I don’t know if you’re a sucker for obscure, slightly up it’s arse experimentation in structural / compositional form and language, but I am and I really like this site.
When I first saw it was off the back of a project called The Remedi Project (which is also well worth a view). I was pleased to find that they were London based and therefore just a cheap local phone call away.
I spoke to Chris. Our conversation began around the subject of Obsolete where Chris and Dorian worked before setting up Kleber design about two years ago. At the time Obsolete were one of the world’s most interesting operations, pushing the medium forward with clever hacks which exploited bugs in the then unsophisticated browsers (Mosaic and netscape 1 era). This work however dangerous and which was known to frequently crash machines left right and centre, attracted lucrative contracts which kept the circus ticking over. Chris described how it had been like a “party,” doing whatever you felt like because somebody else was paying. Just before Obsolete disbanded, the Kleber duo went their own way.
Things are different now. Kleber have developed an impressive list of ongoing working relationships, mostly linked in some form or other with the music industry. Chris puts this down to his need and love of free records.
The music industry in London is massive as you can imagine, bearing in mind the fact that we supply the English speaking world and beyond with well crafted pop nonsense like The Spice Girls, Oasis and Phil Collins to name but a few. You would think that with all this cash and the technological possibilities, the industry would be in digital pole position. But no; unfortunately the music industry has a universal tendency of being jammed really far up its own arse. This year has marked a major shift; the internet is beginning to be taken seriously rather than as Chris describes “Being always at the end of the list of priorities.”
Rialto, a know UK charting band have just changed labels. They’ve got an album coming out later this year and want to release a single to make a bit of noise and grab a bit of attention. Problem: they don’t have the time and resource to distribute and market the single in the usual way. Answer: mail order it over the internet. Bloody perfect; cut out distribution costs and hassles and gain by doing something newsworthy and cool. I love it when a plan comes together.
Most of kleber’s concerns are mainly to do with transactions over the internet, selling music which is often otherwise unavailable. Chris makes the point that there are more records being produced today than ever before and so the knock on effect is that tracks are sitting on the shelves for less and less time before they’re replaced and deleted. This means that anything even vaguely obscure is available for a small blip of time before evaporating. The net allows vast quantities of matter to be available as it not restricted by the physical space of the store. This is obviously an attractive proposition to smaller labels who are constantly fighting for shelf space with the Wet Wet Wets of this world.
One problem however is that at present there is no charting regulations for internet sales. Pop charts are free marketing for the record companies and so they won’t give this up easily. The small labels however are more concerned with reaching their market than charting so there’s enough to be getting on with.
The kleber design has a distinct quality which stems from the fact that they’ve always worked closely with the technology and therefore know it’s limitations. Design is implemented directly without juggling the layout in photoshop and then translating the final draught. This means that the design is in sync with the delivery technology and so you end up with good looks, fast transfer and poetic perversions of familiar, clunky web mechanisms. They know the rules and they know where and when to break them.
I asked Chris if he could recommend any obscure sites he had come across. He came up trumps with the first Russian site I have seen. It’s a bit spooky but please look at the rather cheesily named http://www.webart.ru, it’s pretty dark side.