In 1971, Kevin Ayers started recording what would become his most acclaimed album, Whatevershebringswesing accompanied by members of Gong and his previous backing band The Whole World. Praised by NME, Record Mirror and Rolling Stone, the album realized all the musical aspirations Ayers had harboured since the inception of Soft Machine.
As with most Ayers albums, a collision of disparate styles confronts the listener but in this instance they work to extremely powerful effect. The title track with Mike Oldfield’s guitar accompaniment and Robert Wyatt’s wracked harmonies would become a template for Ayers subsequent ’70s output.
The gatefold cover shows a basket full of eggs, tipped over, with human babies hatching from the eggs. On the back cover, “no eggsplanation” is offered. The sleeve design is credited to “Adrian Boot and unknown artist”. Boot later contributed photography to many other records. It’s not clear whether the Hieronymus Bosch-like painting is an early work of his, or if he used a found painting as the basis for a collage. While the title is set in all-lowercase Clarendon with no wordspaces, the artist’s name features the ever-mysterious Olivia. Designed by Alex Stocker for the first volume of Lettera (1954), the Victorian italic caps were adopted by Mecanorma for dry transfer lettering around the time the album was released.