Sleeve notes: Sarah Boris on Gershon Kingsley’s Pop Corn

Five music-lovers from the world of art and design share the album artwork that has stuck with them since they first laid eyes on it,
and the effect the music itself had on their life and work.
Next up, Sarah Boris.

Sarah Boris is an award winning graphic designer, art director and artist based in London running her design practise. She was Associate Art Director at Phaidon Press until February 2015. Some of her key projects include the redesign of the ICA’s identity (unveiled in 2009 and still in use today) and the design of the Alias book for Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chagrin.


She talks about her memories of Moog
classic Pop Corn by Gershon Kingsley.

“I am not sure why but I immediately thought about one particular 7 inch record that I discovered when I was a kid, more than 25 years ago.

Pop Corn sounds special to me, it reminds me of my childhood from the days I grew up in the US to our move to France. The vinyl belonged to my mother when she was a teenager. I discovered it in the room where I would sleep in the countryside at my grandparents place. The kind of place where each room is quite minimal and the hours of the summer days seem endless. As a child I could not help but look into every corner, drawing an inventory of the contents of the house. I listened to every vinyl that was in that room but the one that hypnotised me particularly and that I would play in loops was Pop Corn by Hot Butter. I could not stop jumping up and down while listening at it, imagining I was myself a corn seed trying to pop out of it’s buttery bag bursting for freedom. When I listen to it again today I feel the same. I want to jump up and down, setting my limbs loose with no sense of direction like a pop corn whizzing through space and into the galaxy. I feel an adrenalin rush combined with a sense of nostalgia and immense love for life.

Unashamedly I will admit that I can’t remember at all the cover artwork and that any attempt to recall it would be formed of a mix mash in my mind between the effect of time distorting my visual memory, my imagination and visual associations evoked by the name of the track itself.

I am off track, offbeat, but I feel this relates directly to my relationship with music as a designer. I confess that the look of the cover artwork has never influenced me in listening to an album. I love, desire and admire beautiful cover artwork but good design does not make me pick up an album over another. I would always encourage musicians and labels to commission great designers to create their cover artwork and I love the design commissions I have had from musicians. I’m in love with the tactile experience of sliding the vinyl out of it’s sleeve in the same way I loved my cassettes and the clunky sound they make when you take them out of their plastic case.

I would never buy an ugly poster but I would buy an album with terrible cover artwork just for the tunes.

I tend to walk with my head titled sideways in the tube in Paris just to see who has designed a poster that has attracted my attention but this never happened for me with music. I am a rather obsessed and nerdy designer but I just havn’t developed a similar obsession for album cover artworks.

Wether the track’s vinyl cover carries a design with the american flag, pop corn or an illustration of the band
swimming in hot butter at the end of the day what has stuck with me all these years is the music and the flow
of memories associated to it.”

See more work from Sarah Boris
Read more Sleeve Notes

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