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Storm Thorgerson: The Art of Rock and Roll

By Rick Polo (Editor-in-Chief)

Thorgerson standing next to the iconic "Dark Side of the Moon" cover.
Thorgerson standing next to the iconic “Dark Side of the Moon” cover.

Storm Thorgerson was born in 1944 in Potters Bar, Middlesex, England. He attended Summerhill free school and then Brunswick primary Cambridge.  Following that, he obtained Bachelor’s degrees in English and Philosophy from LeicesterUniversity followed by a Master’s in film and TV from the Royal College of Art in London, graduating in 1969.

While he had initially dreamed of being a filmmaker, a chance invitation from some old school mates, namely Syd Barrett and Roger Waters of Pink Floyd to do a cover for their 1968 album, Saucerful of Secrets, instantly changed his focus from film to graphic arts.

By 1970, he was invited to do a cover for Atom Heart Mother, another Pink Floyd release for which his newly formed design company, Hipgnosis, formed with friend Aubrey Powell. The cover included the iconic image of a cow looking back at the camera in a vivid green pasture with a light blue sky.  The band’s record company, EMI, absolutely hated it, but the band loved it and thus history was made. Three years later, Hipgnosis designed the prism for Dark Side of the Moon and truly made a name for themselves in the world of album cover art.

From those early days with Pink Floyd, Thorgerson has branched out to work with an incredibly worthy group of artists. Always looking to push the envelope his works often feature impossibly large statues, floating objects and incredibly strange combinations of items. He prided himself on using very little computer enhancement to real photographs. Most of the artwork, incredibly, is real. For example, the gentleman on fire for Floyd’s album Wish You Were Here is actually on fire and the giant eyeball on his cover for The Cranberry’s Bury the Hatchet, was a fiberglass model built and carried to an expanse of Monument Valley, Arizona. Even the 700 wrought iron beds featured on Floyd’s A Momentary Lapse of Reason were “individually arranged” and “carefully spaced” on the beach four hours outside of London.

The imagination of Storm Thorgerson knew no bounds. He was willing to sweat, strain and fight for the perfect location, weather and overall effect of the art.

Thorgerson would go on to create dozens of popular album covers. He’s responsible for Led Zeppelin’s Houses of the Holy and In Through the Out Door covers, as well as albums from The Cult, Helloween, Dream Theater, Peter Gabriel, The Offspring Muse, Audioslave and The Mars Volta. His final work was for newcomers Rival Sons’ album, Pressure & Time.

Sadly, Thorgerson died of an undisclosed form of cancer on April 18, 2013. He worked right up until his death, always pushing the boundaries of his creativity.

“It’s this type of dedication and open thinking that is what keeps art fresh, new and exciting and is what every designer, be it graphic, digital or otherwise should strive to achieve,” said a protégé of Thorgorson’s shortly after his death.

 

EMPEROR III

By Rick Polo

The angel of light arrives

On a pale horse he rides

A great deciever of man

Offering a most sinister plan

To folow him blindly

And kneel so respectfully

 

Fallen… Angel… Kingdom… Inferno

 

Now I fall from grace

Enter my darkest night

Can, I, repeat these sins?

Or find my way to light?

 

Selfish desire led me here

Driven to the edge by fear

The faceless beast now smiles

Encouraging belief in denial

Relinquishing hate

An emperor shall not meet such fate

 

Fallen… Angel… Kingdom… Inferno

 

Now I fall from grace

Enter my darkest night

Can, I, repeat these sins?

Or find my way to light?

 

Prmoise me, deceive me

Led me, bled me

Nothing’s free to eternity

On blank pages the Inferno rages

EMPEROR II

By Rick Polo

Reverse this curse

And lead me to my hallowed ground

Lament with intent

To utter not a single sound

Replace the face

The grinning slit of lies

Rebel and sell

Souls worthy of the flies

 

Faith of a seed

moves mountains with ease

But all your faith

did not move me

Just you try

and ask for more

The more you feed

the mother, the whore

 

Womb to tomb

The plan of this so-called fate

Lie and deny

Beliefs which can eliminate

Envy the god

The myth revealed

Enter the splendor

Nihilist dogma unconcealed

 

Faith of a seed

moves mountains with ease

But all your faith

did not move me

Just you try

and ask for more

The more you feed

the mother, the whore

 

Exile

EMPEROR I

By Rick Polo

Of these chains I am bound

Silenced wind carries the sound

Echoes of a youth that was free

Captured by darkness to tempt me

Fearful, a wood splint apart

Kneeling and bleeding, war is my heart

 

Taken away, fleeing today

Parting my own Red Sea

Wsting hate, escpaing fate

Licking the wounds of slavery

 

I am not meant for this hell

My body is my own prison cell

 

Lost in a forest of hate

What visions does madness create?

