Welcome to a new monthly column exploring interesting album covers, the artists behind those covers and people/companies who are creating interesting products within music. The first edition features Tor Press, Shigeto, Dimlite, Bonobo and Young Magic.
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Dimlite – 'Grimm Reality'
Dimlite gave Beatty free-reign over the design, having had various discussions about the music on the album before she got started. Beatty drew inspiration from the ambiguity of the title, as well as Dimlite’s unconventional approach to music. The album is a triple LP, so Beatty designed an image for each inner sleeve – a fish falling on an open umbrella, a tree growing in place of a person’s head, and the string of a balloon looped around a skeletal finger, all to convey the juxtaposition of the macabre. The front and back cover is comprised of a collage of all three inner sleeve images, creating something that resembles the kaleidoscopic structure of the music itself.
Shigeto – 'Lineage EP'
To create the artwork for Shigeto, Michael Cina worked closely with the artist himself. Using the name of the first single - ‘Lineage’ - as his starting point, Cina came up with he idea of unfolding Shigeto’s family narrative through a series of releases. His mother scanned in family photos for Cina to work with – some of them so old they were starting to decay – and the final Lineage artwork features a photo of Shigeto’s great grandfather’s house from 1916, in Hiroshima, Japan. The back cover of the EP includes a photo of his great grandfather at the Amache Internment Camp in Colorado.
Cina explains that he was initially uneasy about working with something so personal, and that it took him a few months to finalise the cover. Cina also drew inspiration from Russian, German, Japanese and Swiss design of the same period.
Bonobo – 'Kiara'
The artwork for Bonobo was created by design studio Oscar and Ewan, and the artwork for the album is land and map based, taken from the original ‘Black Sands’ album cover (here) . For the original Black Sands cover they shot three photographs around Derwentwater, in the Lake District, with each point forming a triangle on the map. Each photographic view captures the other camera, taking a photo of the other camera (and so on), which allowed them to create a perspective of the entire landscape. The Kiara artwork uses the map of each place the photos were taken. The typeface is called ‘Leroy’, and was created especially for the project.
Young Magic - 'Melt'
When asked about the process of creating the image for Young Magic, Podhajsky would only comment "How I got this effect I can’t really tell you. Magic." Magic indeed. Podhajsky explains that one of his aims when creating work is to "bend perception," and in this artwork especially your eye can’t help but be drawn to the missing face of the figure – does it remind anyone else of the gloopy personal timelines from Donnie Darko?
Podhajsky explains that his friendship with Young Magic is long lasting, and that they often work and share creativity together. He goes on to describe that he wanted to "create a sense of bending time and the universe in a sort of liquid pixel slurp. A kind of futuristic aura reading with its fingers, stuck in an ancient past, full of myth and wisdom."
When it’s put so eloquently, what else is there to add?
Tor Press was set up by illustrator Jake Blanchard, with the aim of bringing musicians and illustrators together. The world of the record meets the world of the zine here, with each Tor Press release including a full-colour illustrated zine alongside the vinyl.
For each album that Tor Press releases, Blanchard collaborates with a different set of illustrators. Previous releases have see artists create pieces in response to music, but the latest release – Menagerie #3 – is the first in the series that sees bands creating music in response to the work of the illustrators.