Bright Eyes: Cassadaga

I’d never heard of Bright Eyes before, even with his huge back catalogue out there, but on my two day journey around Sydney to find the deluxe digi-pack version of this album I’ve had three people tell me they are big fans. This was one album I had to own, I had to experience the “Spectral Decoder” myself and also there was jack all imagery online for this album.

Bright Eyes: Cassadaga Cover
Bright Eyes: Cassadaga Spine

The album itself looks unassuming. It’s a white cover with tiny black lines on it like, which feels like an ultra complicated Unknown Pleasures or minimal Autechre cover. The central image is a sticker added to the shrink wrap or CD case which is then removed.

It’s only when you open the case and use the enclosed “Spectral Decoder” that the album really shines. The entire package contains hidden imagery and messages. I feel like a kid in the 60′s with a spy kit.

Bright Eyes: Cassadaga Open
Bright Eyes: Cassadaga Spectral Decoder

Cassadaga, is a 113 year old Spiritualist Camp in Florida. The place is known for its psychics and they’re probably overrun with Ouija boards too. Get a Bright Eyes Ouija board desktop here.

Bright Eyes: Cassadaga Sign

The patented technology was created by 3D Images in the UK and originally developed for “Instant Win” promotions.

Here’s a detail of the front covers lines. I have a headache from looking at this too closely.

Bright Eyes: Cassadaga Cover Detail

Conner Oberst from Bright Eyes originally wanted a “Magic Eye” image for the cover, but due to the small size of the CD packaging had to find a different technique. This is one time the small size of the CD packaging paid off as I hate those Magic Eye pictures. It just reminds me of the mid 90′s in shopping centers with crowds of people around a frame saying “I can’t see it…. oh wait a dolphin jumping a teapot. Wow!”.

Where as lenticular covers can become costly, this looks to be the cheaper option (music to any record labels ears) priced between 15 – 3p per unit. I’m guessing a little more for the decoder insert but still cheap. And due to it being a new technology and underused in the industry it stands out from the pack. Look for this technology to use used in advertising campaign soon. Something for the defense force might be award fodder.

The album contains Victorian era spiritual imagery and messages in several languages. Conner Oberst wanted people to still have to decipher the text even after using the Decoder. You can read more about this in a great article on NME.

I’ve tried my best below to reveal how the Decoder works but you should really try it out for yourself.

Bright Eyes Cassadaga Decoded
Bright Eyes Cassadaga Decoded 2
Bright Eyes Cassadaga Decoded Back

Here’s a video someone made using it. Presented in Youtube’s blurry goodness.

Another pleasant surprise was the booklet for the album has a nice spot varnish on it. It’s nice to see they didn’t just rest on the cover’s “gimmick” and forget the rest of the package.

Bright Eyes: Cassadaga Booklet
Bright Eyes: Cassadaga Booklet Open
Bright Eyes: Cassadaga CD

The cover was art directed by Zack Nipper from the band’s label Saddle Creek. Zack’s done quite a few covers for Bright Eyes (see here) and his name is perfect if he ever wants to become a porn star or Futurama character.

The album is also nominated for “BEST RECORDING PACKAGE” in this years Grammy awards. As is Menomena’s Friend or Foe we featured a while back. While it’s a tough call, I’d have to say this is my fav from the list.

See the full list of finalists here.

Here’s one of the singles Four Winds off the album.

Check the Wiki entry for the album to have all the secret messages revealed and more info.

Bright Eyes: Cassadaga

Bright Eyes: Cassadaga

I’d never heard of Bright Eyes before, even with his huge back catalogue out there, but on my two day journey around Sydney to find the deluxe digi-pack version of this album I’ve had three people tell me they are big fans. This was one album I had to own, I had to experience the “Spectral Decoder” myself and also there was jack all imagery online for this album.

Bright Eyes: Cassadaga Cover
Bright Eyes: Cassadaga Spine

The album itself looks unassuming. It’s a white cover with tiny black lines on it like, which feels like an ultra complicated Unknown Pleasures or minimal Autechre cover. The central image is a sticker added to the shrink wrap or CD case which is then removed.

