Aphex Twin, Windowlicker: 1999

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We’re all familiar with the creepy Aphex Twin single Windowlicker, and the model’s body with Richard D. James’ head superimposed onto it, which makes it all the more weirder that when you see the real model as she is the one who looks photoshopped. Some have gone as far to say that Richard D. James’ version is hotter, but after watching the video for Windowlicker itself, I am inclined to disagree completely.

No one has any idea who the woman is, which is just as well really, because the infamy of Aphex Twin’s album cover may be a little too overbearing for the model.

The cover itself cannot be faulted, along with the glitch techno music from Richard D. James and the black hip hop video pisstake Chris Cunningham devised, it is the perfect package. Aphex Twin’s creepy smile will haunt you forever after you have experienced the entirety of Windowlicker.

Aphextwin windowlicker from M-Well on Vimeo.

The video was so good, H R Giger took it upon himself to draw one of the characters from it, naming the image “The Windowlickers.”

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This terrifying image sticks in the mind of any person who watches the video, and so does the song.

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David Bowie – The Next Day: 2013/ Heroes: 1977

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The first album by Bowie in over 10 years and he recycles an old album cover – genius – Bowie wanted to represent “forgetting or obliterating the past” by obscuring the photograph from the 1977 album Heroes, photographed by Masayoshi Sukita. The album was kept as secret as possible, and then a huge campaign, designed by Johnathan Barnbrook exploded all over the walls,the internet, and the papers. The campaign was simple – stick a massive white square over any other musical commercial reading “The Next Day – 03.12.13.” 

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Some of the images, like those above, were constructed for the campaign a lot more, but the image below is literally forgetting the old and posting the white square over another band’s poster, in this case Foals.

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I don’t know how happy some of the other bands were, but the hilarious advertising helped the album jump to the number one album spot for the ninth time. The designer Johnathan Barnbrook had the chance to create his third work for Bowie and decided to show off a new font.

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The font, Doctrine, is a sans-serif font that is clean cut and reads well on both a large and small scale. The font started from the North Korean National Airline livery on the side of the plane and evolved from there. On the packaging it looks extremely professional and not too industrial.

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The photography of the original Heroes cannot be ignored however, and the photographer Masayoshi Sukita went through multiple shots with Bowie before the perfect one was chosen.

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Many of the shots look fairly messy and not fit for an album cover, whereas the final shot makes Bowie look extremely on point and is probably one of the most famous pictures of all time. The picture below is my favourite that wasn’t chosen for the album, it is however slightly too similar to the cover of his album Low.

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The idea of the white square works on all platforms and the vinyl design is as simple as it gets, the white square spinning around on the record player leaving a blurred circle in its wake. The simplicity of the design and the comedic value it carries with it make it a brilliant album cover and the perfect marketing scheme due to its minimalistic thought provoking qualities.

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