This project is a redesign of album cover art and visual system for The Deepest Lake, the most recent record of the band Dengue Fever.

 

An American rock band based in Los Angeles, Dengue Fever creates music that is a fusion of Cambodian rock music from the 60s and 70s with psychedelic rock and other Western and world music styles.

As a first-generation child of Cambodian immigrants, I wanted to explore the blending of cultures represented by Dengue Fever's music. The illustration motifs in this design are inspired by the decorative bas-relief carvings found in historical Khmer architecture, like those seen at the Angkor Watt ruins, while the colors and flat-vector style draw on aesthetics from psychedelia and other more modern, Western design.

Give The Deepest Lake a listen! My favorites from this album are Tokay, Rom Say Sok, and Taxi Dancer. :)

The Deepest Lake//Album Cover Redesign

//Concept & Ideation

Although beautifully illustrated, the existing album artwork for The Deepest Lake falls short at communicating the bright, electric, and silky feel of the music within.

I first heard Dengue Fever's music in a podcast segment that often features interesting and eclectic indie music. I was so astonished and enamored to hear the Khmer language in a place and style I would have never expected. Bringing the feelings from my discovery of this band and the euphoria of music that so resonated with my experience of mixed culture is an important theme in this design.

Objective: Design a new cover and visual system that better reflects the energy and nature of the music, as well as the themes of cultural fusion.

//Process

1. mindmapping songs + lyrics. at this stage, I identified what feelings, themes, and energy the album evokes, and what I wanted my visual system to reflect. I also spent a lot of time translating and analyzing the meaning of the songs, with help from my mom.

2. sketching. figuring out compositions, shapes, style, and motifs. I used the Tokay gecko—the subject of the first track—as a motif, and also drew upon the themes of deep, dark waters present in the album. I brought in geometric shapes and styles inspired by Khmer architecture. 

3. sketching + color. bright, sleek, neon, and psychedelic. bringing the energy of the sound forward through the color palette.

4. production + iterating!

© 2021 by Sarah Tang

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