Kathleen Cascone

Like other important music labels (FAX Records, Instinct Ambient, em:t, Recycle or Die!, etc.) Silent Records had a “look” to their releases.  A certain aesthetic, influenced by the rave, electronic and chill-room culture of the 90’s, was prevalent in the overall look and feel of Silent Records.  From before the first CD release until her departure from the label in 1996, Kathleen (Kat) Cascone was primarily responsible for the graphic design of Silent Records.

Kat met Kim Cascone after the label had already been started.  She used her graphic art knowledge to help with the cover art, typesetting and layout of the early vinyl releases.  It wasn’t long before she found herself in a more prominent role as art director and designer for the label.  It is interesting to follow the style of artwork and design from the early black and white, minimal, “industrial” vinyl releases, through the simple early CD release to the brilliant “rave flyer” releases of the golden age of Silent and ambient music.

Things really started to take shape when famed artist/designer Nick Phillip began doing artwork for Silent.  Mindmeld and Andrew Frith also contributed cover art during the mid 90’s.  This was the era of the rave flyer.  San Francisco’s rave culture played a big part in the Silent aesthetic during this time and Kat’s designs are recognizable to anyone familiar with this period.

It is important to note that the allure of ambient music during the mid 90’s goes beyond the music.  The artwork, design and packaging is so important to those who lived it and those who collect it.  Kat’s work with Silent can’t be underestimated.

Behind the scenes, Kathleen and Kim married and had a son, Cage, while the Silent offices were at their busiest.  This dynamic was another important factor in the success of Silent Records.  Kathleen continues to work as a graphic designer for a San Francisco company.

Kathleen Cascone is credited for Graphic Design on the following releases

PGR - Euphoria / Order and Chaos 7” (cover art)
PGR/Thessalonians - The Black Field LP
Archane Device/PGR - Fetish (as Silent Graphics)
Pelican Daughters - Fishbones and Wishbones
Phauss Karkowski Bilting
PGR - The Chemical Bride
Jeff Greinke - Lost Terrain
68000 - Technocolor
Jorge Reyes - Nierika
50 Years of Sunshine compilation
Thessalonians - Soulcraft
The Heavenly Music Corporation - In A Garden of Eden
From Here to Tranquility compilation (typography)
199303 compilation (Kat & Kim, Silent Graphics)
Solitaire - Ritual Ground
Earth to Infinity
Michael Mantra - Sonic Alter (computer graphics and design by Kathleen Cascone and Henry Warwick)
John C. Lilly - E.C.C.O
Unidentified Floating Ambience
Brilliance for a Better Future compilation
Pelican Daughters - Bliss (as Silent Studios)
Heavenly Music Corporation - Consciousness III (as Silent Studios)
Phauss - God T Phauss (as Silent Graphics)
Trancendental Anarchists - Cluster Zone (as Silent Graphics)
Ambient Temple of Imagination - Mystery School
Closedown - Nearfield (cover art by Silent Graphics)
Heavenly Music Corporation - Lunar Phase (layout Silent Graphics)
Crawling With Tarts - Madeleine
From Here to Tranquility 4 compilation (Silent Graphics)
Vuemorph - In Expectancy of the Monumental Awe (Silent Graphics)
Abstinence - Theorem (cover art by Silent Studios)
Ohmega Tribe - Anodyne Wisdohm (Silent Graphics)
Ambient Temple of Imagination - Eleusinia / Sonic Acupuncture
PGR - The Morning Book of Serpents (Silent Graphics)
Syntax Error (Silent Graphics)
Heavenly Music Corporation - Anachoic
From Here to Tranquility Volume 5 compilation (Silent Graphics)
Pounce International - The Populace Oracle (Silent Graphics)
PGR - A Hole of Unknown Depth (cover art)

The (brilliant) Silent Fall/Winter 1994 catalog

Special silentrecords.net interview with
Kat Cascone

How did you meet Kim Cascone and get involved with Silent Records?

Kim had started Silent before we met. I became involved originally through helping him with his record cover art--collaborating on design and doing the typesetting & production. This was in the late 80s. My career is in graphic arts, so I was happy to help with this. I also sometimes assisted with mundane tasks like mail order, correspondence and the like. As Silent grew, especially once we started the distribution arm, I became more and more involved on many levels, from art direction to finance, until it became my fulltime job.

Briefly describe the "ambient" scene during the times you were putting out material for Silent.

I have never felt personally associated with an ambient "scene" but we were surprised (and pleased) to witness ambient actually becoming a scene, since the type of music we were involved in was pretty much ignored by the media and distributors before that. My hope was that people who had previously not been exposed to "ambient" music would discover it and expand their musical and artistic horizons.

How has it changed?

If I didn't feel associated with a "scene" before I definitely am not now, so I can't really answer that.

How did the Silent design/artwork relate to the rave chill/room scene during the mid 90's?

We considered artwork very important. Kim and I both loved a lot of the rave flyer artwork that was being produced in the early 90s, so we were influenced by that. We both worked closely on the look & feel of Silent. Our seminal cover designer was Nick Philip, a very talented graphic artist who's imagery helped to shape the chill room and rave aesthetic in San Francisco.  We felt it was a perfect melding of music and visuals. We also worked with Andy Frith, Mindmeld and others who were active in the rave/ambient scene--they all helped to shape the Silent aesthetic.

Do you have a favorite Silent release?

Tough question! Anything by Kim of course, but I love the whole From Here to Tranquility series, 23 degrees, Ambient Temple of Imagination, 50 Years of Sunshine compilation, Pelican Daughters, among others.

What are you up to now?

I work for a company in San Francisco called Stone Yamashita Partners as a graphic/interactive designer. I've been here since only a few weeks after leaving Silent in '96. I am also kept busy being a mom to our 9-year-old son Cage, who barely remembers when he was Emperor of Silent.  ;)

Is there anything you would like to add?

Being a part of Silent Records was a great experience--I can't say it was "fun" but it was certainly rewarding helping to create and shape a place for artists to release and distribute their work. I appreciate all the hard work put in by all our artists, employees and interns over the years. It would not have been possible without them.

 Please include links to any sites you would like included on the site.

Nick Philip's website http://nphilip.best.vwh.net
Andy Frith's website http://www.sacredjourneys.com/design

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