Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Joseph Arthur: Chemical
When I first read about this week's topic, my mind went straight to musical artists who are also visual artists. I'm a sucker for artists who create their own cover art.
Akron, Ohio's Joseph Arthur has been responsible for the artwork on several of his releases, but his first foray into cover art design was with his 2000 release Come to Where I'm From. While the image itself doesn't really do much to present a theme for the record or add any meaning to any of the songs, it does do a nice job of establishing the tone of the album. Arthur's artwork, like his songwriting and arrangements, can often be described as abstract. Few things say abstract quite like a stylized human head with scarabs for eyes.
Musically, this album ranks as one of the most important of Arthur's career (although 2004's Our Shadows Will Remain will always be my favorite) due to the exposure he gained from its breakthrough track "In the Sun." It's also interesting due to the fact that it was produced by the Americana Midas, T-Bone Burnett. It's an odd collaboration that finds Burnett expanding his typical palate while also reigning in some of Arthur's more adventurous eccentricities.
Since many of you may already know "In the Sun," I'm going with another track from the record here. For more of Arthur's artwork, check out his Museum of Modern Arthur.