Clara Moto - Blue DistanceClara Moto Blue Distance InFiné MusicClara Moto's Blue Distance is the Lost In Translation of bass music. It sounds like driving down an endless expanse of black glass highway with the radio on, shooting towards the horizon while memories retreat like tail lights in the rearview. This Austrian producer's second feature-length for InFiné Music revolves around the theme of remoteness, the feeling of endless travel and longing, and the inevitable distance between a performer and her audience. Blue Distance takes its name from a poem by Sylvia Plath, the patron saint of loneliness. This combination of classical poetry and 21st-century electronic music offers a good summary of what one can expect.
James Blake Overgrown (2013) Universal Republic Few artists are as conscious of their position in the music industry as James Blake. Seemingly spawned from the hype of music blogs and the irresistible "Limit To Your Love" cover which made him famous, Blake knows how volatile and fickle the wicked cycle of fame can be. But such awareness is not necessarily a bad thing; in fact, it is what has driven him to be successful even when the situation was unfair. At the time of his debut album -- a record which he was pressured to piece together by his record label -- Blake felt cheated out of the ability to craft an album he could truly call his own. On Overgrown, however, Blake has crafted a world all his own. And it's as beautiful as anything he has ever created before. In setting the scene, it's important to note the kind of relationship(s) Blake has been in since his bedroom producer days. Much has already been made of his long term relationship with Warpaint guitarist Theresa Wayman, but it's an important development that even Blake has admitted to be an influence on Overgrown. In a recent Guardian interview, when asked about being in love and if it affected his process, Blake responded, "Yeah, it did. And the uncertainty also did. The uncertainty of the nature of the relationship. The uncertainty of touring. The uncertainty of the music industry, and the uncertainty of my position in it." It's an important shift in lifestyle that bears its weight on the whole of Overgrown, a record more grounded in soulful, downtempo electronica than the booming stretch of dubstep EPs he began his career making. Be it the sound itself or the record's lyrical content, Overgrown is the natural evolution of a brilliant artist in his early twenties.

 

Our third-annual album cover art feature uses interviews with artists and musicians to highlight the philosophical, thematic, and conceptual significance of great album cover artwork. THE BREAKDOWN    12 Collage + 14 Digital Illustration, Drawing, Design + 19 Illustration, Painting, Drawing + 8 Black And White Photography + 22 Color Photography + 6 Deluxe Packaging + 10 Fashion, Sculpture, Installation _____________________________    91 Album Covers For 2011 Best Of 2011 Album Cover Art

Apteka - Gargoyle Days
Despite never having met one another, Portland designer Dylan McConnell and Chicago's Apteka have grown a well-fitting artistic relationship through the years. McConnell's album cover for Gargoyle Days may be their most gripping collaboration yet.

QUOTES FROM: DYLAN MCCONNELL, DESIGNER ADAM LUCAS, APTEKA'S GUITARIST AND VOCALIST THEMES & CONCEPTS "We had worked with a sorta paranoid, dark op-art theme in the past for posters and albums (with a brief interlude of lopping off girls' heads). High contrast and fluid -- that's what I was going for." - Dylan McConnell COLLABORATION "We've been working with Dylan pretty much since the band formed. He's done all our cover art, and most all of our show posters so far. Things clicked from the beginning. He just has a knack of taking what we're doing musically and expressing it in a visual way. The funniest part is that we've never really met. He lives in Portland, and we're in Chicago. A mutual friend turned us on to him, but we've never had the chance to meet in person. It's all been through email. Which is kind of a weird way to communicate artistic intentions, but somehow it works, and he’s become this mysterious fifth member of the group." - Adam Lucas Record Label Carpark Records The Artists Design - Dylan McConnell Mediums & Materials Collage, Digital, Typography (hand-drawn)

When I think of Asthmatic Kitty, my ears immediately conjure sounds of organic acoustic guitars, beautiful harmonies, and, of course, banjos. Artists like Sufjan Stevens, DM Stith, and The Welcome Wagon all come to mind, but the label's newest release from Epstein borrows little from the label's pedigree. Sealess See...

The instant I heard the opening track and single off Nedry's debut album, Condors, I was excited. I began promoting it on a personal level, sharing it with all my friends with even a remote interest in electronic-influenced music. As far as I was concerned, Nedry were smart and deserving of attention. With the single, "A42", they took the initiative of incorporating the popular fad of dubstep rock music, creating a hybrid that is not just uncommon, but surprisingly effective.

 

Released on Monotreme Records
Nedry @ The Social, London, UK - Photography by Sebastien Dehesdin

 

Releasing albums for the end of the year is like the Oscar push. Those put out too early, save for a few, generally get left behind in the dust by easily excitable individuals like myself. There are worse things that can happen in life, but the fact that...