• Wed. Jan 12th, 2022

The story of how Spiritualized created his album cover art

ByRandall B. Phelps

Jan 11, 2022

For Spiritualized’s third studio album in 1997, creative frontman and singer Jason Pierce sought to create an album that could deliver a unique sound that could effectively provide therapy to the listener. The album would study the feelings of melancholy and loneliness reflecting Pierce’s state of mind at the time of recording. It’s a very bare emotion expressed throughout the album, especially in tracks like: “All of My Thoughts”, “Stay with Me” and “Broken Heart”.

Indeed, Peirce had been heartbroken as the album approached when he learned that his then-girlfriend – and band keyboardist – Kate Radley, not only had an affair with Richard Ashcroft of The Verve but had secretly married him in 1995 behind his back. While Pierce has since said that the songs were mostly written before the breakup, it’s safe to infer that on a subconscious level, the songs may have prophetically expressed his suspicions.

The title of the album is taken from the philosophical fiction novel by Jostein Gaarder from 1991 Sophie’s world of the line: “Only the philosophers embark on this perilous expedition to the borders of language and existence. Some of them fall, but others desperately hang on and scream at the people nestled deep in the cozy sweetness, stuffing themselves with delicious food and drink. “Ladies and gentlemen,” they shout, “we are floating in space! But none of the people there cares. This context in which the philosophers perhaps feel a bit alone in their quest for knowledge is reflected in the solitary tone of the music throughout the album.

If you are feeling lonely and worthless, however, fear not, Spiritualized has produced the remedy not only through sound, but through vision as well. The marketing of this album coupled with the original and downright stunning music made an incredible work of art. The album cover art was a triumph due to its intense simplicity which unexpectedly catches the eye. Artist Mark Farrow was inspired by the words “music is medicine for the soul” which he remembers saying to Pierce when they first met to discuss the aesthetic direction of the album. With this, Farrow began to design the cover art in a way that made the album appear like a medical product.

The navy blue and white cover of the album features the album as a box of pills, with the caption at the bottom of the cover reading “1 tablet 70 min” alluding to the idea that the LP itself is a tablet. – a bite to eat but worth every bite. With the initial duration of just over 70 minutes, Pierce reportedly decided to cut the recordings to achieve the more aesthetic dosage of 70 minutes.

This packaging was a great concept as a design feature, but was one step closer to craziness or artistic genius depending on where you are, with the release of the limited edition CD. This release included all of the songs from the album appearing as a full-fledged tablet on a collection of 12 three-inch CDs. This collector’s item has seen many fans save their pennies to mess around in the name of art. I’d say you’re probably better off sticking to the record, but the concept rings true when you play this album because the emotional beauty of the music seems to offer a form of therapy that you probably couldn’t find elsewhere.

(Credit: Press)