10 TERRIFIC ALBUM COVERS* – PART 2

* ADDED TO THE VINYL CONNECTION COLLECTION DURING 2015**

** And whose music is terrific too!

This is the second part of what was going to be a quicky but quickly became an epic.

*

Velvet Underground - Live MCMXCIII vinyl

Velvet Underground – Live MCMXCIII [Sire Records 1993, Re-issue November 2014]

Having the double CD did not deter me from snapping up this 4 LP live set on beautiful blue vinyl, apparently a ‘Black Friday’ release from 2014. Haven’t listened to it yet, but my memory of the album (from twelve long years ago) is that it is well played, nicely recorded but maybe a little pointless. I suspect I’ll listen once (or twice, to satisfy the VC rules of engagement) then file under ‘Show off to any Velvets/Lou Reed fans who visit’.

The cover is a tasteful re-imagining of the original Warhol album sleeve (refresher here) that pleases rather than excites. A bit like the reunion.

Velvet Underground blue vinyl

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Meco - Star Wars

Meco – Star Wars & Other Galactic Funk [RCA 1977] Illustration by Robert Rodriguez

Two thousand and fifteen was the year the boy fell in love. Not with the ten-year-old red-head down the street but with something much more significant to his development: Star Wars. We watched the first trilogy, twice. We watched the prequel trilogy once. We booked tickets for the seventh instalment on its day of release. And we all wandered round the house singing the immortal John Williams theme. Obviously when I had a close encounter with the Meco album while digging, it was a ‘must have’. If you have a taste for 70s disco, the Star Wars suite is quite fun.

Despite my copy being a crappy Australian one with the wrinkly plastic foil adhering (or, more often, not) to the front, I like the cover a lot. The feel is 50s sci-fi paperback but with some camp New York Disco mixed in. I was delighted to note the credit to Suzanne Ciani on ‘Buchla synthesiser’ (an early pre-Moog synth). The other credits are quite amusing too.

Glitter up and boogie, space buddies, the Force is surely with us.

IMG_6182

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Quarter Tone music Ives

New Music in Quarter-Tones by Ives, Hampton, Lybbert, Macero [Odyssey 1967] Cover: Cato

Have been listening to more twentieth century composed music this year. Here is a recent acquisition that is certainly interesting, though demanding. Hearing something recognisable as Western Art Music but using pianos tuned to quarter-tones (out of tune to our ears) is a disturbing experience at first. I kept wanting to check that the turntable wasn’t malfunctioning.

On side two is a piece using the wonderful early electronic musical instrument, the Ondes Martenot. If you like this sort of thing – I’ve requested one for my next birthday – check out this video.

The cover references the famous faces-vase illusion in an interesting way while presenting its Op Art credentials in bright bold 1967 colours.

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Brian Ellis Group - Escondido Sessions

Brian Ellis Group – Escondido Sessions [El Paraiso 2015] Artwork Jakob Skott

I got onto the El Paraiso record label via JHubner’s blog. The first artist I investigated was Jonas Munk (see below) but when I read John’s enthusiastic review of this album by keyboard player/composer Brian Ellis I ordered it pronto. Complex semi-structured Agharta-era Miles jazz-rock that really is loose but tight. [JH interviewed Mr Ellis recently; read it here.]

There is a clear design aesthetic at El Paraiso and I like that a lot. This cover – artwork by Jakob Skøtt – is a much closer facsimile of the face-vase figure-ground ambiguous shape illusion than the one above, yet similarly manages to flash its psychedelic references vibrantly. I like the organic imperfection of the illustration.

*

Jonas Munk - Pan

Jonas Munk – Pan [El Paraiso 2012] Art: Mathias Malling Mortensen

Danish musician Jonas Munk is a member of band Causa Sui, has collaborated with Ulrich Schnauss, and makes his own music too. This album was his first solo work, and an entrancing mixture of ambient electronica and krautrock grooves it is too. One of the year’s most enjoyable acquisitions.

The enchanting Grimm’s Fairy Tale picture by Mathias Malling Mortensen is actually a papercut. Like lino or wood, I guess, but more, er, papery. Or maybe less inky and more scissors-y. It is the sort of beautifully understated design that you would gladly hang on your wall. Well, I would, anyway.

An artist/album deserving a dedicated post.

*

Responses to the cover art or about the music more than welcome.

Miss Part 1? It is here.

24 comments

  1. the velvet’s wins by far 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Really? Not Meco??

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      1. hmm no. maybe i’m under the influx of the old warhol thing, but i still prefer Nico to Meco 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. A tie for me between the “blue Velvet” and the Meco. I am guessing you added the Lego figures?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Indeed I did, Rick. Assisted by a Star Wars obsessed 10 year old (and with a nod and a wink to my old mate 1537).

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The ‘Cease & desist’ writ is in the post. Merry Christmas!

        Liked by 3 people

        1. Writ? Or legal wit? I’ll look forward to seeing you in your wig.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. If you had included the Peter Gabriel S/T album, you could have had Nico, Meco, and Biko.

