Our latest pick of unusual and intriguing album art includes surreal designs for Flying Lotus, psychedelic artwork for Leeds outfit Hookworms and striking photography for Australian artist Grace.
Bonobo – Flashlight
First up, though, is Leif Podhajsky‘s intricate die cut sleeve for Flashlight, a three track EP from Bonobo (Simon Green). A regular collaborator with Bonobo, Podhajsky also worked on the artwork and tour visuals for his previous album, The North Borders, and 2013 single Cirrus, which came with a zoetrope picture disc.
“The concept was to create a die cut 12” artwork with an interesting reveal for the viewer,” explains Podhajsky. “I created an intricate dot pattern, which replicates single shafts of light which shine through to the inner sleeve, and we used new laser technology to cut out the very small, intricate circles.”
“For the artwork inside, I wanted to devise an abstract pattern which harnessed the music’s organic feel and energy. The gold and black is a play on light and dark, and the harmony which lies in between. The die cut and the gold pattern emphasises the title ‘Flashlight’ – exploring the idea of shining a ‘light’ back on the music itself to reveal the artwork out of the darkness of the black front jacket,” he adds.
Label: Ninja Tune
Podhajsky has also been working with Liverpool group All We Are and has art directed some striking covers for single I Wear You and the band’s forthcoming self‐titled debut album, due for release in February:
Flying Lotus – You’re Dead
The surreal artwork for Flying Lotus’ latest album You’re Dead was drawn by Japanese guro manga artist Shintaro Kago. Images are inspired by the concept for the album, described by Ellison as an immersive and “transcendental voyage into the afterlife“.
The cover art features an unsettling faceless portrait, while inner sleeves depict dystopian scenes of dismembered bodies and lost souls floating through space. Kago also illustrated a series of black and white tarot cards to accompany each track on You’re Dead, printed on an inner gatefold, which feature similarly mutilated figures.
Some of Kago’s images are downright gruesome, but they are brilliantly drawn and the cover is one of the most memorable from 2014.
The artwork was also used to create tour visuals and an album teaser animated by Strangeloop (David Wexler) and you can see more images of the deluxe box set here.
Hookworms – The Hum
Hookworms is a psychedelic five piece rock band from West Yorkshire. The cover art for debut album The Hum was created by guitarist JW, a Leeds College of Art graduate also known as Idiot’s Pasture.
The black and white design builds on earlier gig posters (below) designed by JW, who is reponsible for all of the band‘s visuals. The zig zags will undoubtedly make some fans think of Twin Peaks, but JW has built a strong look for the group which perfectly captures their psychedelic sound.
Museum of Love
Museum of Love is the self–titled debut album from former LCD Soundsystem drummer Pat Mahoney and producer/Run Roc Records owner Dennis McNany. Artwork for the inaugural release was designed by Build and features a lovely use of type, with a modular logo imposed on band photography shot by Timothy Saccenti.
Both the CD and vinyl editions feature red inner sleeves and a limited edition clear red vinyl is also available. The typographic ident is also used on merchandise and an animated album teaser.
Label: DFA Records
Images via Build
Belle and Sebastian – Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance
Glasgow design studio D8 collaborated with lead singer Stuart Murdoch on the wartime inspired artwork for Belle and Sebastian’s ninth album, Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance.
The four disc vinyl box set features a muted colour palette and images of characters in vintage dress and military clothing.
“Stuart had an idea to shoot a boy and girl who were half human, half robot, set in post WW2. The costume designer Kat Heath made some subtle and surreal pieces which were used alongside 1940s fashion and military uniform,” explains D8’s Emma Howlett.
“The period theme continued through the colour scheme, which we applied to the inner of the box set, LP and CD and we also introduced some quirky illustrations that Kat had sketched out for Stuart. Although quite a different aesthetic to the photography, they seemed to add a bit of romance which tied in nicely with the relationship between the boy and girl … The typeface, Belwe, was chosen for its period feel (it was designed in Dresden just after WW1), yet still felt quite familiar and classic for a Belle and Sebastian artwork,” she adds.
Grace − Pluto
Another great piece of record sleeve design from Sydney‐based Christopher Doyle (read our interview with him here), the cover art for Australian musician Grace‘s single Pluto features a striking image shot by Christopher Ireland.
The image is one of a series which Doyle says aims to reflect Grace’s “stark yet layered electronica” to be released throughout 2015. Styling by Jo Ayling, Janai Anselmi.
Label: Liberation Music
The Decemberists − What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World
Children’s book illustrator Carson Ellis has created a charming new cover and deluxe vinyl package for Oregon folk band The Decemberists’ forthcoming album, What a Beautiful World, What a Terrible World. The limited edition box set includes a signed vinyl, three art prints, a 14×20 inch Masonic banner and five embroidered badges:
Ellis, who illustrated Lemony Snicket’s The Composer is Dead and Trenton Lee Stewart’s The Mysterious Benedict Society, describes herself as illustrator in residence for the Oregon based folk band, and her artwork has also been used to create album teasers, t‐shirts and merchandise for the group.
Label: Rough Trade
DELS − Petals Have Fallen
The cover art for UK rapper and graphic designer DELS (Kieran Gallear)‘s debut album, GOB, featured an intriguing image of a metal gobstopper atop a bed of rocks. The artwork for his follow up, Petals Have Fallen, is equally abstract and was painted by London artist Arth Daniels.
Gallear, who art directed the image, says it is inspired by dreams and the idea of creating something ambiguous. He also designed an accompanying fanzine with behind the scenes footage, video stills and images of the artwork in progress, distributed through independent record stores.
Label: Big Dada