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  • Gareth Crook

Squaring the Circle: The Story of Hipgnosis (2022) - 6/10

This documentary might seem a bit of a deep cut from the outside. The story of a design studio focused on record sleeves. Is it not all a bit boffiny. Well yes a little, but Hipgnosis do have quite a pedigree and with Anton Corbijn at the helm here, what transpires is a celebration of experimentation and creative expression. We all know the artwork. Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, T-Rex, Wings… er, 10CC but who was behind it all? Storm Thorgerson has a profile doesn’t he. That’s the (excellent) name you think of, certainly if you’ve been through art school. Po Powell though might be a bit more obscure. The other cofounder, he leads us through the 60s psychedelic boom, those early fumblings as they figured things out, LSD indulgence, riding their luck and falling on their feet, all whilst playing with visuals not seen anywhere else in pop culture. There’s lots of voices here though, Dave Gilmour and Roger Waters (not together of course), Robert Plant and Jimmy Page, Paul McCartney, Noel Gallagher who sums things up beautifully saying “They represent the golden age of the music business, where people believed that music was art and it could change the world. Whereas now music is a commodity”. There’s as much about the environment and culture they worked in as how they actually created some of these works, but there’s enough to keep every viewer happy. Whether it’s terrifying stories of Zep’s fearsome manager Peter Grant or Peter Saville hinting his inspiration for Joy Division’s Unknown Pleaures. It’s a fascinating story, made up of hundreds of little stories that paint a picture of a dizzying group of artists all feeding off one another, both good and bad. Egos, excess, flying fucking pigs.



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