Not long and I reach the gate

Unweaving the threads of fate

Forging a path of my own

Untainted flesh off my bones

Taken away, fleeing today

Parting my own Red Sea

Wsting hate, escpaing fate

Licking the wounds of slavery

 

I am not meant for this hell

My body is my own prison cell

EMPRESS III

 By Jennifer Elizabeth Rose

(Prologue)

My back, against a wall

the best view for

a watchful eye

Little starfish

can’t die

The Hecate will not drive into them

and damage their vessels.

 

Part A.

All mapped out, no more weary soups

Functionalities have been worked through

A droid, eats, breathes and loves

with theatrics

with theatrics

Got into the galaxy

the proper way –

it was the only way

 

Mesmerized, tantalized

I don’t recall how I did it (so I laugh)

A droid eats, breathes, and loves

Must be one of those Chobits

But I can’t get through to everyone

Not in a normal way

But that’s not the only way.

 

Use my blurred visions, my blurred intuions

my blurred visions, my blurred intuions

When knives hollow, like Gibran realized

Your own cognizance will survive

 

Your upmost being will survive

 

Excess is left to float around

And it doesn’t always feel good.

Mercury retrogrades sometimes,

but like everything, it will pass.

But like everything, it will pass.

 

“The Empress,” The Mystic Dreamer Tarot,

EMPRESS II

By Jennifer Elizabeth Rose

(Prologue)

Where now?

I don’t mind this a part of my life

Though, generally I’m not impressed by our relations

I’ve done the stats and it’s OK

Of course, I gave myself willingly

But now, charmed and taken

Where to?

 

A million atoms screaming

Needing

But what kind of need?

Does anyone know a way out?

So many are sleeping

Can a droid have life?

You can’t bring them all back

to factory

They have to upgrade

themselves.

(But will they? How?

Like Cybermen? Upgrade in progress..)

 

The Empress hosts a tour of the Universe

It’s chilly on Azure

But it’s where we’re going

It’s warmer than your presence

I feel you walk in the room

 

Then they congregate – the congregation

on Vraxion

 

Tie fighters move shakily

stuck, most unwillingly

Can someone do anything?

Pick a time! We can all see.

 

I’m afraid to find a tear

somewhere

A ripple

But it’s better than wandering

aimlessly

in space

It’s better than clashing with The Hecate.

Settling is no longer in the programming.

So how high can this go?

A night watching discs

in the sky

on my teenage blanket

Chasing each other – they whir..

taking turns, taking turns

Down, down..

From where is Earth Death better viewed?

The Doctor took Rose.

She knows.

 

The Empress hosts a tour of the Universe

It’s chilly on Azure

But it’s where we’re going

It’s warmer than your presence

I feel you walk in the room

 

Then they congregate – the congregation

on Vraxion

 

Tie fighters move shakily

stuck, most unwillingly

Can someone do anything?

Pick a time! We can all see.

 

Feelings evoked by the woods

next to various windows

at night

We’ve all been in such states

A young Amelia waits

But admit it, the gripping doom

the fear of isolation

like in “Moon”

(if you’re not ready) like the baby in “Dune.”

 

The Empress hosts a tour of the Universe

It’s chilly on Azure

But it’s where we’re going

It’s warmer than your presence

I feel you walk in the room

 

Then they congregate – the congregation

on Vraxion

 

Tie fighters move shakily

stuck, most unwillingly

Can someone do anything?

Pick a time! We can all see.

 

(Epilogue)

Stoicism – no emotion

Take it all in..

But

Little starfish can’t swim

among crabs in a barrel

They belong in the ocean.

 

It won’t last

Make it better again – fulfilled.

