Saturday, 3 September 2016

Under Hipgnosis

My last post included a link to the Hipgnosiscovers website, an incredible resource of album packaging by the great design house. Well worth a visit. Combing thru the archive earlier, a few designs caught my eye (although not necessarily for the same reason).

The first of these is the eponymous 1971 album by the Edgar Broughton Band, which originally came in one of those wraparound gatefold sleeves. This one would be shocking enough even if it didn’t include a morbid detail that slowly reveals itself within the shot…



My second choice is another great gatefold landscape, designed for British rock outfit Quatermass whose single solitary 1970 album features one of Hipgnosis’ most striking disjunctive photomontages - a squadron of pterodactyls swooping between two skyscrapers, anticipating Larry Cohen’s Q The Winged Serpent by a decade…



The next two album covers, I selected purely for the sheer weirdness of their concepts - one wonders what the bands were thinking when they approved them. The first, featured on 1978's Misplaced Ideals by UK band Sad Cafe looks like a dry run for Hipgnosis' subsequent cover for Peter Gabriel's "Melt" album, but such a far out (and rather grotesque) design feels at odds with the band's innocuous pop soul, and a world away from the soft-porn Roxy Music style cover of their first LP.



The second of these head-scratchers is one of the most bizarre album covers I've seen in quite a while - hard rock band Toe Fat's second album from 1970 which features miniature band members in a landscape of rotting chicken carcass and other decomposing food. Perhaps Hipgnosis had an idea to replicate one of Max Ernst's landscapes (Europe After the Rain or The Eye of Silence) but it's rather nauseating...


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