In Microtones, our newsletter-first column.
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When we’re organizing the occasional shows Tone Madison presents, getting a flyer made is actually something I really look forward to. The efficacy of paper flyers as an actual promotional tool is a matter of some debate. Madison has these flyer kiosks on a few busy streets that occasionally swell up into grotesque monuments of paper waste, and over the years the bigger local venues and show promoters (who are now mostly one thing) have divided up real estate on those kiosks for themselves. It’s dumb and annoying, but they can enforce it because they have street teams that flyer regularly. Then there are the people who use the kiosks with no etiquette whatsoever, often covering up everyone else’s stuff with multiple copies of the same thing. But getting some flyers up in at least a few shop windows seems like a matter of due diligence, and the people who design them for us never fail to surprise or delight.
Most of them lately come from Shelby Floyd or Lauden Nute, both artists and designers based in Madison. They've both got enough range that we never quite know what to expect when either one tackles a poster, and rarely are they given specific instructions beyond basic information about the show.
Shelby, who also designed Tone Madison's logo (the letters are not just some font we found), tends to favor a digital, polished abstract approach. My favorite example would probably have to be his work for saxophone quartet Battle Trance's October 2016 show at the Gates of Heaven. His poster for the 2017 show we presented from ambient duo High Plains draws a bit more directly on the Wyoming landscapes that inspired the music. He's been kicking around some ideas for a Tone Madison logo T-shirt, and all I know for sure about that so far is that it will showcase his affinity for cleverly contorting the logo into different shapes, which previously have included an egg and the numeral 3.
Lauden, on the other hand, has developed a playful and unruly touch, paired with a gift for texture. For our upcoming May 30 show with Ka Baird at Communication, he created a poster that already looks rumpled and beaten up by the elements (and/or by the rough handling of flyering teams). When electronic artist Galaxy Express 555 played one of our shows in December 2017, Lauden made a poster that looked as if it were made entirely of cut-out felt pieces. I love how Lauden combines that tactile depth with a brash, smart-assed aesthetic.
We've also had the pleasure of putting up flyers made by Chali Pittman, Rob Lundberg, and Evan Woodward. Madison-area musician Tom Wincek (All Tiny Creatures, Field Report) is also a graphic designer by trade, so when he taught an electronic-music workshop in collaboration with Tone Madison last year, he made a poster that vividly riffed on Ableton software and analog synth gear. I've made a few myself in a pinch, but they haven't been very good; the only one I feel remotely happy with was a blatant rip-off of old Impulse! Records covers, for last year's show from drummers Tom Rainey and Devin Drobka. Mostly, I'm all too happy to leave it to people who know what they're doing.
New this week:
Artist Audrey Hansa talked with Henry Solo about their upcoming solo show at Commonwealth Gallery.
Adam Powell investigated whether it's possible to eat somewhat cheaply at Madison's grandest old Italian restaurant.
Musique Electronique, taking place July 13 and 14 at La Fete De Marquette and the High Noon Saloon, will feature Derrick Carter and Carlos Souffront, among others.
Milwaukee-based filmmaker Emir Cakaroz talked with Reid Kurkerewicz about the new documentary Riverwest Film & Video, which premiered last week at the Wisconsin Film Festival.
Elsewhere on the Madison internet: Proud Parents will become the first Madison band to release an album on punk label Dirtnap Records; Star Liquor is not quite dead, The Capital Times reports; Jamila Woods and Trapo will be among the highlights on May 4 at WUDStock, aka the son of the ghost of Revelry; guitarist and electronic experimenter Erik Kramer played a live set on WSUM.