Mittwoch, 2. September 2009

The Blueprint 3

So Jay-Z's new album leaked a couple of days ago.

Fun Fact: While there is a song called "D.O.A." (Death Of Auto-Tune) on it, a lot of the hooks sound so sterile and polished that I am guessing there are at least a good 5 songs that actually use Auto-tune. One of the songs doesn't even try to hide it. Which is such a blatant disregard for consistency that I am almost tempted to read it as an ironic comment on hip hop's obsession with realness. But I guess it is quite unintentional (which makes it even more ironic).

The music is not that interesting, so I'd rather talk about the cover art. Here are two recent album covers which might have inspired it:

The idea of three horizontal bands of color representing the number 3 is especially compelling. Stripes have a long tradition in the history of modern art - Abstract Expressionism, Minimal and Concept Art have all utilized monochrome stripes on a light/white ground.

While Agnes Martin's (top left) grids of lines are so low contrast that they seem to blend into the background, always on the verge of disappearing, John McLaughlin (top right) used to paint deep black rectangles on white canvas - somewhat reminiscent of asian calligraphy, or at least: a reduced, geometric version of it. Daniel Buren (bottom left) is often referred to as the "stripe guy". Buren's all-over paintings only have vertical stripes, but his companion Michel Parmentier (bottom right) also turned them horizontal.

Of course, red stripes on a white surface can also be seen as a reference to another iconic piece of art. Take a guess:

(Click on the picture)

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