certainly damaged by the shift towards CDs as the importance placed on the visual element was reflected by the physical reduction in size of the images. As we moved more towards transferring our music to digital forms, the CDs would often be left on the shelf, never to be picked up again, the booklets often never having a page turned. With many of us purchasing music outside of any physical format altogether, the once all important cover art has been reduced to a digital thumbnail that hardly warrants attention.
fourthreesix are seeking to replenish the links between audio and visual artforms in a highly original way. Rather than creating release artwork to be be put on a shelf, or even on a wall, their concept is to create ‘wearable releases’ by first passing the music to a physical artist and asking them to use it as inspiration for a piece of design. This in then screen-printed onto high quality T-shirts along with the tracklisting for the release inside the shirt. A tag on the shirt carries a unique code to download the music itself. Rather than taking the artwork home, you get to take it out with you.
For its first release fourthreesix turn to two men at the top of their game. The music comes courtesy of James Mannion, who has been honing his craft for half a decade producing music from right across the electronic spectrum before engaging fully with Bass music. The ‘Creeper’ EP sees him taking elements of House, Garage, Breaks and Dubstep and merging them into something unique. Dark and sinister but driving and dancefloor in equal measure. Lead track ‘Pronto’ has already picked up DJ support from Sinden, Doctor Jeep and Vanilla Ace.
The T-Shirt design comes courtesy of Bristol-based and internationally-exhibited artist and designer Mr Penfold. Working in sculpture, painting and screen-print Penfold takes classical and street influences and blends them into his own signature style and here he presents bold and futuristic shapes that marry perfectly with Mannion’s sound.
Four Three Six will look to offer something new in this more disposable era, with both fresh new talent and established names on board. This release is the first of just seven planned for the next year, the focus being on quality rather than quantity. With the music being mastered on analogue equipment to give extra warmth and events featuring DJs and live musicians combined with wall projections and live painting, the world of Four Three Six promises to be a totally immersive one too.