On Friday, Illogical Contraption began a mystical quest into the realm of the strange and the surreal, a quest to locate and identify the most astounding and cryptic items off of the covers of several 70's and 80's progressive rock albums. If you haven't read Part 1 yet, you should The Roger Dean/Yes/Avatar connection was explored, Rick Wakeman was worshipped, and Van Der Graaf Generator gave new meaning to the term "Spaceballs". But there was oh-so-much more fantastical psychedelia to be explored!
Take, for example, Jethro's 1980 offering, A (below). The band is pictured in the cockpit of some sort of spacecraft (or maybe an airport control tower), with one of the most iconic nondescript objects of all time hovering above them. That's right: The "A". Trip out on that, man.
Below: Two more unexplained chunks of progrock effluvium worthy of closer inspection and/or praise -- Webbed Reptoid Hand In Cufflinks off the cover of Amazing Blondel's 1976 Renrock classic Bad Dreams (left) and The Can of Okra With Random Tomato off of Can's Ege Bamyasi (1972, right).
How 'bout Palepoli's Osanna (below)? What the fuck is going on here? Dumbed-down Escher? Roman ruins? Even the title of the album itself has morphed into some sort of strange, nondescript object. Bravo!
Below: You thought the face on the cover of that PFM album was creepy? Check out the dude on the cover of teenage Italian progsters Semiramis' Dedicato a frazz. Yeesh.
Of course, before we wrap up this trek, we'll need to head up to Canada to drop in on those chin-stroking purveyors of psuedo-intellectualism known as Rush.
God, I hate Rush.
But they do know how to construct a fine album cover, I'll give them that. I find the owl on the cover of Fly By Night absolutely captivating, and the subtle sexual symbolism on the cover of Counterparts is as sly as it is humorous. But we're looking for more abstract concepts here. Abstract concepts like the floating orbs on Hold Your Fire? Yeah, like that.
The shoddily-rendered landscape on the cover of Grace Under Pressure (below)? A hot mess, to be sure. But Rush never underestimates the intelligence of their fans. YOU get it, right?
The melting orb from Vapor Trails? A study in minimalism, visually name-checking both Jackson Pollock and Unicron. Brilliant.
All three band members, borne aloft on their own massive genitals, shooting lazers in space?!?!?! Yes please!
Released on Brain Records, of course.
(Not to be confused with German prog-metallers Mind Odyssey, who, for the record, know their way around a vague, poorly-constructed album cover as well)
Along with writing and performing some excellent neo-Ren Faire heavy prog, these guys had a definite flair for odd, nondescript album covers, not the least of which being 1975's Free Hand (Peter wrote it up here).
Take a good, long look at that sucker down below. What exactly is happening therein? Obviously, some sort of heavy-handed (pardon the pun) attempt at symbolism is being made, with the vague allusion to bound hands representing slavery and the struggle for freedom or some such silliness, but all I get out of it is one thing:
That other hand is totally pulling a Marty McFly.
Am I right?
I just wanted to leave you all with the image of GG drummer John Weathers (right) sticking his tongue up your butt.