sentinel reflects on world-building with memories on the cover art of spools of gossamer, released via unseelie

, Thursday
focus

Glancing through Jean Marzollo’s and Walter Wick’s 1992 book, I Spy, you can see how every object or place contains seemingly random items. It’s easy to consume the dimly lit highways built from bedroom toys, or the bird totems composed of clutter from a jewelry box. Of course, the style lends to the fact that I Spy is a children’s puzzle book. However, it takes on an alternative meaning as the cover art inspiration for sentinel’s spools of gossamer, released via unseelie on April 1, 2022.

The book’s uncanny minutia conjures something magical, worth getting lost in, much like sentinel’s cover, which pictures whirling piano keys behind collections of flowers, threads, and rose thistles. They tease at a world dependent on imagination and nostalgia— the latter central to sentinel’s motivation for the covert art. Almost four months since the EP’s debut, sentinel offered a few reflections on how memory interplays with worldbuilding for the cover and the unseelie catalog.

**Tell me about the images that inspired the cover for this release. What were they and why were they important?

S: The cover was inspired by a picture book series called I Spy. I was obsessed with it as a kid. Each image would have so much detail that you were given the task of finding several small objects in a busy composition. I referenced that with the track names appearing as objects on the cover. The objects themselves aren’t particularly meaningful, but together they create a certain nostalgic feeling that I’m always chasing.

**There’s a kind of magic and lore that comes through in the visuals behind this release and much of the unseelie catalogue. Could you speak on that?

S: Well, it is the overall goal to create that feeling, but the less we define what “it” is exactly the better for us all… I want to tap into my own sense of nostalgia for things that are collectively remembered as magical. For example, shared memories of a series like I Spy, but personalized with objects directly related to my nostalgia. I think that “magic” has always been a part of the human experience through every trend of storytelling.

sentinel, spools of gossamer (2022). Image courtesy the artist + unseelie

Over decades the culmination of these trends created a collective consciousness that transcends borders, gender, and age, because the overarching theme of fantasy has been ubiquitous for so long. Archetypes of fantasy are ingrained in the human experience and hold a certain tradition that unseelie embraces and injects into digital music. We want to create our own brand and aesthetic around this shared timeless archetype, but most of the magic is allowing the viewer to interpret it for themselves.

**Following that, I’m interested in your take on how this approach interplays with both online and offline sites. What are your thoughts on that?  

S: Creating an otherkin realm of belonging connects the dots between communities both online and offline. I like to think of it as signaling to each other through a tailored aesthetic and virtual cosplay that we can all gather around like a fire.

**Lastly, I wanted to ask if what we’ve talked about so far folds into a larger world. Would you agree? If so, what’s the importance of making it clear— or unclear— to listeners? 

S: All worlds exist within the larger “real world” of daily reality. By drawing connections between fantasy and the universally familiar we can create a sense of magical realism in our everyday lives.**

sentinel’s spools of gossamer was released via unseelie on April 1, 2022. Visit their Bandcamp to purchase the record or a poster of the cover art.