Released on China Record in 1987, this record was the second album from The Art Of Noise since they left ZTT. And again, it had a striking sleeve design from art director John Pasche, this time using a beautiful photography from Alan David-Tu.
This elegantly distorted image was characteristic of the work of Alan David-Tu at that time. But in this particular case, it fitted perfectly the mix of classicism and weirdness that was the trademark of the band, with the touch of humor that was always key to the AON style.
John Pasche explained that he wanted to produce something quirky, that would express the attitude of the band : the trio was always playing around with sounds and sonic textures via the Fairlight sampler, and for this new album, they created highly melodic pieces (Ann Dudley has a classical formation) mixing orchestral instruments with odd and incongruous sounds. And they did it with a typically English sense of humor, filled with a love for nonsense (hence the title ;-).
Pasche had been impressed by the work of Alan David-Tu, that had just arrived from Holland to London, and had started to produce picture for the fashion world (including some great serie for The Face magazine).
|Another example of Alan David-Tu Photographic work of that period.|
Alan explains that Pasche did let him experiment freely, and build upon an idea he was already working on. His method didn't involve any computer manipulation : he would mask parts of the mannequin face, take a shot, and then distort it during the printing process; then he would montage additional parts like the hair, etc.
This old-school method created a manipulated image that either had the complexity of an unatural image, but also some aspects of a drawing. A truly hybrid image, that expressed prefectly the hybrid nature of the music of AON.
John Pasche : “The only thing coming out of her mouth was a piece of coloured acetate and it feather made to look like one of those twirly, noisy things you blow at parties. I also experimented with an iron cog wheel and a trumpet. They were supposed to represent noise — a play on the band’s name and the party popper thing seemed the right kind of twiddly noise.”
The typography - done by Roland Williams - was also key to express the quirkyness : elegant and serious, it was intentionally too close to the face, and the general lay-out strongly unbalanced.
The back cover was an organised mess, full of different elements and typographies.
Printed as a clear spot varnish was the AON logo, that John Pasche had designed for the previous album of the band, and the hand was also a reference to the previous album main image.
The fact that the hand tried to reach a distorted piece of mechanism was again a nice expression of the synthetic nature of the music.