Barren Harvest - Subtle Cruelties LP/CD

The recently completed design/layout for one of the most anticipated independent releases for 2014: Barren Harvest's debut titled: Subtle Cruelties. Barren Harvest features members and dearest friends: Jessica Way of Worm Ouroboros and Lenny Smith of Atriarch. This will see the light in Spring '14. 

Going into this project while having the opportunity of listening to their songs at various stages had me.  Jessica and I had first discussed this project back in the Summer of '12, and there were a lot of visual commonalities, which further validated that we were on the same page. Influences included: 4AD aesthetics (classic), eternal storms, academic typographical application, surrealistic landscapes and death.

I should probably mention that this was a total visual commission for the band: identity, packaging, etc. The logo itself (see a previous blog post below) was commissioned to me first. I had to create an icon that would be applicable anywhere and at any scale. It turned out amazing.

Back to the packaging: combining the existing photographic assets (via Jessica and Veleda) and elements from my vision, the packaging came together quite naturally. The Pantone 871C (metallic gold) should look amazing on the black and dark blue hues. Having limiting myself to a limited and cold color-palette, I knew this was going to work very well. Personally, this has been one of the most elegant and sophisticated projects that I have completed in my few years of professional graphic design, and I could not be happier with how this turned out.

Additionally, I would like to thank to Veleda Thorsson, Rich Loren Balling and James Plotkin for their endless efforts, influence and skill. 

You can preview some of the tracks HERE.
Thanks for reading.

LP and CD layouts below:
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A Secret Rose

I had the privilege of playing with Rhys Chatham and many others a few weekends ago in November in his A Secret Rose piece for 100 guitarists. It was an invaluable experience for any musician. And as niche as Rhys work is for experimental composition, it maintained a high level of organization and production value. One of the books, for sure. It was fucking amazing.

The concert itself took place @the Craneway Pavilion in Point Richmond, which was massive and I really wish they utilized the space more for concerts, but it is what it is...

Here is a movement from his beautiful A Crimson Grail piece:



UX: The Awakening/Rebirth : A Reminder/ A Portent:

As a long-time supporter of Keith Utechs record imprint: Utech Records, Milwaukee, WI, receiving his email requesting a commission for the rebranding of his imprint was simply an offer that I could not refuse. We corresponded on and off throughout the Summer. You can read a run-down of the process below all the images:

Obviously, greater details would not translate in every application.. for example, the scalability would be fucked on a CD packaging or business card, but would be satisfactory on a t-shirt. Something a lot of people neglect in identity design.
The first and second rounds came and went. The first thing I did was minimize feathers at the ravens cheek. They looked terrible, so I decided to emphasize the form with thin strokes, which was highly effective. The second thing I decided to alter was the eye, it was too "alive" and I wanted a dead-stare (who doesn't?), so I replaced it with a simple circle. 

One of the key aspects of this new identity that was established early was, but never came up was the third-eye element. Which I was still figuring out how to inlay. Initially, I wanted a tuft of feathers to part.. exposing the third-eye, but that did not work out. Getting to the point, it ultimately rests atop, less within, maintaining a subtle presence, looking up, and ready to roll back into ecstasy.

Fast-forwarding: At this point, I was sitting at my desk in our home in Oakland with some serious drawing pens to ink the sketches in my Strathmore pad; the icon had been in development for some time to be honest. I had begun initial studies in Carmel Valley, CA back in May. Revisited it in June after spending some time studying the intelligent and malicious behavior of ravens in various habitats, the wild and in their dwellings of the city. The apex of this project was while refining digitally, a raven flew onto the telecom line outside of my window: bone in mouth, we made eye-contact, and it departed. Needless to say: I felt like it was time to march toward finality..

I sketched a couple of drafts of the type, but we ultimately settled on the second version (both versions are displayed above). Added the X numeral to represent the 10th anniversary and done.

