Album Covers of the Year 2014
In contrast to modern patterns in music consumption comes our annual Album Covers of the Year feature, where, instead of forgetting album artwork even exists, we hyperextend ourselves to assert that it is an artform that is vitally connected to the spirit of the music. This feature, which is divided at times into thematic elements and at times into artistic medium, incorporates interviews with not only musicians, but also artists involved throughout the artistic process. We pride this list in being diverse and multi-faceted, as well as philosophically exploratory. See all of our entries from previous years or get started by choosing a category below. Happy travels through the artistic universe we've crafted for you.
As the Northern Hemisphere goes full blast into the wintry days, those in the Southern Hemisphere are in for hotter and sweatier times, perfect for feel-good sounds that scream of sunshine and socialization more than darkness and hermitude. South African Music - Feel Good Mixtape Curated by UmliloAfter our experimental foray into South African house music proved to delight audiences domestically and abroad, we've invited the androgynous genre-hopping musician Umlilo to offer up a hand-picked selection of noteworthy South African musicians, as marked with the seal of approval by a local. So before we launch into the mixtape, complete with Umlilo's thoughtfully written track descriptions, please enjoy his latest music video for "The Elements", which shows off his interest in fashion, gender-bending, and explorations of vocal styles galore.

Umlilo - "The Elements" Music Video

Remix City Sifting through mountains of remix trash so you don't have to, in an attempt to find the ones that contribute to their originals. Here we feature a group of amazing remixes from the likes of Poolside, FaltyDL and Planningtorock.

 

When Saints Go Machine

The originally haunting and brilliant track from When Saints Go Machine, "Mannequin", was one of their best and most accessible works to date. The Copenhagen-based group have worked with Planningtorock in the past, remixing her single "Living it Out" from last year's spectacular W. With "Mannequin," Planningtorock does some of her most devilish production, warping and distorting the original vocals into something even more powerful than they were on the original. Much like the rest of her catalogue, the remix is atmospheric and thundering, the kind of music that can't be turned up loud enough. The smash of drums and synths between each verse is not only mesmerizing, but the sinking of the music to a quiet tone during each verse makes each round even more powerful than the last. When Saints Go Machine - "Mannequin" (Planningtorock Remix) When Saints Go Machine - "Mannequin" (Original)

 

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

Adventure - Lesser Known
Using a purely spontaneous creative process that begins with nothing more than a general interest, Elena Johnston created an album cover for Adventure that musically and thematically captures the band's dynamic spirit.
QUOTES FROM: ELENA JOHNSTON, DESIGNER THEMES & CONCEPTS "I had been working with the idea of framing compelling found images with other found images to play with texture and spacial relations. I was also really into water imagery and space imagery at the time, so I played with how these two ideas visually and conceptually play with each other." THE EXTRAS "I hand-drew the typography, and it was eventually printed in glossy ink onto the matte finish of the image, so it stands out more." Record Label Carpark Records The Artists Design - Elena Johnston Booklet Design - Benny Boeldt Mediums & Materials Collage, Digital
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Adventure "Rio" by Carpark Records