Some rock bands sound as fresh and valid today as when their albums first dropped. A perfect example would be the Pixies, acclaimed as the most influential, pioneering band of the late '80s alt/rock movement.
Over the course of five studio album releases from 1987 through 1991, the Boston-bred group - which included singer/guitarist Black Francis, guitarist Joey Santiago, bassist Kim Deal, and drummer David Lovering - created a body of work that spawned many alt/rock radio standards, and influenced countless subsequent bands, including Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Radiohead.
Now, these five classic releases are going to be reissued as both Limited Edition and Deluxe Edition collector's sets entitled Minotaur. Spearheaded by Jeff Anderson, founder of A+R (Artist in Residence), who has put together expansive and eye-catching versions of releases by Nine Inch Nails, Beck, and Sigur Ros - Minotaur will be available for pre-order at www.ainr.com
beginning Monday, June 15, 2009.
The Minotaur Deluxe Edition will retail for $175, while the Minotaur Limited Edition will be priced at $450.
The Deluxe Edition will include all five Pixies studio albums - Come On Pilgrim (1987), Surfer Rosa (1988), Doolittle (1989), Bossanova (1990), and Trompe le Monde (1991) - on 24k layered CD and Blu-ray (five discs total), with reinterpreted artwork by Vaughan Oliver, the graphic designer who created all of the artwork that accompanied the Pixies' studio albums. Also included in the Deluxe Edition will be a DVD of a Pixies 1991 performance at the Brixton Academy in London, the group's videos, possible live tracks, and a 54-page book, all housed in a custom slipcase.
The Minotaur Limited Edition version will include everything in the Deluxe Edition, as well as all five albums on 180 gram vinyl, a Giclee print of Oliver's artwork, and a 72-page hardcover book, all housed in an oversized custom clamshell cover.Anderson explained the idea behind the set.
"As a Pixies fan, I asked myself, 'How can we re-release this without making this just another box set?' I think we've all been down that road where you've purchased a box set and have been disappointed by only getting a few bonus tracks and a few extra photos. With the Pixies, because they remain such a contemporary band and their sound is still so relevant today, we wanted to re-introduce them to their fans, giving them something that they would truly appreciate and cherish. And also, how can we introduce the band to new fans? What soon followed was the idea of Vaughan Oliver."
Oliver - who was the resident album designer for the Pixies' British label 4AD - explains how he assembled the now instantly-recognizable album covers for the band.
"My starting point would always be the music, reading the lyrics, talking with the band - what their preferences were, in film and painting. With the Pixies, it was work that was always close to my heart and my own personal aesthetic - the images that Charles [aka Black Francis] painted with his lyrics really struck a chord. His work is full of fantastic imagery that always appealed to me, and those were ideas I was trying to reflect with the packaging."
After discussing the project with Anderson, Oliver came up with an intriguing idea.
"I said, 'That was then, this is now. Why don't we do a whole new body of work? It's all born of the same lyrics and albums - it would be evolving the ideas we had in the original packages.' I worked with the same photographer who I worked with back then, Simon Larbalestier. If there were a 'fifth Pixie,' it would have been Simon - his work so suited what they were doing. Simon's gone out and shot a whole new body of work. He was a bit panicked at first, he said, 'The old sleeves - with the topless Spanish dancer, the red planet - have become iconic.' I said to Simon, 'Don't be scared. You're 20 years on, you're a better photographer. Let's take all those same things and do a new body of work.' He shot some amazing images that I think surpass what we did first time around."
Now an art teacher at the University of the Creative Arts in Epsom [in Surrey, U.K.], Oliver called upon his students for some input for the Pixies set.
"I selected a team of students under my direction to work with the titles in the track listing, in a three dimensional way. Cutting the track listing out of cards, shining light through it, making the track titles from nails - all very organic. We're using the type as 'image.' There's a link when you look at them visually with the images that I'm putting next to them in the book."
Upon seeing the gorgeous packaging and effort that has gone into both the Deluxe and Limited Editions of Minotaur, Pixies fans worldwide will get a chance to experience the Pixies in a whole new manner, thanks to Anderson, Oliver, and Larbalestier.
"We design some interesting and innovative packages," adds Anderson. "We're not inexpensive, but I think there are still people out there who don't mind paying for great quality."
For more information and to pre-order, visit www.ainr.com