Warp releases Syro artwork by The Designers Republic

After teasing fans for weeks with blimps, online snapshots and mysterious street art, Warp Records has finally released the full artwork for Aphex Twin’s forthcoming album, Syro. Created by The Designers Republic, the packaging lists every cost involved in the making and promotion of the album…

Limited edition vinyl boxset

After teasing fans for weeks with blimps, online snapshots and mysterious street art, Warp Records has finally released the full artwork for Aphex Twin’s forthcoming album, Syro. Created by The Designers Republic, the packaging lists every cost involved in the making and promotion of the album…

Released on 22 September, Syro is Aphex Twin’s (Richard James) first new album since 2001. The release of the artwork follows the appearance of a blimp featuring the Aphex Twin logo in the skies over London, and graffiti on the streets of New York last weekend.

A collaboration between James and The Designers Republic, which has worked on campaigns and sleeves for Warp since the label’s inception, the artwork lists the costs involved in making and promoting the album, from courier charges to photoshoot expenses, expressed per disc and tailored for both vinyl and CD (shown above) versions:

Lists on both album and CD versions show the cost of making, distributing and promoting the album

 

Ian Anderson, founder of The Designers Republic, says the concept is based on ideas suggested by James in early discussions about the album’s packaging. “At the beginning of the process we discussed a few ideas Richard wanted to explore – one was the idea of pressing the album or a single track into the fabric of the cover, effectively as a deboss; a second was to use shots of the raw vinyl pucks albums are pressed from; and the third was to document in some way every cost involved in the production of the specific album format the purchaser had in their hands,” he explains.

Bonus track, included in limited edition vinyl boxset

“The intense, and ultimately pointless detail of the list really appealed to me … it was good working with James Burton and the team at Warp to stretch out this mantra that tells the reader everything and nothing about the creation of what I hear was an intensely personal album in the making reduced to the numbers of an album in the marketplace,” he adds.

The debossed bonus track appears in a limited edition perspex vinyl version (shown below, an edition of 200, it costs £250), while puck shots are used on vinyl labels. TDR has also created ‘a disinfographic’, listing all of the equipment used to make the album.

Limited edition vinyl boxset

The album is the third release that TDR has designed artwork for – the studio also worked on Windowlicker and Come to Daddy, which featured unsettling imagery shot by video artist Chris Cunningham (referenced in the deluxe slip case for the deluxe vinyl). While the new release has a notably different look, Anderson says all three are united by “a sense of non-design – of playing with formats and the preconceptions the audience may have of both what music packaging should be, and specifically what Aphex Twin’s packaging design should look like.”

“For Windowlicker, the video and images were so strong that really all we had to do was frame them. The skill here was to let the images do the work while creating space and something typographic which were recognisable in themselves in parallel with Chris’s work,” he says.

“For Come To Daddy, there was a thicker plot involving a series of TDR™ generated text based promos as well as a remix CD featuring the music from an Orange mobile TV ad. There were issues about using an image from the ad so we resorted creating an orange cover with text describing the action from the ad. The typography was designed to appear neutral which is again a key factor in the non-design idea behind Syro.”

Anderson also says the design is intended to challenge consumers and question notions of value: “The stripped down intentional un-typography, reducing the legibility of the bigger picture in its super detail, clashing with the inherent obsolescence of the pumped up format packaging, asks questions of the consumer that the content can’t alone,” he says.

“It’s interesting that some people regard the design in terms of what they can see, designers judging it on craft and typography and fans seeing it in terms of value for money (ironically), for example, when the real message lies in the deconstructive absence of either.”

Syro is released by Warp Records on 22 September. To pre-order a copy, click here.

  • The link to pre-order a copy doesn’t work

  • @Tanya – thanks for your comment. Link has been amended and should now take you to the correct pre-order page

  • warp + aphex + TDR it’s an orgasm for my ears and eyes!
    congratulations for the amazing creativity for all the people involved!
    this is definitely the future of design on CD’s, LP’s and further!
    so excited about this album , cant wait to have it in my hands!

  • meanderingfool

    wait wat.. TDR still exists? Who is there?

  • DIY

    Is this the normal vinyl packaging? Or only for the expensive deluxe edition?

  • Mark

    “The stripped down intentional un-typography, reducing the legibility of the bigger picture in its super detail, clashing with the inherent obsolescence of the pumped up format packaging, asks questions of the consumer that the content can’t alone,”
    Love it!

  • Tyler

    Very Confusing if this is the Limited version or standard.

  • Tom

    TDR also designed the sleeve for the Hangable Auto Bulb compilation! So this is the 4th collab between the two.

