CR Blog

Acousmatic Sorcery by Willis Earl Beal

Graphic Design

Posted by Eliza Williams, 2 April 2012, 11:30    Permalink    Comments (4)

We start the week with some more great new music packaging, this time for the debut album of Willis Earl Beal, who recently signed to Hot Charity/XL Recordings after recording this album at home under his own steam.

The CD comes in DVD format packaging (cover shown above), and features a booklet written and illustrated by Beal, titled Principles of a Protagonist (A novel actually about something).

Beal's musical style is lo-fi and personal: he confesses on the back of the CD pack that the record "was recorded on bad equipment", which turns out to have been a cassette karaoke machine. This rough-and-ready approach extends to his visual style too: all the images in the book are drawn by Beal himself, and the text – which is idiosyncratic to say the least – clearly comes from his own imagination. On the back of the CD pack Beal explains its personal nature, saying that it was "conceived, typed and printed in the summer after my girlfriend separated herself from me.... I had no job and again, no reasonable plateau for hope. It was ridiculous. All I had was a well of degenerate thoughts to write down in prose form."

The inside cover of the CD contains a more conventional shot of Beal, who appears shirtless and moody, holding a guitar.

Beal's artistic talents have also been put to use in the video for his debut single from the album, Evening's Kiss, which features animated versions of his drawings. We featured the promo in a recent video round-up on the blog, but in case you missed it, here it is again:

On Beal's website (, he is encouraging fans to interact with him directly by offering to send a drawing to anyone who writes to him (he also offers to sing you a song down the phone if you call). We at CR did write to him and received the following pic. Technically, it is a photo of a drawing... but maybe Beal is too busy to do individual ones at the moment with the album release and everything, and it's still very nice.

Acousmatic Sorcery is out on Hot Charity/XL Recordings today, more info is here:


CR in Print

Thanks for visiting the CR website, but if you are not also reading CR in print you're missing out. Our April issue has a cover by Neville Brody and a fantastic ten-page feature on Fuse, Brody's publication that did so much to foster typographic experimentation in the 90s and beyond. We also have features on charity advertising and new Pentagram partner Marina Willer. Rick Poynor reviews the Electric Information Age and Adrian Shaughnessy meets the CEO of controversial crowdsourcing site 99designs. All this plus the most beautiful train tickets you ever saw and a wonderful behind-the-scenes look at Thunderbirds in our Monograph supplement

The best way to make sure you receive CR in print every month is to subscribe – you will also save money and receive our award-winning Monograph booklet every month. You can do so here.


This is beautiful and interesting and honest and real and I love it. Thank you.
2012-04-02 13:48:54

Charming stuff! Both the music and video are great. Sold!
2012-04-02 14:28:36

This guy was on X Factor.
2012-04-04 13:21:43

Very clever, very simple. I really like the idea of combining hand-drawn and written artwork and text with Graphic Design.
Ken OBrien Graphic Design
2012-04-05 10:39:48

Tell us what you think

What happens with my feedback?

We no longer require you to register and have a password in order to comment, simply fill in the form below. All comments are moderated so you may experience a short delay before your comment appears. CR encourages comments to be short and to the point. As a general rule, they should not run longer than the original post. Comments should show a courteous regard for the presence of other voices in the discussion. We reserve the right to edit or delete comments that do not adhere to this standard.

Get the RSS Feed