Kraftwerk ‘The Robots’ / ‘Spacelab’, UK tri-fold paper cover 7″, Capitol Records, 1978, record shop find, London.
Well I wasn’t expecting that, Ralf Hutter guest editing Wallpaper magazine and a multi-page preview of their forthcoming 3D book. Even more surprising is that Christian Marclay features as well (there is an alternate cover by him on some issues too). The issue comes with a free pair of 3D glasses and you can see some of the spreads above.
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I’ve been waiting for this issue to crop up on Brian McClosekey‘s excellent ‘Like Punk Never Happened’ blog – the 1981 issue with Adam Ant on the cover – one that I strongly remember, being mad about anything with an Ant attachment at the time. Brian posts complete issues of Smash Hits, every two weeks, 30 years to the day they were first published and he’ll continue until his collection stops. The pages are viewable via Flickr and are slowly forming an excellent time capsule of late 70’s and 80’s pop, in context, as it happened. I was eleven when this was published and 1981 was Adam Ant’s year, he was everywhere, from the pop charts to TV to the daily newspapers. He looked and sounded great, gave good copy and they couldn’t get enough of him.
Another page in this issue caught my eye later on though, a half page advert for five Kraftwerk albums. They had a freak number one in the UK with ‘The Model’ in February 1982 – a traditional post-Xmas quiet spot for record releases. It seems Phonogram were eagerly flooding the market with reissues of their back catalogue at this point though because they’d just released the Computer World album. When I first saw the ad (obviously, re-reading the mag later) I thought, “What? how can they have five albums?”, little knowing that there were another four at least to add to this list. Unfortunately none of these made it to my local record shop but I did manage to get copies of ‘Computer World’, ‘The Man Machine’ and ‘Trans Europe Express’ – all on cassette – the latter of which I took back to the shop, complaining to them that the tape only had one track on side 2 when it listed four. Again, little did I realise all four tracks segued into one so there weren’t any breaks in between (!) I love the way they’ve spelt picture with a ‘k’ in the text and my god do I wish I’d been old enough to see them on that tour.
From Mighty Fine via Megatrip
In 1979 animation studio Halas & Batchelor were commisioned by EMI to make a video to accompany Kraftwerk’s song ‘Autobahn’ for a possible laser disc compilation of the label’s back catalogue. These are two original cels from the film, the background and goggle reflections are lost, the laser disc was never released.
You can watch the film in two parts on YouTube, this frame appears at approx 4.22 in Part 2.
Love this Kraftwerk parody for a FREE gig this Friday in Dalston, London.
FRIDAY 15th October 2010
Times : 8pm
“An adventurous collage of raw and intoxicating sounds from the last century and beyond…” A free evening of music with DJs Mandrew B, Mapsadaisical, Mike Modular & Radioolio, playing ambient, kosmiche, jazz, dub, radiophonics and more…
Here’s something interesting I stumbled across whilst perusing the Kraftwerk Facebook page that’s been set up by fans. A limited edition of the band’s Tour De France 12″ that comes with a built in player like those cheesy birthday cards you can get that play a tune when you open them.
The designer’s name is Woes Van Haaften and there are 5 different sleeve colours to choose from but they don’t come cheap let me warn you! Full info and a little film here
This has been in the pipeline a while, I think I did the design last autumn but had been collecting the contents for longer. Chalk Brighton, the brainchild of old friends Dean Ricca-Smith and Simon Skevington, is a new company specialising in limited edition T-shirt prints with a difference. One of their debut designs spelt out SOUL in bold letters entirely made up of titles of their favourite Soul records and was a big hit. They plan to continue the series and I submitted my entry in the form of Moog. Not an obvious follow up but Chalk isn’t an obvious kind of company.
The tracks within my design either refer to records with Moog in the title or famous songs which feature the Moog somewhere in the kit list (did you know that the bassline to Donna Summer’s ‘I Feel Love’ was played on a Moog?). Anyway, the shirt is big on design but minimal of contrast so it blends together nicely when printed and is actually a lot more subtle than these photos suggest. Also you have to love the attention to detail with the names on the neck tag Get them while they’re hot…
Absolutely my last Kraftwerk post for a while (I promise). Because ‘The Catalogue’ is released today, here’s a couple of YouTubers attempting to play one of my favorite tracks – Pocket Calculator – on the original instruments used. Mattel Bee Gees Rhythm Machine? I want one!
Another Kraftwerk post (I’ll have to give them their own category) and time for the sixth installment of my Kraftwerk Kover Kollection to coincide with the final release of the remastered Catalogue boxset on Monday.
It’s up for a week, streaming via the Solid Steel site and I’ll be making it available via Soundcloud when the next show replaces it.
For those unfamiliar, I do these hour long mixes every year or so featuring cover versions, sample-heavy tracks or songs that obviously owe a debt to the Dusseldorf quartet. I had the idea to string these sources together several years ago and the more I dug, the more I found, the amount of material out there is mind boggling. Not so strange for such an influential band who rarely release new material, I suppose fans have to fill the gap somehow. For anyone wanting to play catch-up, the first 4 are available here with full artwork and tracklistings and I’ll be putting 5 up with 6 next week too.
At a festival in Warsaw the other week, DK and I had the pleasure of seeing ex-Kraftwerk member Karl Bartos play. I was surprised at how much of the set was old material mixed with his solo stuff. His stage show pales compared to his former bands’ but he had full visuals and 5.1 sound all mixed live and hearing a new take on classic tracks was well worth the time we took to check him out.
Ran across this whilst looking for something else – genius. Finally getting round to doing the Kraftwerk Kover Kollection volume 6 this week to tie in with the release of The Catalogue.
[youtube width=”626″ height=”420″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A-haWSy43Ks[/youtube]
[vimeo width=”625″ height=”420″]http://www.vimeo.com/7313672[/vimeo]
I’ve been having a reacquainted love affair this year with all things analogue, seventies and sci-fi. It seems to happen every few years and all I want to look at are curved edges, computer fonts, muted tones and airbrushed images from the days before computers made everything virtual. I’ve been doing a T- shirt design based on the Moog and whilst doing some research I stumbled upon this site.
Someone has scanned several issues of a synth mag from the mid seventies called Synapse. It contains interviews with people like Eno, Zappa, Kraftwerk, Herbie Hancock, George Duke, Bob Moog, Pat Gleeson and a whole lot more. In amongst all this are reviews, how-to’s and loads of ads for what are now vintage synths.
The Kraftwerk interview is great, at one point they talk about a comic they’ve made where small plug-in systems try try to make contact with all these inputs and outputs, coming together to make a group. They talk about doing a book where they present more of their work to people in ways it can’t be shown on record. Shame it didn’t materialise.
What has materialised at long last though is the fabled reissues of their albums from 1974 -2003 – known to fans as ‘the catalogue’ – and originally meant for release in 2004. Some promo copies even slipped out but then nothing, now they are finally available via Mute in the UK. Now that’s one set of remasters I’ve been looking forward to whilst everyone else bangs on about the other Fab Four.