MDBC Totem by Boym Partners for
Ghostly International


MDBC Totem by Boym Partners for Ghostly International

These models by New York studio Boym Partners are used to unlock and download DJ Matthew Dear's latest album, entitled Black City, and you can download a free track from the album here.

MDBC Totem by Boym Partners for Ghostly International

Called MDBC Totem, the products are each marked with a unique code allowing their owners to stream or download the album.

MDBC Totem by Boym Partners for Ghostly International

Each piece in the edition of 100 is cast in bonded aluminium with a hand-finished gun metal patina.

MDBC Totem by Boym Partners for Ghostly International

Boym Partners designed the pieces for Dear's label Ghostly International.

MDBC Totem by Boym Partners for Ghostly International

Photographs are by Will Calcutt.

MDBC Totem by Boym Partners for Ghostly International

Watch a movie about the manufacturing process here.

Here's some more information from Boym Partners:

With Matthew Dear's third full-length studio release, Black City, Ghostly International proudly introduces its newest label release format, the totem.

The MDBC Totem is both a sculptural representation of the themes explored in Black City and a symbolic conduit to the music itself. Vaguely reminiscent of one of the soot-blackened skyscrapers that might populate Dear's creeping, nameless city, the stacks upon the totem also call to mind the many shaped prongs of a universal power adaptor. In this sense, the totem is not simply a miniature building, but an abstract key to an unknown door. The branding of the totem has been purposefully reduced to its bare essentials—only the letters MDBC and unique alphanumeric suffixes are included—so that the totem's meaning remains discernible only to its beholder.

Each MDBC Totem is inscribed with a unique four-character suffix that will allow users access to a private page on, where Black City may be streamed in its entirely from any web-connected computer, or downloaded. Owners of the totem will also receive an exclusive track, not previously available on the standard album release. Unlike current delivery methods, the totem is a physical format for cloud-based listening, an acknowledgment of two seemingly irreconcilable notions: the need for a tangible representation of music and a future in which music is utterly ethereal.

The MDBC Totem is produced in an edition of 100 units and retails for $125. Each piece has been hand-cast in bonded aluminum with a hand-finished gun metal patina by master-crafstmen in New York City. It goes on sale Tuesday, August 3, 2010, exclusively at The Ghostly Store.

To create Ghostly International's first totem, the company turned to renowned product designers Constantin and Laurene Boym of Boym Partners in New York, recipients of the 2009 National Design Award for Product Design. Widely recognized for their ability to imbue objects with emotional and cultural resonance, the Boym's also have a history of exploring uncharted territory in the world of design. Among their many creations, they have been revered for their "Buildings of Disaster" and "Missing Monuments" series, two ongoing collections which explore the cultural imperative of souvenirs in a postindustrial global economy.

See also:


More album
Hotel Taj Mahal by
Boym Partners
Buildings of Disaster
by Boym Partners

Posted on Thursday July 29th 2010 at 4:20 pm by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • I like it! I like it! Man, I like it so much! Great design idea, intelligent marketing and cool performance.
    I hope this project is doing well on the market. I believe people (even those who are far from design) should understand how unique is such approach and how talented are designers.

  • polly

    how out of touch are you? DJ Mathew Dear? It's Mathew Dear. Don't you have an interest in anything apart from design? sheesh

    • Actually it's Matthew Dear, with two T''s.

      • ness

        Nice comeback!

      • pedanticus maximus

        That should be two T's, not two T"s

  • archalixos

    Very interesting marketing idea but I dont like the final product, although it is carefully done.

  • These are great – I'd like one as a USB memory stick please.