Color: Gray w/ multi-colored marbling
Released: 2010, March
Label: Crossroads of America
This is one of the coolest looking records in my collection. Aesthetically - before even exploring some of the printing techniques or opening the record - things are off to a great start with the beautiful imagery of the expanse of outerspace and excellent typography on the front. Look closer… that white rectangle with the type knocked out of it? That’s actually screen-printed on the clear sleeve that is holding the album cover inside. Flip it over and you see more beautiful design at play. The folded flap of the cover that is only about half the height of the front side reveals the beautiful piece of wax that the music is pressed on and a something else interesting going on with the art on the inside. So you open the thing… and you see that there is only music on one side and the flip side of the record has been screen-printed on. Then, once you fold open the cover and look at the backside you are presented with an exquisitely designed infographic detailing the field recordings used to accompany the music contained within. I could sit and stare at this packaging for hours. As a bonus, the music Metavari have composed for this release is equally captivating. All three tracks here make up one large running “narrative” if you will. We are first greeted with an ambient piece that would make Brian Eno proud… it seems barely there and yet is so rich with an emotional/contemplative weight that hangs in the air until it eventually gives way to the second track which retains some of the fragile beauty of the first but slowly builds with distorted bass guitar and rhodes(?) and other synthesized sounds. The party finally comes to a close with dance-y third track that releases any tension built up during these first two tracks. All the while, the field recordings documented in the art bring in an extra element of the story these boys are weaving sonically. These kind of pieces are highlights in my collection… records that are feasts for the eyes and are really something special musically at the same time. It’s always interesting knowing that a band counts a fairly known graphic designer in their midst (Nate Utesch) or designer who’s work you respect happens to be in a band. When these two practices come together perfectly, it’s worth taking note for sure.
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