“… drawing a fine line between the sublime and the ordinary, the initial presentation criteria have been the aesthetic quality of the imagery, the nature of its production, the relationship to the music on the record and obviously my personal attachment …”
Drum & Bass Record Sleeves
Something completely different for the last post of 2016; instead of the music per se, the next installment of the blog’s ‘Count To Ten’ series is dedicated to artwork design, an essential aspect of the physical product. The size and tactile experience of the record sleeve is one of the reasons why vinyl records remain the most enjoyable way to listen to music. The recent vinyl resurgence has rekindled the art of the record layout. Whether it’s hand-made or mass-produced, meticulously arranged or spontaneously created, the cover artwork adds a literal dimension to the music that a digital thumbnail simply cannot replicate.
Tuesday morning, October 1993
He is staring anxiously at the classroom clock counting the nanoseconds. It’s almost 10 and in about an hour or so the boxes with the new releases at the record store downtown are bound to open. There is no way he can make it before 2, unless he skips the last hour at school. He already knows that’s exactly what he is going to do.
The guy behind the counter had promised him that the tunes he was searching for the last weeks would be included in those boxes. It was not the first time the guy made such a promise just to get rid of him, but it didn’t worth the risk. He had to be there in person; phone-calls were never effective. Everybody, who has been at a record store more than twice, can tell a story about a record in a shelf already reserved for a radio producer, a dj or a mate of the store owner.
His impatience was intensified by the fact that every Tuesday morning all the big dogs of the scene would be there. He was a bit intimidated by them and the fact that they always had priority over him to listen to the tunes in the private booth was a bit frustrating. He could not spend as much as they did, as his only resource was his weekly allowance, so their priority status, however irritating it was, actually made sense.
He enters the record store which is already packed and many familiar faces are already searching the shelves and discussing with the guys behind the counter. There is a queue on the decks where one can hear a preview of a record before he can buy it. He heads directly to the jungle/breakbeat section. He knows that the possibility to find on the shelves the records he was looking for is much greater than to find them behind the counter. He’s right! Two records of the list are already there along with a couple of promos he should definitely check out. He picks them all up and visits the other sections waiting for a slot in the private booth. Continue reading