Wrecking the Unsalvageable

Check out the new album by Balaram BoseWrecking the Unsalvageable! It’s a brilliant concept album that combines American folk, ranchera, and mariachi styles and follows a young man’s journey across Latin America retracing Che Guevara and Alberto Granado‘s famous journey, with a few extra stops of his own. The accordion solo during “Maté, My Friend” is particularly poignant.

Okay, that was a tiny bit facetious. I created this for the “An Album Cover” visual assignment. I’ve actually done this exercise before – it went through waves of popularity when I was in college as a midterms/finals period exercise in procrastination. We had a community-wide discussion forum where people would post their album covers. And many of them were brilliant combinations of titles and imagery. Sometimes funny, sometimes poignant, always interesting.

In creating this particular album cover, I was struck by the resemblance of the original image to both the Inca ruins at Machu Picchu (which Guevara and Granado visited during their trip), and to the aftermath of the 2001 earthquakes in El Salvador. So I decided that this must be a concept album related to Latin American social issues.

From there it was just a matter of assembling the cover. For that I turned to my usual stand-by, Photoshop CS5. But none of the default fonts seemed appropriate, and I realized that really what I wanted was the classic look of a dymo label maker. This is, after all, a folk album. It needs some indie cred.

To achieve the look, I used the fantastic “Label Brushes” brush set created by Invisibles Now which can be downloaded for free here. It required some tweaking with layers and cropping (it’s very difficult to match up the brush sizes, and you have to add a white background for the letters to stand out).  But the end result looks great imho.



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