Spending most of the year dissecting music, we often forget to acknowledge the effort and thought that goes in to creating a strong visual identity for all the records that we spend so long poring over. There’s no one factor determining what makes a good cover, it could be garish, subtle, complicated or simple, but as long as it captures your attention amidst the competition, its worth celebrating. Read on below as we go through some of our favourite sleeves from 2013, giving a special shout out to the people that made them happen along the way.
Anthony Naples – ‘El Portal’ EP (Trilogy Tapes)
Another addition to the typically excellent artwork featured on Will Bankhead’s Trilogy Tapes label, all of which is shot by the label head himself.
Slugabed – ‘Do U C Me Tho / U Right’ (Ninja Tune)
The Bug – ‘Filthy’ EP (Ninja Tune)
A typically macabre piece from Zeke Clough, who’s probably best known as the man behind the sleeves for Shackleton’s seminal records on Skull Disco.
Visionist – ‘I’m Fine’ ( Lit City Trax )
Sleek looking design by Rachel Noble.
Laurel Halo – ‘Chance Of Rain’ (Hyperdub)
A beautiful and unsettling image drawn by Halo’s father way back in the 70’s.
7 Days of Funk – ‘7 Days of Funk’ (Stones Throw)
Drawn by Lawrence Hubbard of Real Deal Comix, which began in L.A. during the 80’s as the only Black, independently self-published and distributed magazine of the time.
Mark Pritchard – ‘Ghosts’ (Warp)
Optical illusion styled piece by L.A. based artist Jonathan Zawanda.
Cream Juice – ‘Man Feelings’ (Orange Milk)
A collaborative effort by Keith Rankin and Seth Graham of Cream Juice, described as ‘an invitation to the coolest 8 year olds birthday party’. Check out an interview with the band here.
Om Unit – ‘Threads’ (Civil Music)
Designed by artist John Leigh aka. Karborn. In his words: “The body of the work was created in a glycerine bath I built over my Epson 1000xl A3 scanner, layering in dried leaves of paint, tippex, flowers, petals and gold leaf directly into inches of semi-frozen glycerine. The image was completed in a single scanner exposure, says Leigh – but the pair did have a run in with police after ordering vast quantities of glycerine to a warehouse in Leytonstone, East London.”
Zed Bias – ‘Boss’ (Swamp81)
Another gorgeous Black and White image from Will Bankhead.
Synkro – ‘Lost Here’ EP (Apollo)
Designed by Derbyshire based artist Yasmin Lever.
Kromestar – Rhythm On My Mind (Cosmic Bridge)
Landing on Om Unit’s Cosmic Bridge imprint, this release received customarily excellent artwork from Jim Coles’ other half Meloncholy.
!!! – ‘Thr!!!er’ (Warp)
Cover image by photographer Chase Jarvis.
Karenn/The Analogue Cops- ‘BLPGRN001’ (Bleep)
Jimmy Edgar – ‘Mercurio’ EP (Ultramajic)
A collaborative effort between Edgar and friend Pilar Zeta.
Atoms For Peace – ‘AMOK’ (XL)
The artwork for the debut by Thom Yorke’s side project/super group was handled by frequent Radiohead collaborator Stanley Donwood.
Bibio – ‘Silver Wilkinson’ (Warp)
Designed by Bibio aka. Stephen Wilkinson, himself.
FunkinEven – ‘Chips & Sweets’ (Apron)
A special Record Store Day exclusive from Mr.Julien, delivered in pink and white penny sweets bag and specially hand-stamped.
Machinedrum – ‘Vapor City’ (Ninja Tune)
Eclair Fifi and Dominic Flannigan of LuckyMe, rode with the album’s concept of an imaginary city and plotted out a map of the virtual metropolis. Taking photographs of each ‘district’ before screen printing them, Flannigan explains, “We then asked Eclair to hand render pointillised and Japanese brush illustrations of them to try break down any solid lines – to make the work feel more dream like. Our final step was to screenprint again”.