When our friend Brett Nelson from Built to Spill came to us with this unique project, we were psyched to get involved. We knew the juxtaposition of the melodies of classic Dinosaur Jr. songs with synth sounds of 80s new wave pop would make for dramatic and unique musical composition, and were impressed by how well the re-imagined songs embodied J. Mascis‘ introspective lyrics and rambling satire.
As a premium service for high quality vinyl manufacturing, we knew that printing the album cover was going to be very challenging. We took the original design (which was done by Brett’s son Nicholas) and re-created it as a vector-based version, optimizing it for best printing results. The color purple, Mascis’ favorite, was the premise of the album’s entire design – both the cover and center labels, as well as a limited quantity of the vinyl pressing itself. This was a special release timed with Record Store Day, so it was really important to us to get the colors right. The audiophile record pressing was done on a custom mixed purple color using all virgin vinyl – matching both the record sleeve and the center label.
After the initial success of the release, Brett needed more copies on CD, so we went through the same process for the CD replication. For the CD sleeve printing, we scaled down our recreation of the original design and again used a custom PMS color to achieve the purple Brett wanted, and custom mixed inks for the CD printing.
THE COLOR PURPLE, MASCIS’ FAVORITE, WAS THE PREMISE OF THE ALBUM’S ENTIRE DESIGN
Our primary challenge was to find a good purple color that we could match well for the printing of the jacket, the label, and the vinyl itself, all of which are made using different material. Since all color vinyl records get made by mixing only a few different colors (clear, white, black, and the translucent primary colors: red, green, blue, and yellow/gold) – this was no easy task.
The overall success of this release is a testament to Mascis’s timeless writing and Brett Nelson’s creative process, one part remix, two parts re-imagining, and a solid emphasis on studio mastering. Mascis actually re-recorded most of his vocals to match the tone of the reworked songs. The fact that they sit perfectly within a mix that is altogether different from the music they were originally recorded for is no small feat. And Nicholas’s design idea, although it needed a bit of technical reworking from our art department, is genius in its simplicity and a perfect complement to the music concept.
The whole release turned out pretty awesome. You can get it in on vinyl directly from The Electronic Anthology Project website at: electronicanthologyproject.com . Or if a limited edition vinyl pressing on custom purple virgin vinyl doesn’t mean anything to you, you can pick it up on CD, or just get it on iTunes.
In case you hadn’t heard already, Brett’s legendary band Built to Spill is back at it again doing a month of tour dates builttospill.com, including shows at select clubs like Baltimore, MD’s Ottobar in the next couple weeks.
Get a vinyl quote, CD quote, or design quote from us at Morphius.com/manufacturing