    I think I like the Jonas Monk cover best, although I may have ignored the Velvet Underground cover a bit since I was so enamoured with that blue vinyl.

    As for the credits on the Meco album. I want to meet this Poe Ta Toe. He can play me some music, and then use his Clomato to make me a Caesar.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They’re fun ‘credits’ aren’t they? And yes indeed. The blue vinyl is very seductive. I might not play it, just stare rapturously into its deep azure eyes (all four of them).

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sounds like a science experiment is needed about the effects in the human brain staring at coloured vinyl.
        I know endorphins rush through my body everytime I see it. Especially when I find mint coloured vinyl in the thrift stores for pennies.

        I was not sure if anyone would get my Clomato reference. I thought it might just be a Canadian thing.

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  4. I really like the El Paraiso art. Particularly the Brian Ellis Group cover! … I also have both those albums on my list (along with so many others!).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Don’t you just love a design through-line? The UK 4AD label springs immediately to mind, but this one has an even stronger template. As you say, both are albums worth having (though at present I’m enjoying 1970 Miles, so the Ellis seems a little redundant).

      Liked by 1 person

  5. What a great group of covers, sir! I’m not a Velvet fan, but that blue vinyl is enticing. Plus, I do like the play on the original cover art.

    That Meco?? Holy moly. What a beautiful piece of work, and congratulations on your son discovering the thing that ruled supreme in my childhood. My son, now ten, is a fan as well. He got in through a cartoon called “Clone Wars”, which is actually a very good storyline and much more enjoyable than Episodes 1,2, and 3…but I digress. Anyways, that album is amazing. I was going to say it’s definitely more Flash Gordon than Star Wars, but I think that’s part of the appeal. I need to find a copy of that somewhere.

    Now is that THE Teo Macero on that Quarter-Tones LP? Like, Miles’ Teo? I’m intrigued. And it’s great to see two El Paraiso covers here. I never tire of ‘Pan’.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Para1: Thanks – I had fun choosing them and trying to take reasonable photos! What IS it about coloured vinyl? I mean, we’re grown men for goodness sakes. But some vinyl hussy flutters her blue eyes (all four, in this case) and we melt. Sigh.

      Para 2: We saw Ep. VII today. Pretty full on for a sensitive 10 year old (his first ‘live action’ movie at the cinema – as distinct from animation – so he was a bit overwhelmed. It is also only JUST PG in my estimation. Good though.)

      Para 3: Indeed it is. The Ondes Martenot and a real fair dinkum Teo Macero composition sold this album to me. Teo’s piece is quite, er, chaotic but certainly not boring! Yep, I’m tempted to call ‘Pan’ an instant classic (a word I usually avoid like the veritable).

      Cheers JH. Hope you and your boy enjoy the new film.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Now I’m excited about the movie. The first praise I heard was from The Guardian. They seemed to have really loved it. Everything after has been pretty much the same. I could imagine it being sensory overload for someone’s first time at a live action film. I’m sure we’ll love it.

        We’re suckers for the colored vinyl. That’s just who we are. Yet, our wives put up with us anyways.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. That blue vinyl might be what I need to convert me to being a Velvet Underground fan, very sharp!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Linger on, your pale blue eyes”

      Like

  7. The Star Wars one for me every time, I bet it’s value has shot up in the last month or so.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Forgotten until this moment, younger sis and I jointly owned owned that Meco Star Wars goodness back when it was new. How is it possible that I failed to recognize its once-and-future cool and let it slip away?

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Consider this grown woman seduced by the blue vinyl as well! I like all of these covers, but for nostalgia’s sake, would put the Meco at the top of the list. That Cantina Theme never fails to make me smile. With the release of Episode 7, I’ve been fondly remembering going to see Episode 4 with my cousin in the summer of 1977…our minds were rightly blown. Fun trivia: did you know that Meco is Domenico Monardo, now age 76?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haven’t seen new product from Mr Monardo for a while, but who knows? Georgio Moroder just toured a new album!

      I recommend Ep 7, especially if you can have an impressionable youngster along for extra mind-blowing.

      And thanks for confirming that the seduction of rich blue Fremen vinyl works on everybody.

      Like

  10. […] 3) Bruce Jenkins has posted Part 2 of his “Ten Terrific Album Covers” article and include his take on five more record covers that impressed him over the past year, including a re-issue of a live record by the Velvet Underground, the Brian Ellis Group’s trippy cover for their Escondido Sessions LP and, riding the mania being created by the release of the new Star Wars film, a revisit to the disco-era hit by Meco titled Star Wars And Other Gallactic Funk, featuring a cover illustration by Robert Rodriguez. Looking forward to see how he expands his collection in the coming year – thanks for sharing, Bruce – https://vinylconnection.com.au/2015/12/17/10-terrific-album-covers-part-2/ […]

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  11. […] I included the Pan album sleeve in “10 Terrific Album Covers – Part 2” in late 2015, I […]

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