Spin doc­tor

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music Reviews - Iain Shed­den

SD had a good chat this week to Mel­bournebased artist and author Graeme Base, cre­ator of books such as and who has re­alised a life­long am­bi­tion by de­sign­ing his first al­bum cover, the lav­ish il­lus­tra­tion on the front of the Cat Em­pire’s just re­leased Base had am­bi­tions as an al­bum de­signer when he was at univer­sity in the 1970s but never got the chance un­til the Cat Em­pire asked him. It’s a won­der­ful piece of work fea­tur­ing, for the first time in the band’s ca­reer, a cat, this one adorned with a crown plus the Cat Em­pire logo and sur­rounded by an as­sort­ment of mu­si­cal in­stru­ments. What Base’s work brings to mind, how­ever, is the fact the al­bum cover could be un­der threat if the dig­i­tal age ren­ders the al­bum it­self a thing of the past. This is not a new the­ory. It has been dis­cussed at length in the 10 years iTunes has ex­isted; in fact, the death of the al­bum was pre­dicted a few hours af­ter the ex­plo­sion of Nap­ster. Yet so far the al­bum has sur­vived, mainly be­cause —dig­i­tal down­loads or stream­ing or not — no one can think of a bet­ter way for an artist to mar­ket a new prod­uct in a way that fits well with the other as­pects of a mu­sic ca­reer, such as tour­ing and be­ing on the in­ter­net, the telly and the ra­dio. In­deed there re­mains a pro­lif­er­a­tion of ex­cit­ing art­work out there for the re­lease of new ma­te­rial, all of it ac­ces­si­ble on a much wider range of plat­forms than be­fore there were plat­forms. Still, it’s hard to imag­ine that the dig­i­tal im­age can have quite as much im­pact or cul­tural longevity as some of the iconic de­signs that fea­tured on a 12-inch piece of vinyl back in the day. So, for no other rea­son than it could be fun, I’ve put to­gether a list of my 10 favourite al­bum cov­ers, all of them from a long time ago.There’s no par­tic­u­lar cri­te­ria at­tached to them. All of them hark back to an era when the al­bum cover was much more of a cul­tural arte­fact than it is to­day. Some are artis­tic, cer­tainly, but oth­ers strike a chord sim­ply be­cause of their place in the heart for a va­ri­ety of rea­sons and not al­ways be­cause of the mu­sic con­tained within. If any­one out there has a favourite al­bum cover and a good ex­pla­na­tion of why they chose it, per­haps they could email me on the sub­ject at the ad­dress be­low.

You can see an ex­tended and il­lus­trated ver­sion of the list, with a short ex­pla­na­tion on each al­bum cover, on our web­site at www.theaus­tralian.com.au/arts. Here it is: 1. (1979) — The Clash

Graeme Base’s Cat Em­pire cre­ation

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.