Reviews

Cassadaga

04/03/2007 | Nme.com | www.nme.com | Feature
The secrets behind the "magic" artwork for Bright Eyes' new album have been uncovered.

'Cassadaga', which is out on Monday (April 9), features a 3D sleeve that can only be viewed properly using a special "spectral decoder" that comes with the record.

It allows fans to see a range of images including a funfair with a cable car and some mysterious pyramids.

Speaking to NME.COM, Zack Nipper from Bright Eyes US label Saddle Creek explained how he and Conor Oberst came up with the unique design.

"The original concept as Conor Oberst and I discussed it was to use a 3D stereogram, a 'magic eye' illusion, for the artwork, so if you stared at it the right way, images of pyramids would appear in 3D," he said. "The problem with this was that, especially with CD packaging, the stereogram would have to be very small. Also, there are some people who are not able to view magic eye images - myself included - and they would be losing out."

Instead they went for the design which recalls the optical illusions of the Victorian era.

"I did some hunting around for other options and found a company based in London who offer a patented process they developed called Focal Decoder that we ended up using," explained Nipper. "What we liked about this option was that it was very difficult to see anything of the hidden images without the decoder, it allowed a high level of detail in the hidden images and text, and it was a technique that we hadn't seen anywhere before."

Nipper then created the illustrations that were hidden into the sleeve.

"The hidden text was mostly written by Conor and translated into other languages by friends," said Nipper of the album's secret messages. "The rest of the hidden text is magical in nature and from historical sources. I liked Conor's idea of using different languages, so even after you use the decoder to view the text, you still have one more level before you can decipher the message."

With several versions of the album coming out, Nipper recommends the vinyl version so fans can get the full effect.

"The 'deluxe' version of the CD and the vinyl LP have the most encoded images," he declared. "The LP decoder is a larger size to accommodate the larger encoded panels. The design of the decoder was based on Conor's idea of having it look like an antique scientific instrument."
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