The Romanian alternative rock band byron was preparing to release its 6th studio album entitled "Eternal Return". It is a concept album with 12 songs written over the course of a year, each song corresponding to a particular month. The lyrics speak of the myths, legends and historical events behind each calendar month, transposed into our modern world. Alternatively, the songs can be interpreted as telling the love story between two protagonists, chronicling the ups and downs in their relationship.
It is, above all, a meditation on the cyclic nature of life, and the way concepts, ideas and events have a way of recurring throughout history -- the so called eternal return. The album was recorded in High Resolution Audio (24 bit / 96 kHz) at Windmill Lane Recording Studios in Dublin, Ireland, and was mastered at the equally iconic Abbey Road Studios in London, UK by Frank Arkwright (New Order, Joy Division, Blur, Arcade Fire, Biffy Clyro et. al.). The artwork of the album had to be in line with the musical concept and to complement it.
The music album (byron - Eternal Return) was a conceptual one, 12 songs describing a whole year, each one covering the events in one month. We're talking about a series of myths, concepts or special events pertaining to each particular month. So the graphic presentation had to complement that musical concept. The booklet had to almost become a calendar.
For the album cover, keeping in line with the significance of the title -- Eternal Return, a philosophical concept -- I chose to illustrate the ciclicity, the infinite repetition, and, ultimately, entwined destinies with one of the oldest known symbols -- Solomon's knot -- combining ancient Roman and Greek designs, in a real marble mosaic. So I studied books on mosaic techniques and created the cover -- a 50x50 cm 2000+ pieces coloured marble
mosaic complete with band name and title.
For uniformity, I wanted to apply the same rule to all the images in the booklet -- 15 in total: I chose to make them all mosaics of some sort, illustrating the main theme of their respective song using different repeating materials. All scenes have been painstakingly created, then photographed, with one exception, which is an elaborate photo mosaic using many images of the same tree taken at many different times of the year.
I chose to use as little computer trickery as possible to make it look as organic as I could.
For the mosaicking I used: marble, shells, pills, many kinds of seeds, ice cubes (including coloured ones), chess pawns, sequins, pins and blades, newspaper clippings, lit candles, raindrops, wine glasses, even a mosaic of shadows. In addition to the scene, each material used was chosen based on the lyrics and themes of the song. An example: the first song is about spring, agriculture, taking roots, nature awakening. Its mosaic is made of around 12 types of seeds of various colours depicting a small sapling sprouting like the tip of an iceberg from a huge tangle of roots holding everything in place.
The general aim was to enrich and clarify/explain the meaning of the lyrics of each song, I hope that worked. The total timeframe for the whole graphic project was about 50 full days. In the end I've also decided to print it as a 2016 30x35cm wall calendar which is sold with the other merchandise during the band's concerts, the larger size doing justice to the elaborate tableaux.
byron's fans. Demographics: 59% women, 41% men, largest audience-24% between 25 and 34 years old, living mostly in urban areas in Romania, UK, USA, Germany.
The artwork of the album generated exceptional feedback from byron's fans. On the bands' blog there is a series of "making of episodes" dedicated to each mosaic.
Project title: byron - Eternal Return Artwork
Agentie: byron Music
Sergiu Mitrofan / Graphic Designer
Casa de productie: Universal Music
Marius Galan / A&R
Agentie de media: Overground Music
Cosmin Ionescu / PR & social media
Shortlist Premiile FIBRA #1:
Shortlist FIBRA - byron - The Eternal Return Artwork / 3.3 PRINT - Publications and Brand Collateral