Record Sleeve Finds: Kraftwerk’s Megaposter

Kraftwerk released their third album, Ralf und Florian, in 1973. It was the last of their “krautrock” records. Just a year later they would release Autobahn and begin to create history with their pioneering electronic sound.

When Ralf und Florian was released in West Germany, the very first pressing of the album came with a giant-sized 24″ by 36″ comic book/poster by Emil Shult, a cartoonist who has since designed most of the artwork for the band and even played with them for a short while in the early 70s. This poster was only included with the first West German pressing. It never appeared in any British, American or Japanese editions, and it’s even lacking in later pressings of the album that came out of the band’s home country.

The Ralf und Florian album is rare as it is, having never been released on CD, but this poster is downright impossible to find. So imagine my shock when I discovered it in the sleeve of a copy I bought.

I wanted to photograph this thing to share it, but it was so massive that doing that proved to be an impossibility. Instead I took to scanning it, scanning each panel four times in my printer/scanner, and then piecing them together in GIMP. It was a real pain, but the results came out great. Take a look for yourself. Some panels have comic-like stories, and for those I turned to the translation talents of Thomas Mohr, who I thank tremendously for his help.

Also, you can click on each image to get the full-sized high-resolution version. Please feel free to copy and save these as you’d like. But if you share them on your own site or on Tumblr or whatever, please let everyone know that you got them here first. I’d watermark these, but those are just ugly. So you’re all on the honor system, okay?

1st

Text here is a little faint, but it reads “Düsseldorf, on the river Rhine, will soon resound with … KRAFTWERK.”

 

2nd

Panel No. 2, no text here, just a lot of random, weird images.

 

3rd

The giant yellow text reads “If now and then you plug one in…” As for the comic, below is a panel by panel translation:

Panel 1: I’ll plug myself in! – Sounds great!
so…
2. Where do you think you’re going?
3. Hole of a sudden! Teehee!
4. Into that Moog over there!
5. BUZZZZZ!
6. Even So… – Don’t turn it up until they’ve both plugged in.
14. Lights on, and then…

4th

“Composituation for easily manageable electronic equipment”

"Composituation for easily manageable electronic equipment"

6th

 

7th

The pink text reads: “On to the cycle of fifths,” while the blue text continues with “and as a special note, some dance music please!”

The phone conversations in the top right corner is as follows:

“Hi! This is Florian. Am I speaking to Ralf Major?”
“Yeah. What’s up?
“Can you play me an A-flat major scale tomorrow night at the studio on Sharp Note Street?”
“Yeah. No problem.”

8th

Once again, no text, just crazy 60s era artwork. I don’t know who any of these people are or the context for any of these images. If anyone wants to share their knowledge about any of it, please do!

All I can really gather out of any of this is, yo West Germany was kind of weird in the early 70s. But I own a few Can and Neu! albums, so I already pieced that together on my own.

7 Responses to Record Sleeve Finds: Kraftwerk’s Megaposter

  • Scream Queen says:

    Er, it’s West, not East Germany …

  • Conrad says:

    Nice to see Mostly Retro coming into it’s own – keep up the good work.
    This poster/comic – in what order are the images when put back together to form a whole?
    Thanks and sorry to hear about Scott and Storm too – holes in the music that will never be filled.

  • Petty Blue says:

    JAAA, DANKE! I was waiting for the day one kind person would upload scans of this comic. Ahh, and translations too. Omg, they are giant – everything beyond what I expected. Thanks again! :)))

  • Petty Blue says:

    Oh, right, special knowledge to share about this comic:
    Ralf (Hütter)&Florian (Schneider) are Kraftwerk of course, Emil (Schult) is their friend who drew these comics, Isabella was Ralf’s and Barbara Florian’s girlfriend at the time, Heidi is the lady from their local record shop, and the rest are Florian’s sisters and mother.
    Judging from what I know about West Germany at the time, it wasn’t so weird (always), Ralf&Florian are just special 😀
    They said these comics looked like their music, and were very fond of these. They used to want to make a whole book of them, and this is supposed to only be a fragment. Moreover, this comic explains electronic music…wait, I’ll find a quote.
    “Florian Schneider: It’s a story with these small plug-in systems trying to get in the inputs and outputs… trying to make…
    Ralf Hütter: Contact! In electronics, always you have different components trying to get in contact and form things.It’s like people meeting, and we have a story of these small, different electronic components meeting each other and getting together and making up something forming a special group. It’s hard to illustrate by talking but when you see it…”

  • Tom says:

    I’m pleased to say, I also have an original copy of this poster too. R&F was the first LP I got, way back in 1974 or so. I’ve still got both today.

    Also worth knowing that the image on the British release of Ralf and Florian, that red circuit board, is in fact a voicing board from the Practical Electronics (PE) Joanna electronic piano. I discovered this about 20 years ago after finding some old PE magazines in an electronics surplus shop in Brighton, UK. Naturally, my head exploded! How about that for nerdy-knowhat? 😉

  • Ian Bevis says:

    Thank you very much for making this available. I only have the reissue wit the boring chip sleeve and it’s a real pleasure to see this comic at last.

Leave a Reply

Subscribe