For our next Art & Design: In Focus feature, we look into the psychedelic worlds of MC Escher.
Ever feel stuck in your music discovery routine? After extended periods of listening to the same Spotify algorithm loops, browsing your favorite music blogs, and digging through the usual bins at the local record shop, your musical world can feel like it’s confined to a box. When this happens, it can help to switch up the formula a bit and add some randomness to the equation.
Sometimes, approaching music discovery from a non-music angle can lead to interesting results. Case in point: I recently came across Beaver & Krause’s 1970 classic In A Wild Sanctuary at Freakbeat Records and noticed the gorgeous MC Escher cover art before even listening to the music. With his mathematical approach to design exploring infinity, perspective, and symmetry, Escher seemed a perfect match for berlin-school, psychedelic rock, or J.S. Bach style fugues. In A Wild Sanctuary ended up sounding not quite like any of those zones.
This prompted the question: What other albums used designs from the celebrated Dutch graphic artist? What would the music sound like? Would it be good?
Escher once said, “Science and art sometimes can touch one another, like two pieces of the jigsaw puzzle which is our human life, and that contact may be made across the borderline between the two respective domains.” Perhaps, in a similar way, this contact between MC Escher’s mathematical designs and music could lead to new worlds.
Discogs led the way here. Using the search function to explore cover artists, musicians, engineers, labels, lists etc. can be a great way to flip up your music discovery routine. Sometimes, you’ll even find a list that dives into the exact topic you’re looking into… A special shoutout to discogs user “soulchap” for putting together the list “Covers: Artists: MC Escher.”
Below, a selection of discoveries featuring MC Escher artwork including Kosmische Musik, French jazz-rock, lo-fi psychedelic, Soviet fusion, and Argentinian art rock.
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