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PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2007 12:31 am
by joel
Ronald wrote:African or Reggae LP covers just show you most of the time just the singer or the band.
There is an aesthetic to Congolese album covers, that is to say generally understood rules about what to put on them.
I assume that many of the album covers, which are from the days before DTP, were "designed" by the printer. Would be interested to know how it was done.

One of my favourite album covers is this:
which despite the album title and ethnographic label, actually features some rather wnoderful guinean acoustic guitar music from the mid-sixties (this is a 10" album). The cover photo is the perfect choice to complement the slow, slightly melancholic, beautiful music on the record.

Most misleading might be this one:
Not a single West African brass band appears on this double album, which is a shame as this is why I picked it up! It's got some nice recordings of traditional drum bands, though.

PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2007 1:05 am
by Adam Blake
How do you folks scan your album covers so neatly? And then, how do you get the image into this little box?

PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2007 1:45 am
by Charlie
will vine wrote:It has only just occurred to me....I presume the album cover artists / photogaphers were all paid fees, or did any of them get offers of royalties ?

I doubt if any album cover artist or photographer ever got a royalty, although there was a time when that guy who did the Yes album covers could have claimed to have been as important as the musicians. Was he called Roger Dean?

So, just a fee, and it varies a lot, depending on whether the client is an independent label or a major. The fees for cover design and illustration paid by majors were/are often in the thousands of pounds, where as an indie will hope to get away with paying a few hundred.

PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2007 2:15 am
by joel
Adam Blake wrote:How do you folks scan your album covers so neatly? And then, how do you get the image into this little box?
I know you're not asking me, but what the heck ;-)
The way I usually do this (present circumstances not withstanding) is to photograph the cover.
The trick here is to get the camera as exactly at 90 degrees to the album as you can and aligned as squarely as possible in the viewfinder.
I'm far too sloppy to do this properly, of course.
Flash is necessary, and should be bounced off a reflective surface rather than aimed directly at the cover (see my Haitian Zouk cover on the previous page for what happens when you don't do this). Done properly flash will provide a good, even coverage of light without many hotspots.
Next step is Photoshop (or other photo editing software, we're not doing anything too advanced), for rotation, cropping, colour adjustment, tonal balance and sharpening.
Export as JPEG and upload to your favourite photo hosting site.

et voila:

From the cloth bound (the photo is glued to the cover and the lettering is debossed)

to the remarkably glossy and black:

Ronald's are much more nicely done than mine, but I suspect he does the same kind of thing.

Don't understand the bit about the squares. Sorry.

PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2007 2:24 am
by Dayna

This one is bright & colorful.

PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2007 11:48 am
by Ronald

I do it pretty much as Joel has described but I don't use flash. I always place the album on the floor and then take a picture of it.

PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2007 12:50 pm
by howard male
It's interesting that however much our tastes may vary in music, as far as covers go, we are all pretty much in agreement - some great choices there - keep 'em coming!

In the meantime, I've now had a bit more time to think of answers to some of my own questions, so here goes.

1. Favourite album cover(s) of all time
I think it would have to be Aladdin Sane for its perfect airbrushed creation of a fictional version of David Bowie which exactly aligned with the creature who sang the songs.

2. Favourite world music album cover
Much harder to answer so it's a case of what first springs to mind which hasn't already been mentioned - and that's Lhasa's 'The Living Road ' partly because it's, again, the singer's own work - delicately surreal collages in the style of Max Ernst which have, to me, become inseparable from the songs.

4. Cover that best reflected the music within - see answers 1 & 2

5. Cover you love even though you know you shouldn't
I wasn't sure what I meant with this question, but now I'm interpreting it as having a sexual connotation, so it has to be one of those early Roxy covers.

6. Album you bought on the strength of its interesting cover and weren't disappointed
Two Soul Coughing albums with bizarre artwork from a car boot sale - had never heard of the band but instantly thought I 'understood' them from their covers. I was thrilled to discover it was the best rock music I'd heard in 15 years.

7. Album you bought on the strength of its interesting cover but were disappointed
Rock artists are generally blessed with better cover designers than world ones, but luckily I long ago learnt to that an intriguing rock album cover does not mean the music within will be of any interest, whereas the opposite is true of world music.

