Swollen Members – Balance (1st Euro version)

  • WITHDRAWN: 1999
  • FORMAT: 2xLP / CD
  • CAT No.: JFR016 / JFRCD016
  • DESIGN CREDITS: Openmind / DJ Vadim
  • EXTRA ZEN: Discogs page

Swollen Members - Balance CD cover

God, what a fiasco this turned into. Vadim used to do around 20 hand painted promo sleeves of the early Jazz Fudge singles, all different, some with hand written messages, so that he could make an impression on DJs rather than handing them a white label like all the others. They were mainly Pollock-inspired abstracts done using old sleeves and house paint but the ones for the Swollen Members’ LP were particularly nice as he stuck stickers they’d sent him on the cover.

I have to stress at this point that Vadim and I pretty much dictated how a sleeve would look in the early days of Jazz Fudge and would conspire together on them with more regard for the visual look of the label than the thoughts of the artists. Vadim is a very visually aware person and would bring material for me to use and I would egg him on to try this and that. Budgets were non existent and this was when Mo Wax was in it’s golden age with incredible sleeves coming out every month so he wanted to come out with the nicest sleeves possible with the resources. The Swollen Members’ album was the first record he had licensed from another label for release in Europe as they are a Canadian group with their own Battle Axe record label. The original cover was sky blue with a battle axe logo, and the group name and title and we thought it was crap – it didn’t look good and it certainly didn’t fit in with our aesthetic of how Jazz Fudge looked.

I persuaded Vadim that his promo copy artwork was better than their release artwork and that we should just scan that and add the appropriate credits, barcode etc. He agreed and we did a CD version the same but the shit hit the fan when the Members came over for their first tour to promote the record. The first thing they knew about the cover change was when they arrived at the label – fresh off the plane, ready to jump in the tour van – and were handed copies. I don’t remember the exact events because I wasn’t there and was told later but they hit the roof. I think they practically demanded on the spot that he reprint it and reinstate the original artwork because they hated it so much. A valuable lesson was learned that day but it was also the same time that our ideas for a visually abstract label image died too.