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?
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!
2. Where do you think you’re going?
3. Hole of a sudden! Teehee!
4. Into that Moog over there!
6. Even So… – Don’t turn it up until they’ve both plugged in.
14. Lights on, and then…
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.”
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.