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Critique! 9 – Audiomachine – Existence

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Audiomachine creates music for motion picture advertising. You may have heard some of their scores in Prometheus, or Thor The Dark World.

The artwork for Audiomachine’s new release, Existence, was created by the fantastic Android Jones. Seeing the cover on the itunes store, it was instantly recognizable as one of Jones’ works. The artwork in it’s entirety can be seen on his facebook fan page.

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The cropped version (final album artwork) is ethereal and epic. Jones uses a rich color palette, elaborate shapes and patterns, and human figures in a way that works well with audiomachine’s orchestral music. Interestingly, the type treatment of “Existence” is reminiscent of the logo for the “Aliens” film series.

What do you think?


Critique! 8 – Mat Zo – Damage Control

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Mat Zo’s debut album “Damage Control” was released on iTunes on November 5th.
The album cover depicts a widening crack on a ground surface ending/ beginning at a point where there is a silhouette of a man standing. 

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An article on Dancing Astronaut reveals, “In a similar vein to Random Access Memories, Damage Control looks to the past for inspiration. “I was listening to a lot of 60′s and 70′s soul, punk, and pop — a lot of old music,” Zo explains.

www.dancingastronaut.com

There is great use of White space and contrast. There is also a nice feeling of distance with no additional visual cues aside from the large crack in the “ground”. Looking closely at the figure in the background you’ll notice that the man is casting a shadow which is a nice detail. The psychedelic marbling effect may be a reflection of the type of music on the album. I like how the treatment of the cover makes me think about how/if it depicts the title. Is the silhouette of the man in the background causing this earthquake or putting an end to it? The small cracks that emimate from the larger chasm are also nice details. The minimalist approach works well here.


Critique! 7 – Linkin Park – Recharged

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Released on October 25th, Linkin Park’s “Recharged” is now (11/3) #4 on the US iTunes bestsellers list.

The cover is a combination of pastel colors with many 3d elements, composited images, and highly abstract shapes and objects. The type treatment is unassuming and has plenty of breathing room.

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“Writing music in this band is like having a very intimate relationship with a schizophrenic, manic, bi-polar person,” he laughed. “One minute, you’re having a conversation with a person, the next, everything’s changed, and they’re throwing knives at you. We skip around like that, you know? I have no f—ing clue where the band is going to go, but I can tell you writing is going very well, and it’s a very inspired time right now.”

~http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1716108/linkin-park-recharged-stream.jhtml

This statement might also be speaking to the final album cover. Everything, including the cover seems disjointed and like a mishmash. I have no idea what the concept behind this was. There are too many things going on which are indecipherable.

What do you think?


Critique! 6 – Katy Perry “PRISM”

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Katy Perry’s new album PRISM was released on itunes on October 22nd. The cover features a close up of Katy Perry in a field of sunflowers with the sun in the background. The photograph was taken by Ryan McGinley. Framing the image is a greenish border with flowers. 

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The border was a poor choice and I’m not sure why it was used. It doesn’t add anything to the image. If anything, it detracts from the photograph and makes it look cheap. The centered layout of the photo, combined with the bland color choices, unnecessary borders, and weak typographic treatment contribute to a less than stellar cover. There is very low contrast and no part of the photo that really draws the eye.

There have also been a few different versions of this cover online, including one with a rainbow gradient over the photo. I don’t know if there’s ever a good reason to use a rainbow gradient. The other photos from the photoshoot look nice though.

What do you think?


Critique! 5 – Get Scared “Everyone’s Out To Get Me”

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Available now for pre-order and expected to be released on November 11th is “Everyone’s Out To Get Me” by Get Scared. The cover depicts a man in the center of a room in a huddled/ distraught posture. Surrounding this character is what looks like amorphous dark smoke with objects thrown in (a telescope, books, papers etc.)

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The line work looks crisp and well drawn. When looking at the piece there is a sense of unease, distress, and paranoia, which, judging by the title of the album, seems fitting. The color palette is harmonious. Most of the colors are muted with a few nice brighter pops of color. Regarding the wood grain, it’s really well done and not over worked. The artwork also kind of tells a story which is nice to see.

The distressed effect on the band’s logo and the messy treatment of the title work well with the overall mood of the cover.

What do you think?


Critique! 4

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One of the most talked about albums over the past few weeks has been Ylvis – The Fox (What Does The Fox Say?). Ylvis is a comedic music duo hailing from Norway. They have recently been signed by Warner Music Group, and have performed at the iHeart Radio Music Festival in Las Vegas.

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“‘The Fox’…continues to surge on the U.S. charts. The single is currently No. 25 on the Billboard Hot 100 and just cracked the Top 20 on iTunes.” – Billboard.com
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The album cover is in grayscale aside from the title, which is orange. The cover is a beautiful illustration of a fox in the center, with two fox skulls on either side. There is a crown on the fox in the center, as well as floral elements and leaves.

The Illustration is detailed and well executed using what appears to be pen ink and white plaka. It’s a little creepy and adorable at the same time. The pointslist approach on the two skulls is a nice touch and gives the illusion that they are further away than the central fox. The title does feel like an aferthought. The way the “F” is connected to the “O” bothers me and it becomes somewhat difficult to read over the illustration. The paper texture reminds me of nice Canson paper. I’m not sure if the crown and roses symbolize anything or if they are simply there as ornamentation, but either way they are an interesting addition to what could have been just a nice rendering/ interpretation of a fox and skulls.

Overall, the concept is ok, the illustration is great, and the typography isn’t up to par.

What do you think?