In our 2012 Album Covers of the Year feature, we once again get our hands on everyone we can. Through interviews with designers, musicians, labels, and plenty of others, we take a close look at just how many hands are in the pot when it comes to the album artwork process.
Inside this feature are 98 album covers spanning a wide array of sonic and visual styles, each selected for its own unique contribution to the world. They are not ranked; instead, they are broken down into sections based on conceptual underpinnings or artistic mediums, and then are displayed on spectrums.
Considering everyone has been getting their panties in a wad about the genius of 21-year-old Nicolas Jaar, it seems to make sense that his next project — a collaboration with Dave Harrington (of ARMS) would excel ridiculously. Their first show sold out Music Hall Of Williamsburg despite the fact that they have only one 3-track EP under their shared electronic belt. The world is watching, and no wonder… this is Jaar’s genius expanded into a package that is not only danceable, but accessible. A James Blake level of prodigy that Americans can be proud of owning (well, kind of, as he was partially raised in Chile, but we’ll take it). SXSW will be their second ever show in the United States. (Please play our SXSW show, guys.)
Released earlier this year, Headcage packs quite memorable style into its ~15-minute EP duration. One of the most intriguing parts of it, though, lies in how Dear treats the vocals. The scratchy vocal depth on “Headcage” practically comes from the mouth of the Sandman, and seems to embrace death with surreal depiction:
I suspect as I speak
Your hair grows down to your knees
Let it pass through your hands
Follow me into the sand
If you need to go to sleep man
“Headcage” is the record’s first single, followed by “In The Middle” featuring Jonny Pierce. Here, the EP turns a brighter cheek. Clear vocals seem to fly in an ocean breeze, the most uninhibited on the record, while looping vocal samples form a joyful percussive background. (Stream this track — arguably the best on the EP — below.)
In the remaining tracks, “Street Song” incorporates trailing phantom particle vocal lines, and “Around A Fountain” seems nearly the work of a capella vocal loops, save for some percussive elements and minimal synths.