HARDHOUND

David Sylvian – Secrets of the Beehive

Author: Colin | Published: 21/2/10

David Sylvian - Secrets of the Beehive

David Sylvian - Secrets of the Beehive

David Sylvian - Secrets of the Beehive

David Sylvian - Secrets of the Beehive

Artist David Sylvian
Title Secrets of the Beehive
Label Virgin
Year 1987
Designer Design and typography: Vaughan Oliver, artwork: 23 Envelope, still-life photography: Nigel Grierson, portrait photography: Yuka Fujii
Music Elegant, acoustic, haunted.
Notes My original vinyl version of this album thankfully lacks the CD ‘bonus’ track Forbidden Colours, addition of which is an insult to the delicate balance of the original album sequence. More is not always better. Okay, end of rant. Hard Format has featured all too few Vaughan Oliver designs (see also: Scott Walker – The Drift and Scott Walker – Who Shall Go To The Ball? And What Shall Go To The Ball?). It’s a fact we intend to rectify in the hopefully not too distant future. Oliver’s typography and layout is typically lovely here. The record cover doesn’t provide any design acknowledgements, the credits above are gleaned from discogs.com. It’s still not clear who created the delightful illustration on the cover – Vaughan or Sylvian or someone else? It reminds me of the Quay Brothers, Breugel’s Fall of Icarus and autumnal trips to the seaside. It’s a beautiful design for a gorgeous album.

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  4. The surrealist cover photography is by Vaughan Oliver’s long-time collaborator (and one half of 4AD records’ early in-house design studio 23 Envelope) Nigel Grierson. His style is recognizable across the aforementioned label’s 80s catalog, as well his videos for artists like Dead can Dance or This Mortal Coil. There’s a documentary in YouTube about the design studio’s process from that era, with Oliver and Grierson.

    Comment by Miasmae — September 5, 2020 @ 8:14 am

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