Illustrated Tapes 105: Mystical / Magical

Curated by Laina Deene

* * *

Laina is an illustrator and animator from Sussex, currently based in Kingston-Upon-Thames.

Heya Laina. Can you tell us a little bit about your tape and your song selections?

I think for the past few months, I’ve really enjoyed listening to music that can transport you to another place in your head. The title, ‘Mystical / Magical’ came from an obsession I have with storytelling within art and music. It’s really important to play and imagine, so I hope this tape creates that sort of energy!

What direction did you take with your cover art, and what was your process?

I tried really hard not to think about a certain style and tried to capture what this theme really means to me. I painted it in my garden on an unexpected sunny day last week, and drew what I found interesting around me. This was mostly the strangely shaped tree branches, birds and flowers. 

What are your fave album covers, records with a great music and artwork combo, or musical projects with a visual component?

Mother Earth’s Plantasia – Mort Garson
1976, Homeworld Records
Artwork: Marvin Rubin

Even though this cover was made in the 70s, it looks as if it could have been made today. The illustration is really lovely and I love the idea of playing music to your plants to make them feel happy!

Melodrama – Lorde
2017, Lava / Republic / Universal NZ
Artwork - Sam McKinniss

The colours in this cover painted by Sam Mckinniss are so wonderful and are what first drove me to listen to this album originally.

Magdalene – FKA Twgs
2019, Young Turks
Artwork: Matthew Stone
Creative Dir: Matthew Josephs
Design: Brodie Kaman

This one is similar to the Lorde cover. I love the brush stroke textures mixed with the glitchy almost generated effect of the other splats of colour which compliments this album so well!

What did you listen to growing up?

When I was really young, I remember playing lots of Kate Nash, Florence and The Machine and Blondie in the car. When I was five or so, my mum told me that ‘Hey Ya,’ by Outkast said, ‘Laaaina’ in the chorus so I really loved that song growing up! The first album I bought for myself that I can remember was Dizzee Rascal’s, Tongue n’ Cheek, I always used to admire the bubbly font on the cover of it.

And what’s on heavy rotation for you at the moment?

I’ve been listening to a lot of Brockhampton again in anticipation for their new album coming out. A lot of the Harry Potter and Little Women soundtrack whilst I’m doing my work because they aren’t too distracting but really fun to listen to at the same time! Also a lot of Flight of The Conchords and Jai Paul.

What’s happening in your creative world at the moment?

I’m having a massive panic because I’m graduating in a couple of months but I’m feeling really excited too! I’m hoping to paint and draw lots in the summer and then in September I’m doing a postgraduate Erasmus scheme, if restrictions allow, for three months work experience somewhere in Europe.

Where can we find you?

My Instagram is @lainadeene (I’m currently working on my website!)

Thanks, Laina!