Tame Impala – Innerspeaker: 2010

image

image

Tame Impala’s album Innerspeaker was created by Australian artist Leif Podhajsky, an artist who has created many other great album covers over the years including Bonobo’s 2013 masterpiece North Borders and Kelis’ most recent album Food. The picture itself is of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina, USA and he has altered the image with the Droste effect to make it seem as if the image is going in on itself. The effect is mind numbing and was named after the dutch cocoa brand Doste, which featured a maid carrying the identical packaging that she was featuring on on her tray.

The bright colours and the psychedelic effect match perfectly with the bands psychedelic sound, vision and image. I have seen them live, and album cover echoes the video that plays along to their set. Even the inside of the vinyl echoes a sound wave and is extremely easy on the eye.

Leif Podhajsky’s style is one I deeply admire and his impact on the psychedelic album covers of today has been huge. I hope to do a post about his work soon.

(this hand doesn’t belong to me)

Joy Division – Unknown Pleasures: 1979

image

image

One of the most famous album covers in the whole universe originates from PSR B1919+21, a “pulsar with a period of 1.3373 seconds,and a pulse width of 0.04 second.” Picked up by Peter Saville, one of the best graphic designers in England, he transformed something extremely scientific into a design so famous people can recognise it without having any idea what it is.

Technically the design was initially the bands idea because they had handed him a folder of astronomical images from the Cambridge Encyclopedia of Astronomy and all Peter Saville had to do was pick the correct one and go with it. The choice was perfect – he picked the design because it demonstrates both technicality, sensuality, rhythm and a shape like that of a heartbeat.

image

The pulsar originates from the constellation Vulpecula, shown above.

Peter Saville and the band also decided against putting the bands name on the front due to the post punk movement and the band not wanting to become “pop” stars at the time.

∆ Alt-J – An Awesome Wave: 2012 ∆

image

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.

image

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.

image

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.

image

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.

image

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.

Cabaret Voltaire – Micro-Phonies: Neville Brody 1984

image

image

image

image

The album Micro-Phonies by Cabaret Voltaire was art directed by graphic design heavyweight Neville Brody in 1984. Brody’s infamous typography features on the front and a bandaged figure spouting liquid from the mouth stares blankly at the viewer. Being heavily influenced by the punk movement, his design seems to fit the Dada-inspired and punk-thriving band’s sound and vision.

It wasn’t the first time Brody had worked for the band however, their 1982 album 2×45 had Brody’s design on the cover of the 12″ vinyl release.

image

The rugged industrial style of his design matched the industrial sound the band brought to the world several years earlier.

image

Shown above is a much more colourful cover that Brody designed for the single “James Brown,” that leans slightly more towards the punk movement at the time. His style gels completely with the band because the colours scream out at you in such a way that it isn’t garish but communicative of the way the band want to represent themselves. I couldn’t imagine the album cover looking any other way.

One of the videos from the album, “Sensoria” (shown below), was voted best album by the Los Angeles times in 1985, and the quick-cut crazily trippy video later found its way into the hands of the New York Museum of Modern Art because of it.

Cabaret Voltaire – “Sensoria” from the album Micro-Phonies.

The poster for the album can be seen in the film Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (shown below) an odd choice by the set dressers in such a mainstream film, as the majority of the audience won’t be familiar with the Sheffield band’s music or name, which doesn’t feature in the film other than on this poster in his bedroom.

image