It’s time for a round up of new record sleeves that have caught our eye of late. First up is the rather tasty Limited Edition Box Set (shown above) of Brian Eno’s forthcoming album, his first release on Warp Records: Small Craft On A Milk Sea – a musical collaboration with Jon Hopkins and Leo Abrahams…
Inside the slipcase there are three 12″ gatefold packages (above) with imagery adorning both front and back…
Open all the full colour, casebound (like a hardback book) 12″ gatefold packs to find that one houses two CDs – one of the album, the other has four additional tracks. The second gatefold package contains the album pressed on two 180g vinyl discs. The third pack contains a 12″ square litho print on 352gsm Mohawk Superfine stock, wrapped carefully in protective tissue…
There also exists a slightly different version of this package – the Collectors’ Edition Box Set – which is essentially the same as above but the slip case features a real copper plate etched with the title and edition number, embedded in the spine of the case.
The other notable difference is that the print contained within the package isn’t the litho print that’s included in the other box set – but instead is a screenprint signed and numbered by Eno himself. The 250 prints are printed on 305 x 305mm 330gsm Somerset Radiant White papre at K2 Screen studio in London.
The work is a print application of the generative art that Brian has been developing throughout his career. Each print in the edition is created from an individual arrangement and combination of screenprinted layers. The images, alignment and colours were changed systematically through the printing process to ensure each print is completely unique. Warp records and Eno have kindly sent us scans of some of the editions to show how they vary:
Design & art direction: Nick Robertson
Printed & bound in England by Something Else
Packaging photography: Full Stop
Screenprint photography: Nick Turner
Studio photography: Tim Eves
Our man at Warp just told us, somewhat disappointingly, that the screenprint-containing Collectors’ package has just sold out on pre-orders. Boo. The other box set is still available (at the time of writing) as is the chance to buy the album in an 8-panel digipack. Of course it is also available as a high quality download. The album is due for release on November 15 here in the UK – more details at warp.net
I spotted this delightful 10″ record sleeve whilst perusing the delights of Concrete Hermit‘s recently opened central London store in Kingly Court, just off Carnaby Street. I had to buy it. The white vinyl disc with illustrated labels (see below) helped make the decision…
I recognised the artwork as being by Stevie Gee, who I’d only recently discovered because he’s done some rather tasty Risograph prints through Landfill Editions (which is the subject of a brand new CRTV film). The record is the first release from East London-based record label Big Dirty Engine, set up and run by Nick Jaguar, owner of Shoreditch bar-cum-gallery Dream Bags Jaguar Shoes. Yes, the very same Nick Jaguar who performs on this record.
The label’s website announces that it is “a boutique record label specialising in ballsy lo-fi music. Pairing musicians with artists to produce limited edition vinyl releases.”
The record is limited to just 250 numbered copies, although there are 1000 cassettes of the single out now too featuring Ride On lettered by illustrator Jiro Bevis. There are different colour versions – here’s one of the 500 red versions:
For more info about the release (and to listen to it), visit nickjaguar.bandcamp.com
This is an oil painting by London-based painter John Stark who was commissioned by band Crystal Fighters to create artwork for their recently released album, Star Of Love (finished album artwork shown below).
Not being sure as to how many oil-on-wood-panel images there are gracing album covers these days, I thought I’d ask artist Stark about the commission:
CR:How did you end up creating the album cover for Crystal Fighters – do you know the band?
JS: No, I didn’t know them before, the album artwork came about through a fortuitous alignment of random meetings, surprising coincidences and drunken conversations via several degrees of separation.
CR: Have you been commissioned to create album / music sleeve artwork before? If yes – who for and when?
JS: Its not usually my bag, but this was something that interested me due to the nature of our similar interests. I have done an album cover before for the group Commix’s Call To Mind – but that was an image that already existed rather than commissioned.
CR: Tell us about the artwork – how did you collaborate with the band / an art director (both?) on this. Oh yes, also tell us about the typography – that was done by another creative? Did you get to discuss that too?
JS: There was lots of discussion and exchanging of ideas with Crystal Fighters – and presenting of mood boards was useful. It became clear very soon on that we there was a cross over of similar interests so they trusted me to come up with something after they had outlined what they where after. I was particularly interested in the Basque origins of their music and the folklore that accompanied that.
I also wanted to make it look like an album cover rather than another one of my paintings, which was a a welcome challenge and a chance to step outside my normal practice. So the result, I think, is a surprising image that would not exist without the collaboration of ideas and input from the band but it still maintains the foreboding gothic overtones and technique of my other paintings. The typography was done by someone else but I think it really compliments the artwork and they have done a great job.
CR: You work in oil paint – how long does a commission like this take – and what size is the piece “in real life” as opposed to on a 12″ record sleeve or a
JS: It really depends, sometimes they can come together really quickly if all goes well, but sometimes there are problems and it can take months to realise how to finish a painting, its similar to solving puzzles. This piece was undertaken in about six weeks and is slightly larger than 12″, which is the usual scale i work on and am comfortable with.
For more info on Stark’s work, visit johnstarkgallery.co.uk
Turns out that the beautiful printed ‘inner sleeve’ packaging of the Test Pressing EP by Flowers and Sea Creatures is really hard to photograph and showcase at just 569 pixels wide. So you’ll have to take my word for it that this is really nice.
The design, by I Want, features a black on white rectangular check pattern, through which intricate and ancient looking illustrations of fish (sea creatures!) can be seen on one side. Flip it over and the illustration on this side is of a bunch of roses (flowers). Note the central vinyl labels are treated in a suitably test pressing kind of way. All very literal, but very nicely done. Label: Buzzin’ Fly. Listen to the EP here.
This isn’t an old battered map, but the cover of Oxford-based band The Winchell Riots’ debut EP, pressed on 10″ vinyl in an edition of 300 (there is also an edition of 300 CDs too). The artwork is a collaboration between the band and designer Rian Hughes.
Band member Phil McMinn told us about the design: “Based on an old map of Milton in Scotland, where my parents grew up, Rian has customised the details within the map to include lyrics from the songs. A lot of the lyrics on the EP deal with space travel, oceans and the idea of history, and Rian accordingly designed the package to look like a lost library artefact, sticker sealed, barcoded and number-stamped.”
Here is a detail from the cover and a shot of the back cover:
For more info on The Winchell Riots, visit thewinchellriots.co.uk.
Here’s a little sampler of the music from the release accompanied by what can only be described as chameleon-tastic film clips: