Sunday, 2 March 2014

Traces: the cover design

With just a day to go before I unleash my new album, Traces - almost a year in the making - I thought I'd explain my thinking behind the cover design.

The basic concept of Traces is that of dreams and memories – and their convergence in our subconscious. A common dream theme is the sea, which has often been described by dream analysts as the transition between the conscious and subconscious. It has also been suggested that a dream of the sea, water, waves, etc is representative of our emotions.

I’ve certainly had dreams in such an environment, and it was also a recurring setting in some of the books I was reading whilst making the album. And who hasn't felt totally at ease and relaxed when staring out into the sea? All of this made me think more and more that the album artwork needed to be a sea view.

It’s the first photographic album cover I’ve done in a while – and long overdue. Initially I had planned an entirely black cover with just the ‘TRACES’ lettering, and similarly typographic artwork for the booklet, leaving it completely open to interpretation. But the more the music evolved, the less I felt a black cover would represent it. I wanted muted colours and something dreamy. Plus, as a synaesthete, it was important at least to me, to get the 'colours' right across both the cover and the music!

After looking through my own photographs, I settled on one particular shot, which had just the right composition. I worked on the colouring for a subtle effect, with hues that in my mind matched the music. Through the colouring, I wanted to give an ordinary scene, just that gentle hint of something extraordinary.

Many of the images I used in the rest of the artwork convey the reflective and nostalgic mood of the album, but in a slightly more detached way. I had been experimenting with a video for the title track using some old archive film footage that made a nice juxtaposition with the music. So I took stills of these as complimentary images.

Traces will be available from Bandcamp on CD and MP3 from 3rd March 2014.

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