10 TERRIFIC ALBUM COVERS* – PART 1

* 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.

*

King Gizzard Mind Fuzz

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – I’m in your mind fuzz [Flightless Records, 2014]

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?]

*

Cream Live Albert Hall 3LP

Cream – Royal Albert Hall, May 2005 [Reprise/Music on Vinyl 2005]

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 - Das Hohelied Salomos

Popol Vuh – Das Hohelied Salomos [UA 1975 / Wah Wah 2015] Art Direction & Design: Ulli Eichberger

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.

*

Moebius - Tonspuren

Moebius – Tonspuren [Sky 1983]

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)’.

*

Zombi - Shape Shifter LP

Zombi – Shape Shifter [Relapse Records 2015]

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.

33 comments

  1. I have none of these albums. I must rectify that problem.
    Thanks for posting. They are all unique.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. tonspuren’s my fav so far

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have an acquaintance who is a photographer and print-maker. He does really interesting industrial landscapes. This cover is like a detail of one. I like it very much too.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. the bookend albums/art are particularly intriguing here!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’d pick the Tonspuren as well, purely on the cover art!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s two votes for the unnatural environment.(Three if you count me!). All city folks here, right? 😉

      Like

  5. Love this, Bruce! I’ve only heard one of these! The Zombi album – which is a real favourite of mine.

    However, the Popol Vuh art is really striking … wonderful stuff … sounds really pretty grand also.

    (also, I believe you’ve outed yourself as a time traveller!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What gave me away? Was it drawing attention to Zombi’s inclusion of the TARDIS?

      Like

      1. It was Zombi’s inclusion as a 2014 addition … 😉

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Not only did I miss the mishtook but your hint as well!
          All chronologically corrected now.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. So, you’re not a time traveller?

          Or is this a cover-up?

          Liked by 1 person

        3. “These aren’t the Droids you’re looking for… Move along…”

          Liked by 1 person

  6. I really like the Zombi one, it makes me want to listen.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I guess that means the art director has earned their fee! 😉

      Like

  7. squirrola · · Reply

    Do you mean 2014 or this year?

    Like

    1. Ah, circumvent your proof-reader at your peril, folks!
      Thanks Squirola. The amendment has been made.

      Like

  8. Where’s the naked chicks?!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. They’s at your place

      Liked by 4 people

    2. Sorry for the lack of poultry. Though if you look carefully you will find a handsome pair of flamingoes (if your tastes run that way).

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve always had a bit of a thing for flamingos …

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Apologies, I meant ‘Where are the naked chicks?’

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Aplogies, I meant ‘They are at your residence.”

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Apologies, I meant ‘Apologies’

        Like

      2. Many thanks for your correction, one does feel it is important to get these things right.

        Like

        1. If any of them get out of line, just board them on the next plane to Canada.

          Liked by 2 people

        2. Please ask them to remove ALL piercings before the metal detector this time. You don’t want another incident.

          Liked by 1 person

        3. Just pre warn them though. The Canadian winter can get quite nipply.

          Liked by 1 person

  10. Thom Lieb · · Reply

    Nice post. Thanks for the tip on Zombi — I missed that one.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. All sorts of great stuff here: the rhyming King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard; that Cream cover, my favorite of the bunch (side note: I had a T-shirt from that 2005 Albert Hall gig, purchased for me by a London-based friend, that I finally had to toss earlier this year due to general wear and tear); the name Florian Flicke; the fact that, before even seeing what you’d written about the Popol Vuh album, I thought to myself, “Wow, that reminds me of Rousseau!”; and the word Tonspuren (soundtracks!).

    Liked by 1 person

  12. […] 2) Over on the Vinyl Connection site, Bruce Jenkins has put together a list of his 10 favorite album cover finds of the year. Some of the records/covers were new, some not-so-new, but all impressed Bruce with their beauty and how they’ve continued to push the envelope of great cover design, and since he’s also giving us his take on the music packaged inside the cover, he’s decided to present the article in two parts, the first of which you’ll find via the link – https://vinylconnection.com.au/2015/12/14/10-terrific-album-covers-part-1/ […]

    Like

  13. […] its ramshackle psychedelia and cruised to its jammy space grooves. It was even included in the ‘favourite covers’ post a short while […]

    Like

  14. With you on the Cream take. Great concert!

    Liked by 1 person

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