∆ Alt-J – An Awesome Wave: 2012 ∆


The album cover for Alt-J’s An Awesome Wave looks like a network of psychedelic veins coursing over the front of the cover. The image in fact is called “Gange’s dazzling delta” and was taken by the European Space Agency.


The image above shows the image just as it is on google earth – the image used for the album cover is a superimposition of three photographs taken by an Envisat Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar on the dates 20/01/09, 24/02/09 and 31/03/09. The colours in the image are created by the differences in each image as there is no colour in a standard radar image.

Another image similar to the one used by Alt-J is the one shown below, which highlights the flooding in Bangladesh, an equally striking image that contains the area that is used on the album cover.


As you can see in the highlighted area, the album cover is contained within this separate image that was taken two years earlier on 12/04/07 and 26/07/07. The city of Bangladesh can also be seen at the left corner of the box like a white stain on the image.

The imaged used for the album itself matches perfectly with the music inside with each track flowing through the listeners head as – quite morbidly – the floods did through Bangladesh.


The colour combined with the soft faded grey tones of the songlist on the back creates a contrast between the two and separates you from the visual and the practical side of the music, which together won them the Mercury Prize in 2012.

The strange leaf shapes on the songlist at the back seem like separators on the album, but are in fact named tracks, the first being Ripe and Ruin, the second Guitar and the third Piano. The not so secret tracks confuse the listener but are also a pleasant surprise, adding perfect segues into the structure of the album.


The indie rock band have continued in this vein and have used bright strokes of colour in the promotion of their new album This Is All Yours that lands in September 2014.


One thought on “∆ Alt-J – An Awesome Wave: 2012 ∆

  1. I’m a river scientist and came across this band / album cover, which led me to your blog. Do you have the contact info for the designer? I’d love to create a print of just the composited satellite images. Thanks!

    jsholtes — at — gmail


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