Another year of our favorites in Top Album Cover Artwork, and once again, we interview musicians and artists on the often-underappreciated work that goes into creating a product that not only tickles your ears, but speaks to your eyes and hearts. Album artwork, though often...

It’s tempting to think of SXSW Eco as the weird hippie brother of the massive music-film-interactive-free-vodka-was-that-Bill-Murray-and-RZA? festival. In reality, SXSW Eco is South By Southwest’s chic sister, just back from Les Ateliers and looking for ways to change the world while classing the joint up...

"I certainly have patterns and systems that I use, and I have a cache in my mind of certain shapes that follow other shapes -- but I'm totally working intuitively. I'm trying really hard to let my brain not get involved." - Julie Alpert...

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.

Dustin Wong Takako Minekawa - She He See Feel Music Video
Building on his tendency of taking music video creation into his own hands, Dustin Wong has, quite appropriately, collaborated with musical co-conspirator Takako Minekawa on making the "She He See Feel" music video. The track is taken from the duo's latest record on Thrill Jockey, entitled Savage Imagination, and the imagination here is savage, indeed. Chroma-keyed imagery is overlaid upon warped, pulsing backgrounds, heightening the manic video game-inspired nature of the music -- and beneath the bedazzling and head-scratching effects of the videos lies pun-filled lyrical content about "flying over a desert via feeling, consciousness, and physics." No shit. In the Q&A interview below, both musicians speak to collaborating together, the relationship between gender roles and cutesiness in Japanese society, and concepts way more profound than one might expect from the music video.__ JAPANESE TRANSLATION BY MORGAN HARKNESS
Dustin Wong Takako Minekawa - She He See Feel Music Video
"... When we express our feelings with visual things (using emoticons and text to dissect them) instead of spoken words and letters, everything and lots of things become heavier coming out. It's all the same water. Discrimination, wars, gender issues... girlfriends, boyfriends, looking, feeling. A prism collects light, and then diffuses light. We are the same light, and we all shine in different ways." - Takako Minekawa

To trace one's own path from infancy to adulthood can sometimes mean ascribing new meaning to past events. It can mean uncovering moments that seemed innocuous at the time of their happening, only to discover later that they were, in fact, profoundly moving. Nature and ritualistic dance, two prime inspirations for Southern California artist Nathan Hayden, came to him down the pipeline of experience, in the form of significant life events he can now place importance upon as an adult. These moments, coupled with Hayden's curiosities towards the world-at-large, make him an artist that is ever-synthesizing and ever-seeking, eager to experiment and follow his many multidisciplinary whims.
Nathan Hayden Artist Interviewwhat was meant to be here was no longer, 2014, ink on industrial felt
"I'm just trying to access the possibilities of other things, and in the same way that I look at art throughout history and nature for little pieces of those other realms, I'm hoping that I can be a part of that process and for people to get a peek into other realms by looking at my stuff, that might bring about stuff that I can't even imagine." - Nathan Hayden

Portland, OR based art-collective-of-two MSHR have had a busy year. Birch Cooper and Brenna Murphy deepened their self-mythologizing practice during a residency at NYC's Eyebeam and just returned from Langenthal, Switzerland, where they constructed the sister show to this year's Time-Based Art Festival (TBA) installation. All this work means the TBA crowd gets more MSHR than ever before - more complex interlocking shapes of ambiguous signification, more mind-bending feedback loops of sound and light and, notable for the group's artistic evolution, more physical space, as the installation sprawls out in a large corner of the warehouse-like Fashion Tech building.
MSHR's installation, Resonant Entity Modulator, is showing daily until September 30th from 12 to 6pm with a performance by the duo on September 19th at 10pm not to be missed.

MSHR

MSHR
"Where we're at right now, it doesn't make sense for us to join a preexisting community or culture that has a set of rules or traditions. That can't happen for us, but we want that -- everyone wants that -- and with this project, we're creating our own sacred spaces and traditions. Pathways in. And up." - Brenna Murphy, MSHR

 

"Although our work has a visual component, our work is more about a virtual realm. There are these invisible, virtual hyper-chambers that are there. - Birch Cooper, MSHR
MSHR Artist Collective Interview