Album Covers of the Year 2013

Every year, we interview a number of musicians and artists for the intimate details and philosophical underpinnings of their album cover artwork. It’s an ever-massive undertaking, but we make sure to include ever genre, from doom metal to disco, minimal electronic to mainstream pop, with the intention of highlighting the best visual art, regardless of why or who created it.


Massimiliano Grandoni Artist Interview: Expressing the Poetry of Quantifiable Matter

There is a somber weight inherent within the images of Italian visual artist Massimiliano Grandoni. With emotive composites of illustration and digital collage, he reveals eloquently phrased questions relating to physicality, to purpose and to categorized identity. The represented human characters appear to share a single world not only in aesthetic, but through essential symbolism and even metaphysical conflict.


Lucas Simões Photographer Interview – Desretratos: Communicating Transience and Character through Deconstructed Portraiture

“In this series of works, I invited intimate friends over to tell me a secret as I took their portrait. However, my intention was not to hear their secret, but to capture the expressions of each one at the moment they revealed their secret. I also asked each one to choose a song for me to listen to in my earphones while I photographed them. And, after the photo session, I asked each one if the secret had a color, and these are the colors the portraits carry. From this photo shooting session, I chose 10 different portraits to cut and overlap.” - Lucas Simões, Photographer & Architect


The Body – To Attempt Openness Music Video (w/ Band & Alexander Barton Artist Interview)

This audio-visual collaboration between Portland-based avant-garde metal outfit, The Body, and NYC mixed media artist Alexander Barton has been a long time coming, a homage to an enduring friendship. Combining their mutual shared interest in intensity, abstraction, and religious themes, the music video for “To Attempt Oneness” pits The Body’s guttural, distorted screams and noisy, rumbling guitars against Barton’s bleeding ink painting — an extension of his earlier performance which used real pig’s blood. The final product holds a viewer’s fascination with its impressively slow and minimal unfolding, the most entertaining way possible to watch paint dry.


Bryan Olson Collage Artist Interview: Ultrastructures & Human Placement in Space

To express questions of context, displacement and fragmented identity, what better medium could there be than the nature of assemblage in collage? Image artifacts are laid bare while hypothetical situations construct parallel universes. The familiar falls in rhythm with the bizarre. Framed in conscious composition, such vivid and dreamlike landscapes are manipulated at the hands of North Carolina-based collage artist Bryan Olson. Olson interprets the remains of vintage magazines and other paper paraphernalia to illustrate a recreated mythology.


Top Vintage Polish Film Posters: A Comparative Interview w/ Eye Sea Posters & The Affiche Studio

Generally brightly-colored and psychedelic in nature, Polish film, theatre, and circus posters from the mid-1940s through the 1980s have played a major role on inspiring modern poster art and graphic design. Supported at the time by the Polish government and arguably transformed into the prime form of art in the nation, Polish posters are known for their ability to hint at deeper meanings and personalities through allusion and metaphor, initially seen only as bold strokes of visual fancy. Their history is a complex and dynamic one worthy of many more words, influenced equally by Communism and politics as the state of the international arts scene of the time.

In this comparative interview, we speak with two creative studios — Eye Sea Posters, based in the United Kingdom and dedicated to poster archiving and reselling, and The Affiche Studio, which is based in the United States and dedicated to poster restoration — on just what makes Polish posters so compelling, to this day.


Butoh Dancing (舞踏): Discovering Emptiness, Embodiment & Environment in an Archeology of Body

Butoh dancing (舞踏) is an expression of body that has found relevance outside of its roots in Japan, across cultures and generations.

“Butoh, as [with] so many true arts, contains the beautiful spectrum of being. Often these first looks at Butoh are early works of suffering individuals. I have found that once the repressed or taboo aspects of life and the soul are allowed to naturally surface through the body and art, the lightness and loving joy must also be revealed.” - Maureen Freehill, Seattle-based Butoh dancer


Layla Sailor Photographer Interview: A History & Reinterpretation of the Classical Russian Headress, the Kokoshnik

Layla Sailor’s gorgeous photo series, Kokoshnik, examines the traditional Russian headdress in a gloriously colorful and modern fashion. Historically worn by married women from the 16th to 19th centuries, the customary kokoshnik is generally characterized by a nimbus crest-like shape and decorative design. By contrast, Layla’s photos, a collaboration with designer Lisa Stannard, are an apt abstraction of the traditional headdress, incorporating lively geometric forms as well floral and animalistic elements, while honoring the intense, ornate design of the traditional pieces.


TOKiMONSTA – “Clean Slate” / Toki’s Monstas Animated Interactive Music Video (w/ Director & Artist Interviews)

“I think music videos will only become more engaging and interactive. I think the concept of a MV being only limited to video format will also be a thing of the past.” - TOKiMONSTA

“For over thirty years, music videos had to be 4:3 audio/visual tracks under five minutes that MTV could rotate through their lineup. Now they can be experiences that utilize the full range of immersive technology available.” - Jeff Greco of fourclops ::)


Transformational Festivals: Where Ecstatic Spirit and Sonic Celebration Unite (w/ Timeline & Preview Guide)

“We’re not just trying to give people a place to go and dance and listen to music. Instead, we’re trying to inspire people to gather, celebrate and learn in a responsible and healthy way so they can inspire change in the world when they leave.” – Dede Flemming, Lightning in a Bottle

“…Our greatest success would be for even one participant to have a life-changing empowering experience: the young music lover who tries meditation for the first time, the old wisdom keeper who dances to electronic music for the first time and experiences that magic, the soulmates who meet at the tea lounge. It is those small moments that are huge to us, and it is the magic of those kinds of experiences that is our main inspiration.” – Edwin John Leskin, Ryan Fearon, Gratifly