Gonwards, a new CD box set of songs by American expat Peter Blegvad and Britain's Andy Partridge, mends the marriage between graphic design and recorded music that the MP3 has torn asunder. Designed by Andrew Swainson of London's Cactus, this gem of a package is a pitch-perfect reinterpretation of a rare, typographically ambitious, 1930 Russian Constructivist book cover composed by avant gardist Solomon Telingater. It is so smartly rendered that Swainson actually printed—in trompe-l'oeil fashion—simulated indications of wear-n-tear, so the entire package appears a little soiled, like a vintage orange Kodak film box. The overall look and feel is so exquisite and witty, though, that graphic design fetishists like me won't be able to take their hands off of it.
Blegvad was the creator of the popular Leviathan comic strip in England's Independent newspaper from 1992 to 1999. He's also an author, the founder of the band Slapp Happy, and the talent behind about 20 albums with various bands since the early '70s . Partridge, who composed Gonwards' melodies, is a singer, guitarist, and songwriter for the British art-pop band XTC. This is their second multimedia collaboration together. The interior of the "deluxe box" the design scheme reflects their bold yet eclectic style in its typography. An orange and red palette unifies the CD and DVD sleeve and liner notes/lyrics booklet. "The Gonwards Loteria Card Game," a Mexican-style bingo kit, is a special play-along-with-the-music perk designed by Blegvad, who performs guitar on the album and wrote its lyrics.