The Hickensian is the journal of Jon Hicks, one half of Hicksdesign. Take a look at the work we do.

Troika #3: Music for Cycling

Troika #3: Music for Cycling

I’m not a fan of Kraftwerk at the best of times. I have friends who adore them, but they leave me cold. I was listening to one last week that was all about using a ‘Pocket Calculator’ – “adding… and subtracting”. Gripping stuff eh? In particular, when there is a Cycling related programme on telly, the likelihood is that they will end up using their ‘Tour De France’. Its feels about as far removed from the experience of cycling as I can think of. I love electronic music, but for me it doesn’t have the right feel.

I think Rapha have got it spot on. They’re a high-end cycling clothes brand, but to promote their range they regularly publish videos of their rides. If you were cynical, you’d say these are just big adverts, which they are in part, but they’re also very inspirational. It was watching these videos that made we want to get a proper road bike and head out into the countryside. Maybe they’ve twisted my view of what ‘music to cycle to’ should be, but these are the sounds in my head when I’m riding.

Here are the three tracks, with links to the videos they were used in:

  1. ’The Climb’ – Keegan DeWitt (Rapha Continental Tour of California)
  2. ‘Stokkseyri’ – Jonsi and Alex (Rapha Continental Movie)
  3. ‘Mighty Rio Grande’ – This Will Destroy You (Rapha Rides Little Switzerland)

Direct Download: Troika #3: Music for Cycling (mp3)

Subscribe to Troika (RSS) or via iTunes

All music featured is the copyright of the respective artists.

Communication Arts on Icon Design

For the Communication Arts Interactive Annual #21, I was asked the question “What are the challenges or joys you face when creating an icon set?”. The answer had to be short, so the angle I took was…

We’re getting into very exciting territory with regards to what technology we have to play with! SVG is finally becoming widely adopted and with it the opportunity to provide scalable and responsive icon sets. Higher pixel density screens will also mean spending less time making artwork conform to a pixel grid. The days of fuzzy bitmapped icons are almost over! Until then, the challenges are in providing fallback options, and getting decent SVG export and optimisation in apps like Adobe Illustrator.

I didn’t get time to explain what responsive icons were (maximum 75 words), but it was nice to get asked to be in such a venerable tome. (The photo didn’t get the proper credit though, which was by Jeremy Keith)

Troika #2: (not so) Guilty Pleasures

Troika #2: (not so) Guilty Pleasures

I heard an interview with Jarvis Cocker (he of PULP fame) where he was asked about ‘guilty pleasures’. His response was “There’s no such thing as a guilty pleasure. If it’s music, and you like it, why feel guilty about it?”. Quite right – there’s too much music snobbery. Somehow there’s this rule that certain types of music are to be embarrassed about.

With that in mind, I want to present three songs on a similar ‘power ballad/rawk’ arena that all come from the 80s/ early 90s. They’re not the kind that get repeated ad-infinitum on commercial radio though.

  1. ‘Green Tinted Sixties Mind’ – Mr Big
    I still have the 12” picture vinyl of this single, and while I never really took to their other music, I absolutely loved this. Even though I was at the start of my ‘crusty folk phase’ having just seen the Levellers play in Nottingham. Great chorus, get ready to powergrab!
  2. ‘Rough Boy’ – ZZ Top
    ZZ Tops’ Afterburner was one of those summer-y records that helped me pretend I was American for a few minutes. Rough Boy had the added cool of a video with Hot Rod Space Shuttle.
  3. ‘Take my Hand’ – Toto
    When the David Lynch version of Dune hit the cinema, my friends and I took up a whole row at our local. I didn’t remember Return of the Jedi getting such a good turn out, but there we all were. I particularly loved the soundtrack by Toto, and with the closing credits was this plinky-plonky piano instrumental called “Take my Hand”…

Direct Download: Troika #2: (not so) Guilty Pleasures (mp3)

Subscribe to Troika (RSS) or via iTunes

All music featured is the copyright of the respective artists.

Troika #1: Music for Stars

Troika #1: Music for Stars

Photo by Nick Mearly (CC)

This first edition of Troika is about ambient music. Not the bleepy,beaty, dancy kind, but the more soothing ‘neo-classical’ or drone style of Ambient. Music for watching the stars (amongst other things).

These tracks are all connected by Adam Wiltzie from Stars of the Lid. We start with Christina Vantzou (who Wiltzie worked with on ‘The Dead Texan’ project), then Stars of the Lid themselves, and finish with A Winged Victory for the Sullen (Wiltzies’ current collaboration with composer Dustin O’Halloran).

  1. ‘Homemade Mountains’ – Christina Vantzou
  2. ‘Don’t bother they’re here’ – Stars of the Lid
  3. ‘Steep Hills of Vicodin Tears’ – A Winged Victory for the Sullen

Stars of the Lid were named after the lightshow you see with your eyes closed, literally ‘stars of the eyelids’. So lie back, pop your headphones on and lets see where the music takes us!…

Direct Download: Troika #1: Music for Stars (mp3)

Subscribe to Troika (RSS) or via iTunes

All music featured is the copyright of the respective artists.

Troika - a new music podcast

Hello, peoples of the internets! Troika* is a new, low-key, music podcast from Hicksdesign.

The idea is that I’ll present a set of just three songs, connected by some sort of link – either by genre, artist, songs that were important to a particular time in my life or just some other odd notion that happens to take my fancy. Sometimes I might have guests on board to choose their trio of music. Talking from me will be minimal – just a short introduction, and then the music! I have several episodes planned, and the first one is recorded and ready for listening.

I won’t be making a seperate website for Troika, or setting up its own Twitter/Facebook/whatever page as that would only add more work for me to upkeep, and I want to keep this low-friction as possible and a part of the Journal. So episodes will be posted here, and you can subscribe to Troika via RSS in whatever podcast app you prefer.

*The name comes from a Russian word that describes a configuration of three horses abreast, usually pulling a sleigh. Like so…

playlist

See more on last.fm

Contact

Hicksdesign

73a High Street

Witney

Oxfordshire, UK

OX28 6JA

+44 (0)7917 391 536

Download vCard

Engine Room:

Hicksdesign is powered by Textpattern and hosted by the lovely boffins at Engine Hosting

Engine Hosting