It’s been a while since Oscar & Ewan have emailed us and I was pleased to see they hadn’t forgotten us when they sent through Roots Manuva’s latest album “Slime and Reason”. Probably the only thing I dislike about the album is the title :)
I’m not sure if this is O&E’s thing but they really like to make stuff and photograph it. It’s this manual labor that really makes their work stand out. O&E were also responsible for one of our most popular covers from last year Slime and Reason is no exception. This also makes their work look like fun to work on. I can just imagine their work spaces being filled with half finished bits and pieces and left overs from photo shoots.
While it initially looks like a 3D rendering, you can see (on closer inspection) that it’s actually a plaster sculpture. If Roots had of been American you’d just need to throw a few big booty, bikini babes in his slime pool and you’d be ready to go.
Also I can’t help but feel it’s like the monkey brains scene from Indiana Jones.
Here’s some insight from the guys on the process of creating the album cover. This was originally sent to Merge Magazine as part of a Q&A. Not that I can find it on their site to link up so I’m using it here.
“The title was the idea, we took a very literal translation. There were other considerations too that helped, Roots Manuva’s past two covers have had him facing forward, and centrally framed. so although this is aesthetically a departure from those covers, it has kept a link. also the plaster bust shows a defined and prestigious character, where as the slime takes the edge off it, making it contemporary and quite jovial, which we feel suits this album. Lyrically often the listener is wondering just what is inside his head. Our past covers have been quite visually busy, but we aimed to make this one very stark and striking, recognizable from a distance and quite iconic.”
“The building of the head was a long process, and one that we weren’t quite sure how to approach. We thought originally that we would commission a sculptor to make the bust, but that was extremely expensive and the result may not have looked exactly like Roots, then we thought about a live cast of the head in plaster, but they can often look quite ‘dead’, the face can sag in the plaster and there isn’t much flexibility with the expression.
So after some looking around we found out about 3D scanning and rapid prototyping. This was the best option, the scanning process is very quick and accurate, and having the 3D model in the computer meant we could edit the bowl into the head at that stage, before the rapid prototyping. So we got the rapid prototyped model, then commissioned a sculptor to cast it in plaster. this was quite a nervous stage as we had to make a mother cast with the rapid prototyped model, which we had to smash to get out of the cast, so we had no original left. the sculptor then had to go on holiday, so we had to removed the plaster head from the mother cast with no previous experience of sculpting, then sand down the head and sculpt the eyes. The green slime was 3x bottles of green Aloe Vera hand soap.”
Here’s some work in progress and behind the scenes photos from this long process.
The photos above look like a dodgy backyard porno? Not that I’ve really watched much dodgy backyard porn.
And lastly here’s what Roots would like like if Roots Manuva and the Pillsbury Doughboy had a bukkake session.
The single artwork for “Buff Nuff” (above) and “Again and Again” (below) all share the same sculpture shot at different angles.
I would have liked to have just seen different things inside his head like the behind the scenes photo with the bananas below.
The fact you get a very quick 3D scan would have made it easy to start working on the layout quickly. So it’s kind of rapid prototyping design aswell. Here’s a few test 3D renders showing what a Roots Manuva easter egg would look like and what Roots would look like if he was cast in the Smurfs movie. Reggae Smurf? A lesser design agency would have just used this as their cover. (And it still would have been better than many others out there)
Note:O&E both only graduated in 2007. So they are not only talented mofos but young too. Definetly ones to keep an eye on.
You can buy the album from Ninjatune via Root’s official website.
You can also buy a green plastic wallet but I think that’s one of the worst pieces of merch I’ve seen in a while.
P.S: I’ll spell check this post tomorrow. I did a little midnight blogging and there’s always mistakles.