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Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Album Art - Soulwax

It's been a while since I extolled the virtues of any of my favourite album sleeves, so I'll recommence the series with one of the more recent ones that are going to crop up.

There's an Aphex Twin compilation called 26 Remixes For Cash and that sort of witty honesty in an album title always made me smile, but this Soulwax compilation takes that sentiment to a new level by giving the album title a word count of 103 (I just counted them).

Soulwax themselves are two quiet Belgians (at least, they were quiet when I met them briefly once, but I'm pretty sure they're still Belgian), so this nerdy approach to an album title, wanting to get it as accurate as possible, seems to really fit in with them as people, in the tiny way that I encountered them personally.

As with many types of artistic expression, one's interpretation of it is informed by what you know of the people (and therefore motives) behind it. A lot of bands could come up with an album title this long or descriptive and it would seem ridiculous, arrogant or completely over-thought, but, again based on having this image of Soulwax as nice, quiet guys, it makes sense and seems to come from a place of sincerity rather than anything cynically minded. In this case, it tells you a lot about the people behind the music I think, and that's always a nice thing as far as I'm concerned.

I know these posts are about album art, so why am I going on about the title? Well, of course when you look at the sleeve for this album, the title is the art. It takes up most of the cover, with just the record company logo at the bottom, and an explanatory sticker throwing some of the big names acts at you who have had their remixes included - Kylie, Klaxons, Gorillaz, Justice, Daft Punk, LCD Soundsystem. Sugababes, Robbie Williams, Gossip, DJ Shadow and Muse are some other notable names on the album.

As an extra touch the album title is even printed in full on the spine of the record, in tiny font of course, making it a cinch to find on the shelf.

The music's terrific - massive, heavy beats that always push the original forward that little bit more, rather than swamping them. And Soulwax have continued to produce great remixes after this album came out (in 2007), with MGMT's Kids remix springing to mind. Again, like the original but on steroids.

Can't wait to see what they'll call their career retrospective box-set in 30 years time.

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