As premiered on Noisey, we are super excited to unveil the full details & artwork for the soundtrack to Looper. This amazing packaging - designed by Jay Shaw, will see initial release at Mondo Con, with online release on 9/23. We felt this release deserved a little more exploration, so included in this post are some photos, and a little bit of story behind the project of both from the designer himself.
Looper Composed and Produced by Nathan Johnson Pressed on 180 Gram Black Vinyl, accompanied by a limited bonus 7" inch record featuring never before released material by Kid Koala Cut at 45RPM for best possible sound quality Housed in a hand-embellished Canvas bag Featuring Liner Notes by Nathan Johnson Package design by Jay Shaw $60 / $70 with 7-Inch Record
Nathan Johnson's incredible score for Rian Johnson's time-travel masterpiece is coming to Vinyl for the first time. Composed using found sounds of the film's production city of New Orleans, Nathan crafted a suspenseful, innovative soundtrack to the dystopian landscapes of a future where Time Travel and murder are controlled by organized crime.
In a stunning packaging concept by Jay Shaw, this 2XLP album comes in a embossed, gold foil gatefold jacket, housed in a custom, hand-embellished Canvas bag. With the help of local effects shop Hawgfly Productions, Mondo lovingly crafted a truly one-of-a-kind package befitting this modern sci-fi classic. Read what Jay had to say about this release:
"When Rob Jones asked if I had any ideas for the cover of the “Looper” soundtrack I was honestly stumped. Mondo had recently released Martin Ansin’s wonderful poster for the film so I couldn’t get that image out of my head. Rob and I went back and forth with a half dozen duality gimmicks but none of them quite fit the tone of the film. As we sent ideas to Nathan Johnson (the film’s composer) it became increasingly clear that he had a real affection for his creation wanted this release to be special. I knew we were getting nowhere with our current approach so I took a step back from the project and worked on other things. When I’m stuck conceptually that tends to help redirect my process a bit. After a few brainstorming sessions with my wife and other smarter people than me the idea of recreating something directly from the film was born. Once I tossed out some stinkers (a working clock running in reverse for example) the gold currency bars seemed perfect. We could create a custom fabric sleeve and have a blunderbuss hole blown through it to reveal the gold bars underneath. Great idea but how is this going to work? How expensive would something like that cost to make? What if we pitched this to Nathan only to have it fall apart during production? As I put together a rough mock-up of the concept my concerns started to subside. This is the same company that took a bunch of “Monsters” metal posters out to a shooting range and blasted them with shotguns. The same company that spent countless hours turning some of Drew Struzan’s best poster art into screen prints. The same company that staged a live zombie invasion and played “Dawn of the Dead” inside an abandoned shopping mall. They’d go for it. If the idea was good, they’d go for it. And go for it they did. When Rob and Justin saw what I had in mind they were instantly on board. When we showed it to Nathan he replied “I LOVE IT!”. Clearly we’d figured out a solution.
Now came the fun part, designing the thing. We spent weeks working through the aesthetic language of the film to get the details right. The markings on the bars, the material for the clothing, everything. I worked up a custom type treatment based on the engraved currency demarcations. As the pieces came together everyone became more and more excited to see the finished project. Nathan was so enthusiastic he started asking if there was anything extra he could supply. When the composer asks if he can provide additional material to a soundtrack release you pounce on the opportunity. We got him to create a special locked groove “loop” and even put together a 7” single containing his piano solo version of the main theme and Kid Koala’s “Slinky Dance” from the club scene. I’ve worked on a good number of soundtrack releases and I’ve never seen so much direct contribution from a composer. Outside of his musical career Nathan is part of a graphic design shop with his brothers so he’s got a background in art. It made sense that he wanted hands on involvement with this project. His contributions and feedback are one of the big reasons the final product came out as cool as it did.
Once the design was complete the moment we all secretly dreaded had arrived. Making the physical product. It’s a lot of fun to come up with crazy ideas and pretend they’re logistically feasible but when it comes time to get production vendors to realize your vision in a tangible way you inevitably run into problems. And boy did we run into problems. As simple as the concept seems, blasting a realistic artillery hole in a burlap sack, the manufacture of something like that on a volume scale is anything but. Sure we could punch a shape out of the material and screen print a little black around the edges but the results were cheap and unconvincing. The only way to make this look like a film prop was to do it by hand. If we were only going to release a dozen copies of this thing that would’ve been fine but this was a proper soundtrack pressing so we needed to come up with a solution that would work for every record. After shipping production samples back and forth and trying to figure out a way for the factory to make these look right Mondo came up with the perfect solution. Have the factory create the basic sleeve with the hole punched and a flat black screen printed burn ring but then hand finish every bag right in Austin. Mondo has a great relationship with a special effects shop down there (I believe the same folks who did all of the zombie makeup for their Dawn of the Dead screening) so they were able to use film industry practical effects tools to get the details exact. My involvement in this part of the process was limited to looking at production samples and saying things like “Holy shit guys this looks amazing!” and “Do you think these will be finished before we’re actually living in “Looper” future?”. Somehow the miracle workers at Mondo were able to finish the project and it’s finally ready to be released!
This soundtrack is one of my favorite projects of my career. The amount of dedication and collaboration between Mondo, myself and Nathan Johnson has been remarkable. Everyone contributed so much to this release. It’s something I’ll always be incredibly proud of."
A bundle, featuring a bonus 7-Inch record will be available for purchase in limited quantities as a companion piece for true collectors: featuring the track 'Slinky Dance' by Kid Koala, released in full for the first time ever, along with a B-Side piano version of the 'Theme From Looper' performed by Ryan Lott, and composed by Nathan Johnson.
The soundtrack to Looper will premiere at Mondo Con in Austin, TX (September 20th & 21st) and an online release the following Tuesday September 23rd.