T-shirts and other items brandishing this design will be first available at the Utech Fest in December.
You may check out the label and purchase items here: http://www.utechrecords.com/

Thanks for reading,



SUTEKH HEXEN back patches + standard sized patches have been updated to the shop. These were professionally printed in metallic silver and gloss-black ink on military grade black Duck Cloth by Rob Fisk at Ape Do Good Custom Printing in San Francisco, CA. They turned out GREAT.

Thanks for supporting,




Thematically representing: life, death and rebirth; three realizations of cyclic nature. 

Available now: SUTEKH HEXEN 12"EP Trilogy... which has FINALLY been completed and each album released: 'Breed in Me the Darkness: The Second Coming mixes by Andrew Liles' 2xLP/CD (Pesanta Urfolk and Aurora Borealis), 'Become' 12"EP (King of the Monsters), and 'Monument of Decay' 12"EP/2xC10 (Black Horizons and Beläten).

All three limited edition releases are available now through our respective labels online shops, your local record store (or ask) or our online shop linked from www.sutekhhexen.org.

ALSO: The fine folks @Thrill Jockey have also made these available from a single source, so please visit them if you will. Otherwise, please check out our labels and pick-up something else great from them while you're at it!

Thanks for supporting folks,


I recently completed a logo study for dear friends in BARREN HARVEST.

Above: is the finalized icon and type-treatment that we were all happy with. Without being terribly literal with the logo itself, the key words in discussions were solitude and strife. Emphasized by a solitary grain pointing downward and the weathered rings encircling the lone element, we have a unified concept, designed to be iconic.. simple and bold.
The details were kept at the minimal for various applications, but looks great at all scales.

The type-treatment is simple, a quasi-hand rendered typeface with a thin stroke, seating the name from above and below. Both the icon and the type-treatment are designed to be used together or separately.

Above: are the various drafts rendered using various means, but ultimately, the majority felt too.. distant from what we were trying to achieve. My personal second choice would have been the first version (far left), which symbolizes the cyclic nature of the seasons. The other representations are a little too "metal" and are actually way out of context..

Barren Harvests debut is forthcoming from good friends @HANDMADE BIRDS, and I can honestly say that this project is one of the best that I have ever been involved with, brining much satisfaction between working with good friends, strong music and having great support in full-realization of the beautiful packaging/design that I will share previews of a little bit later..

From Handmade Birds

"The juxtaposition of dark and light. The echoes of lost love, decayed flesh, and Nature cutting through to warm one last remembrance. The gentle swell of synth, haunting voices, accent of autoharp, and a calculated use of silence. The world is cold, the reaction masterful. Barren Harvest is Lenny Smith (Atriarch/Trees), Jessica Way (Worm Ouroboros)."


SUTEKH HEXEN 'Monument of Decay' 2xC10 Available now

from Belaten:

"This is a pre-order. The official release date is September 20th, at the Stella Natura festival. A very limited number of copies will be available for sale there. Mailorder copies will ship on the 28th of September, when Beläten returns to Sweden.
Regular edition of 177 copies comes in a double cassette jewel case, with black and white artwork.
All 200 copies come with a complimentary download version, but the release will not be sold digitally."
Purchase here:

NOTE: apparently the limited editions have already sold out: many thanks to those night owls for keeping watch! Your watch will be worth the wait.


SUTEKH HEXEN 'Monument of Decay' 12"EP

Available for order now and shipping this week from Black Horizons. PURCHASE HERE: http://www.black-horizons.com/order.html
 2xC10 from Beläten following shortly.
from Black Horizons: 
"BH-55 - Sutekh Hexen - Monument of Decay 12"
"War to the death against depravity - depravity is Christianity."
- Friedrich Nietzsche.

