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Secret 7” Chosen Musician - Massive Attack Song - Karmacoma Brief synopsis: Create a vinyl cover for a 7” vinyl from a selection of ‘best-known musicians’ that doesn’t include the artists name or the song title . The emphasis was on a design for the front of the vinyl cover and the deadline was the 17th of February. This gave me the opportunity to use the brief as a quick turn-around .

I chose the song ‘Karmacoma’ from the Massive Attack album Protection. The reason for this being I could relate to the artists interests and inspirations, I knew from listening to Massive Attack prior to the brief that, Robert Del Naja (3D) was involved in the Bristol underground scene and was inspired by street-art.


Design Drawings

The designs above represent my different approaches to the songs themes, concentrating on experimentation to really try and communicate the inspirations of Massive Attack and also the nature of the song which is in its essence about losing control of a situation, the lyrics could also of been interpreted to mean too much of what you love can destroy you.

I proceeded with the ‘Voodoo’ design but soon realised the message it communicated was too constricted, only suggesting too much of what you love can destroy you.


On -screen Development

I proceeded with a very experimental approach, hoping to combine elements to create a juxtaposition that also complemented themes of silhouettes, multiple forms, masks and layered colours. These themes are all heavily seen throughout the works of Massive Attack.

The image in the top-left shows the display at a Massive Attack concert, you can see examples of the prior themes througout this image e.g. silhouettes, layered colours and multiple forms . The following designs have been created to create that sense of ‘crazy’. I distorted the elements and then began to overlay the forms onto the photograph of Massive Attack I mentioned earlier on design board 2.


Research / Inspiration

My first point of call for research was the background of Massive Attack, I already knew the odd fact about the duo but I really wanted to find out who created the artwork for their albums and also recognise their interests (consisting of; Comic book illustrations, the Juxtapositioning of art, Rock and Roll, Pop-Art and Street-art.)

Now that I knew a fair amount about the background of these artists, I moved my research to dissecting and understanding the meaning behind the song lyrics and video. It consisted of themes of: being out of control, crazy, the unawareness that what you do becomes who you are. It also explores the idea of an alter ego or multiple personalities through the music video. (The image bottom-left of the duo is the one I chose later on in the design process).


Design Route 1

As you can see, I’ve heavily edited the photograph of the duo from board 2. My maindriving force behind this design was the theme of being ‘crazy’ and out of control, however in the process I’ve managed to also communicate interest of Massive Attack, layering images and also experimenting with the idea of masks.

During the process of design, I decided it could be pushed abit further, in light of this I designed a poster to promote the song (Potential to be used following the release of Secret 7” when the song title can be used). I also created a contemporary version of the sketch/drawing, that can be seen on the original cover of the Karmacoma single. This can be seen at the top-right of board 2. It depicts a Monster going on a rampage/ going crazy.


My chosen design to submit funnily enough turned out to be the character I initially generated to be as a corner feature. This was a result of peer comments, saying that it was more bold and a clever way to approach the brief as it gave the old single a facelift and c ommunicated the core message of the song. Most importantly, it kept the song a secret.