SAFARIARI: Save New York

CD: Cafe 2001 caf003

You wanted to know.

The cover here shows the skyline of Manhattan, but instead of Brooklyn in the foreground, there's lush vegetation. As though the jungle has pushed its way all the way up to city's edge, and is threatening to consume the city. If you unfold the digipak cover, you'll find that there's even a zebra on the jungle-fied Brooklyn. I thought the artwork was a brilliant inversion the first time I saw it. It's still my favorite cover by Barcelona designer Gregorio Soria (who also runs the Annika label).

Maybe I would have reacted differently to the cover art if I hadn't first seen it when I did. It was the first week of September 2001 when the ironic "nature encroaches on the city" artwork brought a grin to my face. The CD was released a few days later, on September 10th. And yes, the World Trade Center towers feature prominently in the skyline on the back of the digipak.

If you haven't guessed already, the playful environmentalist design was suddenly a joke in poor taste. It also seemed like the album might be trying to exploit the tragedy in New York. The artwork was hastily revised and the title changed to the dubious "Zebra Knights", but Cafe 2001 didn't have enough money to reprint the CDs, so it was licensed to larger Norwegian label called Trust Me and re-released in 2002. But the damage was done. A gem of a debut slipped through the cracks.

For the record, Jon Kristian Furuheim (Mr. Safariari) says that the "Save New York" title came from a video game he had been fond of in earlier years.

You are reading this on the Radio Khartoum website.