Author Topic: Favorite ambient cover art?  (Read 16818 times)

drone on

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Favorite ambient cover art?
« on: September 04, 2008, 12:29:30 AM »
Borrowing from the last topic by Infraction on ECM/Touch cover artwork: what are some of your favorite covers on ambient CD's?  A few that come readily to mind for me:
 
Steve Roach-Origins (by photographer William Lesch, amazing stuff)
Oophoi-Celestial Geometries (original Arya/Amplexus version)
Numina-Sanctuary of Dreams
Harold Budd/Cocteau Twins-The Moon and the Melodies
Harold Budd/Brian Eno-The Pearl
Alio Die/Saffron Wood-Corteggiando le Messi

Joe R

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Re: Favorite ambient cover art?
« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2008, 05:15:53 PM »
Vidna Obmana- Memories Compiled 1; To me, the artwork mirrors the music exactly.
Steve Roach/Obmana- Well of Souls
Sola Translatio- Mother Sunrise
Robert Rich/Lustmord- Stalker
Saul Stokes- Fields

Scott M2

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Re: Favorite ambient cover art?
« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2008, 06:30:11 PM »
So many great covers... but five Steve Roach albums came immediately to mind:

day out of time - wow!
The Lost Pieces 4
Atmospheric Conditions
Mystic Chords & Sacred Spaces
The Dream Circle

Mark Mushet

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Re: Favorite ambient cover art?
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2008, 09:38:47 AM »
Eno's On Land and Budd's Plateaux of Mirror are, I think, the finest true ambient covers ever. A perfect pitch between representation, graphic punch and a spur to the imagination. Apollo is also up there even though the choice of image seems obvious.

I also like Robert Rich's Somnium and Humidity but for different reasons. And the re-issue of Koner's Teimo/Permafrost also works well as a minimal, gestural, graphic statement. More recently I like Jodi Cave's 12K cover on For Myria, though perhaps it's not really "ambient".

My personal career favourite is Loscil's Plume because it represents the first time, for my own CD cover work, that the music and image were perfectly matched on the three levels noted above in relation to the Eno/Budd releases. Though maybe it's too representational. OTOH it does echo certain key examples of album design iconography from the 70s.

Undershadow

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Re: Favorite ambient cover art?
« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2008, 10:58:46 AM »

I'd propose Boards of Canada's artwork imagery as being particularly well done, in terms of its linkages with their music and its emotive ambit and associations; childhood and nostalgia, warped sound and weathered memory all fused in a kind of visual analogue of the disintegration loops aesthetic. Hard to imagine their sound could have been better represented than by these covers:




deepspace

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Re: Favorite ambient cover art?
« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2008, 03:10:42 PM »
I agree entirely Undershadow- there is something about BOC's music that is captured in these photos.  The colour especially- they use a lot of chords that I would definitely see as aqua coloured.  I don't know how many musicians are reading this, but the 9th chords and stacked 5ths that they always use in their progressions, combined with their mangled warm analog sounds are very blue/green to me.

Another cover that captures the music is Hammock's second album "Raising Your Voice...Trying to Stop an Echo"
The sand, the blue and the Jacket, which at first glance looks more like a natural feature on the beach, really represent something that the music attempts to capture.  And they've avoided using other images, such as vistas, skies and oceans, that others may have used.  Having said that, I'll never get sick of artists using landscapes, because frankly, I think nature is bigger than art, and I will never tire of artists trying to represent scenery.  We can't pretend that we are greater than *it*


In comparision to the BOC covers, the difference between these two bands is illustrated rather amazingly by these covers- the clarity and purity and i would even say innocence of hammock's sound is very clear by the simpler colours used, and the BOC covers are much more textured, dirty and faded, like old tape loops, fitting in with their slightly damaged retro-ish sound. 




« Last Edit: September 06, 2008, 04:13:44 PM by deepspace »
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ffcal

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Re: Favorite ambient cover art?
« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2008, 09:13:55 PM »
I've always been a fan of Russell Mills' album artwork.  I've kept my vinyl copy of David Sylvian's "Gone To Earth" because the reduced CD booklet just doesn't do the artwork justice.  Ditto for my vinyl copy of Budd/Eno's "The Pearl."  For other old school ambient, I've always thought the cover for Eno's "Another Green World" was cool, and I'd have to also count the Monique Froese cover for T. Dream's "Rubycon" as a favorite.  For more recent ambient, I like the art packages for Coppice Hallifax's "83" release and Rapoon's "When Shadows Sleep."

Forrest

drone on

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Re: Favorite ambient cover art?
« Reply #7 on: September 07, 2008, 01:50:42 AM »
I agree about Russell Mills, and I'd add Gone to Earth to my list definitely.  It is true when some artwork gets shrunk down to fit a CD booklet it loses its punch: the colors are washed out, details faded, etc. 

