This month’s pick of the finest album artwork we’ve spotted in the past few weeks features an animated cover for Bombay Bicycle Club, script generated work by Atyp Studio and an intriguing photo collage for Black Devil Disco Club.
Bombay Bicycle Club – So Long, See You Tomorrow
The cover for Bombay Bicycle Club’s last album, So Long, See You Tomorrow was designed by London studio La Boca.
It was inspired by the work of nineteenth century photographer Eadweard Muybridge – a pioneer of stop-motion famed for his use of the zoopraxiscope, a device for projecting motion pictures that pre-dates film strips.
The image (gif version above) depicts a man and woman travelling in opposite directions under the moon and sun and is designed to echo the theme of continuity in the album, which builds a series of melodies around one continuous loop. It’s also been used in the video for the band’s latest single, It’s Alright Now, directed by Jon Stone:
Black Devil Disco Club – Black Moon, White Sun
Norway and US-based design studio Non-Format has produced some brilliant record sleeves to date – and their latest work for French electronic music producer Black Devil Disco Club (Bernard Fevre)’s Black Moon, White Sun is no exception.
The artwork references the album’s title and was inspired by founders Jon Forss and Kjell Ekhorn’s Let’s Dance series – a collection of images featuring contorted characters.
“This is our fifth album packaging project for Black Devil Disco Club – despite clear roots in the French disco era of the 1970s, there is a slightly sinister undertone to the music, which we always try to express through the imagery and typography,” say Ekhorn and Forss.
The cover image is a collage composed of stock library shots – it features a dancing figure in black flared leggings, gold shoes and a circular cape (hinting at the moon and sun) made out of what appears to be parachute silk. The back cover features a darker image of the same figure alongside deliberately understated vertical colours of widely spaced sans type.
“We’ve always been drawn to album cover images that appear to hint at some kind of narrative but which allow the viewer to make up their own mind as to what the story might be,” they add.
“This is also one of the first albums we’ve designed for Lo Recordings that is released in digital and vinyl LP formats only: no CD. It’s kind of wonderful that we cycle through formats, such as the cassette and the compact disc (and who can remember the MiniDisc?) and yet we still manage to uphold the most physically fragile of them all: the vinyl record. They scratch, they warp, they attract dust like nobody’s business, but despite all this they reign supreme. And, of course, they offer a nice large canvas for expressive designers.”
Label: Lo Recordings
Si Begg – Permission to Explode
In 2012 Brighton studio Atyp created an experimental short to promote DJ Si Begg’s album, Permission to Explode. They’ve since designed 100 limited edition sleeves for the album which feature a 3D scan of Begg’s head fed into a dynamic script that simulates an explosion. The album was released late last year and the studio have recently put together a video showing all 100 covers, which you can view here.
“We love the idea of the classic, iconic portrait of the artist on a record sleeve and wanted to play with this from a visual point of view,” says Atyp, founded by Merlin Nation and Chris Angelkov. “Our portrait was generated using a dynamic script which generates a simulation of an explosion at random.
“We built a custom shader that colours polygons according to path lengths and wraps the head with random contours. We hit go and the rest was left to chance…which is exactly what you take when purchasing one as all copies are sold online and sent out at random,” they add.
The vinyls were printed on GF Smith colorplan paper using an HP Indigo 10,000 press – apparently one of only two in the UK capable of wrapping a slab of vinyl in one piece.
Will Plowman – Ahamy Grove
The limited edition packaging for Will Plowman, composer and director of UK record label A Future Without’s EP Ahamy Grove abandons the traditional gatefold in favour of an octagonal fold-out sleeve.
“I came up with the concept of an origami record sleeve with Ross Tones [co-director of A Future Without],” says Plowman. “As a label, we’re very interested in physical product design and the ways in which it’s changing in an increasingly digital world,” he adds.
The artwork is based on a still of a black and white video about Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol, which Plowman says “happened to fit perfectly with the title track of my EP.” It was produced by Ben Galea at Squared Roots using a die cut to ensure precise folds.
Design is minimal – there is no type on the disc or sleeve – and it’s probably not the first origami sleeve design but it’s a creative take on packaging and can be folded several ways to reveal different elements of the image inside.
Label: A Future Without. Images: Ben Galea
East India Youth – Total Strife Forever
The cover of East India Youth (aka London musician William Doyle)’s debut album Total Strife Forever features a lovely portrait of the artist painted by his girlfriend, Tida Bradshaw. The sleeve was designed by Kohhei Matsuda – a guitarist with fellow Stolen Recordings act Bo Ningen.
Graphic designer Marc Pernice has also designed a logo for the artist based on the East India Trading Company’s logo, appearing on gig posters and ads promoting the album.
Label: Stolen Recordings
Mutual Benefit – Love’s Crushing Diamond
Love’s Crushing Diamond – the latest release from songwriter Jordan Lee’s music project Mutual Benefit – has been described by critics as a warm, cosy, hopeful mix of folk and pop. The packaging is equally bright and cheerful and was designed by musician and artist Cory Siegler (who features on the album).
The CD package comes with a multi-coloured striped disc and the first 200 vinyl editions with a coke bottle green 12” disc. Siegler has also designed screen-printed vinyl and cassette packaging and books for Lizard Kisses, her collaboration with musician Marc Merza.
Label: Other Music Recording Co.
Also out this month is Glasgow band Mogwai’s album, Rave Tapes. The brilliant artwork was designed by Fat Cat Records’ Dave Thomas and inspired by motifs in seventies sci-fi movies – you can read our blog post on it here.
Designer Leslie Davis has also produced a psychedelic design for Metronomy’s forthcoming album, Love Letters, due out on March 10: