HARDHOUND

Cluster & Eno

Author: Colin | Published: 25/2/13

cluster-eno

I’m just going through an enthusiastic re-listening to classic German 70s music (what some call Krautrock), Harmonia and the various Cluster formations mainly, I’ll get round to the likes of Neu and La Dusseldorf soon too. Why am I writing this? Just to express my love of this album cover in particular – the colours in the sky, the mic, the type – wonderful. Also much loved by me is the other Sky Records cover and the second Harmonia album…

cluster2

harmonia-deluxe

Get Well Soon – Vexations

Author: Colin | Published: 16/2/13
Previous Kraftwerk – Autobahn (UK version) Next Cluster & Eno

Vexations

Vexations

Vexations

Vexations

Vexations

Vexations

Vexations

Vexations

Vexations

Vexations

Artist Get Well Soon
Title Vexations
Label City Slang
Year 2009
Design I couldn’t find any credit for the design – which is a shame.
Music Songs and film music on the second CD
Notes I know nothing about Get Well Soon except that the album’s title is an Erik Satie composition. This purchase was the result of browsing round the rather marvellous Rough Trade off Brick Lane in London’s east end. When I’m in the area, which is only occasionally I can’t resist visiting the shop. I have a real soft spot for music contained within a book like this. This particular example is beautifully produced, from the silver-embossed title on the linen cover (a lovely shade of mid blue) to the copious images and handwritten notes and lyrics.

Here are a few more examples already published on Hard Format:

- Ursula Bogner – Sonne = Black Box
- Sigur Rós ‎– Með Suð Í Eyrum Við Spilum Endalaust
- Mika Vainio – Time Examined
- Rune Grammofon – Money Will Ruin Everything
- Money Will Ruin Everything 2
- Victrola Favourites
- Radiohead – Amnesiac
- Dock Boggs – Country Blues
- mum – Summer Make Good

Listen

Kraftwerk – Autobahn (UK version)

Author: Colin | Published: 10/2/13
Previous Correction: WOW, a heavy listening experience Next Get Well Soon – Vexations

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This post is republished with love in memory of my father, John Buttimer. 1 February 1923 – 8 February 2013
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autobahn-1

kraftwerk-autobahn-1

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kraftwerk-autobahn-1

Artist Kraftwerk
Title Autobahn
Label Vertigo
Year 1974
Designer Unknown, possibly Barney Bubbles
Music Electronic
Notes This is an absolutely iconic design and it’s an oddity because this design was only distributed in the UK. We’ll post about the design for the rest of the world in a few days.

I first saw this version at the tender age of 8, in 1974, when my dad brought it home. A lifelong classical music stalwart, Autobahn was his one concession to popular music and it had a profound effect on me. I listened to the 22 minute title track over and over again on his headphones, loving the synthesized sound of the cars whooshing from one ear to the other, right through the middle of my head. The bridge that crosses the two white lines always seemed to symbolise my headphones listening in to the roar of traffic martialled into a modern-day symphony. The two pieces of brown sticky tape affixed to the lower corners makes my copy unique. I recently asked why they were there and was reminded that my Dad had to repair the sleeve after numerous borrowings in my teenage years. It’s the nearest thing to a family heirloom I’ve got.

Autobahn is fascinating because of its translation of the concept of travel into musical form. This transmission from one medium to another wasn’t a new one, but the extent to which it reduced the distance between musical composition and referent was and remains striking. Its central motif isn’t a melody, but the sound of cars approaching and moving away from the listener. The design perfectly encapsulates this by appropriating the motorway symbol and placing it so that it fills the cover from top to bottom. There is no end to the journey in graphic terms, it’s implied that the road continues outside the frame of the cover. Similarly the music ends with one more passing car rather than the sound, say, of an engine being turned off (Autobahn’s railway counterpart, Trans-Europe Express, ends with the sound of train brakes squealing).

Typographically, the design is fascinating as well. The letters R, W, R, A, U, A and H in the title are escaping from their settings, literally tracing new roads, setting off for destinations unknown. At the same time they’re dancing – the W, U and H waving and punching the air and the Rs and As stretching their toes out. The letter forms presage the tremendous influence the group would have on dance music and on the musical world as a whole. Similarly, the icon-focused design was the approach the group would take in its latterday releases, except that from Man Machine onwards they made the four members of the group integral to each design. The graphic below is from the group’s yet to be released career retrospective:

katalog

Autobahn is an utterly brilliant synergy between music, concept and visual design. One last thing: there’s no designer credit on the Autobahn sleeve which seems fittingly utilitarian.

See also:
- Kraftwerk – ephemera
- Kraftwerk – Expo 2000
- Discussion: Who designed this version of Autobahn? on { feuilleton }
- Autobahn (non-uk version)
- Minimum Maximum CD/DVD box
- Neon Lights 12″
- Pocket Calculator 7″

Correction: WOW, a heavy listening experience

Author: Colin | Published: 6/2/13
Previous Cave Painting – Votive Life, So Calm Next Kraftwerk – Autobahn (UK version)

Just a quick note to correct the listing for WOW, the designer was Timm Knoerr, not Carl Schilde. You can see Timm’s website here: www.timmknoerr.de.

Cave Painting – Votive Life, So Calm

Author: Colin | Published: 2/2/13
Previous Request for help Next Correction: WOW, a heavy listening experience

Cave Painting

Cave Painting

Cave Painting

Cave Painting

Cave Painting

Cave Painting

Cave Painting

Cave Painting

Cave Painting

Artist Cave Painting
Title Votive Life, So Calm
Label Third Rock Recordings
Year 2012
Design Scott Jones
Music Rock
Notes Nice to see some rather lovely die-cutting and paper folding here from Scott Jones. I particularly like how the lack of type on the front cover emphasises the shapes and those colour gradients across the pages. I still haven’t quite had the courage to unfold the single version…
Listen

Request for help

Author: Colin | Published: 2/2/13
Previous Bowie, ’77 Next Cave Painting – Votive Life, So Calm

Can anyone help me with a little technical assistance for Hard Format? Some people are endowed with marvelous minds able to code, unfortunately I’m not one of them. I’m not in a position to pay you, but I’d be happy to put an ad link in the sidebar of the homepage for a while or discuss an alternative arrangement. I need to:

It would be wonderful if someone could help: hardformat.org@gmail.com. Thank you for your time.

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