Archive for the 'Album Cover Designs' Category

EXPERIMENT – MOLLASES FOR THE MASSES

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Experiment were a jazz/prog/rock/fusion band that made epic twenty minute pieces that could only ever be listened to under the influence of something that made it not matter.

Mollases for the Masses was a double live album of four songs recorded on their world tour of 2005.

I would have had to have been on acid had I gone to see them in concert, not because of the music, but for the light show itself which is reported to be the biggest and most complicatedly expensive ever designed.

One of their concerts was an experience you wouldn’t forget and you would be telling your grandchildren who would be the only ones still interested after the thousandth telling.

But back then I was too much of a purist snob to want to be one of the masses for anyones experiment.

I think some pieces of their music are absolutely brilliant, but you have to wait for them amongst all this other stuff that seems like improvisational filler.
I love improvisational music that knows where it’s going, but that’s me.

The band have sold zillions of albums and have gozillions of fans who are treated with a world tour every few years.

Their concerts are announced a year and a half before it hits the road, giving people enough time to buy the best tickets to fund the first stage of the enormous production. Which is there after paid for by the increase in ticket sales that happens when talk starts to spread around the world about the concert which is usually bigger and better then the one toured before.

The band members have remained anonymous to the public throughout their 15 year career, somehow managing to keep their real identities secret and are only known as Rex, Mex, Tex and Apex.

Who they are is one of the best kept and most sought after secrets in the whole entertainment industry.

A friend of mine reckoned he heard some truth about the band and said their concerts were so expensive, the guys in the band were actually piss poor and lived in some wooden shacks out the back of the Yahoo mountains, writing new songs for the next tour which is already in production before the previous one is finished.

The picture on the cover is actually a small part of a larger picture by Simone’ Dereax, the french surrealist who lived and created throughout the late nineteenth century.

I never liked this cover because of the style of text the record company insisted on.
It clashes with the picture like a fart at a funeral.

I tried to talk about it to the guys in the band but was told they had no time to give me as their business diaries were full until october next year.
I was told the band were happy with the cover and I would be paid by the agreed date.
Door closed, game over.

I think they couldn’t have really given a stuff how the cover looked no matter what I did.
It would sell zillions anyway.

Experiment are more than just a band, they are a slick well oiled multi billion dollar corporation that employs thousands of people around the world so it’s in everyones best interest to make sure it keeps going and keeps getting better.

I can hear Janis Joplin and JImi Hendrix groaning in their graves.

THE DIRT BROWN COWBOYS ~ SNAKE SONGSa

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THE DIRT BROWN COWBOYS were two very funny guys.
Two music legends, Danny and Joe Taylor had started the band as a sideline while they were playing for Carlos Sanyama during his Atraxis album phase.

They were both excellent musicians and very much in demand for studio work where they met everybody who was anybody in the music business.

This led to guest appearances on each of their albums from musicians like Floy Harper, Van Horrison, Neil Mung, Trill Manzanera, Roger Walters and David Stillmour from Pink Flyd, Steve Village, Joni Mitchelled and the list goes on.

Snake Songs is their third album and I was really lucky to be asked to design it.
As in most shades of business, reputation is most important and it seemed I had one for good ideas, good designs and most remarkable of all, efficiency in meeting deadlines?

Nah….they must be talking about someone else but it’s true I’ve never missed a deadline, I just like working under pressure.

I forget where I found the snake picture but Danny and Joe were all for the homespun bible book cover look – this is one bible worth listening to.

The mighty Brown Dirt Cowboys have made another master piece of modern music blah blah blah…… hope that enough of a plug for the possibility of more work guys.

I enjoyed the two weeks I could truthfully say I was mixing it with the cream at the top.
The trip back to planet suburbia was a little hard to take without a tantrum or two as the withdrawls started to tug away at me.

For a moment there I got to feel the breeze of the sixties and met myself in the seventies.

CIRCUS – WISH UPON A STAR

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CIRCUS were a death/Goth/metal band from some obscure Scandinavian town who had contacted me over the internet.
They had seen my album designs and were keen for me to design their first and probably only album.