I can feel their futures

see the Universe

 

In Liberty –

one million tiny lights against

pitch black sky

an analogy

Hope,

stars in pitch black void

 

The Empress, intersteller cruise ship from Doctor Who serial, The Nightmare of Eden

EMPRESS I

By Jennifer Elizabeth Rose

We’re alive. It’s too much.

It’s possible but

the atoms are lost

shattered by others’ brows

Down..

Doing the math is a

science now

And you can’t do no math.

So scratch out those possiblites,

And flights of fancy.

 

Come down from

there

so we know you’re alive

Jupiter’s rings,

astronomical things

Expectations fly

 

I can get there

but fate is never known

scrambled

the possibilites

New possibilites.

I’ll try one more time

I know I always say that.

I’ll always say that.

I choose to..

 

Not be stuck

in a castleof fluff

and with Earth in mind,

I’m off

 

(Epilogue)

A vessel circles round a cave

Entering.. circuits break easily inside

But what of meteors in the sky?

Seeing out from a hole,

understated

like my very atoms

“The Nothing..”

Is there all the time in the world?

If you come off it, I’ll come off it..

Inside – Stuck inside?

But I have every thought,

every thought in the Universe

All the time

The only thing outside time and space

– Earth.

Any planet.

Molten rock,

space rock,

space doom

 

Fear or resolution: Are you coming?

I’ll just take myself then.

 

The Childlike Empress, The Never Ending Story

By Rick Polo (Editor-in-Chief)

Palms-Debut-604x604

Artist: Palms

Album: Palms

Release Date: 6/25/13

Rating: 4.7/5

What happens when you take one of alt-metal’s most poetic figures combined with the gods of sludge? How about a post-rock magnum opus that’s pleasing to the ears of both metal fans and indie hispsters? Believe it, because Palms have made this seemingly impossible task look effortless with their self-titled debut disc.

The side project of Deftones frontman, Chino Moreno, and Isis members Jeff Caxide (bass), Aaron Harris (drums) and Bryant Clifford Meyer (guitar), Palms began about two years ago after the demise of Isis. After deciding to move forward making music, the former members of Isis set their eye on Moreno as the perfect voice for their next step.

“I think a lot of people are expecting this to sound like Isis with Chino singing. That’s not what this is, because that’s not exciting,” said Caxide in an interview explaining the direction of the new project.

Palms is differs in many ways from both the Deftones and Isis, yet has a number of similarities as well. Loud, aggressive riffs are absent, and replaced with lush textures and atmospheric tones. Even when the distortion gets turned up on tracks like “Patagonia” and “Mission Sunset.” Moreno also trades his signature screams to focus more on his melodic and dreamy vocal style, which also can be heard through a lot of Deftones’ newer material. His vocals soar on nearly all the tracks, especially “Mission Sunset,” “Shortwave Radio” and “Antarctic Handshake.”

Where Palms is similar to its members’ Project, is the overall wall of sound. Thickness and atmospherics are all over Deftones’ and Isis’ music respectively, so the collaboration makes sense on many levels. If you ake away the heavy metal distortion from both bands, you’re left with somewhat-experimental, post-rock and dare we say, indie tendencies. Palms, in a sense, is a stripping away of the metal aspects of both projects, with a greater emphasis on the sonic textures. Sonically, and emotionally, Palms in a very heavy album. However, just not in a metal sense.

Palms‘ opening track, “Future Warrior,” is a standout classic right from the start. It’s a perfect introduction to the project, showcasing the tight and beautiful instrumentation of Caxide, Harris and Meyer, combined with the soaring voice of Moreno. From there, “Patagonia” and the epic “Mission Sunset” continue the journey, diving deeper and deeper into this post-rock utopia. From there, the notable track, “Shortwave Radio” gives the album a searing climax, right before ascending into the rocking “Tropics.” Palms concludes with another epic piece, “Antarctic Handshake,” just shy of ten minutes.

All in all, Palms is a very unexpected and unique album from its creators. Although, this isn’t necessarily new territory for Moreno, check out his short-lived 2005 side-project Team Sleep. Regardless, fans of Isis and Deftones will most likely embrace the album, as it emphasizes what the respective projects have hinted at within their music. Must-listen tracks include “Future Warrior,” “Shortwave Radio” and “Tropics.” The band will not tour extensively, or perform outside of California for that matter, but the album is one of this year’s must-haves!