JamieTwort
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03.30.14 JT's 2014: Q1 03.19.14 Emotional, Beautiful, Evocative, Otherw
02.28.14 Recs For Sputnik Pt. 11 01.03.14 Bob Dylan Day
12.23.13 JT's 2013 List: Top 50 11.24.13 Top 10 Porcupine Tree Songs
10.10.13 Recs For Sputnik Pt. 1009.09.13 Album Artwork
07.30.13 Recs For Sputnik Pt. 9 07.21.13 Top 10 Opeth Songs
07.17.13 Top 10 Underrated Jethro Tull Songs07.08.13 Recent Purchases
06.28.13 JT's 2013: Second Quarter06.10.13 Recs For Sputnik Pt. 8
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04.25.13 Another Prog Thursday List04.20.13 Record Store Day Purchases
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Album Artwork

I've often considered album artwork to be a lot more than just the packaging of an album. For me a well thought out album cover can shape the feel of an album and complement the music within. This list includes some album artwork that I think is particularly effective. Note: this isn't a definitive top 20 album covers list and it's definitely not ranked.
1Eluvium
Talk Amongst the Trees


I've often thought album artwork to be particularly important when it comes to ambient music as it can often help shape the feel and atmosphere that the music evokes. This album is a good example of that as whenever I listen to this album I almost feel as though I am being transported to the surreal, misty and calming place depicted in the artwork.
2Witxes
Sorcery/Geography


Here I am referring to the original artwork, not the more recent reissue artwork (although I think that cover is very effective too: http://f0.bcbits.com/img/a1805640247_10.jpg). Again, as with Eluvium, the artwork is surreal and creates an atmosphere similar to that of the music itself.
3Mathias Grassow
Transpersonal


Although at first this may seem a rather dull album cover, I find that the photograph of the perfectly still river links in with the reflective and contemplative nature of the album, particularly that of Evoking the Stillness. The style and layout of the cover follows the same trend as many of Grassow's other albums.
4Venn Rain
Diamond Dust


This is another cover that I feel helps shape the overall feel and atmosphere of the album. The cold calmness and tranquillity of the image is reflected in the album's minimal and atmospheric soundscapes.
5Mirrorring
Foreign Body


In terms of its visual content this image seems to depict very little, retaining a certain level of ambiguity, but yet at the same time has a lot of depth to it (specifically towards the bottom half). Again I find that the feel of the image complements that of the music.
6Emuul
The Drawing of the Line


It's strange how a seemingly simple out-of-focus photograph can be so effective in combination with ambient music. Something about the ambiguity of an image like this seems to resonate with me when I listen to music of this style. There is a reference to the album's title in what the image actually depicts but (by being out of focus) it's presented in quite a subtle, ambiguous way.
7Ulver
Shadows of the Sun


This photo was apparently taken from the cover of a Natural History magazine. As well as being aesthetically and compositionally pleasing it also seems to suit the dark but warm feeling of the album's music.
8Benoit Pioulard
Hymnal


Apparently this cover is a photograph of a parasitic fungus eating its way through a centuries-old tree. I find it interesting how a photo of something so representative of death and decay can appear so beautiful and aesthetically pleasing.
9Opeth
Ghost Reveries


This was one of my favourite album covers when I was younger and I feel that it helped shape the dark and intriguing atmosphere I felt (and still do feel, to an extent) when listening to the album.
10Opeth
Morningrise


For me this is one of Opeth's most atmospheric albums and I think it's important that an album like this has an appropriate album cover to reflect that, and I think this photograph (which apparently came from a post card Akerfeldt received) achieves this really well.
11Death
Symbolic


Created by artist and photographer Rene Miville this cover was made using some interesting dark room printing techniques (something that was unique to Miville's work). In terms of its concept, the cover seems to be symbolic of a higher being controlling human life.
12Black Sabbath
Black Sabbath


Rightfully considered one of the most iconic album covers in metal, this grainy image perfectly captures the imagery of the album's lyrics, depicting an unknown 'figure in black' in the unlikely location of an ancient mill in Oxfordshire.
13Led Zeppelin
Houses of the Holy


Inspired by the ending of Childhood's End, a novel by Arthur C. Clarke, this album cover is probably the most intriguing and visually striking artwork to grace a Zeppelin album. In my opinion it provides a perfect visual companion to what is the band's most unique and beautiful album.
14Jethro Tull
Thick as a Brick


Thick as a Brick was, at the time of its release, just as notable for its unique use of album art as it was for its ground-breaking music and lyricism. The album's front cover is used to describe the story behind the album's concept in the form of a front page newspaper article, while inside (the original vinyl release) we are presented with a full mock newspaper.
15Jethro Tull
A Passion Play


While not as ground-breaking as its predecessor's artwork, A Passion Play's cover is still interesting with regards to its connection to the album's concept. The front cover is a representation of death (a theme central to the album's lyrics), depicting a dead ballerina inside a theatre, whilst the album's back cover seems to represent life, showing (presumably) the same character in an active pose.
16Genesis
The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway


Sometimes the artwork of a concept album can shape the way you visualise the story of the album and this, for me, is a prime example of that. The images featured throughout the album's artwork (not just the front cover) help reinforce the imagery of the album's lyrics in a way that I feel adds to my experience of listening to the album.
17Pink Floyd
Animals


One of my favourite album covers ever, this iconic photograph of Battersea Power Station, complete with the giant pig-shaped helium balloon, manages to perfectly encapsulate the feel of the album as well provide a distinct representation of the album's concept.
18Pink Floyd
Obscured by Clouds


While far from being one of Floyd's most iconic album covers I think this album's cover art is really effective in its subtlety. The album itself is a lot more laid back (both musically and conceptually) compared to some of the band's other albums and I think this is reflected in this strangely relaxing image, which is apparently an out of focus film still.
19King Crimson
In the Court of the Crimson King


Undoubtedly one of the most iconic album covers ever produced. Fripp has referred to the facial expressions of the characters featured on the front and inside the album's gatefold sleeve as reflecting the emotions of the music, also saying that the face on the cover is that of the Schizoid Man while inside it is the Crimson King who is depicted.
20Tame Impala
Innerspeaker


This is another cover that I feel complements the album's music. I find that the enhanced perspective of the cover image draws the viewer into the scene much like the album's accessible melodies draw the listener into the album itself, further enhancing the psychedelic listening experience.
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