It's been a year of new things for hypergallery - NEW website, new editions published, NEW friends at the A&D Gallery and Centre Arts. We also launched our NEW Vimeo channel with videos of Storm Thorgerson and Steve Miller.
In the spirit of the best albums lists that dominate the culture pages at this time each year we'll start a NEW tradition: taking a look at those lists and illuminating some of the noteworthy album cover art from amongst the ordained. This is a gentle foray and by no means a top five list.
Björk - Biophilia
Never one to neglect the visual Björk has given us a real feast for the eyes and mind with her latest project. From a photo session with M/M Paris and Inez & Vinoodh that reportedly inspired her video for Moon, this image joins a lineage of extraordinary album cover portraits of Björk, instantly recognisable yet totally unique. Sporting the huge orange wig that she debuted at her Biophilia live shows (in which it provided a canvas for dramatic lighting and an expression of landscape, life forms and the Biophilia themes) she fills the square image with her pose. No little pixie here: she is a diva, an earth mother, a magician and a goddess.
PJ Harvey - Let England Shake
Artist: PJ Harvey and Michelle Henning
Featuring Harvey's own drawings the simple cover image works with the typography to almost onomatopoeic effect. Like Björk, Harvey is an artistic force that cannot be contained within the boundaries of the musical.
Bon Iver - Bon Iver
Artist: Gregor Euclide
Gregory Euclide has been thoughtful enough to document his work on this cover in progress and publish the photos on Flickr HERE and HERE. Such a treat and so rare for an artist to document and moreover share their studio practice so closely.
Euclide's work, etherial landscapes with a nod to east asian pictorial traditions and also perhaps to european childrens' story book illustrations, seems the perfect fit for Bon Iver's delicate, wintry music.
You can read an interview with Euclide all about the album artwork on the excellent My Love For You blog by Meighan O'Toole.
Staying on the path of exemplary singer songwriter whimsy we have a very different cover indeed for Rough Trade's Album of the Year 2011:
Josh T. Pearson - Last of the Country Gentlemen
Artist: Steve Gullick
Pearson begs forgiveness from the female figure, or woman-kind, striking a humble pose both striking and intimate. It may be an advance apology for the lyrics you are about to hear (depending on your take) or maybe for an unknown wrong. Whichever and whatever, this photograph that appears at first like fashion mag fodder is in fact an enduring and appropriate visual for the music within.
Steve Gullick has photographed portraits and album covers for a broad sweep of musical talent: Will Oldham, The Foals, Foo Fighters, Richard Hawley, Nick Cave, Patty Smith, Kurt Cobain, Beck...I could go on....and some beautiful landscapes to boot. His collection of work for and of Josh T. Pearson is a masterpiece.
Bombay Bicycle Club - A Different Kind Of Fix
Artist: Katie Scott
Making Q's list of the top 50 albums of 2011 and graced by this psycho-anatomical wonderment from recent Brighton graduate Katie Scott. She has also provided art for Bombay Bicycle Club singles and deserves great success in 2012, we think! You can see more of her work, including interior photos of the album, on her Tumblr blog.