Known for his liking for the more tribal and acidic grain of house music, Berlin-based Australian DJ and producer Fantastic Man, has well established his name having built a modest yet strong catalogue for the best part of ten years. Co-founding his own label Superconcious Records with Francis Inferno Orchestra whilst also enjoying a side romance with the more ambient and cerebral corners of electronic music under moniker Mind Lotion, Fantastic’s achievements could be seen as largely unsung to the masses but to his contemporaries it’s another story with the likes of Larry Heard and Aphex Twin donning his work. We felt educated and entertained as Fantastic picked out a few of his favourite record sleeves for us below.
What was the first record you bought or listened to because of its record sleeve? What was special about it?
I don’t know if I can remember the first but I can certainly remember the last, and it’s this record below, which doesn’t seem to have any online anything. Anyway I found it in Medellin Colombia earlier this year in a small store sans listening stations. I had no knowledge of Colombian music whatsoever but sometimes, when a record looks like this, who cares what it sounds like.
How important a role do record sleeves play when you’re buying records?
I think it’s pretty important. When a record looks and feels right, you want to listen to it, when it doesn’t, you don’t, and when there are thousands of them in stores it makes a big difference.
The personality of a record – font, color, photography, even the track titles and age are the difference between whether I pick it out or not, and the more absurd the better.
Given your affinity to good record sleeves, how have you approached the artwork for your own releases? Any key principals or things you’ve kept in mind?
I spent a couple of years studying design across a number of formats, so I’m lucky in that I can take the reigns myself without having to rely on Graphic Designers. I don’t know that there are any specific principals per se and I certainly don’t consider myself any kind of professional, but for the small projects I do, mostly being party flyers and label art, I’m particularly interested in finding collage material – sometimes in old children’s books or educational magazines that I find in Op shops (charity shops) but of course that varies. One thing that is important is to conceptualize the end product. I give my printer and scanner a good workout by printing out the labels, covers or decals and making real-life mock-ups to see if everything aligns with my vision. But in a nutshell my approach is very similar to that of music making, I have some ideas that I’ve explored in the past and I build on those and try to push forward, for better or worse.
Lee Marrow – Cannibals, 1985
Favorite track: Cannibals (Baa Bou, Baa Bou)
Ok so I went with covers of records I own. I picked this up because of the beautiful cover and despite the blatant cultural appropriation, it has all the right ingredients, from the colors, to illustration and title. This Italo-disco (the genre with by far the most entertaining covers) record cover suggests some very tasty tunes, which it has, even though I’d have bought it anyway.
West India Company – Ave Maria, 1984
Favorite track: Vishnu Shlokas
This one totally captured my imagination; if ever there was an example of a record that you know is going be good because of the cover, for me it’s this. That striking pink (yes I said that), the age, image and font… everything suggests it’s a gem, and of course, it is!
Chris Korda – I Like to Watch, 2002
Favorite track: I Like To Watch (House Remix)
This cheeky attention-grabbing cover seemed quite obnoxious at first… until I found out a bit more about the artist. Chris Korda a transgender activist and founder of the Church of Euthanasia, an official religion – their slogan “Save the planet, kill yourself”, he was also featured on Jerry Springer – as well as a prominent music and seminal 3D Printing software developer.
This is a single off his (protest?) album released on International Gigolos in the early two thousands called Man of the Future and it’s really quite good!
Only For Kings – Matar Plays His Magic Bozouki, Unknown
Favorite track: Lamma Yee Gheeb El Gmara
I found this at a market in Berlin and absolutely bought it for the cover. Not a whole lot more to say other than what’s not to love? “Matar plays his magic bozouki”