|Vessels — The Great Distraction (Sept. 29th, 2017)|
Vessels — The Great Distraction (Sept. 29th, 2017) ζ→ Delving deeper into electronica, Vessels’ fourth studio album could well be their best album to date
Location: Leeds, UK
Genre: Electronic, Techno
Album release: 29 Sept., 2017
Record Label: Different Recordings
01. Mobilise 8:37
02. Deflect the Light (feat. The Flaming Lips) 6:07
03. Position 6:19
04. Radiart 6:58
05. Deeper in a Sky (feat. Harkin) 4:41
06. Gløwer 7:55
07. Trust Me (feat. Vincent Neff) 4:32
08. Everyone Is Falling 2:57
09. Radio Decay 6:33
10. Erase the Tapes (feat. John Grant) 4:55
ζ→ We were asked by Vessels to create the album artwork for their new album The Great Distraction.
ζ→ What started as a record sleeve design brief turned into a large scale installation, creating an album cover made entirely from lasers that you could walk around.
ζ→ This latest release from the live techno outfit features a host of guests, including The Flaming Lips; John Grant; Vincent Neff of Django Django fame; and Katie Harkin
ζ→ The artwork for the campaign was created from a laser sculpture, installed in The Hepworth’s Calder space back in January 2017.
ζ→ Reflecting Vessels’ live approach to techno, we looked to blur the lines between the computer~synthesised and the real. The visuals combine the hard, crisp, rhythmical lines of a digital work with the imperfections of an analogue, physical medium, in an attempt to capture something that really got to the heart of the sound of the record.
ζ→ The lasers’ crisp lines allowed us to suspend intricate patterns in thin air. But they also provided us with a visual cognate to the analogue synths that define the band’s current sound: both were developed in the early 60’s; both will always be wrapped up in the folklore of sci~fi; both have been ever~present on the club scene; and both retain their connotations with ‘the future’, despite being non~digital technology with well over half a century of history each.
ζ→ The outcome is not only unique, but — as with the record itself — is as trippy and euphoric, as it is dark and atmospheric.
ζ→ Alongside the cover for The Great Distraction, we used the installation to create the artwork for the singles from the album, with other imagery still up our sleeves for any remix projects
ζ→ The end concept was the result of following through the most appropriate, exciting concept for the band and their music — but in doing so, we took ourselves down a path that led well away from our original training as ‘graphic designers’. From working out the challenges of wiring large scale 12~volt circuits and learning about voltage drops the hard way; to creating stringent health and safety briefings (rock n roll); to sweet~talking two fire engines full of grumpy fire fighters arriving to a haze~filled Hepworth thinking we’d burned the place down (we hadn’t) — this brief was a bit of a ride.
ζ→ After creating the installation, we then returned to shoot the band’s press shots, using a combination of lasers (1 & 4) and projections of the album artwork (2 & 3) to ensure a consistent look and feel across the album campaign as a whole.
ζ→ The first image shown here is shot using the light from the lasers alone — the band members perilously close to the powerful beams, creating this mix of their tension and stillness with the other~worldly lighting. Needless to say, it wasn’t the easiest shot to pull, and was one of the many challenges pulled off brilliantly by our long~suffering collaborator and photographer on the project David Lindsay — without whom all this wouldn’t have happened (…and to whom we now owe favours until the end of time. Love you Dave.) ζ→ http://www.split.co.uk/
Album Review by Claire Francis | 25 Sep 2017 | Score: ****
ζ→ What do you do when you’ve pushed the prog~rock envelope as far as it extends? In the case of Leeds five~piece Vessels, you call in a host of high~profile collaborators, delve even deeper into electronica territory, and wind up with what could well be your best album to date.
ζ→ The Great Distraction, Vessels’ fourth studio album, features guest vocals on four of its ten tracks. These come courtesy of John Grant, Django Django’s Vincent Neff, Katie Harkin of Sleater~Kinney and Sky Larkin, and most illustrious of all, from The Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne.
ζ→ The Coyne collab, Deflect the Light, is a grand statement from both parties. Auto~tuned as high as the heavens, Coyne’s vocals wring out emotion to the point of bathos, with lyrics like ‘There inside a cobweb / A struggling butterfly is trying to be free’ laying on the cosmic introspection. With a pattern of shimmering, clinking synths strung together like a glittering chandelier, the track sees Vessels unfurl their creative petals, much like The Flaming Lips’ own sonic evolution.
ζ→ As well as a star~studded list of collaborators, The Great Distraction boasts a fistful of dancefloor~ready bangers. Mobilise is an eight~minute~plus stormer of a tune with a rollercoaster’s worth of thrilling peaks and troughs. Hypnotic moments such as Radiart, with its hushed vocals, and the stealthy low~end wobble of Position would also be right at home blaring from a club soundsystem. If Vessels ever decide to cast aside the guitars and prog~rock stylings, a career in house and techno production would surely beckon. ζ→ http://www.theskinny.co.uk/
AllMusic Review by Paul Simpson | Score: ***½
|Vessels — The Great Distraction (Sept. 29th, 2017)|