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on 17 November 2005
The music library is a collection of the most beautiful/exciting/innovative record sleeves that until now, only a few privileged people in the world have ever seen!
The covers displayed are culled from the vast quantity of library music lps produced from the 1960's onwards - This was the heyday of library music production. This music was shipped all over the world and used in countless radio and tv programmes. Where there is a record, there is a cover...and more and more library labels broke out of the generic one-sleeve-fits-all attitude and started producing custom artwork for every different lp.
This cover art often invoked an aspect of the music contained on the accompanying record - at its simplist leve, a record solely containing strings would have violin's and cello's adorning the cover! However, as the music got more abstract through the very experimental 60's/70's periods, then so did the covers.
You often look at the covers wondering a million things - That cover is incredible, I hope the music is...What went through the designers mind when creating this piece...Where can I find this record...Hmm I can use this font for my next album sleeve...
This is the beauty of this work - It can be pondered over, recycled into your next design, used a a research tool and just be be adored.
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on 21 November 2005
Designed for mass consumption, library records often featured pastiches of the popular styles of the day. This resulted in bitter-drinking, suit-wearing pianists with a family to support making far-out psychedelic rock and big band jazzers laying down avant-garde electronic futurism.
As is often the case with pastiche, the library records ended up being far weirder and, paradoxically, more creative and original than the styles they were copying. With an invisable audience and none of the usual pressures like reviews and sales to worry about, top session men like Alan Hawkshaw, jazz-classical pioneer Basil Kirchin, and a pre-Led Zepplin Jimmy Page could let rip with music for a chase scene - usually under a pseudonym - before heading off to the pub for lunch.
As CDs took over from vinyl in the eighties music libraries cleared out their old stock, releasing them onto the private collectors’ market and revealing a fact previously unknown to all bar a few musicians: these albums had fantastic covers.
With no famous names to go on a striking images was the only way of catching the attention of potential clients, hence such classics as ‘Musique Idiote’ by Roger Roger and ‘Feelings’ by Italian easy jazz maestro Stefano Terrosi.
‘Ah yes, ‘Feelings’... good hip hop break on that one. Goes for £1,000 on eBay,’ reflects Jonny Trunk, a hopeless library addict who has collaborated with the London design agency Fuel to produce ‘The Music Library’, a collection of 325 of the greatest album covers never seen. ‘There’s a big collecting cult around library records now. Some of it is simply down to it’s rarity, but the beautiful covers and strangeness of the music has a lot to do with it too.’
Founder member of the Specials Jerry Dammers puts it’s appeal down to the way it ‘seems to get every musical genre just wrong enough to make it sound twisted and different - ie, great.’ Record library albums are pure pop art - and best of all, they’re free from any pop stars that might let you down.
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on 27 December 2005
if you've found this page and your reading what others think, you are obiviously curious about this book - just buy it.
some of the sleeves are simply stunning, some are ugly and some are simply insane but all are great to pour of in detail.
the accompanying cd with the book offered an amazing groovy insight into how a few of these glorious albums sounded to...
dive in.
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on 7 December 2007
Opening this book is like lifting a coffin lid and discovering a treasure trove. Inside are hundreds of budget sleeves, some amazing, some extraordinary and some downright appalling but all part of a dogged anthem to a more innocent age. And if there is a hell that one should enter by descending in an old draw-gate elevator then the lift-music playing would certainly be from the free CD accompanying this marvelous tome... no question. I strongly recommend this book.
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