Mondo Grosso, an alias for Shinichi Osawa, is a Japanese producer/musician/DJ and has been one of Japan’s greatest electronic producers and DJs of recent. He was part of an acid jazz band started in 1991 and named Mondo Grosso, an Italian word meaning “big world.” In 1995, the band disseminated and Shinichi Osawa took on the alias of Mondo Grosso. In 1997 he produced the album Closer and until the mid 2000s he has produced many albums as Mondo Grosso, but also helped to produce for many influential R&B and Jazz musicians such as Bird and Monday Michiru, Paula Lima, and Amel Larrieux.
From the late 2000s he focused his production and music in the electronic dance, house, electro, and big house scene, and is now regarded as one of the most popular DJs in Japan. He has collaborated with other famous Japanese producers such as Tomoyuki Tanaka (AKA Fantastic Plastic Machine) and Taku Takahashi (one half of M-Flo) to create Ravex, under the Japanese music label Avex Trax.
These sets of album art covers feature his late 1990s/early 2000s phase, which is mostly comprised of jazz, latin jazz, R&B, downtempo, and even 2-step and UK Garage. These are some of the album art covers of his singles, such as Life and Now You Know Better.
Most of this is not one of the conventional Bodonis or Didots, but Perla, “a didot in upper case only, but with a set of decorative alternate characters mixing semi-cyrillic and lower case influences.” — Alias
Here it is used in all caps, without its characteristic unicase glyphs, devoid of the ball terminals “in inappropriate places”. Among the few places where its quirkiness still shines through are the numerals and the wide ‘W’. The Mondo Grosso artwork is actually the original use of Perla’s caps. From the Alias blog:
Perla was in fact a combination of two commissions, for two music industry projects. Its more expressive forms were originally for Polish pop singer Edyta Gorniak, hence the east European reference point in some of its character shapes. Didot, with Bodoni, is of course a font closely associated with fashion, whether for fashion house logotypes such as Burberry and Armani, or magazines including Vogue and Harpers Bazaar. The letterforms tapped into this heritage with an extra rounded fluidity and swash-like decoration.
In its purer caps form it was drawn and used for Japanese pop-funk band Mondo Grosso, with reference to an old drawing of the elegant Firmin Didot type. Mondo Grosso, again, were keen to focus on the fashion influence, and its simple elegance was a counterpoint to its pop Japanese context.
Thanks Florian! Glad to see the guys behind the album cover add some hi-res image!
Contributed by Chris Purcell