Every year I like to take a moment and pay my respects to the folks behind the amazing album art that don the gatefold jackets and cassette sleeves and Bandcamp pages. Not just any album covers, but the ones that pull you in. The kind of album art that makes you want to own that album. It sells you on what’s in the grooves or embedded to that tape.
For me, album sleeve art is the portal that pulls you into the world of a record. It’s the mood of an album. The right artist locks into the vibes of an album and creates the gateway in. Their art speaks to the musician’s work and gets it. Whether what they’ve created is literal or abstract, the visuals and colors they embed to the musical work are the truly first taste of the musician’s world. The aural and visual experience is symbiotic. You can have a great album with lousy artwork, for sure. And vice-versa. What I’m talking about today is graphic design and musical worlds connecting on visceral and emotional levels, as well as a technical one. That’s when the magic happens, folks.
With the way this year has gone it could’ve been a year void of true artistic connectivity. 2020 could’ve gone from terrible to just overwhelmingly bleak. Thanks to art and creativity we have music to delve in. We have these aural and visual worlds we can get lost in. An artistic “Lazarus Pit” to soak our wounded psyches into and rejuvenate.
Below are some of the amazing collaborations between artist and artist. Music and design. If you dig the work, look up the artist and buy some prints from them. Commission some work from them. Invest in their art and creativity.
Before you begin, I’m giving a shout out to Eric Adrian Lee. He’s the MVP of 2020 so far. This guy is an absolute beast of a designer. He’s constantly working and collaborating, especially with the amazing UK label Spun Out Of Control. Every year he’s created a good portion of my favorite artwork. He’s got quite a few album covers on my list, so my hat’s off to this amazing artist. He connects to the work. He gets what he’s visualizing and it shows. Hit up Eric’s work here.
Hunter Complex : Dead Calm and Zero Degrees(art by Kid Ethic)
Reflex Condition : Unknown Restraints(art by Eric Adrian Lee)
Burial Grid : Negative Space(art by Kerry St. Laurent)
Kanaan : Odense Sessions(art by Jakob Skøtt)
Daniel Davies : Signals(art by Jesse Draxler)
Portals : Various Artists(art by Eric Adrian Lee)
Rory Mohon : Darkly Dreaming(art by Kid Ethic)
Dream Division : The Devil Rides Out(art by Carlile Torres-Aponte)
Jake Schrock : Omnibus(art by Telepath Design)
Repeated Viewing : Remote Viewing Volume 1: Unseen Worlds(art by Eric Adrian Lee)
Kanaan : Double Sun(art by Jakob Skøtt)
Deadly Avenger and Si Begg : Yokai(art by Matt Ryan Tobin)
Miles Brown : The Gateway(art by Luke Fraser AHR+)
Gavino Morretti : Girl Zero(art by Gavin Morrow)
Andy Fosberry : Death Ship 2047(art by Eric Adrian Lee)
Protomartyr : Ultimate Success Today(layout by JKBC and Jeff Arcel)