I wrote an article for New Music Box about cover art last month. You can read it here. Or just skip the text and look at the silly illustrations.
I also wrote an opinion piece for Classical Music about giving away your masters. It’s not available on their website, so I’m including the text below. I’m sorry there aren’t any pictures… (more…)
I stumbled upon this Boulez/Deutsche Grammophon record this week.
There’s something about it that seems a bit unfinished. Like they’d cut out the background to replace it with something cool, and then either got sidetracked or possibly ran out of time.
I wonder what they took out…
…and what they planned to put in.
I know what I’d have done.
To just about everybody’s surprise, life as a comic magician turned out to be everything he’d hoped and more.
As soon she was sure he’d gone, they went back to their plan.
Morbid or not, having taken such a good photograph of the the quartet in the moments before they were tragically mown down by a trawler, it seemed a shame not to put it on the cover.
Anybody else? Any questions that aren’t about the bird?
Because he rarely wore his leather vest to rehearsals, it was not widely known that Giuliano also worked as a bounty hunter.
The “air ukulele” routine wasn’t exactly funny the first time.
Oh no Mr Bond. I expect you to die.
He would escape unseen, but the deed would be done.
That’s what she said.
It looked pretty good in his passport, so there was really no need for another photo shoot.
It was becoming increasingly apparent that she wouldn’t be needing her trumpet on this gig.
The premises of non-profit label New Amsterdam were very badly damaged by Hurricane Sandy.
You can help them get back on their feet here.
It occurs to me that it has been a while since I made fun of their album covers.
This is precisely why I like to read the instructions.
ECM’s x-ray glasses proved to be a surprisingly successful brand extension.
Do you have any other bright ideas?
They could barely contain their excitement.
You’re sure this isn’t an advert for tampons? I bought my poodles and rollerskates.
She wasn’t letting him book the holiday next year.
Does my bum look orange in this?
The lasers were a nice touch, but there was no denying the soup was overseasoned.
It was probably time to admit the photocopier was ruined.
Let’s stare at him until he goes away.
Alright. That’s it. Now I’m going to donate so they can pump the sewage out of their office.
Benjamin Ealovega is one of the most prolific photographers specialising in classical music today. You’ve almost certainly seen his work before – it seems like he has taken the cover photos for several high-profile new releases every month. He recently took some great new promotional photos for one of my clients. I could have just said “Thank you, Ben, for taking such nice pictures of my artists” but oh, no, that would have been too easy.
Besides, he’ll appreciate it more if I make the effort to identify examples of his work and then add inappropriate captions to them. Right?
He knows what he did.
Well, my wallet is gone, but at least I found my pants.
Don’t look now, but there’s a man with a camera behind that tree.
Honestly, officer, I had no idea that room was behind there.
SAY MY NAME
What shall we sing after we rob the casino?
And as they began the long walk back to civilisation, she started to wish there really was a machine gun in her violin case.
And it’s called a violin, you say?
No, really, take your time. I’ll wait here.
Oh yes she did.
Oh no he didn’t.
Don’t push me. I’m close to the edge.
And you’re absolutely sure this won’t look like a mugshot?
You should really choose a safe word. You might need it.
So that wasn’t why you bought me to this remote and secluded location? Well. This is awkward.
I wrote a guest post for Will Robin’s excellent blog on the Rite of Spring. The idea of the blog is for scholars, composers, performers and choreographers to share their experiences of the Rite of Spring. I did think about sharing the story of how the Rite of Spring played a central role in my teenage years, and became the soundtrack to the period in which I decided to pursue a career in music*. But then Will pointed out that I could just make fun of album covers like I always do, so I did that instead.
You can check it out here.
* Not unusual, apparently.
I have real work to do, and instead of doing it, I’ve spent half an hour singing the coat song from Joseph and typing things like “The Ochre Violin” into iTunes.
Nobody seems to have used yellow. Deutsche Grammophon, I’m looking at you…
A shortage of decent artist photos is not an excuse for your album cover to suck.
EDIT: In the interests of clarity, I selected the examples below on the basis that I believe them to not suck.
They agreed never to speak of it, but the easy rapport was gone.
Hurry up and take the picture so I can exhale.
Oh look! Somebody left their funny little guitar thing.
By day they solved crimes and exchanged witty banter in the forensics lab, but by night they played sackbutts like the sun might never rise.
At times, he wondered if it had all been worth it.
This would be the last time he forgot to book a hotel.
And in that instant it became clear what she had to do. If all went according to plan, they would not see her face or know her name, but they would all remember this day.
Every time he told one of his stupid jokes, she thought about what was buried behind the garage.
He aimed to look vaguely approachable, although really it would be him that did the approaching.
Finally. If this didn’t show them, he didn’t know what he’d do.
I’ve been doing some work on label branding this week, looking for simple ideas to communicate a strong identity, and it got me thinking about ECM.
If you’re at all familiar with their album art, then you’ll always know when you’re holding an ECM record.
They exude quality, serenity and integrity, and yet somehow they all manage to look a bit like this:
It got me thinking: what if ECM’s A&R strategy had been a little more mainstream? (more…)