I just put up a really long post over on the K Weblog about the process that we went through to put together the new Arrington de Dionyso's Malaikat dan Singa record, Suara Naga, from start to finish! Here it is below in its entirety . . .
Whenever Arrington has something that he wants to put out on K, I know that it's not only going to sound incredible, but it's going to be more beautiful than you can even imagine. He is so talented! We had a really small budget for this record, but Arrington totally rolled with it and thought outside of the box. He didn't want to go in the direction of the jewel cases that are the norm for CDs, and unfortunately, the pretty paper Stumptown packaging was too expensive for this, so some brainstorming happened, followed by a little research . . . and finally, a really amazing and time-consuming final product. I'll show you below in pictures how it progressed from Arrington's giant, fragile drawing to the finished product that you might be (and should be!) already holding in your hands. I, personally, couldn't be happier!
Originally, Arrington wanted to make another fold-out LP jacket, much like KLP220, I See Beyond the Black Sun (that Ben and Joel so nicely are holding above), but again, the price was unfortunately even more than a standard LP jacket, and it just wasn't going to work out.
The next idea was to possibly make a giant poster to showcase all of his art and information, to fit inside of a standard LP jacket, much like what was included inside of the KLP215, Malaikat Dan Singa album (above). He had so much artwork that there really did need to be a good way to display it, and again, we went back to the drawing boards. After a bit of thinking, I can't remember who actually came up with the idea, but Arrington or Mariella suggested we create our own long layout to fold into a CD-size, where the CD would fold up into the middle of the paper, held in place by a foam dot with adhesive on one side. After a few mock-ups and a few talks to the wonderful Tumwater Printing, we started to work on the artwork.
In the photo above, Ben, and our sweet last intern, Kat, held up the very fragile painting that Arrington had made to use for his new album artwork. Obviously, it was LARGE! I wish that we had an incredible scanner or a better way to transfer this to a digital format, but we totally went with what we know . . . and it worked great!
I photographed each piece separately, getting the largest size that I could for each section, always overlapping just a little bit. (And I know that there's probably some really slick and easy way to do this, but this was fairly easy for what we were doing and needed.) Four of the sections are pictured above . . .
Next, I made a GIANT blank canvas in Photoshop. It had to be large because 1) we didn't know what section Arrington wanted to use for the artwork, 2) it had to be at least 12" high to use for an LP, and 3) because another Italian label was also releasing it with a large picture book on LP, and they would need all of the large files. Slowly, we pieced them together -- you can see where the colors of the background aren't the same, and the edges connecting the images are slightly fuzzy, due to the flash that we used not covering the paper equally, and the clone stamp connecting the images. Really, it wasn't a big deal for this instance because we didn't need to use the background anyway, and through a series of deleting colors and layers slowly, we got rid of the whole thing.
You can see it above with just a slight cream-colored background (to keep the same look of the paper, without any of the crinkles or texture), which allowed Arrington to see everything together, which was enough for him to decide that he wanted to change the colors and play with adjustment layers.
The image above is what he thought he wanted it to look like, but after a few days, he played around with it a little more, and it ended up printing out a little like the below image, with slightly more subdued colors.
Kat's holding up the final printed CD jacket, folded and cut to its final shape and size. And it looked awesome! The inside turned out black and white with more information, a few more images, and translated Indonesian lyrics. It also housed the CD (you can see both in the final pictures of this post)!
After everything came in, we had a folding party, where every single person in the office (including Arrington) helped out! One person would fold, another would place the dots and the CD, and another would place the final product in the clear, plastic CD sleeves that we found, and would seal them up and box them to send out for distribution! It's one of the best times to be in the office, since everyone is together, generally pretty chatty, and we get a small and much-needed break from staring at a computer screen and sending emails!
And of course, the final product! These are the front sides of the LP jacket, LP labels, LP insert, and CD jacket . . .
Followed by the back side of all of those, with the CD face included! There definitely isn't a better feeling than holding the finished LP in your hands for the first time, after staring at the non-physical artwork for what seems like such a long time! It is seriously the best! Luckily, we get to do it all the time, and there are so many more albums in the works! Today, we're finishing up the new Pine Hill Haints record, Welcome to the Midnight Opry. It is going to be incredible!