More fitting words could perhaps not be uttered to better describe the spirit(s) in which Sutekh Hexen operates. The sound formed is one of a layered, unrelenting and hellish black mælstrom, fitting to the rubric implied in the aforementioned quote and a quality that also manifests itself in the band's interfacing with the public at large as well as it's very own structure; outwardly projected hatred, and a membership that is churned through like a cult. The result is a furious stream of unique releases, with each one the darkness radiating outward. This moment proper sees a more fully formed line-up, and, for this project, more orthodox instrumentation; vocals/effects, dual guitars, and live percussion. Four tracks come together for a 12" EP release. Jackets are pro-printed full color with spot copper printing and an internal copper flood. Red and black center labels in an edition of 500 copies, with 400 on black and 100 on red vinyl." 


Sæance — Channeling The Dead Voices Of Beläten

I was recently invited to contribute some sonic and visual source material for an exhibition curated by Thomas Marin Ekelunds Belaten and artist Michael Idehall. Some great talent involved on this one! You can preview or purchase this wonderful collaboration HERE.

From Belaten:
"XII April 2013 e.v., Acéphale Naïvité, 3:e Våningen, Göteborg, Sweden
Nine voices were summoned, and as they converged and spoke through a singular mouth, the sensorial halls of Beläten were set ablaze with the black flame; burning with the Shadow Dragon.

Magnetic undulations carried the torch from distant atlantoid altars, into the crucible of arduous invocation from whence a four hour oracle was revealed, the account of which is here represented in part.

This album — distributed in limited numbers to the involved artist on cassette — constitutes the first object in the Beläten Relikvarium. Added as a bonus to this digital edition are all the original invocations provided by the participants of the Sæance."


released 26 July 2013
Sæance conducted by Michael Idehall. Source audio provided by Thomas Martin Ekelund, Æther, Fredrik Eytzinger, Terence Hannum, Josefin Hinders, Lapis Niger and Kevin Gan Yuen.



"Both diehard versions of the SUTEKH HEXEN record are sold out! Thank you everyone for your support. I have a few more gold copies left in the webstore but those are moving pretty quick too so don't snooze." -Genz/KOTM

**We will have copies of both editions this Friday at our show with BLUE SABBATH BLACK CHEER and EYE OF NIX @Hemlock in San Francisco.

With the already stunning stand-alone record, KOTM will also be presenting two additional diehard offerings. The first package: includes the limited metallic gold vinyl colorway (limited to 160 copies), two exclusive designs for this release by illustrators Demian Johnston (Seattle) and Reuben Sawyer (Los Angeles), and a slipmat. The second package includes: the limited edition LP and slipmat (metallic gold ink on black felt) designed by Reuben Sawyer. Standard black vinyl editions are limited to 351 pieces.

Thanks for supporting.


ATA EBTEKAR "Dear Iran, Miniature Engines Throb In Time For Your Beating Heart"

I recently had the extreme pleasure of working together with wonderfully curated label, MERZBILD, and respected Iranian composer ATA EBTEKAR on his new release. 

The process of the layout/packaging directly reflects Ata's approach in electronic composition for this very focused release. Respecting the medium, and constructing from the source. 

We started out with beautiful tapestries that Ata's wife, Leila hand-painted, had them digitized, and then I further re-worked the original source images, to present them in an abstract, distinctive, yet complimentary manner, respecting the finalized work as a multi faceted approach in sonic/visual practice. In short the visual-information flow went something like this: original source >> digital >> deconstruct >> re-compose source >> result. You can preview the layout below, please click to enlarge.

The packaging and disc will be presented in quality Stumptown mini-gatefolds, and printed in rich black and metallic gold (Pantone 871). Pre-orders and excerpts from said release can be heard at the links above.

