ECHO: A Survey at 25 Years of Sound, Art, and Ink on Paper

Article Contributed by gratefulweb | Published on Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Imagine it. You’re at your favorite concert venue. The final notes are still ringing in the air, but the sharpness of the memory is already fading. And then, as you spill out into the parking lot, someone hands you a concert poster and  somehow that quickly fading memory is frozen in time. A concert poster makes the echo of a fleeting experience,   like an amazing show, tangible. It’s a unique piece of art –  one that embodies both promotion and emotion, music and design. In his introduction to the gorgeously crafted new art book of original, silkscreen concert posters, ECHO: A Survey at 25 Years of Sound, Art, and Ink on Paper (out April 1), Grammy Award-winning Wilco front man and solo artist Jeff Tweedy writes, “What coheres in these images is the work of the music and art communities intertwined and invested in each other … Concert posters are as close as one can get to the solid evidence that we all crave—proof that what happens when we create is beyond the scope of the individual work.”

For the past 25 years, beloved Burlington, Vermont music venue, Higher Ground, the acclaimed design firm Solidarity of Unbridled Labour (formerly JDK Design), and Iskra Print Collective have had a unique partnership. The design firm has created hundreds of striking silkscreen posters for specific shows at the venue, posters that aren’t available for purchase and evoke the spirit of each band with bold  creativity. ECHO is a curated collection of over 350 of those posters – including posters for artists like Neil Young, Bob Dylan, The Lumineers, Ice Cube, Robyn, Bon Iver, Norah Jones, Wilco, My Morning  Jacket, Rob Zombie, Sean Paul, Wu Tang Clan, The Black Crowes, Gregg Allman, Phish, Taj Mahal, Maggie Rogers, Willie Nelson, Modest Mouse, Jimmy Cliff, Anderson .Paak, and many more.

These posters will be new discoveries for most music fans unless they’ve been lucky enough to catch a show  at Higher Ground, where copies of the posters are handed out for free to a few lucky fans that stay until the final curtain.

This book is beautiful thanks to its high-quality production, designed to look like a stack of silkscreened posters bound into a book. Amidst the artwork, ECHO includes interviews with Alex Crothers (founder and co-owner of Higher Ground) and Michael Jager (Co-Founder and Creative Director of Solidarity of Unbridled Labour and Co-Founder of Iskra Print Collective); anecdotes on select posters and shows; a deep dive into the art of silkscreen printing; and more.

And not only is the book a celebration of the 25-year creative partnership between Higher Ground and Solidarity of Unbridled Labour, but it’s also a service to the community. All proceeds from ECHO will support the nonprofit, Iskra Print Collective, a community space in Burlington, dedicated to the practice, understanding, and appreciation of the printmaking arts.

ECHO is a must for any music-lover or Vermonter, but this beautifully designed coffee table book is also a perfect addition to the library of anyone interested in art, design, and multi-media creativity.