Liner notes  

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"But the main point is that I'm trying to bring out what I call the sonic fiction of records, which is the entire kind of series of things which swing into action as soon as you have music with no words. As soon as you have music with no words, then everything else becomes more crucial: the label, the sleeve, the picture on the cover, the picture on the back, the titles. All these become the jump-off points for your route through the music, or for the way the music captures you and abducts you into its world. So all these things become really important. So a lot of the main sources of the book are from sleeve notes; they're the main thing. A lot of the book talks about sleeve note artists. It talks about the guys who did the covers for those Miles Davis sleeves, this guy Mati Klarwein, another guy Robert Springett, who did the covers for Herbie Hancock's early 70s albums. From them to this guy Dave Nodds who did all the early Suburban Base covers of DJ Hype, where DJ Hype looks like Judge Dredd. There's this single, "The Trooper", and DJ Hype is on the cover, and he's got two decks strapped to his side. He's got the cross fader, the plus and minus, across his middle. He's got these guns, which I think are actual vinyl themselves. It's sound as a weapon, sound as a military instrument that you can kill people with. It's total Judge Dredd; it's mechanismo, basically. -- [1], see Cybernetic Culture Research Unit

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Liner notes (also sleeve notes or album notes) are the writings found on the sleeves of LP record albums and in booklets which come inserted into the compact disc jewel case or the equivalent packaging for vinyl records and cassettes. Sleeve note fiction is a concept first brought forward by Kodwo Eshun (see inset).



Liner notes are descended from the program notes for musical concerts, and developed into notes that were printed on the inner sleeve used to protect a traditional 12-inch vinyl record, i.e., long playing or gramophone record album. The term descends from the name "record liner" or "album liner". Album liner notes survived format changes from vinyl LP to cassette to CD. These notes can be sources of information about the contents of the recording as well as broader cultural topics.


Common material

Such notes often contained a mix of factual and anecdotal material, and occasionally a discography for the artist or the issuing record label. Liner notes were also an occasion for thoughtful signed essays on the artist by another party, often a sympathetic music journalist, a custom that has largely died out. However, the liner note essay has survived in retrospective compilations, particularly in box sets. It is also a tradition in Japan especially for foreign artist releases in Japan. Many CD liner notes include complete song lyrics for the album.


Liner notes now usually include information about the musician, lyrics, a personnel list, and other credits to people the musicians want to thank and people or companies involved in the production of the music. They also can give details on the extent of each musical piece, and sometimes place them in historical or social context. Liner notes for classical music recordings often provide information in several languages; if the piece includes vocal parts, they will often include a libretto, possibly also translated into several languages.


Liner notes sometimes provide metadata that can help when cataloguing private or public collections of sound recordings. However, the information provided on liner notes varies considerably depending on the studio or label which produced the record.

Digital liner notes

Increasingly and due to the rise of digital downloads, a digital booklet is being introduced to compensate for the lack of a physical booklet. Apple Inc. also introduced iTunes LP which features interactive menus instead of simple pages.


A Grammy Award for Best Album Notes has been given annually since 1964.

See also

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Liner notes" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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