Cocteau Twins – Lullabies to Violaine

Author: Colin | Published: 8/1/12

Artist Cocteau Twins
Title Lullabies to Violaine
Label 4AD
Year 2005
Design Art direction and design by Vaughan Oliver at V23. Assisted by Chris Bigg. Images by Roger Newbrook.
Music Ethereal
Notes Cocteau Twins came to prominence in my teenage years. Though some of my contemporaries were huge fans, they weren’t quite my thing. So, apart from purchases of a few 12″s a while back (see the ‘Also’ section below for links), Lullabies was my first acquisition on CD. I bought it initially for the design, but as has so often been my experience with Hard Format, it represented an opportunity to properly listen to music I might not otherwise have paid enough attention to.

Lullabies to Violaine is subtitled ‘Singles and Extended Plays 1982-1996’. It’s a truly beautiful design courtesy of a designer who specialises in a form of beauty that often shades into darkness. Here, what initially appears pretty gradually suggests something sea-like, organic like the dissected traces of a sea creature laid out upon a cool white laboratory surface: wounds, spores, things multiplying, captured just for a moment in the process of decay. The outer semi-transparent sleeve might be thought of like the opaque glass of a cabinet in which such specimens are stored.

I’m afraid my photographs can’t do this design justice. It has to be touched and examined, the silver text on the sleeve is sometimes almost invisible and has to be angled just right to catch the light and become legible. The card stock has a furry, almost skin-like texture that one wants to stroke just for the sensation of it. If you can get hold of a copy I recommend you do so.

Also Cocteau Twins, Pearly-Dewdrops’ Drops, Aikea-Guinea
Designer page: Vaughan Oliver


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