There are a few different ways you can buy The Ways We Separate, the first full-length album by the Brooklyn duo Beacon. You can download it in high-quality MP3 for $10, or you can pick up a CD and MP3 combo package for $12, or splurge on the vinyl, which also comes with the MP3 download, for $16. And then there’s the deluxe art edition, in which the LP is housed in a gorgeous, minimalist box cast out of pure white sugar. That’s the one you really want.
The packaging was created by the sculptor Fernando Mastrangelo, known for working with unusual materials. "When we started talking about the Beacon piece, I felt that sugar would be the most symbolic material to represent the seductive and ephemeral feeling you get when you listen to their music," he says. "Sugar is such a beautiful material, but has such dark cultural undertones, it’s a substance that is at once loved, yet has caused huge cultural issues." It’s no coincidence, he says, that the album title is rendered in gravestone-style letters.
At first, Mastrangelo planned on making a more traditional sleeve, but the sugar wouldn’t cooperate. As he was trying to figure out what form the sculpture should take, he realized how much he liked the album art itself, and designed a protective box that would also showcase that art on the reverse side. "I feel that the final piece coalesced sculpture, drawing, and functional design in a harmonious way," he says.