Already this year several musical packages have landed on our desks and made us very happy – not least because they conspire to give a clear indication that budgets for music packaging are on the up. It would seem that the big labels are starting to take note of the examples smaller labels such as Motive Sounds (CR March 07) or Lex Records (CR December 03) have set in recent years: lavish, interesting packaging makes the product desirable. We posted about Radiohead’s recent album release strategy – where anyone could download the album, In Rainbows, and pay (or not pay) whatever they wanted – while the band also released a ‘disc box’ containing the album on CD and on two 12″ records, as well as another CD with extra new songs, digital photographs and artwork by Stanley Donwood and lyric booklets – all encased in a hardback book complete with slipcase. Of course, downloading an album or a single track for peanuts is far more appealing than spending £15 on a mass-produced plastic case with a cheaply printed piece of paper inside and a plastic disc. However, make something a little bit special – and there’s a far better chance we’ll seek it out to buy and subsequently treasure. Note the absence of the dreaded jewel case in the following releases…
Bugged Out! Classics
BUGGEDOut! Classics compilation comes on three unmixed CDs, a booklet and a folded poster documenting BUGGEDOut!‘s archive of posters, flyer, CD and vinyl releases, T-shirts and badges. Design by Zip Design. Label: New State. (This actually came out several months ago, but we’ve only just been sent a copy so we thought we’d stick it up here anyway)
Above, inner sleeves, close-up of one of the ascii illustrations, the booklet and the fold-out poster
Hot Chip Made In The Dark
Hot Chip‘s Made In The Dark album sleeve, and supporting singles, have been designed by Wallzo with Owen Clarke. “I initially worked on lots of very graphical experiments as starting points with the band,” explains Darren Wall of Wallzo of his approach to the sleeve, “and we came to the conclusion that since The Warning was so bold and bright, perhaps something more brooding and conservative would be the way to go this time. After a couple of tries I’d narrowed down a list in my head of non-consecutive things that the band liked from the initial roughs. The list went something like this: The greeny blue colour copper goes when exposed to the elements, two-colour illustrations, a loose drawing style, the skin of ‘The Thing’ from the Fantastic Four, and circles. They really liked big circles.
So, a little lost, I started drawing up the form that appears on the cover, later christened ‘The Artifact’. It is printed in a copper metallic and embossed on all the formats for a tactile feel – the embossing helps the implication that this album is an object rather than illustration-based design as with the last album.”
The CD album is packaged in a digi-pack that folds out to reveal a smaller ‘artifact’ illustration – and then folds out again to reveal two discs: one is the CD album, the other a live DVD with performances of five Hot Chip tracks. Both discs are adorned with ‘artifacts’. A rather different looking circular illustration can be found on the cover of the first single taken from the album, Ready For The Floor:
Here at CR we were also sent this box (above) containing the seven inch of single Ready For The Floor (on coloured vinyl and featuring an exclusive track on the b-side) and also the CD version of the single complete with remixes. Again, giving a sense of lavishness to proceedings. Label: EMI.
Cheap Hotel New York
Yacht Associates has given the sleeve for new band Cheap Hotel‘s debut single, New York, a special touch thanks to the combination of matt-laminate and holographic foil. Due for release on 3 March on brand new label Hero Rhymes With Zero – co-founded by Yacht Associates’ Richard Bull, photographer David Robinson and producer Dylan Rippon.
The Rolling Stones Rolled Gold
Rolled Gold is a compilation of Rolling Stones track that was originally released in 1975 as a double-vinyl pack. Some of you may remember the original sleeve design for the compilation:
Design studio Zip have done a great job making the repackaged compilation feel super-special and here at CR towers, we think that their commissioning of Alex Trochut to create the cover illustration was inspired…
The vinyl pack also feels special with the tracks split over four heavy-weight vinyl discs. Very nice…
Laura Marling Alas I Cannot Swim
Last week we got sent a brightly coloured box adorned with a sticker informing us it was a “Laura Marling Song Box”.
We opened it up to find a cornucopia of printed stuff that included a copy of Laura Marling‘s debut album on Virgin Records, Alas I cannot Swim on CD, some wrapping paper, a song book, a set of postcards, a board game and an exlusive gig ticket – all adorned with woodcut illustrations by Mockett & Moquette. The idea is that there is something in the box that represents each song on the album. This version of the album is limited to just 5000 copies. Creative direction: Joy Elton. Design: Alex Cowper.
Laura Marling CD sleeve