Saturday, July 16, 2011

Album Cover Art: Kagrra, - Miyako

Kagrra,: Urei


Kagrra, (yeah, with the comma as part of the band name) was a J-rock band whose style deliberately blended classical Japanese traditions (both musical and sartorial) with rock. Sadly, they just disbanded a few months ago, but they were pretty decent for the ten years that they lasted. During that time they released nearly a dozen albums (depending on how you count), a slew of mini-albums, a raft of maxi-singles, a bunch of concert DVDs, and some stray singles.

In Japan, artists don't merely release one album or one single; there are commonly multiple versions: a regular version, a limited version, perhaps an 'A" version, and 'B' version. They've all got the same single, but each variation has a different second or third song, some may have a version with the vocals stripped out for karaoke, and the limited version will have a DVD with the promotional video of the song. And a diehard band fan will buy each version (and each purchase counts separately to determine the Oricon chart rating, which is how it evolved into such a racket).

Can you tell where I'm going with this? Each version also has a unique cover.

Kagrra, was unique in that the group had a long-term relationship with one artist, Fukaya Yuichiro, who created most (but not all) of their artwork. His style similarly merged classical Japanese themes with a modern feel to them. Check out more of his artwork for Kagrra, on his Facebook page. He would create a series of related pictures for the various incarnations of a release, often with a bit of subtle humor to them. Notice some of the paired images of the regular and limited covers in the Facebook examples (and he doesn't have all of his stuff here, so Google 'images' can find more for you).

The artwork above shows the expanded cover for the 2004 album, Miyako. The right side of the artwork was featured on the front of the CD, showing only the kanji and a bit of hair and sleeve, and the left wrapped around to the back cover. Pretty, ne?

blog comments powered by Disqus