It’s only when you open the case and use the enclosed “Spectral Decoder” that the album really shines. The entire package contains hidden imagery and messages. I feel like a kid in the 60′s with a spy kit.

Bright Eyes: Cassadaga Open
Bright Eyes: Cassadaga Spectral Decoder

Cassadaga, is a 113 year old Spiritualist Camp in Florida. The place is known for its psychics and they’re probably overrun with Ouija boards too. Get a Bright Eyes Ouija board desktop here.

Bright Eyes: Cassadaga Sign

The patented technology was created by 3D Images in the UK and originally developed for “Instant Win” promotions.

Here’s a detail of the front covers lines. I have a headache from looking at this too closely.

Bright Eyes: Cassadaga Cover Detail

Conner Oberst from Bright Eyes originally wanted a “Magic Eye” image for the cover, but due to the small size of the CD packaging had to find a different technique. This is one time the small size of the CD packaging paid off as I hate those Magic Eye pictures. It just reminds me of the mid 90′s in shopping centers with crowds of people around a frame saying “I can’t see it…. oh wait a dolphin jumping a teapot. Wow!”.

Where as lenticular covers can become costly, this looks to be the cheaper option (music to any record labels ears) priced between 15 – 3p per unit. I’m guessing a little more for the decoder insert but still cheap. And due to it being a new technology and underused in the industry it stands out from the pack. Look for this technology to use used in advertising campaign soon. Something for the defense force might be award fodder.

The album contains Victorian era spiritual imagery and messages in several languages. Conner Oberst wanted people to still have to decipher the text even after using the Decoder. You can read more about this in a great article on NME.

I’ve tried my best below to reveal how the Decoder works but you should really try it out for yourself.

Bright Eyes Cassadaga Decoded
Bright Eyes Cassadaga Decoded 2
Bright Eyes Cassadaga Decoded Back

Here’s a video someone made using it. Presented in Youtube’s blurry goodness.

Another pleasant surprise was the booklet for the album has a nice spot varnish on it. It’s nice to see they didn’t just rest on the cover’s “gimmick” and forget the rest of the package.

Bright Eyes: Cassadaga Booklet
Bright Eyes: Cassadaga Booklet Open
Bright Eyes: Cassadaga CD

The cover was art directed by Zack Nipper from the band’s label Saddle Creek. Zack’s done quite a few covers for Bright Eyes (see here) and his name is perfect if he ever wants to become a porn star or Futurama character.

The album is also nominated for “BEST RECORDING PACKAGE” in this years Grammy awards. As is Menomena’s Friend or Foe we featured a while back. While it’s a tough call, I’d have to say this is my fav from the list.

See the full list of finalists here.

Here’s one of the singles Four Winds off the album.

Check the Wiki entry for the album to have all the secret messages revealed and more info.





8 Comments

  1. definitely good list of grammy nominees for this years packaging categories. you should do a special edition post that has a little information on the other nominees (sans menomena).

  2. Lovely. I will be scouring the record shops for this version as my gift to self this year.

  3. Reminds me of a CD package I found the other day: Project 86′s “Rival Factions” CD by Invisible Creature. Instead of a spectral decoder concept, however, they used colour masking. The jewel case was kind of an built-in decoder; it was a very dark blue, which, when placed overtop the album artwork, masked off blue graphics, revealing hidden messages.

  4. that’s super neat! also, on the last pic (the one with barcode) the writings seem to be in russian… if there was a photo of them in full then I’d be able to translate…

  5. hey Peayq,
    the text has all been translated on the Wiki page linked up. Thanks for the offer though

  6. it is russian. it says draw another bloody bath.

  7. [...] would be the only mainstream artists who are doing anything innovative. Moldover, Menomena, ALB, Bright Eyes, Beck and Pine Bender all have innovative covers and yet they would be the bands you’d think [...]

  8. Anyone know the process of this I want to try it

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