M.I.A.: Kala

Although M.I.A.’s music can easily stand on it’s own, it’s the artwork which really completes the picture. A collage of bright colours, retro patterns and heavily pixelated type can be found in a variety of media, from her music videos, website and fashion to the visuals at her live performances.

I was lucky enough to catch one of her shows recently and the visuals, which are tailor made for each song took the performance to another level (see video for first single ‘Boyz’ below).

It’s hard to say who exactly is responsible for all of this but it appears to be a collaboration between M.I.A. herself, Cassette Playa (Carri Mundane) and Steve Loveridge (Steve also designed the sleeve for M.I.A.’s first album Arular). Most notable in the artwork and videos for latest album Kala is the work of Cassette Playa. Carri Mundane AKA Cassette Playa is making waves in the U.K. for her part in the London Rave revival (she also dresses the Klaxons).

The cover for Kala looks like it could have been made on early version of Photoshop. Maybe a take on roughly made club flyers made by people who’s job isn’t making club flyers. Regardless, the artwork absolutely complements M.I.A’s sound.

M.I.A.: Kala

M.I.A.: Kala

Although M.I.A.’s music can easily stand on it’s own, it’s the artwork which really completes the picture. A collage of bright colours, retro patterns and heavily pixelated type can be found in a variety of media, from her music videos, website and fashion to the visuals at her live performances.

I was lucky enough to catch one of her shows recently and the visuals, which are tailor made for each song took the performance to another level (see video for first single ‘Boyz’ below).

It’s hard to say who exactly is responsible for all of this but it appears to be a collaboration between M.I.A. herself, Cassette Playa (Carri Mundane) and Steve Loveridge (Steve also designed the sleeve for M.I.A.’s first album Arular). Most notable in the artwork and videos for latest album Kala is the work of Cassette Playa. Carri Mundane AKA Cassette Playa is making waves in the U.K. for her part in the London Rave revival (she also dresses the Klaxons).

The cover for Kala looks like it could have been made on early version of Photoshop. Maybe a take on roughly made club flyers made by people who’s job isn’t making club flyers. Regardless, the artwork absolutely complements M.I.A’s sound.





4 Comments

  1. I believe the cover is supposed to look like currency, a sociopolitical commentary in line with M.I.A.’s “World Town” aesthetic and philosophy.

  2. A bit of (maybe well-known) trivia : Kala is the name of her mother, when Arular is the name of her father.

  3. MIA is an artist herself, i’m pretty sure she does most of her own artwork, like her 1st record was all hers.

  4. from pitchforkmedia.com:

    The debate over M.I.A.’s use of controversial imagery related to the Sri Lankan separatist group the Tamil Tigers is by no means new. Online music nerd water cooler ILM was abuzz with discussion years ago, and critic Robert Christgau wrote a superlative piece on the subject before Arular even came out– which you really ought to read before continuing further with this story.

    But with Kala standout “Paper Planes” gaining considerable chart traction in recent weeks thanks in part to its placement in a trailer for the film Pineapple Express (it’s currently number 16 on the Billboard Hot 100), M.I.A. is gaining the attention of a bigger audience. And with that attention, the controversy pot has been stirred anew thanks to a viral diss video (NSFW!) posted by DeLon, another rapper of Sri Lankan descent. (Via Marc Fort.)

    Rhyming over “Paper Planes”, DeLon presents his thesis statement pretty much right off the bat: “M.I.A., you represent terrorism in the worst way,” he declares. The accompanying video flips between stills and footage of M.I.A., clips of DeLon rapping, and graphic images of violence connected to the Tamil Tigers, often overlaid with text bullet-pointing their crimes.

    His argument, in brief: because M.I.A. uses the image of the tiger, writes lyrics that address violence, and has a father known to be part of the Tamil Tigers organization (formally: the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, or LTTE), she’s clearly promoting the aims of that organization through her art and music. As DeLon raps, “You know what the tiger represents: the death of the innocent.”

    If all that isn’t pointed enough, check out DeLon’s hijacking of the chorus: “All she wanna do is [sound of four gunshots] straight to my head.” His conclusion is even more blunt: M.I.A. “want[s] war.”

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