Record sleeves of the month

Our regular round-up of music packaging includes a very special release from UNKLE plus Kate Nash, Tracey Thorn and, get this, a cassette tape from Goldfrapp. Remember those?

Here’s the latest batch of music release packaging that’s caught our eye of late. Top of the pile is the special edition of  the new UNKLE album, Where Did The Night Fall – released May 10 on label Surrender-All.

The package (art directed by James Lavelle, Ben Drury and Warren Du Preez and Nick Thornton Jones), includes a booklet of song lyrics and sleeve notes, a gatefold pack housing two CDs and a book of imagery on heavy card. All elements of the package, bar the lyric booklet, is printed on silver stock – giving the release, and the imagery that adorns it (created by Du Preez and Thornton Jones) a unique and lavish quality.


The slipcase contains three items – the black lyric booklet, a silver gatefold wallet containing the packages two discs (the album plus a bonus instrumental version of the album), and a thick card book of imagery created by Du Preez and Thornton Jones


This is the open gatefold CD wallet

Inside the left hand side of the gatefold wallet is another sleeve which contains the album disc (above) and in the left hand side of the gatefold wallet you’ll find the bonus disc containing the instrumental versions of each track on the album:


Mat Maitland has art directed the album campaign for Kate Nash‘s latest album, My Best Friend Is You, working in collaboration with Big Active artist Kate Gibb – who produced all of the silkscreen imagery. Reflecting the personal sentiment in the album’s title the printed imagery takes the form of collages all incorporate keepsakes belonging to Kate Nash. This  imagery is integrated across all aspects of the promotional campaign.

There’s also a deluxe version of the album which is packaged in a book format, shown above

Peepers is the latest album from Jazz percussionist Sebastian Rochford’s musical combo, Polar Bear. The artwork, perhaps surprisingly, was created by a photographer – Johanna Ruebel – with final layout and hand written text by Tony Morley at The Leaf Label.


DJ Paul Woolford’s first commercial mix project, subtitled Surgery, was released last month as part of Renaissance’s Platform series of releases. The two disc package was designed by Engine Creative and features an isometric illustration of a human heart on the front cover. The theme is carried through to an ominous looking operation theatre on the interior gatefold panels…

This is a new repackaged, deluxe issue of Passion Pit‘s Manners album which contains stunning new artwork by Robert Seidel and exclusive bonus tracks not included on the original release. Here’s how the opened gatefold pack looks, outside and in:


Art direction: Anita Marisa Boriboon. CD design: Frank Napolski. Label: Columbia / French Kiss / Sony

Yes, it’s a tape cassette version of Goldfrapp’s latest album, Head First – released by label Mute as a limited edition special release to tie in with Independent Record Store Day on April 17. This and two other releases from the label were available from various UK indie record stores only on that day. The artwork for the album was created by Big Active in collaboration with photographer Serge Leblon and set designer Shona Heath.

This was another of Mute’s limited edition exclusive Record Store Day releases. It’s a 12″ white vinyl release of The Mercy Seat with a gold foil blocked (detail below) sleeve.

Bad Seeds fans will know that The Mercy Seat was originally released in 1988. On this disc is the original version (remastered), an acoustic version and two live versions, one recorded at the Royal Albert Hall and the other, exclusive to this release, was recorded at the Tate Britain in 2003. Design: Tom Hingston Studio.

And last, but by no means least, some new sleeves from IWANT for former Everything But The Girl singer Tracey Thorn‘s latest musical offerings: new album, Love And Its Opposite which will be released on Strange Feeling Records here in the UK and on Merge in the US – and the first supporting single, Oh The Divorces!

“I decided to use archival portraits, posed but quite candid, that although very ordinary have an underlying tension,” says IWANT’s John Gilsenan. “They display a window into a happier time before it all went wrong. I created bespoke typeface for the Tracey Thorn logo that is intended to reflect the images, a fairly normal simple face that appears to be dressed up for the occasion. The artwork is a reflection of the dark humour that permeates the record.”

The first single from the album was a limited edition clear vinyl 7″ (cover shown below) that featured the track Oh The Divorces! on the A-side and a non-album cover version of Vampire Weekend’s Taxi Cab on the B-side. This was released specifically on Record Store Day. A 12″ release of remixes is planned to follow the release of the album. The album (sleeve shown above) is gloss laminated to feel like a glossy photograph and will be released as a limited edition gatefold vinyl.

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