Have to mention (again) the early 4AD/23 Envelope stuff, too. I think a lot of it shared the same aesthetic as some of those EG covers (i.e. atmospheric artwork).  BTW, I always considered "The Moon and the Melodies" to be an ambient album (even though it has vocals and drum programming) and I file it apart from my pop/rock collection.

Amplexus, too, with Stefano Gentile's photography, created some of the best ambient artwork to date, as did Oophoi's Umbra label...

drkappa

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Re: Favorite ambient cover art?
« Reply #8 on: September 07, 2008, 02:52:47 PM »
I'd have to also count the Monique Froese cover for T. Dream's "Rubycon" as a favorite.

You might like the A Splash in the Cosmic Ocean artwork at www.markgarlick.com/pages/surreal/index.htm
(first image in the second row).  did like the Virgin covers from that era, such as Aqua by Edgar Froese.

In the modern era I like those from the Oophoi's Umbra label, especially the Penumbra compilations. 
Being an astronomer and space-art fan I appreciate ones like Planetary Chronicles II by Jonn Serrie,
art by Joe Tucciarone (http://members.aol.com/interstell/art.html); Secret Observatory by Between Interval;
Equatorial Stars by Fripp & Eno; and  the minimalist The Place Where the Black Stars Hang by Lustmord.

Some of the most interesting covers were on the works of the much missed IXOHOXI.

The atmospheric photographic covers of Thom Brennan match the mood of the music.  However, Satori
is more abstract like the Penumbra covers reminescent of the Star Gate sequence in  2001: A Space
Odyssey
.  Talking of stargates First Breath by Catalin isn't ambient, but still a pretty cover.

Not least, we must mention the Hypnos JM Turneresque covers such as used for Jeff Pearce's To the
Shores of Heaven
and Bleed.

There are probably many more (including some of the Rich and Roach already mentioned).  I'd have
to go through several hundred to pick a shortlist, let alone a favourite, and would probably change on
another day as my mood changes.  The fact that the choice is so hard reflects well on the artistry within
the genre.

Malcolm Currie
Malcolm Currie
   If you have been...

9dragons

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Re: Favorite ambient cover art?
« Reply #9 on: September 17, 2008, 11:16:38 AM »
The artist Jeroen Advocaat is single-handedly bringing about a renaissance in album cover art. This kind of old school wizardry is so welcome in this age of photo-centric covers: http://www.jeroenadvocaat.com/. It is quite refreshing to see drawn and painted cover art.

A heartfelt thanks to Sending Orbs...
« Last Edit: September 17, 2008, 12:27:28 PM by 9dragons »

Mark Mushet

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Re: Favorite ambient cover art?
« Reply #10 on: September 17, 2008, 12:48:35 PM »
The artist Jeroen Advocaat is single-handedly bringing about a renaissance in album cover art. This kind of old school wizardry is so welcome in this age of photo-centric covers: http://www.jeroenadvocaat.com/. It is quite refreshing to see drawn and painted cover art.


Fantasy planets, balloons, naked women, sailing ships...uh oh. Going backwards...does anybody have Roger Dean's number handy?

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Re: Favorite ambient cover art?
« Reply #11 on: September 17, 2008, 12:55:01 PM »
I do agree (and would be the first to acknowledge I've done mostly digital artwork on CD covers) that it's nice to see real "old fashioned" drawings and paintings on CD covers. 

I was just looking at the cover of Robert Rich's Inner Landscapes and thinking I should do more stuff like that.  I mean, it's not a figurative piece of artwork, but it is actual ink and paint on paper... with a light bit of Photo-chopping at the end.
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Re: Favorite ambient cover art?
« Reply #12 on: September 17, 2008, 12:55:56 PM »
Here it is, in case anyone's not familiar with it.

[ Mike Griffin, Hypnos Recordings ] email mg (at) hypnos.com | http://hypnos.com | http://twitter.com/mgsoundvisions

Wayne Higgins

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Re: Favorite ambient cover art?
« Reply #13 on: September 17, 2008, 01:00:32 PM »
It's not like I think my music is the best, but I am proud of some of my covers. ;D
Here's on of the latest.

It's actually an altered close up photo of my kitchen floor.
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Mark Mushet

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Re: Favorite ambient cover art?
« Reply #14 on: September 17, 2008, 01:12:15 PM »

It's actually an altered close up photo of my kitchen floor.


That's part of why it works for me. The medium is unimportant. You've created a painterly, evocative cover using humble, commonplace materials and readily available technology without succumbing to cliche! My avatar image, btw, is a close up of the afterburner of an F4 Phantom fighter jet at an airshow. It is evocative of both fairground "spin paintings" (with no apologies to Damien Hirst) and speaker cones. It was used on Dennis Smalley's Sources CD..