They sent me some mixes of the songs that were going to be on the album and a whole lot of promo shots.
If you think Marilyn Manson looks freaky, wait till you see these guys.
They would make frightening things feel right at home.
Lots of eye liner and pasty faces in dark caves filled with some zoo’s collection of snakes with a few skulls scattered around for them to play in.

Every member of the band looked as though they had just been raised from the dead and weren’t too happy about it.
I couldn’t see how the name of their band and their image quite fitted together.

As far as the music for the album goes, I am the least qualified to criticize.
I like just about every type of music but some I find hard to understand and death/Goth/ metal is one of them.

I only listened to a quarter of the album before I had to go to bed and curl up under the safety of my blankets.
Some music should just be left alone.

Anyway despite my opinion of the bands image and music, I quite liked the finished cover.
Once again I used a Gustave Dor’e picture the name of which I forget.

In the context of the album design, it shows the futility of wishing upon star or wishing upon a hope as portrayed in the figure of death sitting upon the planet – a star.

The band loved the design and promised to take me out for dinner when they toured Australia. I told them to keep in touch and never heard from them again.

Sometimes I have a little laugh as I imagine the guys from Circus on a beach in Australia, with their sweating eye liner running down their eyes and their pasty white skin screaming for the sanctuary of some shade as they pose like the true metal goths they are.

Wherever they are now, I hope they enjoyed the ride.

BUDDAH WOULDA SHOULDA – DO YOU MIND

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I got a call at two in the morning from the singer from Buddah Woulda Shoulda asking me if I’d be interested in designing the cover for their new album.

They had just come back from a two month recording session in some Himalayan village and were halfway through mixing the album.
“Would you like to be part of the trip man?” I think was how James said it in beautiful spinal tap fashion.

What I wanted was to be back in my dream and I said I’d call him later that day to arrange a meeting.
Mumbling to myself about inconsiderate rock stars, I tossed and turned myself back into sleep but the dream I was chasing evaded me.

From the meeting I had with the band later on that day, I gathered enough information to see some direction of where I could head with the design.
They had told me that they wanted something confusingly simple, much like enlightenment.

I spent the next two days working on a design I thought was IT only to realise that I must have been out of the room when I was doing all the stuffing around making IT.
IT was terrible and I was bouncing off the walls counting the hours until the deadline for the design arrived and I had nothing of worth to give them.

As so often happens, when I admitted I didn’t know what to do, I found out what to do.
I had made a big mistake by placing an expectation on something I hadn’t created yet and had boxed my imagination in.

I had pictured this amazing collage of images as the cover I wanted to make, but ended up with a simple cover to the very simple question the band posed – Do You Mind.

When I met with the band to show them the design, I watched them go into a mumbling huddle to discuss what they had just seen.

I over stirred my cup of tea into a small whirlpool as I nervously awaited their rejection.
I could tell they didn’t like it and would probably go find another designer to do their album cover, so I began to gather my stuff to go and find a nice, big glass of self pity to drink myself into, or three.

Unbeknownst to me, the band had agreed earlier on, that if none of them liked the cover than they’d take it.
Huh?

They explained to  me there reasoning in cosmic terms I didn’t understand but I trusted they did.                                                                                                                                                                                                                It all had to do with the fact that reality was different for everyone, as was enlightenment.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 So the fact that none of them liked the design meant it was the right one.
Huh?

Anyway they were happy, my bank account was happy and I was left confused.

ALSA – ALSA

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This is the self titled debut album by the band ALSA.
I guess they could be best described as a four piece surf/punk/reggae/metal band that have a huge amount of energy on stage and a really bizzzare fusion of music.

While all the members of the band were quite strange in their own ways, the oddest was the guitarist who had old guitar strings threaded through his dreads and claimed he could still feel the resonance of the solos he’d played on them.

The album only has two tracks – side 1 is called ”Over” while side 2 is called “And Over”.

I used an image by Gustave Dor’e called “The Empyrean” which I tweaked out placing the bands name in the centre of the vortex.

The band and I thought it worked out quite well, hope you do to.