«I Am a Strange Loop» – album by contemporary music sextet Looptail

Looptail is a contemporary music sexted formed by professional young musicians based in Amsterdam. A non-traditional approach, non-conducted music, and a DIY attitude are key aspects of the formation. They mostly work with new music, contemporary pieces by young professional composers. I was honoured to have assigned the design of their very first album.

I liked the idea of approaching a classical contemporary music album, with a fresh young attitude, and make more of a «band album» out of it. Inspiration of most pieces came from existing painter’s, artworks, existing archive images.

This is an excerpt of the email sent to describe the idea before materializing the project or delivering the first visual drafts:

«I thought of a way to appropriate the images and be able to use them which, is a bit unorthodox but copyright possible. And this would open up the possibility to work in favour of the concept of Looptail in terms of DIY, puberty, independency, (rebellion). It allows me to use the visual descriptions of the composers at my own advantage and free will.  I can appropriate artworks if I modify them enough to make my own artwork, if enough of it is modified, and if it’s for an artistic valid purpose. It’s all blurry and a bit “subjective” lines somehow (but I seriously doubt I’ll get sued for this).

So it also made me think of “décollages”, the affichiste movement of the 20’s, color and textures of the 80’s (i like to think of the 80’s as a puberal decade), aesthetics of the 60’s (I found a wonderful Paris Match magazine edition of May ’68 on the Paris students’ revolt!). And thinking further I thought of making something that is both a “décollage” and a “collage”… A décollage is tearing out, removing, made things, and a collage is composing with pieces of things. So I could work both tearing/“decollageing” and composing/“collageing”.

And then I thought that I could make a series of collage compositions, that could also include the self-portraits or inspiration artworks of the composers, but then ripping off all images, modifiying them, tearing paper pieces and recomposing. Much less literal but maybe interesting and conceptually connects well with your initial input, with the texts descriptions and with the music. That way we wouldn’t have “traditional images” but more a sequence of collages (or better, photo’s I would take of them) in between the texts of the booklet… It also opens space for humor, or surrealism, or poetry or even mathematics in the image.

Because then I also researched the quote you offered for the back of the CD and that is based on mathematical theories of the beginning of the 20th century. Complex theorems that opened up the boundaries of mathematics. Making or considering schemes of these arithmetical thoughts could also be a very nice way to dictate some rules when composing the decollage/collages. And then it’s all somehow “full-circle”, because music it’s so intimately connected to arithmetics, and loop tails are circles, and collages are both interestingly poetic and puberal-looking. And then I can work with references from the composers, like contrast, or colour references and will inflict enough nostalgia and modern elements of the “now”, but could also be made in another time…»

Album Design & Collage Series
4 body CD case, 20 pages booklet including collage artwork.
Printed on 100% recycled cardboard printed in Pantone Red Neon & Black.
Typefaces: Neuzeit S & Lydian BT