Covering the Album Cover: “Love, Death & Dancing”
Perhaps owing to the fact that so much of our lives is spent in a digital cloud, vinyl records have made a resurgence (hey, the world is not without a sense of irony). Record shops, once marked for extinction, are bustling, and you can even find a vinyl section at Target.
Happily, with the resurgence has come a rebirth and reexamination of the visual and tactile experience of an album.
One piece that caught our eye this week: Love, Death & Dancing, musician Jack Garratt’s sophomore effort.
Garratt won the critic’s choice selection at the 2016 Brit Awards—but expectation and anxiety paralyzed him as he worked on creating a follow-up.
After scrapping an entire album’s worth of material, he recorded what would become Love, Death & Dancing, and worked with the design studio Split to create the record’s packaging.
“By his own acknowledgement, Jack’s lyrics explore the cyclical nature of his self-destructive behavior and self-hatred,” the firm writes. “The lack of resolution he talks about is reflected in the design of the album artwork.”
For the imagery featured throughout the package, Jake Wangner shot double exposures of Garratt and paintings by Northern Ireland abstract expressionist Jack Coulter. Wangner did all the work in-camera, with virtually no post-production. With his art direction, Split’s Oli Bentley sought to capture the textures and complex arrangements of Garratt’s music.
The identity and type design, meanwhile, were the product of a conversation between Garratt and Bentley on a turbulent flight.
“Jack talked, as he does so well and so openly, of where the album came from and his own personal experiences,” Bentley says. “We talked a lot of circles, and of the themes and structures of his lyrics; of arriving back at the same point, never truly resolving—coming back to the same difficult places and situations, to ourselves, but in doing so, perhaps accepting, to be taken as we are.”
As a result, Bentley styled the ‘J’ and ‘G’ from a single icon as an endless loop—and an incomplete circle.
Check out the work below.