The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website

Baker's Dozen

Nice And Sleevy: Andrew Liles' Favourite Album Covers
The Quietus , November 25th, 2015 11:06

The prolific multi-instrumentalist, Nurse With Wound and Current 93 collaborator and vinyl art devotee picks his top 13 LP covers, tipping his hat to Coil, Cabaret Voltaire and a quintet of dancing banjos among others


Various - Avantgarde 1-4
These collections of albums are the holy grail of avant-garde music. Deutsche Grammophon released four six-LP box sets between 1968 and 1971. If you want them now, you might need to take out a second mortgage. They contain the crème de la crème of 'difficult' music.

I like collections and collect box sets. I also like continuity in presentation, the formulaic quality and order of things. Unfortunately, I only have volume two in this series. Sometimes I imagine going into an antiseptically clean record shop in northern Europe, probably Germany, a record shop that only sells classical music. I remove the Avantgarde box set from the racks and take it to the counter. I ask the man behind the counter, "What's this like?" He stares at me with intimidating, cold, emotionless eyes and says nothing. After an awkward and unacceptably long silence, I would take the box back to the rack and leave the shop shamed and empty-handed.

There is no need for sexy ladies draped over fast cars or Roger Dean fantasy landscapes to sell these records. This is serious music for serious people to whom the fripperies of pop music are anathema; this is 'real art'. This collection of box sets needs no explanation. The brutal, stark text on each box plainly and directly says it all - Avantgarde.