* ADDED TO THE VINYL CONNECTION COLLECTION DURING 2015**
** And whose music is terrific too
As album cover art is something of a passion here at Vinyl Connection, I thought I’d share some of the covers that have given pleasure on their arrival at Vinyl Connection headquarters, and include a word or two about the music. Because I am incapable of using two words when twenty will suffice, this has become a two-part post. Hope it is of interest.
Australian band King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard have been churning out music for a few years now. This was my first foray into their fuzzed-up psychedelic world and although I was unconvinced at first, it grew on me in a way I imagine mind fuzz does… sort of accumulating bits of fluff and sonic detritus in the corners of your mind until the world looks all soft-focus day-glow and cool, baby. Lyrics are simple (sometimes nonsensical) and far from prominent due to layers of distortion. Despite the layers, the music does not sound overloaded. Flute, for example, provides some unexpected lightness alongside the guitars and harmonica.
The threatening, dark fantasy cover art that doesn’t represent the music in the slightest, but is still brilliant. The lettering is embossed, too, for that extra tactile experience. [Everyone strokes their record covers don’t they?]
Having the DVD of this ‘reunion-farewell’ concert kind of makes the record redundant, except for two compelling arguments. One is that it is a triple live album and therefore an essential VC purchase (extensive background on this obsession begins here). Secondly, I’d tried to buy a t-shirt of the gig from the website but they were sold out, so this became a must-have memento of one of the more significant re-unions of this century. It is also a memento of a more personal and even more significant kind; the boy was born on during one of the concerts, though in Melbourne, not at the Royal Albert Hall.
The cover is very much an homage to ‘Swinging London’ with the psychedelic swirls and evocation of Eric and Ginger’s 60s coiffures. Works well, though, I think, despite being no Disraeli Gears.
Musically, the playing is top-notch. From the opening ‘I’m so glad’ through ‘Badge’ and lesser known songs like ‘We’re going wrong’, Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker and Eric Clapton mesh wonderfully. It is a fitting swan-song for Bruce, who died in October last year.
Popol Vuh were always on the edges of so-called ‘krautrock’. Yes, they were German, but describing their eastern influences and meditative music as rock is stretching things rather. Main man Florian Flicke was very interested in spirituality (and travel) and these themes infused his music with something rather special; a stillness and grace rarely found in ‘popular’ music.
Spanish label Wah-Wah re-released a clutch of Popol Vuh albums on vinyl this year, to great joy and excitement in vinyl collecting circles. I have a few originals but sprang for a few new ones too, especially this one, their sixth. Rather deliciously (if not accurately), Wah-Wah kept the bonus tracks added on the 2005 re-issue. Vinyl with bonus tracks, eh?
I find the cover one of the most beautiful I have seen. Referencing the Garden of Eden rather than the Old Testament ‘Song of Solomon’ from which verses and album title are taken, it has the naive quality of a child’s painting and the sensuality of Rousseau. Superb.
Staying with German innovators, Tonspuren, is an eighties LP by half of Cluster (or one third of Harmonia, if you prefer). It is very much a solo project by Moebius, who is credited with all compositions, recording and production. An excellent example of Dieter’s twitchy electronica, clever synthesised rhythms, and endless invention.
The cover has a brilliant starkness that matches the contents perfectly. Found graffiti on an industrial surface, brightened by splashes of red. The back art credit reads, ‘Cover von Weitz, jemand un Moebius’, which I understand means ‘Cover by Weitz (presumably the photographer), someone (the graffiti artist) and Moebius (that’s his signature and hand-writing)’.
From krautrock to surfing the waves of its influence. I really had a crush on Zombi this year. Their 2015 release follows the same pattern as previous albums, lots of Tangerine Dream, bits of Neu! and Heldon; nothing too demanding, but great fun.
Although difficult to capture in a photo, this is a simple but very striking design that draws you into its world, just like the music.
Responses to the cover art or about the music more than welcome.
PART 2 here.