Saturday, 7 February 2015

OUGD406 - Brief 01 - Secret 7 - The Best Album Art of 2014 (Research)

I wanted to look at contemporary album artwork design to get the most inspiration for this project, as after all the song and artist are contemporary and are ultimately aiming to appeal to a modern audience. Therefore I want my designs to reflect this contemporary tone of voice. I was also very concious not to be influenced too much by the music video which has a very strong aesthetic to it. I wanted to move away from this as I thought that would be an obvious response. 

Oneohtrix’s Record Store Day contribution was a collection of some of his recent commissioned pieces, and multi-disciplinarian artist Robert Beattycultivated this straightforward concept into something as seemingly rigid—while still finding tension and rhythm using very spartan forms. The inner sleeve (right) colored the final falling piece on the die-cut cover, and mirrored the cover’s deconstruction through typography.

Swans leader Michael Gira art directed and designed the cover for To Be Kind, which, depending on which version of the album you have, is one of six baby heads painted by Slash magazine founder Bob Biggs. But no matter which tiny head you’re looking at, when coupled with the epically dark music inside, the cover only adds to Swans’ unsettling grandeur.

Micah Lidberg charmingly illustrated the darkly verdant and purple water-colored jungle for Zaba, which was art directed by England’s Boat Studio. Glass Animals frontman Dave Bayley created the typography on the cover, which proudly sports a perfectly opulent gold foiled finish.

Long-term SBTRKT collaborator A Hidden Place created the hyperreal cover for Wonder Where We Land—a powerfully colorful image of a mask-donning dog resting in a stoically silver palm. The duo continued to tell this story in the video for “New Dorp. New York”.

Alejandro Ghersi, aka Arca, is close friends with Xen artist Jesse Kanda and their respective warping worlds have seemingly had an effect on one another. The album is cloaked in liquid androgyny and a dark grace that comes from Kanda’s instinctual impression of its gooey grit.

Iceage took a strong left turn this year, and the cover for Plowing Into the Field of Love expertly embodies the reckless lavishness that they’ve found in their cowpunk sophisticate progression. The gatefold sleeve on the LP houses a small stitched-in lyric sheet, highlighting the elevated presence of singer Elias Bender R√łnnenfelt’s howling words.

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