Death Waltz is a record label from the UK that specializes in re-releasing classic cult soundtracks on vinyl. Their impressive catalog includes House of the Devil, Escape From New York, Zombie Flesh Eaters, Halloween II and III, Donnie Darko, Prince of Darkness, The Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue and more. For these, the company solicits great artists to conceive and design new cover artwork, all of which is outstanding—see above.
There’s just one problem. The label takes this beautiful art, shrinks it, and surrounds it in a style sheet of a blue circle with the Death Waltz logo prominent in the corner.
On the back cover, the Death Waltz logo reigns again, largely so, at the top. The records come with a poster, one third of which is taken up by the Death Waltz logo. There’s no title or tracklist on either of the record labels themselves, just two more Death Waltz logos.
Why would anyone get such good artwork and then dishonor it with a logo-heavy house sleeve? I get the idea of an in-house style sheet, and it works for labels like Numero Group, but the Death Waltz layout violates a key rule: just because you are the one presenting / promoting / releasing the art does not mean you should force your name onto the art. (To be fair, it seems like Death Waltz has gotten the memo on this, and apparently their newer releases have full-size artwork.)
I found four Death Waltz releases displayed all on one shelf together at Amoeba in San Francisco. As much as the jackets were unattractive (as Amoeba’s own blog notes: “Why get artists to create such beautiful designs only to reduce the image within a hideous label frame? Man, that’s seriously fucked up. How could anyone make such an obviously dunderheaded decision?”), there was one title I couldn’t ignore: the soundtrack to Let The Right One In, the greatest vampire movie ever made, with wonderfully eerie artwork by Candice Tripp.
It was $30, but I bought it. I had a plan.
Step 1: Put record cover on scanner bed. Scan at 600dpi.
Step 2: Crop out the circle and logo, adjust brightness and clone-stamp out any scanning flaws.
Step 3: Print out a 12″x12″ image on photo paper.
Step 4: Use rubber cement to glue the full-size artwork over the front cover.
Step 5: Print a smaller one to cover the logo on the back cover while you’re at it.
Congratulations! You’ve now given your $30 soundtrack the dignity it deserves.
Tags: Cover Art, Death Waltz, DIY, Let The Right One In, Vinyl