& Michael Kasparis
In a way, record sleeves are as important as the records they house. They’re markers, identifiers... sometimes better, sometimes worse than what’s inside.
In Monorail, we often like to show each other a sleeve that we’ve fallen in love with for whatever reason – this can just as easily be something which is superbly bold or more subtle in intent.
There are no real rules – a strong looking photo with a well chosen font or no font at all can work just as well as a wild looking illustration, collage or scribble. Relating to Glasgow sleeve designers, our selection is quite personal, and maybe, not so modestly, includes records that we’ve been involved with in various ways.
Higher Moments / Amnesia (Night School)
Some Gray Stuff
This is definitely more gallery than record shop, without any of the regular sleeve tropes which usually help us sell a record – artist name, title, photograph, image. Instead the buyer is invited into a collection of Alasdair Gray’s spoken word pieces via another younger artist (Lucy McKenzie and her Decemberism label) with the lack of information seeming to suggest equal billing between artist and curator. It’s odd but I like that it breaks established rules.
Apéro (Night School)
Muscles of Joy
S/T (Watts Of Good Will)
Jobs For Beasts (Shadazz)
This is maybe the most fine art approach to sleeve design in our selection, reflecting group leader, Tony Swain’s other life as a working artist represented by The Modern Institute. It manages to show off both National Bedtime’s music and Swain’s complex, un-flashy painting/collage style. Printed on reversed board with typography by Marc Baines, it’s a perfect companion to the understated, gorgeous music.
Lost (La Station Radar)
Slow Summits (Domino)
The Pastels are one of the groups most closely associated with the shop. Each sleeve is usually arrived at by a combination of Katrina Mitchell, Stephen McRobbie and former member, Annabel Wright. For Slow Summits, Annabel came down to the shop, looking at sleeves on the racks and trying to get a feel for what might work with the music. She decided to make a series of paintings and a consensus on the sleeve front was quickly agreed. The type was hand printed by Edwin Pickstone from one of his less popular fonts. Fair to say, it all came together a lot quicker than the music.
Strike A Match (Rock Action)
Richard is something of an avatar for the shop, an artist so uncompromising and surprising that it really wasn’t unexpected that he’d do something like May, a beautiful album with a sleeve that sums it up perfectly: an evocative, if simple, image rendered on a reverse board sleeve with slightly washed out colours, reminiscent of the bucolic and vivid folk music he plays on the disc.
Miracle Steps (Optimo Music/12th Isle)