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Digital Artist, Rick Egidius asks, “Can new album art change how we hear the music?”

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You may remember digital artist, Rick Egidius’ last contribution to thisis50.com with his series of Instagram posts imagining impossible musical collaborations such as Mac Miller and Amy Winehouse, and Pusha T and Otis Redding.

Well, he’s back with another thought-provoking series asking the question, “What happens when our favorite album art is given a mood-setting twist? Does the music sound different?”

In the artists’ own words…

“The most iconic album covers represent cultural and societal shifts.

Take, for example, the photo of an eight-year-old Nas superimposed over the Queensbridge Projects. Over the years, this image has come to symbolize the golden era of hip-hop.

Interestingly enough, the relationship between cover art and music is not a one-way street. These images influence how we listen to music. Since artists and imagery are presented together from the start, this dynamic relationship is impossible to reverse engineer.

Or at least, it seems that way, which made me wonder: What would happen if I put a mood-setting twist on some classic artwork? Can an album cover actually alter the way we hear the music?

As you will see below, I have chosen three iconic album covers that elicit clear associations, feelings, and experiences, to explore whether altering the cover art can change these associations. Try to focus your attention and emotions on the new artwork until it feels like they have always looked like this. Then ask yourself: Does the music sound the same? Or have my interventions influenced your senses and emotions?”

“Although hardly anyone would argue against the importance of artwork to an album release, we rarely reflect on the way it influences the listening experience. Because the visual presentation usually precedes our encounter with a body of work, it thus becomes a focal point for experiencing it, guiding the way we engage with an album and the emotions, associations, and opinions that go with it. A single image can enhance the theme and message, alter the mood, or emphasize different aspects of an album. In this experiment, I aim to prove that cover art plays a fundamental role in the dynamic relationship between the album and the listener. Artwork should not be treated as just another element of the album release cycle, but rather as an integral part of the artistic expression.”

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