Further details from Merzbild:

"MB17: ATA EBTEKAR Dear Iran, Miniature Engines Throb In Time For Your Beating Heart [CD]

Ata Ebtekar (b. 1972 in Hamburg, DE) is an Iranian composer primarily concerned with the electronic manipulation of the Radif ( ردیف), a series of discrete scalar patterns structuring the Persian modal system. Programming synthesis languages, Ebtekar recasts these modes - known colloquially as the Dastgāh (دستگاه‎) - by fracturing form from content. Ebtekar's compositions are syntactic reworkings of the semantic structures of sound. Being, time, place and origin are compounded. Dear Iran, Miniature Engines Throb In Time For Your Beating Heart advances Ebtekar's unfettered electronic sensibilities, making apparent the distinction in style this project has from his work as Sote. Time and again, Dear Iran communicates a narrative of displacement, of the disjunction of culture and the migrating of identity in twentieth-century Iran. Precise in emotional tone, his narrative achieves cohesion by giving birth to machinic assemblages of synthesis.
The imprinting on the face of the replicated compact disc is in silkscreened in full colour. The disc is dressed in a 385 g/m² folding four-panel jacket with graphic elements printed in Pantone 871 C and Pantone Black 5 U. The disc insert includes Persian text and a motif from the cover art and is printed on transparency film. English-German parallel texts appear on the inner left panel of the jacket. The compact disc and accompanying literature reside in 118 g/m² protective black inner sleeves in the right panel pocket. Disc packaging prepared by Stumptown Printers in Portland, US. The total duration of this recording is 39:23. Limited to 300 copies.

Pictured below is a high-resolution mockup of the album cover including on-disc graphics designated for this publication.

Artist: Ata Ebtekar
Title: Dear Iran, Miniature Engines Throb In Time For Your Beating Heart [CD]
Label: MerzbildPublication Date: July 2013Catalog No.: MB17Program Length: 39:23Price: 15.50 USD / 20.60 USD / 24.90 USDAvailability: PRE_ORDER (SHIPS 1 JULY  2013)"



2013 NW Tour and Behind the Throne remainders are still available for sale HERE. Thanks again to our buddies @ Shirts & Destroy for the excellent work and Brent @Magic Bullet Records for coordinating this. Extra special thanks to the illustrator pals who contributed (please check them out): Brian VDP (NL), Steve Wilson (USA), and Si Clarke (UK). The design on the left (pictured below), will be available shortly in tshirt and hoody forms, through the Magic Bullet shop on Shirts & Destroys online shop. Thanks for supporting!


LYCUS "Tempest" LP + CD

Two distinctive LP/CD layouts for local doom quartet, Lycus and their first full-length "Tempest", that will be released by 20 Buck Spin. First of all, it was a great honor to be working with Dave of the absolutely fantastic 20 BUCK SPIN, an unquestionable master of the paint-brush in the classical techniques: PAOLO GIRARDI. It is always a great feeling to work with professionals of the highest calibre. Both aforementioned parties have been at this for a LONG time, so to be asked to be involved was pretty awesome. 

Lycus, play what can be described as melodic, slow, and heavy music.. with influences ranging from black/death/funeral doom genres, but is ultimately heavy metal, fuck the jargon, really.. it is a great album, and I recommend it.

Due to this particular painting taking a while to dry (some of us who have worked with this medium, can attest to how long it actually takes for oil-paints to dry.. sometimes never), it finally arrived in Olympia, WA, and was professionally photographed by a buddy of Dave/20 Buck Spin, and once that was completed, he sent the source files to me.

Below: the LP edition with a more straight-forward layout/insert design:

Once it came together, it came together quick! The full-resolution image was so large, that I was able to take portions of it, smaller than 1/4 to create the insert and CD inner panels with multi-layered and re-colored versions of Paolo's painting. I also layered several "cuts" of the original painting to achieve some darker, more sinister textures, it worked out GREAT, and I actually ended up using select cuts of the inner panels of the CD digipak for the center labels of the LP edition.

Below: the CD edition with greatly revision interior panels and much more abstract typographic/layout treatment: 
It has been sent into production by the label and should be available via 20 Buck Spin AND the band shortly. It should probably be noted that ALL text/logo elements will be printed in metallic copper, so will definitely pop. It is always tough to convey how awesome the packaging will look digitally..

Hopefully you will get to check this album out soon, the band will be touring the US in support of it this June, so try to pick-up a copy.

