Marian Zazeela album covers


Drift Study 4:37:40-5:09:50 PM 5 VIII 68 NYC (1968) by La Monte Young.

One of the links at the weekend was to the late Marian Zazeela’s poster designs of the 1960s and 70s. She also designed a number of album covers around the same time, mostly for recordings by her husband, La Monte Young, and for associated groups and individuals like Young’s Theatre of Eternal Music—in which Zazeela played the tambura—and raga master Pandit Pran Nath. Some of the albums shown here haven’t always been easy to find thanks to Young’s refusal to reissue his earlier recordings (although he did relent recently and allow digital reissues), but the music has nevertheless been influential. Artists as diverse as the early Velvet Underground, many electronic musicians, and metal bands such as Earth and Sunn O))) owe debts to Young’s compositions.


31 VII 69 10:26 – 10:49 PM / 23 VIII 64 2:50:45 – 3:11 AM The Volga Delta (1969) by La Monte Young / Marian Zazeela.

This is about Marian Zazeela’s cover designs, however, not her husband’s music, designs which are immediately recognisable for Zazeela’s calligraphy and the abstract decorative elements which resemble tiles or fabric prints. The calligraphy is the consistent element, present even when the cover is mostly photographic. This degree of consistent aesthetic attention is unusual in the world of avant-garde composition where the packaging of a composer’s recordings is often little better than the perfunctory appearance of classical albums. Without Marian Zazeela’s involvement it’s unlikely that La Monte Young’s albums would look as good as they do.


Ragas (1971) by Pandit Pran Nath.


Dream House 78’17” (1974) by La Monte Young, Marian Zazeela, The Theatre Of Eternal Music (front cover).


Dream House 78’17” (1974) by La Monte Young, Marian Zazeela, The Theatre Of Eternal Music (back cover).

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