- Sight & Sound
May 13th, 2014
H.R. Giger, Swiss surrealist painter, sculptor and designer, has passed away at age 74. Although best known for his seminal design work with the Alien movie franchise, Giger has contributed his visual aesthetic to the music industry for over 40 years. His iconic artwork can be seen in the art of numerous albums spanning every musical generation since the early 1970's, when he designed the cover art for Emerson, Lake and Palmer's Brain Salad Surgery.
In the spring of 1973, Giger was in the midst of painting a triptych- and admittedly influencing his own work, "through the intoxiction of the music, mainly ELP, Miles Davis and Bowie." Coincidentaly, it was at this same time that Giger received the news that ELP was interested in having him design the cover art for their next album, Brain Salad Surgery.
According to Keith Emerson, the connection was immediate, "Straight away, Giger struck me as 'heavy' to say the least [...] It was dark and very foreboding, and for me it represented ELP's music."
Many of the elements from Giger's ELP-influenced triptych were used in Brain Salad Surgey's imagery, with the addition of the ELP logo. Giger's stylization of the group's name has become one of the most iconic and recognizable anagrams in rock history. Emerson has even incorporated the artwork into a panel on his Moog modular synthesizer.
"To this day, H.R. Giger's work remains distinctive in every sense. He is frighteningly unique." - Keith Emerson