i'm sure any who know will no doubt be aware of how much i rattle on about the importance of a meaningful record cover, so i'll start with some that have really meant something to me over the how-ever-many-years i've successfully dodged falling pianos and anvils.
here are four that have particularly inspired me the last however many years;
ISIS, oceanic, 2002 / artwork, design by aaron turner
simple. fitting. apt. i was in love with this record before i had even heard it, and i was still in love even after i realized that ISIS were not a band to ''get into'' very simply. i think that even though i didn't necessarily enjoy the music on the first couple of plays, the fact that the sound and atmosphere of this release was so dripping (literally) with nautical themes, and that the tone and recording of the album really put you into a place of crushing pressure, that a sleeve that only goes on to show the rippling of waves and a booklet composed mostly of photographs of the ocean speaks volumes.
peter gabriel, 4/security, 1982, sculpture/design by malcom poynter/peter gabriel
there isn't much needs be said here - it's weird, just like what gabriel's pop-rock done strange is all about. i cannot even find much said about the artwork or sculpture on the internet, and thinking about it, i don't think i want to. mystery is wonder as ignorance is bliss.
at the drive-in, relationship of command, 2000 / artwork by damon locks
like the mythological sacking of the city of troy, in which the greek soldiers lay waste to the city by hiding away inside of the hollowed wooden horse, this album does exactly that. what we have here is something that is imitating a 'regular' disk and a 'normal' inside booklet, but the real content of this record is anything but. it sneaks into your bag at the record store and then steals its way inside of your record player and before you know it, everything is over. all the things you loved about music before are wiped clean; everything you thought you knew about music is eviscerated, blown to pieces by the sheer audacity and intense aural riptides that at the drive-in make with what may as well be alien artifacts at their disposal as opposed to the mundane guitar or microphone, the sound is just that special. basically, sticking a wooden horse on the front of this album is the simplest way of not showing their sound, and the wonder from the graphic construction of the chop-cut linocuts was enough for this record to find it's way to my collection all those many years ago. well, that and an absolutely ridiculous live show of hit single one armed scissor on later... with jools holland.
nine inch nails, the fragile, 1999 / design by david carson
this, like oceanic, is another sleeve that had me hooked from the design alone, although nine inch nail's output is far more easy going than that of ISIS', though not necessarily any more simple. in fact, calling it easy going is quite ignorant of me in it's own right. irregardless, this is a true visual depiction of how this record sounds. i have nothing more i can say to back that up. i honestly cannot think of how i could even begin to prove that, or recite why i think that this is the visual that matches the aural. you don't even care. i don't even care. just have a listen to this fabulous downer of an album and have a think on that one yourself. i'll be right, you'll see.