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Lucas Badtke-Berkow has been exploring the world of the printed page in Japan for the past 16 years with his company Knee High Media, producing inspirational, independent and open-minded publications and consistently looking at things with new eyes and an infectious inquisitiveness of the world around him.

Starting with Tokion magazine (which featured 11 years ago in Level issue 05—that’s the ‘part 1’ of this story) Lucas and his company have remained absolutely true to their values while developing new and exceptional places, products, events and publications for themselves and others—and most importantly, for this one-island Earth.

Read the full story of the singular Knee High Media, linked below.

, 21 January 2011

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Wheelie Good*

Emer is a BMX clothing brand that I remember from the 90s. I would occasionally see an Emer-clad Phil Dolan in his world-beating days or maybe spot the infamous Igo brothers sporting Emer during their reign of carnage. Turns out Level contributor—and man behind Emer—Johann Chan is firing up some new Emer products again.

There are a couple of nice t-shirts and, more interestingly, a prototype for a new bike, the very agile and tight-looking Emer Swift: “The Swift is designed with modern BMX geometry so it retains the same riding position as a modern BMX, but runs high-set gearing and big skinny wheels for greater speed,” says Johann. “It’s still nimble enough to ride as a …read on

Nick Murphy, 28 July 2010

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Morcky artist


I was at Morcky’s flat in Amsterdam a few months ago when I first had a chance to check out some the images that would come to be included in his recent book release, Day and Night. The finished work, realized with support from No New Enemies and Buzzworks, is a cohesive, thought-provoking collection of black-and-white illustrations that touch on a number introspective and collective experiences. Morcky was kind enough to answer a few questions and give some insight into the creation of the project.

How did you decide to create Day and Night? Is it something you were thinking about for a long time before you started?

Day and Night has been the answer to the need of giving a …read on

, 13 July 2010

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Al Jarnow artist


Celestial Navigations, the first full-length film release from Chicago-based archival record label Numero Group, showcases the short films and animations created in the late 1970s and early 1980s by illustrator Al Jarnow. True to form, Numero Group presents viewers with a carefully researched and compiled catalogue of Jarnow’s stunning body of work, from an animated take on Edward Lear’s poem The Owl and the Pussycat to Jarnow’s first venture into animation and a time-lapse piece compacting one year at his studio into a fifteen minute film, from which Numero Group took the title of their project. Experimental flip book animations detail the journey of a Volkswagon Beetle in several perspectives across highways, country sides and three-dimensional corridors in Autosong. Two …read on

, 11 May 2010

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A wheelchair-bound Rick McCrank barks, “Do you need to be touching my horse?” It’s only halfway through the trailer of Machotaildrop and I’m already wondering, What the hell is this, and how was it born?
Duo Corey Adams and Alex Craig are the creative force behind the curiously strange and fascinating story of young Walter Rhum and the Machotaildrop skateboard company. Adams filled us in on a few of the details that helped this strange beast of a film come to life.


How did the Machotaildrop film come about?

It was the result of winning a contest called “The Fuel Experiment”, presented by Fuel TV. Ten filmmakers were given a hundred thousand dollars to make a short film. One of …read on

, 15 March 2010

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Omar Almufti photographer


I first heard Jahdan Blakkamoore on Earth Force, DJ Child’s mixtape tribute to classic roots reggae music, released on the Project Groundation label. The song, titled “She Told Me”, featuring 77 Klash, at first seemed a little out of place to be honest: a bare, hyper-digital track slotted between crucial hits from Gregory Isaacs and Dennis Brown. Over the next year or so I started checking for more of Jahdan’s material and I really began to understand the context in which his work fits seamlessly with the classic styles of the artists previously mentioned, while maintaining a modern sound that lends itself to the myriad of current interpretations of Caribbean music. “Diversity” is an understatement. From powerful one-drop tunes crafted …read on

, 09 March 2010

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You’re never going to believe what’s on the horizon from Fuji. It’s the launch of an all-new film camera. Not just film, but medium format no less. Foldable and compact, the new GF670 Professional is capable of shooting either 6×6 or 6×7 format and accommodates both 120 and 220 film. A coupled rangefinder, exposure compensation, manual exposure and aperture-priority automatic modes compliment the 80mm Fujinon EBC lens. If you need to light it up, the GF670 has flash sync speeds ranging from four seconds to 1/500 of a second via hot shoe mount or PC socket.

Some may question the relevance of Fuji’s new film camera, but many photographers do still crave the product and process of shooting film and …read on

, 11 February 2010

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My Pad

Anyone who has hired a graphic designer or other Apple geek today might wonder why it’s all gone a bit quiet. If the bewildered employer asks, they might get told anything but the truth, which is that the designer is too busy wetting himself—a ‘herself’ will likely be much less distracted—over Apple’s new Next Big Gizmo to recycle any second-rate, wishy-washy design right now, sorry.

It’s the iPad’s fault.

The iPad is a whopper iPhone without the Phone, a pumped-up netbook computer without a physical keyboard (though one can be docked on), an eBook—sorry, iBook—reader and something that an awful lot of people are going to accidentally drop on their polished concrete floors because they bumped their elbow on the arm of …read on

, 27 January 2010

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Tom Bunning photographer


Twelve years into their career, Andy Cato and Tom Findlay show no signs of sitting pretty on their already huge successes. With three million records sold worldwide, a Grammy nomination for their seminal track Superstylin’ and now on their sixth studio album (Black Light, due for release late February), the British powerhouse that is Groove Armada storms on. GA have completely reinvented their sound for Black Light in a way that can’t help but win over a new audience and gain respect from new ears. They’ve stepped away from the funk-driven beats of Superstylin’ and laid-back grooves of At the River and moved over to a darker side.

Working on the album for the past 14 months, Andy and Tom’s strong …read on

, 18 January 2010

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Michael Abramson photographer


Ken Shipley, Tom Lunt and Rob Sevier, working collectively as Numero Group, have set out to close the gap between songs seemingly gone forever and the people who have been waiting years to hear them again. Numero Group serves as an archival record label focusing on reissuing obscure soul, blues and funk recordings that hold a distinct place in the history of recorded music—or at least that’s how it started. From its inception in 2003, Numero Group has grown to include hundreds of titles touching several genres and has released these gems in a variety of mediums, both audio and visual. Their most recognized collection of releases, the Eccentric Soul series, features soul tracks on the verge of extinction from …read on

, 24 December 2009