Scott Walker – Tilt

Author: Colin | Published: 20/7/08

Artist: Scott Walker
Title: Tilt
Label: Fontana
Year: 1995
Designer: Cover photography and image manipulation – David Scheinmann, Concept and hand – Scott Walker, Studio photography – Phil Knott, Art direction and design – Stylorouge.
Type of music: Devastating
Notes: You might think this isn’t a particularly remarkable piece of design and you might be right. However, the layout of the words, the paring down of sentences into knotted clusters clearly reflects Scott Walker’s stripping away of surface to reach into the essence of experience/sensation/thought/impulse/feeling. (What is left at the end of that process is up to the listener to make sense of.) The main image – hands, feathers, the unblinking eye of an owl or hawk, the implication of darkness, perhaps desperation, flight – is tremendously visually intuitive when related to Tilt’s journeys, passages, angles, feelings. I even love the Fontana CD label with its burgundy red and gold, redolent of the labels of earlier periods.

Scott Walker’s music and words are, in my opinion, some of the very greatest of the twentieth century. It’s with Tilt that visual design and music become nearly synonymous for me. How to separate them? I wonder whether it’s even necessary to contemplate, but it’s entirely relevant to the mission of Hard Format – Tilt wouldn’t be the same without these blurred images, these muted colours, this layout.

And here it is in its scratched and mussed-up jewel case:

I’m going to cover The Drift soon here. Vaughan Oliver’s design is an admirable counterpart to the dark horror of Scott Walker’s most recent recording. While I was writing this post, I wondered for the first time whether Tilt was ever released on vinyl. Turns out it was, in the US only on Drag City. Time to secure a copy.

See also: Scott Walker – Who Shall Go To The Ball? And What Shall Go To The Ball?

Non-Format – Black Devil Disco Club

Author: Colin | Published: 19/7/08
Previous Robag Wruhme – The Lost Archives 1998-2007 Next Scott Walker – Tilt

Black Devil Disco Club

Link: Non-Format – Black Devil Disco Club

Robag Wruhme – The Lost Archives 1998-2007

Author: justin | Published: 18/7/08
Previous Data 70 – Space Loops, Volume One and Two Next Non-Format – Black Devil Disco Club

robag wruhme - front cover

Artist: Robag Wruhme
Release: The Lost Archive 1998-2007
Label: Musik Krause
Year: 2007
Designer: Toci & Robag
Type of music: Electronic
Notes: Lovely, simple embossed card cover.

Data 70 – Space Loops, Volume One and Two

Author: Colin | Published: 13/7/08
Previous The World’s First Album Cover – Alex Steinweiss’ Greatest Hit Next Robag Wruhme – The Lost Archives 1998-2007

Data 70

Data 70

Data 70

Data 70

Data 70

Data 70

Data 70

Artist: Data 70
Release: Space Loops, Volume One and Two
Label: Enraptured
Year: 2008
Designer: Volume one: Data 70 and Timmy!, Volume two: Data 70 and Sam Combes
Type of music: Analogue electronica
Notes: First seen on the redoubtable Gutterbreakz blog. Delicious retro 7″ styling (5 tracks per side!), not a million miles from Ghost Box, but more unassumingly playful.

The World’s First Album Cover – Alex Steinweiss’ Greatest Hit

Author: Colin | Published: 10/7/08
Previous Studio – Yearbook 2 Next Data 70 – Space Loops, Volume One and Two

One of the authors of the ‘Undependent’ blog writes:

While there is no shortage of interest in the album cover medium, there’s no obvious web page out dedicated to the world’s first record cover. I’m apparently I’m not the only one looking for it (See: “Anyone have a scan?“) I’ve seen scattered images from articles about Steinweiss but I’ve not found anything resembling a Shrine.

The post is fascinating for the scans and commentary provided. Only hesitation is that the recommended book on Steinweiss contains the following assertion by an Amazon reviewer:

Apart from the fact that some of his equally interesting later paintings have been reproduced only in monochrome, my only criticism would be about the (unresearched) assumption that Steinweiss was the first (with Columbia) to produce record cover art, in particular for record albums. While this might possibly be true in the USA, it is certainly not at all true in the UK, where both Columbia and HMV had coloured artwork designs on album covers in the early 1920s (and earlier): for instance, the pre-electric Gilbert and Sullivan HMV albums, starting with ‘The Mikado’ in April 1918. Other ‘beautifully illustrated albums’ for special sets (with artwork inside as well as outside) appeared before the end of the First World War; Liza Lehmann’s ‘In a Persian Garden’ has a coloured artwork illustration for each album disc as well as coloured cover art, a quite expensive printing exercise in those days.

Well worth reading all the same:
Undependent post
Amazon UK book on Steinweiss

Studio – Yearbook 2

Author: Colin | Published: 7/7/08
Previous Lindstrom – Where You Go I Go Too Next The World’s First Album Cover – Alex Steinweiss’ Greatest Hit

Seen on ISO50 The Visual Work of Scott Hansen whose blog is well worth reading: lots of design-related goodness.

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