  • Mark G

    Top draw a quality album for all the peeps to hear at last ….far to long a wait….lets hope Richard doesn’t get divorced again ….. DJ MSG – Leeds

  • Yot

    Limited I presume : “The debossed bonus track appears in a limited edition perspex vinyl version ”
    perspex > http://bit.ly/1tWYoWY

  • nice – love it but far too long a wait – maybe on wednesday I find I’m travellingfrom Manchester to London for Friday? talk about notice! moan moan moan………

  • Benjamin

    I agree with tyler and the likes who wouldn’t mind seeing pics of the normal edition. It’s a tad confusing the way you’ve done this.

  • C.

    I think this ever returning link of an image of a mad laugh by RDJ and his music under his own name, starts to grow a bit stereotypic, by now. I would hope somebody had thought about that.

  • Jobes

    Interesting concept. Wonder what they will do if they repress it in the future… update the artwork?

    Incidentally the artist biography / press release for the album is quite delightful… a combination of the kind of text changes used to circumvent anti-Bayesian spam filters, and the surreal wordplay of Lear, Milligan and Unwin.

    http://pitchfork.com/news/56375-aphex-twin-reveals-amazing-syro-album-artwork-and-bio/

  • PatrickBurgoyne

    @ Benjamin
    Sorry if it’s not clear. What is shown is the limited edition vinyl box set version. We don’t have images of the other formats as yet

  • mat

    I find this artwork boring and inspirational – not the best work of TDR… bad joke?

  • Guillaume

    Is this the packaging for the 200 limited edition? Or for the 3LP edition?
    Thanks.

  • Randy J

    this is ONLY the extremely limited – none of us will get it – artwork

  • Alex

    Why are people finding it so hard to tell what version of the album these photos are of?

    The studio photos are of the 200 limited edition (which is why it says “Edition of 200” on the artwork itself on the second image), and the flat artwork (3rd one down) is the CD version, hence all the mention of CD production costs on it.

  • AAHaaaa, you see?

    Good to know that people are still “challenge”ing notions of value within a consumer society by flogging overpriced plastic boxes to morons. Can’t wait for the music though.

  • Very unclear, is the embossed bonus track printed on carton 100% (!?!??!?!?!) or 100% white vinyl as normal LPs or is there a perforation between the frame of carton and track on vinyl?

  • mr3

    Great article, no one else covering this so far has seemed to really get it in totality (and it didn’t seem that complicated). The detail on how Warp was as involved as they were wasn’t something focused on before either. Since the message there doesn’t seem to paint labels in general in the best light, props to them for supporting it…reminds me of ’26 Mixes for Cash’.

  • Very unclear, is the embossed bonus track printed on carton 100% (!?!??!?!?!) or 100% white vinyl as normal LPs or is there a perforation between the frame of carton and track on vinyl?

  • Zac

    Confused about the article? That’s probably because you didn’t read it. The very first words in the article state “limited edition vinyl boxset.” This is the $400 USD ballot version. The case looks like a thicker acrylic which increases cost. Plus, the fact that it’s limited to 200 pieces, TDR designed, AND it’s Aphex Twin raises the price.

  • clogwyn

    Does the cover include TDR’s design fees?

  • This is an album release done properly. Info released in secret via the Dark web and then making the packaging absolutely phenomenal, It is annoying how expensive it is but it looks amazing.

    also Designers Republic, I have so much love for.

  • jwhall

    Innocent smoothies anyone?

  • dubloss
  • Dave

    Can’t help feeling extremely uninspired by this design work by TDR. Yes its well executed, but its nothing special, and in my opinion, doesn’t deserve all the hype its received.

  • Travis Thornton

    This album is awesome! I love how minimally abstract it is with the incorporation of just enough wow factor. The idea to incorporate the cost of the promotions on the cover proves to the consumer why buying the album is important rather than downloading it online. I greatly appreciate how the designers followed through with the three suggestions made by the customer and came to the best decision. Classic musical look for a classic music product, genius. The incorporation of simple paper to separate the disks is a nice touch as well but I cannot help but feel as though it may lack consideration for environmental concerns. This packaging seems to have come straight out of the apple office, not to much pizazz but enough pop to grab your attention. The considerations necessary to incorporate new products in to a growing techno logical world are difficult. The younger generation fights to import new trendy things into society while traditional methods still hold on for dear life by the hands of hobbyists. The font used on the packaging reads perfectly for the demographic attempting to be reached.

  • Emile

    It is a great album and the vinyl package is nice but I don’t think anyone at TDR could have thought about actually using the packaging. Each disk is held in an extremely tight sleeve of card which threatens to tear every time I try to get a disk out. If you’re going to play the records regularly and not completely ruin the sleeve it’s best to put them in generic sleeves. Bit of style over substance.

  • Inspired.

  • Krake (viele Arme – 1 Meinung)

    Great!