Brian Bieniowski

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Re: Favorite ambient cover art?
« Reply #15 on: September 17, 2008, 01:27:12 PM »
The artist Jeroen Advocaat is single-handedly bringing about a renaissance in album cover art. This kind of old school wizardry is so welcome in this age of photo-centric covers: http://www.jeroenadvocaat.com/. It is quite refreshing to see drawn and painted cover art.

A heartfelt thanks to Sending Orbs...


I liked the interior artwork he did to the last Yagya CD so much (as well as a few other things on the label), I got him to do a cover for Asimov's last year.  He did a nice job, too ... unusual stuff when compared to the typical fare we often have.



If anybody's familiar with Tor Lundvall—talk about a great painter, and his own stuff is on his albums (arguably better than the music)   ;D
« Last Edit: September 17, 2008, 05:11:17 PM by Brian Bieniowski »

Wayne Higgins

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Re: Favorite ambient cover art?
« Reply #16 on: September 17, 2008, 01:32:43 PM »
Bill (I think it was you) posted a cover months ago of a dog looking out on a stage from behind a curtain.  Please repost.  It's my all time favorite cover.
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Bill Binkelman

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Re: Favorite ambient cover art?
« Reply #17 on: September 17, 2008, 02:25:42 PM »
Bill (I think it was you) posted a cover months ago of a dog looking out on a stage from behind a curtain.  Please repost.  It's my all time favorite cover.


With pleasure...the album is Recordings from Tristan Feldbauer, Alan Mueller, Maia Wackernagel and Lauren New.



A few others that are my faves are:

Liquid Mind's Balance
Jon Jenkins and David Helpling's Treasure
Rudy Adrian's Moonwater
Between Interval's Secret Observatory
Jon Jenkins' Beyond City Light
Frank VanBogaert's Nomads (more EM than ambient, though)

9dragons

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Re: Favorite ambient cover art?
« Reply #18 on: September 17, 2008, 03:11:30 PM »
The artist Jeroen Advocaat is single-handedly bringing about a renaissance in album cover art. This kind of old school wizardry is so welcome in this age of photo-centric covers: http://www.jeroenadvocaat.com/. It is quite refreshing to see drawn and painted cover art.


Fantasy planets, balloons, naked women, sailing ships...uh oh. Going backwards...does anybody have Roger Dean's number handy?


I can understand your (scorn?) of earlier album art, for perhaps being too overbearing on the musical material of ambient in particular. And I definitely enjoy the totally expressive covers of a label like 12k (their aesthetic is what drew me to them in the first place), and the abstract intelligence and dreamlike quality of the Hypnos covers (Mike, that "Inner Landscapes" painting is wonderful, by the way), because these covers represent the ethos of the music within, and present a kind of entry point, while not being too insistent on invading the experience of the listener. But I do feel, in the ambient/electronica world, that I would like to see more hand drawn and painted art. Photography is wonderful to see on a cover, and has driven me to buy many albums on first sight (and your own work, which I have just viewed, would indeed make me want to hear the albums within), but I still feel that ambient art could use an infusion of some different styles of art. Sometimes I want a little more to chew on; representational art (isn't all art representational though?), if done well of course, can create a fun dynamic with the music, and be a separate thing to enjoy within itself, doubling the fun of the album experience. I guess it brings out the fantasy-reading nerd in me to see those Sending Orbs albums, makes me remember that crazy excitement of Choose Your Own Adventure books or those Derek Riggs Iron Maiden covers. It creates an extra layer of enjoyment for me. Granted, I don't expect to start seeing Frazetta barbarians flexing their muscles on an Oophoi cover, but there is a happy medium somewhere in there, and enough room for every kind of style. This could kind of be like that "Helvetica" documentary, where the "grunge" typographers who want to be more wild and emotional battle it out with the totally impersonal text masters of the Modernist school. I will say that I am partial to the Modernists, but that is in the font world...

Brian, I had just previously seen that Asimov cover on Jeroen's site, and my first thought was how it would make me instantly want to buy that mag...excellent taste, sir.

9dragons

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Re: Favorite ambient cover art?
« Reply #19 on: September 17, 2008, 03:15:59 PM »
And my favorite Hypnos covers (and favorite covers in general, actually) are "Athlit", "Shift to the Ghost", "Silence Speaks in Shadow", and "Seed"...the latter album, actually, would be an excellent example of wonderful fusion between abstract and representational...love that one a lot, have stared and wondered many times...
« Last Edit: September 17, 2008, 03:27:48 PM by 9dragons »