alessandro cortini, who the vast majority will have seen singing backing vocals and playing guitars / synths for nine inch nails or muse, is of course a formidable musician in his own right. if you haven’t heard the song problem me by his band modwheelmood then you’re one jam short of a damn good mix. SONOIO is the name of his new project, and it’s a 9 track album created entirely on buchla modular synths.
a fan of our record sleeve and poster work for mellowdrone, alessandro got in touch with us with regards to creating artwork to accompany his new music. we say ‘artwork’ as opposed to ‘design work’ because he was particularly interested in the looser, more painterly / emotional elements of our work over some kind of cleaner, tighter design effort. modwheelmood had been heavy on the minimal design / die-cutting and this time, the record being much more personal to him, alessandro wanted a more cathartic, hand-made quality.
we talked for a while and decided that we should try to create something that had a european quality to it – something that harked back to alessandro’s roots. combining this with a visual device that we felt was most honest to the lyrical content on the record, we came up with the two matisse-esque characters you see on the cover, who are trying to cover up the holes in their chests. the colour choices were then informed in part by the colour of the buchla synth itself. the pencil marks are that of my father thomas newbolt, who’s drawings we cut up and relocated elements of for the sake of adding more movement / life to the collage.
it was a long process – many versions were created and many strong ideas hit the cutting room floor. after much deliberation we all agree that the cover you see above though is the most profound and succinct description of the record’s musical content that we could come up with. as ever we hope you can form your own interpretations of the artwork’s relationship to the music and can let it grow with you as you get to know the songs.