With all the music-related awards out of the way, it's time to concentrate on beauty. Tomorrow and the next day, we'll be focusing on people (namely, ladies) who look lovely. But first, the almost-as-important matter of album sleeve design and packaging.
BEST DESIGN/PACKAGING: KRAFTWERK - THE CATALOGUE
The original Kraftwerk album covers were already fairly iconic; from the motorway scene of Autobahn, the retrofuturism of both Trans Europe Express and The Man Machine, to the sparser, angular styles of Computer World and Electric Cafe. The band had long since reduced their visual identity to the four Robots, either behind banks of keyboards or simply headshots. The latterday covers for The Mix and Tour de France Soundtracks mirrored the stripped down, recycled approach of the music itself, which had ceased to move forward in the way it had done in the 1970s and early 1980s and instead seemed content to fiddle with itself at great length.
In some ways, The Catalogue represents one long bout of Kraftwerk fiddling with itself, reprocessing and tweaking every imaginable facet of the music and, naturally, the packaging as well, in an attempt to present a definitive and unified body of work. To this end, for the CD outer slipcases some of the sleeves have been replaced with either an existing, earlier alternative (Autobahn's roadsign) or a version which removes the band's image, though the heads remain on Computer World and Techno Pop (formerly known as Electric Cafe, but now reverting to its intended title).
Most of these adjustments are pleasing on the eye; the new Trans Europe Express outer cover is absolutely sublime, and Radioactivity is arguably another improvement. Less so the loss of The Man Machine's group photo design, although as pictured above the original sleeves are still part of the inside cover packaging.
Individually, some of these designs would have been notable contenders for the award, but taken as a whole, The Catalogue boxset trumps anything else released in 2009 for sheer gorgeousness; even EMI/Parlophone's fine job with the overhyped Beatles Remasters project.
BAT FOR LASHES (Two Suns album)
THE BEATLES (Stereo Remasters deluxe boxset)
FLORENCE + THE MACHINE (Lungs album and boxset)
FOO FIGHTERS (Greatest Hits deluxe edition)
LITTLE BOOTS (Singles & Album)
PET SHOP BOYS (Yes deluxe edition)
PORTICO QUARTET (Isla album)
SAINT ETIENNE (Method Of Modern Love singles bundle)
WHITE LIES (To Lose My Life album & various singles)