Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Cover art for "The Sydney Highrise Variations"

We have here the front (up top) and back CD art for our poetry score to The Sydney Highrise Variations. We found them hanging on the wall at The Toy Box, the renovated garage studio in Nashville where Three Fried Men holed up this past weekend to work on the score.

The drawings are by Lij and date from his undergraduate days as an architecture student at Washington University, back when he was known by the name his mama gave him, Elijah Shaw. Elijah Anderson Shaw, if you must know.

The photograph of the front cover image is compromised, because it is hanging on the wall behind a spiral staircase, which requires contortion on the part of the cameraman to get a clean shot of it. But it's a nice picture for the cover of the CD. It even has the right dimensions - and it was drawn in the late 1980s, when not very many people were thinking about CDs.

And how about that wide open white space in the middle of the frame, just perfect for the hand-lettering of the album title, The Sydney Highrise Variations?

Matt Fuller, our art director and "Invisible Hand" in control of all of our destinies, immediately recognized these as apt images for the CD, once I suggested it. He made the obvious objection to the cover image - it's not a highrise - but I reminded him that the poem rejects highrises more than it celebrates them. It's nostalgic for the city when it was "a five-story city," "fire-ladder high."

"That's a five-story city," Matt said, looking at Lij's old college drawing. "That's fire-ladder high." Exactly.

For the back image, we will use a detail of the bottom drawing, just the skyway. The spaces between the windows will be used to fit credit text, such as contributing artists (Les Murray, Three Fried Men, Middle Sleep, Robert Goetz, Frank Heyer) and producers (certainly Matt and me, though Lij and Dave Melson may also earn production credits before this is all over).

I also see nice open corners to scroll Robert Goetz's beautiful Poetry Scores logo.
One less problem in the process of finishing this thing. Oh, going with a conventional CD design also will save us loads of money on the design and printing side, compared to the deluxe treatment we gave to Go South for Animal Index in 2007. The cheaper we print it, the cheaper we can sell in - in a year when everybody is broke.

No comments: