The Jazz Album Cover That Became Blade Runner

Illustration for article titled The Jazz Album Cover That Became Blade Runner

Syd Mead's concept artwork for Blade Runner has always looked a bit like a jazz painting. It's meant to portray a saturnine view of downtown Los Angeles in the future, but the only things in it that are even slightly futuristic are the armored-looking dumptruck on the street, and the hulking mega-skyscraper in the background which is probably meant to be the Tyrell corporation. Besides that, the image is a wash of signage, mostly featuring Asian text. All it needs is an accompanying saxophone track and this could serve as the cover image to an album, circa 1963.


When Blade Runner came out in 1982, Cinefex devoted an entire issue to the movie, complete with scads of Syd Mead's concept art. They later became collector's editions, and were hard to track down. If you were lucky enough to find one, it would usually set you back a hundred bucks. However, Titan Books put out a special edition hardcover edition a few years ago, and you can pick one up for about sixteen bucks. It may not come with an accompanying floppy record full of jazz riffs or even Vangelis tunes, but it does featuring some truly amazing concept design from one of the masters.



What frickn Jazz albums are you listening to? Clearly I have to move beyond my CTI fascination. If that reminds me of any album covers its this. (understandably)