Whether you realize it or not, chances are you are familiar with the work of Italian producer extraordinaire Giorgio Moroder. In addition to producing his own electro opus, 1977′s From Here to Eternity, he has also produced records by Blondie’s Debbie Harry and David Bowie. Perhaps you love movies such as Scarface? Midnight Express? American Gigolo? The Neverending Story? Well, the righteously mustached Moroder is responsible for their soundtracks and scores.
Now the Italian synth king takes a stab at one of the oldest artforms in the world–the book. In May, Taschen Books will release “an original collection featuring the most remarkable vinyl artifacts ever produced: a connoisseur’s selection of records in a plethora of colors, shapes, and forms, imprinted with extraordinary effects and images.”
It looks super extensive and insanely nerdy, which means it’s a must have for any true audiophile. Check out some spreads below: (click to enlarge)
Leaf through the entire book here and visit Taschen’s dedicated page for more info.
(via Daily Swarm)
There certainly is a connection in logic between this series of album cover re-interpretations from Illumination Ink and Steven Heller’s recent article in Wired Magazine. These “Modernist Editions” bring to life what Heller pointed out as a need for the current age of album cover designs to be visually scalable, while maintaining readability. These pictorial studies would certainly work within most screen sizes and, for the most part, are recognizable. When they are not, they become fun puzzles. Here are some of my favorites:
See more on Sleevage and the full set on Flickr.
Though the Jandek project has produced 54 albums of various styles (blues, jazz, folk and rock), since 1978, it is still the most mysterious project on the planet. Sometimes the music is unstructured and frantic and sometimes it’s accessible and cohesive. On some of these records, the familiar singer is alone with his guitar, while on others he is accompanied by a full band. Up until 2004 he had never played a live show and had rarely given interviews. There was just the music, distributed solely from The Corwood Industries PO Box. Seth Tisue of the Guide to Jandek website “explains” it as such: “Officially, Jandek is not a person. Albums and live performances are credited to “Jandek”, but the man on the album covers and on stage is “a representative from Corwood Industries”. Corwood is the record label; “Jandek” is the musical project. Both are directed by the same individual. The trinity of Jandek, Corwood, and “the representative” is both three and one.” Confused? Understandably. There really is no true explanation…
Now when it comes to Jandek’s album covers, they are photographic, singular, and often fuzzy featuring images of: “Jandek” himself, the outside of his house, furniture, instruments or distant landscapes. Throughout the years, the covers, those which feature the image of “the representative”, create a candid, skewed timeline of a man’s life. But the question still remains…who’s life is it? Do these cryptic covers hold the secrets to Jandek’s true identity?
>>See all the album covers here.
The artwork of English graphic designer Colin Fulcher aka Barney Bubbles is often described with words such as daring, bold and experimental. However, for me, his often geometric-styled images and cryptic, puzzle-like concepts transcend and even destroy those words. His portfolio contains iconic ’70s punk/new wave and space rock album covers from some of the most seminal bands in history:
Hawkwind – Astounding Sounds, Amazing Music (1976)
Elvis Costello & the Attractions – Armed Forces (1979)
Clover – Unavailable (1977)
Rare, sealed collector’s edition of The Damned – Damned Damned Damned (1977)
Ian Dury & the Blockheads – Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick (1978)
Elvis Costello & the Attractions – This Year’s Model (1978)
“I found the off-registered version of Elvis Costello’s This Year’s Model in the import bin and it blew me away. In America, they released the cover which eliminated the joke. Apparently, the captains of the music industry didn’t get it, and thought it was a real mistake or something. You could only find the original design in the import section – along with most American punk, which had to imported before it could be sold in an American record store. Strange times. This Year’s Model completely flabbergasted me. It actually took me a long time to figure out it wasn’t a misprint. And, when I realised it was a joke, I never looked at graphic design in the same way again.” — Art Chantry
The Damned – Music For Pleasure (1977)
Ian Dury & The Blockheads – Do It Yourself (1979)
It’s also worth mentioning that, in 1978, Barney redesigned the weekly music paper NME, along with a new logo design. A contemporary re-worked version of the logo is still in use. Sadly this amazing designer’s life was cut short when his bipolar disorder led him to committ suicide in 1983.
Images via and via.
For more, visit the Barney Bubbles blog.
Steven Heller, Editor of the AIGA Journal of Graphic Design and co-chair of the MFA Designer as Author program at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, recently contributed an article to Wired in which he presents a brief history of cover design within the context of the digital age where designers are confronted with new challenges, including limited space and readability. It’s essential reading for any graphic designer:
Read Steven Heller’s “Design Artwork for a Shrinking Album Cover” on Wired.
According to his Flickr profile, Jan Tonnesen is a bookseller at Wahrenbrock’s Book House in Downtown San Diego, the area’s oldest & largest used & antiquarian bookshop. He plays guitar a musical satire group named Jose Sinatra & The Troy Dante Inferno (GREAT NAME!) for 23 years. lthough he can’t offer you his love (He is taken), he can offer you a wonderful collection of old, weird album covers. How did any of these reach the light of day? Your guess is as good as mine.
Here are some of my favorites:
See the rest of the stream here.