With 12 Inch Motion, “digging for loops” has got a whole new meaning. Berlin-based 2D motion designer Felix Neumann founded the project two years ago, merging his love for music and short animations. He animates album art by looking for loops and movement, adding a new and at times surprising dimension to covers by the likes of A Tribe Called Quest, Ahmad Jamal, Madvillain, Kendrick Lamar & DJ Shadow. The underlying aim of 12 Inch Motion: to bring back the appreciation of album covers as pieces of art.
What drove you to start the 12 Inch Motion project?
Since my youth I have accumulated quite a large and diverse digital music collection on my hard drive. I always made sure to keep everything tidy and clean – especially when it came to the album artwork. It always drives me crazy when covers in a playlist are missing and are replaced with that ugly iTunes default thumbnail. So even without a physical record I always felt like the cover art was of great importance for all my albums. I find it quite sad that in these digital times people barely look at album covers as a whole piece of art anymore. That’s when two years ago I came up with 12 Inch Motion.
“I find it quite sad that in these digital times people barely look at album covers as a whole piece of art anymore“
Are all covers you animate a reflection of your own taste in music?
I’d say it’s 50/50. The longer the project kept going, the more I started looking for interesting art from an animation standpoint. Which has a cool side effect: that way I’ve actually been (re)discovering music solely thanks to cover art.
A recent and personal example would be Rumours by Fleetwood Mac. I’ve known that one song “Dreams” from the radio back in my childhood, but never really listened to the band after that. But then there was this woman that I liked. She brought up the song “Dreams” to me again after so many years, and called it one of her favourites. So I checked out the album cover and immediately had a few animation ideas and got to work – pretty much to impress that woman.
And what kind of covers have you been animating of artists you’ve already loved?
To name a few examples: Kendrick Lamar’s Damn, Audio88 & Yassin’s Halleluja, Madvillain’s Madvillainy, Jimmy Eat World’s Bleed American, Apollo Brown’s Clouds, and City & Colour’s Bring Me Your Love.
The name of your project refers to 12″ record sleeves – are you a record collector?
Back in the days I had a medium-sized CD collection, but then I slowly got rid of them all and went completely digital. But a few months ago a close friend of mine moved to another city and she left me her record player to look after. That’s when I started buying a bunch of vinyl records – some new ones, some classics and some I already have in my digital library. Most of it is hip hop and beats, but there’s also a few rock, pop and folk records in there.
Already got a favorite record after going analog?
One of my current favourites is 6 Feet Beneath The Moon by King Krule. The incredible artwork, the music and everything around it fit together perfectly. It’s a record that I can listen to from start to finish, over and over again. “Foreign 2” is such an intense track!
Another record with more sentimental value would be The Police’s Outlandos d’Amour. I found that while digging at a flea market. It’s a constant reminder of my mom, who is partly responsible for my everlasting interest in music, I would say. And The Police was one of the bands she had all the albums of when I was a kid. I animated that cover for her on Mother’s Day.
What has been the hardest cover to animate up till now, and how was the process like?
Most of the time it’s not a question of “Is it too hard?” but “How much work is it to animate this?” Sometimes that means I have to cut out all the parts I want to put into motion, or that I have to recreate the artist’s illustration/drawing style, which can be a bit tricky sometimes.
Do you simply animate covers from a visual perspective, or do you also strive to make it fit with the music itself?
It depends. For example, for German beat compilation Hi Hat Club Vol. 7 by producer Knowsum I wanted to capture the moment of the cover photography by Robert Winter; the artist in his element—making beats in his studio—and I wanted to make the movement fit the beats on the record:
Lastly, any particular animated album cover you’d like people to check out?
The Workspaces Compilation Vol.1 by Boombap.org, a German hip hop beat tape. There are so many tiny things happening, I really liked working on that:
Boombap.org presents: Various Artists – The Workspaces Compilation Vol.1 // Original artwork by #AlexBrade // @heratik.de @thebeep @brousone @keormeteor @torky_tork @steriogram @morlockk_dilemma @errol_barnes @brenksinatra @the_twza @hulk_hodn @mxwllfrry @hade_cgn @grupsesbeats @rob_who @figubbrazlevic @djmemyselfandi // #Boombap #Various #TheWorkspacesCompilation #Vol1 #Beattape #Germany #Instrumental #HipHop #Producer#Heratik #Vinyl #CoverArt #AnimatedAlbumCover #12inchmotion