8. Cover where an artist you'd previously had the utmost respect for disappointed you deeply
The first that springs to mind is Debbie Harry's Kookoo which boasted a creepy Giger cover but, if memory serves (I don't think i even listened to it all the way through) was a typically horrible 80's confection.

9. LP cover you most often used for rolling joints on
Different times, different covers. First it was the first Clash album or My Aim is True, then it was Magazine's 'The Correct Use of Soap', then Mapfumo's 'The Chimurenga Singles' or the first Indestructible Beat of Soweto.

10. Cover which has the most interesting back-story which you happen to recall
No one's answered this one yet - I can't think of one either, but I'm sure someone has a good album cover background story to tell.

PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2007 3:20 pm
by Martin_Edney
Ronald wrote:I do it pretty much as Joel has described but I don't use flash. I always place the album on the floor and then take a picture of it.

I have succeeded using a normal flat-bed scanner, though I had to scan the cover in two slices, then put them back together with a graphics program.

PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2007 9:52 pm
by will vine
Howard, I don't think I understand question 10....interesting back- story ?
You'll need to spell it out for me......sorry.

PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2007 1:22 am
by Ian M
Here's one for that elusive no 10.

When The Beatles were recording their last album, they were pretty much worn out with each other and the whole circus around them. But they came together (ahem) in a last ditch effort to go out with something worthy of their name. Even so, disputes, jealousies and petty rivalries ensured a fraught and strained atmosphere at the sessions.

Needing a title, and lacking in group inspiration, the engineer Geoff Emerick's favourite brand of ciggy's were agreed to provide the perfect title: Everest.

One can only imagine the ensuing conversation when it came time to decide the cover:

"Right, lads, you're booked on the flight next week to Tibet, to do the photo session for the cover"

Looks of horror and consternation. Faces aghast at the prospect of being cooped up together, and, in some cases with each other's spouses...

The silence is broken. "You're not getting me on a bloody 10 hour flight to Katmandu with him/them/her"

"So, what are we going to do, then?"

"Well, where's the nearest place we can do this bloody cover?"

And so it came to pass, early one fine summer morning, that four jaded, truculent men, once the closest of friends who had lived through some of the most extraordinary hysterical and creative times of their lives, ambled across the road outside of their studio, as if together for the last time. Some read all sorts of arcane symbolism and hidden messages into the photograph, some saw it as a homage to the place where they had recorded their finest moments.

But they couldn't call it Everest any more. And so Abbey Road it became.

And whatever else it was, it was....The End.

PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2007 1:46 am
by Adam Blake
Very well put! Thank you.

I heard that one of them (insert cartoon scouse accent of your choice) said: "after all, you can't name an album after a packet of ciggies, can ya?"

PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2007 11:27 am
by howard male
Will wrote -
Howard, I don't think I understand question 10....interesting back- story ? You'll need to spell it out for me......sorry.

Well, I'm sure Ian's posting above has answered your question, Will.

I suspected that if anyone did have an album cover story it would be Beatles-related - as Ian said, there has always been so much speculation about their covers that, I suppose, it resulted in someone eventually feeling obliged to tell the more prosaic truth. It's certainly an interesting and amusing way of looking at the self-conscious myth-making of the industry.

The only album cover story I can half remember is that Hendrix wanted a nice picture of the Central Park bronze sculpture of Alice in Wonderland for the cover of Electric Ladyland but the Record Label insisted on a bunch of naked women instead. Hendrix's choice would have revealed something of the gentler side of his nature which, obviously, didn't fit with the carefully honed image already in place. Whereas the label's choice perpetuates and builds on the image of him as some kind of veracious sexually animal with the implicate message that that he'll be having all those young ladies before breakfast.

I hope any of the living musical encyclopaedias who contribute to the forum will be good enough to correct me if I've got any of the above story wrong (I think I may have read it on the plaque beneath the Alice sculpture itself.)

PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2007 7:56 pm
by Dominic
I just love the typo on this CD by Dr Sir Warrior (the collage is fairly typical Nigerian):


PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 12:32 am
by Dayna
I have this album, & think this Salif Keita album is interesting with the African dancers on each side.


PostPosted: Wed Nov 05, 2008 9:10 pm
by Dayna

This was my Mom's old album. It has always seemed like the mosot eye catching one I remember for some reason.