Blows Against the Empire - Cover Art is "The Firebird"

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Blows Against the Empire - Cover Art is "The Firebird"

Postby RotaryTotem on Thu Sep 05, 2013 5:15 pm

The cover art to Kantner's 1970 solo album, "Blows Against the Empire" has always intrigued me.

It is credited to CCCP, and Kantner explains in the CD reissue, "It's from a series of lacquer paintings on boxes, Russian folk art, much like the icons in their churches."

However, a close look at the painting reveals that it depicts a scene from the folk tale of Prince Ivan and the Firebird. Yes, this is the same folk tale upon which Igor Stravinsky's famous ballet "The Firebird" is based. Prince Ivan captures the Firebird, then releases it after the Firebird gives him a Magic Feather, which will summon the Firebird to aid the Prince when he is later captured by an evil spirit.

The tale of Prince Ivan and the Firebird is a common subject for Russian lacquer boxes. Here are some images of other lacquer boxes with the same theme:

http://www.russianlacquerart.com/galler ... 19/enlarge
http://www.russianlacquerart.com/galler ... 29/enlarge
http://www.russianlacquerart.com/galler ... 47/enlarge
http://www.russianlacquerart.com/cnt/Kh ... 18/enlarge
http://www.russianlacquerart.com/cnt/Pa ... 96/enlarge
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Re: Blows Against the Empire - Cover Art is "The Firebird"

Postby brumus on Thu Sep 05, 2013 8:12 pm

Very nice. Thanks for the images.

I also heard that the paintings were based on the Epic Of Gilgamesh but The Firebird sounds right.

Stravinsky is one Classical composer that I could hear in Airplane's work. His dynamic pounding rhythms are very similar to JA like in Eskimo Blue Day. The warm and hopeful strains of Aaron Copland is another. The ending for Respighi's Pines Of Rome is definitely Kantner inspired vision. IMO anyway.
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Re: Blows Against the Empire - Cover Art is "The Firebird"

Postby redrabid on Wed Sep 11, 2013 1:26 pm

Nice surprise, this topic.
While I was working on a painting I played "Blows". Looking at its sleeve I realised what was wrong with my painting and started all over. But the illustration on Blows reminds me of Persian art. And the clothes of the man remind me of those worn by Persian/Azeri/Caucasian folkdancers.
Might have been a great record sleeve. The lettering (American/science fiction) destroys it.
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Re: Blows Against the Empire - Cover Art is "The Firebird"

Postby Susan Butcher on Sat Apr 05, 2014 8:22 pm

"Blows" was going to have a science fiction painting by Ron Cobb on its cover, but Cobb fussed too much over it and never completed it.
"I ain't got the blues no more I said"
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