As I wrote here last year, one of my early musical influences was dub reggae and I cited the very specific moment I can remember first hearing it. Many of the sleeves of the reggae records/CDs I've collected in the last 40 years have never really done the music justice. Some rereleases have managed to address this with the opportunity to completely overhaul the visuals of many important records. The Blood and Fire rereleases designed by London's Intro in the mid 1990s were very good, with a particularly excellent repackaging of the Congos' Heart of the Congo. The original sleeve (a photo of the band playing some congos, not exactly taxing the imagination, is it?) can be seen centred, in homage, in an elaborate 3D collage of found material and different collages representative of each track title adorn the accompanying booklet.
The Congos' Heart Of The Congo, rereleased on Blood and Fire.
Lots of the original Jamaican sleeves are bizarre, often over egging an idea with very staged photo shoots. Many feature cliché ridden embellished drawings and there is an unintended high 'cheese' element apparent on numerous releases. Despite this, I have come to love these sleeves, particularly the ones that are just outright funny and have a more natural, carefree feel. An excellent example of this can be seen in the infamous Dr Alimantado's Best Dressed Chicken in Town. A fantastic LP and a great sleeve.
I mean, come on, do your flies up man!
With all this in mind, I've just read a great article on crestock.com's blog analyzing the design of 42 reggae album covers. Despite the author's dissing of dub and the fact he has never listened to Linton Kwesi Johnson, it's well worth a read and has two links to reggae sleeve flickr sets, here and here.
Monday 23 February 2009
Thursday 19 February 2009
Monday 16 February 2009
Tuesday 10 February 2009
Purple Snail, who created the art instillation on Felixstowe beach last year to highlight the threat of rising sea levels, have created an education pack of the site specific exhibition. The pack details the journey they took to create the piece of work and discusses its environmental message. A PDF of the pack can be downloaded from their website here. My review of the private view in August 08 can be read here.
Friday 6 February 2009
Thursday 5 February 2009
Tuesday 3 February 2009
Malcolm Garrett's Buzzcocks' logo still looks great. I was nearly tempted to buy an 'Orgasm Addict' T-Shirt that faithfully rendered Garrett's 7" sleeve collage but thankfully resisted. As for the gig, while it was good to hear Pete Shelley's vocals live and see (half of) the Buzzcocks (and two session musicians) play a faithful rendition of their (fantastic) first two albums, Steve Diggle acted like a complete wanker. A rock star wannabe, the antithesis of what the Buzzcocks were originally all about. I always loved the subtext to Shelley's love songs, teenage gay angst perfectly captured, tense, terse and questioning, but unfortunately Diggle came over all testosterone and Pete Townsend like, throwing his microphone into the crowd at the end of the set baiting the middle aged audience with shouts of 'anarchy.' What a cock.