Wednesday, December 31, 2008

This site's celebration of the aesthetic joy of sleeve art brings back so many memories - being eternally transfixed by Peter Saville's endless run of mysterious Factory Records' covers in Our Price, including the unforgettable austerity and minimal reductionism of Unknown Pleasures (which it covers here); the strong palette of colours in the 'tree of life' that features in both Talk Talk's Spirit of Eden and Laughing Stock; the forbidding secrets of Sonic Youth's Bad Moon Rising, with it's towering Gothic pumpkin image framed by a blood-red sky with the New York skyline menacing in the distance; and the blur of guitar haze on MBV's Loveless - a sleeve that actually captures the contents of the music...not to mention the beautiful packaging of the Constellation Records releases, and so on, with endless examples. Record sleeves have become so woven into the flotsam and jetsam of everyday life, that it's easy to forget just how strong a statement - both politically and aesthetically - they can be. I've always thought that the best album sleeves are those which have a certain amount of intangible mystery and individuality to them, and yet paradoxically are strongly evocative of something about the contents within - despite however abstract the cover art may be. Which leads on to my posts below about downloading culture - could the album sleeve be another casualty after record shops, what with the rise of the mp3?
What's disappointing about that site is how banal some of the sleeve art that's on display is (and let's not even mention the presence of Lenny Kravitz on the list). Christ, even Screamadelica would look great on there compared to Regurgitator. From the top of my head, here's my list of what else should be on there other than the one's even mentioned.
Daydream Nation (Sonic Youth)
Spiderland (Slint)
Things We Lost In The Fire (Low)
Yanqui UXO (Godspeed You! Black Emperor)
Forever Changes (Love)
Liar (The Jesus Lizard)
Quiqe (Seefel)
Mouths Trapped In Static / Telegraphs In Negative (Set Fire to Flames)
The Doctor Came At Dawn (Smog)
Do Make Say Think (Do Make Say Think)
Lazer Guided Melodies (Spiritualized)
Palaa Aurinkoon (Islaja - there's just something about that image of her...)
Deceit (This Heat)
Admittedly I could be here for a while (not to mention the fact that this list contains no real dance music or jazz). Any suggestions?

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