Album Art of the Week: Coalesce – ‘OX’
Coalesce's 'OX' marks the return of one of hardcore's most innovative craftsmen, so it makes sense punctuating their arrival with a design as unique as the band itself. For this they teamed up with the Clarks at Invisible Creature to bring their ideas to life, and there was plenty of personal excitement for the designers. "Working with Coalesce was a personal highlight for me," Don Clark told Noisecreep. "The band played an important role in my life regarding heavy music and starting a band. I instantly connected with Sean's lyrical themes, their song structures and overall 'I couldn't care less' attitude regarding music politics and the hardcore scene I was immersed in at the time."
"As far as the packaging concept for 'OX', it really was a partnership with Sean and his vision - which I highly respected and just got completely inspired by," Don continued. "He really wanted to go all out in regards to the physical piece: die-cuts, embossing, metallic inks, spot varnishes, etc. and I was completely on board. Many labels are dumping unique packaging options in favor of creating the cheapest physical product they can. Luckily Relapse supported our effort and was very hands-on to guarantee this release would look the way we envisioned it. We wanted to create something that Coalesce fans would want to own. I share the band's attitude regarding art being an important piece to the experience of owning and listening to music. This was (and is) very important to me."
Most importantly, it seems, is an ideological connection between designer and musician that played a large role. "There is a work ethic with Coalesce that I admire - and share much of the same values with as a human being. Sean has made it clear that his life has been a journey and is always evolving with new challenges and inspirations. I connect with that. This artwork reflects the the journey we are on, which can look easy one day, and completely confusing the next. But the over-arching theme is labor. Nothing is free. Anything worth attaining is hard. The star illustrations I created are there to represent that and the many facets of life, simple or chaotic."