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Secret 7� Karmacoma Massive Attack


Secret 7” Karmacoma Massive Attack Album Covers

I have chosen to design a sleeve for the song Karmacoma by Massive Attack. Massive Attack are a British group who are recognised as being the pioneering force behind trip-hop music. The band’s distinctively hypnotic sound acts as inspiration for their abstract album and single artwork. Many of the album covers designed for the band include the use of collaging and layering; this style takes influence from graffiti artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. Robert ‘3D’ Del Naja of Massive Attack cites Basquiat as a major influence within his own artistic style, as well as New York based hip hop from the 1980s. Del Naja states that during the 1980s hip hop music from New York broke down social and racial barriers in both Bristol and London in ways that the genres punk and ska had tried and failed.

Secret 7” Karmacoma Concept Development

To produce the artwork for the single, I chose to edit film photographs that I took whilst in Amsterdam. I wanted to create imagery that alluded to the idea of distorted reality, and used collage, repetition and reflection to achieve this. Initially, I wanted to use a photograph of a river in central Amsterdam, but chose to alter a photograph of a neighbourhood in central Amsterdam. The idea of distorted reality is fitting to the themes within the song; the abstract nature of the lyrics connote to ideals of uncertainty and instability. The lyrics ‘digging a hole in your neighbourhood’ connotes to the idea of uncertainty of familiar surroundings. This gave me the idea to create a surreal image, with the use of reflection and collaging. The repetition of the chorus lyrics ‘Karmacoma, Jamaica aroma’, was the inspiration to create a layered, repeated image.

Secret 7” Karmacoma Leif Podhajsky Jean-Michel Basquiat

As part of my research, I looked at the work of Leif Podhajsky; an Australian graphic designer who’s design practice is focused largely on album artwork. Podhajsky’s work has a signature psychedelic style which includes the use of collaging and layering, as well as repetition and reflection. Podhajsky’s artwork has a sense of surrealism that is fitting with the genre of the music he designs artwork for. The genre that Podhajsky designs artwork for is often described as ‘psychedelic rock’. Robert ‘3D’ Del Naja was a graffiti artist prior to the formation of Massive Attack and cites Jean-Michel Basquiat as an influence in his artistic style. It is clear to see the influence of Basquiat’s abstract art practice in Massive Attack’s cover designs.

Secret 7� Karmacoma Final Design

Karmacoma Boards  
Karmacoma Boards