It would be trite of me to bemoan to decline of the physical format as a means of distributing when this blog disseminates so much music for the consumption of anyone who happens to stumble through.
The rise of digital formats and online distribution is a subject which has generated much heated debate, and whilst we all have our opinions on its worth and legitimacy, I’m not going to go into too much depth about it in this post.
Whilst I spend a lot of time and bandwidth investigating new bands and sampling their releases, I still purchase a lot of vinyl. This used to be because I had some kind of innate suspicion of digital media, as something that seems ephemeral, difficult to pin down, there is something comforting about holding an object in your hands, protecting it, archiving it, and bringing it out on special occasions and making an event of listening to it. A criticism which can be leveled at online downloads is that it creates a flipant approach to music in the consumer, with seemingly limitless choice and availability, it is easy to rack up huge amounts of downloads without giving the music a proper listen, art-appreciation giving way to a form of stamp collecting.
One of the best things about buying vinyl is the artwork. Big enough to act as a canvas in itself, and myriad possibilities as to the interaction between the art and the music. You can even buy 12×12″ frames in which you can proudly display your more beautifully adorned collection as you wish, and rotate as your attention span and aesthetic requirements dictate.
Perhaps it has influenced my musical development, perhaps it is just luck that the music that I listen to tends to nurture creativity in all areas, and there are so many great artists using album covers as a medium that you can pretty much sit and stare at the cover whilst the music plays and be completely captivated.
Stephen Kasner has been creating dark, strange pieces for nearly twenty years now and many of his works have been used to adorn record sleeves. Below is a selection of some of these covers and other pieces which I expect will be your desktop wallpapers by the end of the day.