Thanks for reading. 



Under heavy influence of French comic artist, Philippe Druillet and cold/dark outer-space.  Design and layout for the debut CD from VHOL, the LP edition will be in-progress shortly through Profound Lore as well. The cover art  is by the talented John Cobbett, along with the design and layout handled by myself. 

Above: the original sketch that John had worked on --once he completed the illustration, I scanned it, touched it up, and contributed my own details to the piece.. the interior of the digipak is the same form, deconstructed. We really wanted a cold/sterile/hostile presentation, so went with a high-gloss board, Pantone metallic silver printing on black to emphasize this. Below: the digital mock-up

From Profound Lore: 
"VHOL, the new group comprised of vocalist Mike Scheidt, guitarist John Cobbett, drummer Aesop Dekker, and bassist Sigrid Sheie, have completed work on their self-titled debut album.  One that has been deemed as one of the most anticipated metal albums of the year.  Anticipated out of the curiosity of what VHOL is going to sound like and the pedigree at the band’s disposal with the members’ respective repertoires already at hand.
Initially formed by Cobbett and Dekker to create music together again post-LUDICRA fallout, VHOL would take shape quickly.  When Cobbett and Dekker were thinking of a vocalist, their first choice was easily Mike Scheidt of YOB and Scheidt immediately accepted to join the contingent without even hearing a note of music. Rounding off the lineup on bass would be HAMMERS OF MISFORTUNE/AMBER ASYLUM keyboardist/bassist Sigrid Sheie respectively.
When the initial idea of VHOL surfaced, one of the initial intentions was to write music of a faster nature.  Not to necessarily continue where LUDICRA left off, but VHOL would eventually become a vehicle for the respective musicians to further explore their musical roots a bit more.  By combining elements of old-school punk, dbeat hardcore, classic old-school metal (a good combination of traditional classic metal ala Judas Priest and speed metal in the “Kill ‘Em All”/”Show No Mercy” vein), and a touch of outsider black metal, VHOL have created a sound unlike anyone in metal today. One that is raw, primal, fierce, triumphant, and ultimately face melting. This fact solidified even more by Scheidt’s distinct vocal delivery where he expands his vocal capabilities into the beyond.
Recorded by Greg Wilkinson in conspiracy with Cobbett at Earhammer Studios in Oakland and mixed by respected engineer/producer Randall Dunn in Seattle, tracklisting for VHOL goes as follows:
  1. The Wall
  2. Insane With Faith
  3. Plastic Shaman
  4. Grace
  5. Illuminate
  6. Arising
  7. Set To Await Forever
VHOL will officially be released April 16."

You can listen to a sample track of this ripping album HERE.


SUTEKH HEXEN - "Become" 12"EP

"SUTEKH HEXEN "Become" 12" EP. Originally released on 1/4" tape reel by Auris Apothecary, "Become" centers on vortex, repetition, and inducing trance-like states. This release serves to bridge the gap between "Behind the Throne" LP (2012) and "Monument of Decay" EP (3rd quarter 2013). This release has been remastered for vinyl by James Plotkin and will be presented in HEAVY Stoughton tip-on jackets, featuring lavish metallic gold and black offset printing, and 2 vinyl colorways. Adorned with brand new artwork and layout by Kevin Gan Yuen with source photography by Patricia Cram."
Available soon from KOTM (HERE)



"Shipping first week of March..
This exciting release features two new songs by Sutekh Hexen and remixes of those songs by the prolific Andrew Liles.
We will present this double LP in a gatefold with spot varnishing. 
The B and C sides feature a 7” cut onto a 12” lacquer with etched outer edges.
Standard Edition LP limited to 393 on 200gm Black Vinyl. 
Limited Edition LP limited to 93 on 200gm Royal Haze Vinyl.
Pesanta Urfolk 025
Also available: 
(MERZBILD: cassette edition) 
(AURORA BOREALIS: deluxe CD edition)"