As we celebrate the release of the Battery 9 album ‘Strop’, just over 20 years ago, Paul Riekert muses on the making of the limited edition CD cover.
“A month or two before the release of ‘Strop’, my friend Pieter Dreyer, an industrial designer (who played guitar in Joos Tonteldoos & Die Dwarstrekkers), showed me an idea he’d had for a CD album cover. He sculpted the design in clay and made a silicon mould, in which he poured a liquid polycarbonate resin he mixed and tinted, which set in a few minutes. He then popped it out of the mould – this thin, industrial grey plate, with a Battery 9 logo, looking like it was hewn out of a piece of rock, perfectly fitting a standard CD jewelcase. I loved it!
Tic Tic Bang, the record company, loved it too, and agreed to fund the manufacture of a limited number. I think it was 50 or so. I had four extra moulds made, and went into “production”, casting them myself. When distribution to the shops began, about a week before the official release, I got a call from the record company – “Could you make some more? They’re sold out.” And so it went for about a week, until I had cast 220 of those fuckers – and called a halt.”
BY PAUL RIEKERT
After a gig in Pretoria – could have been at The Fridge or Viper Room in 1996/7 – I was gifted this beaut, by a not-so-goth-looking woman. Apart from being hilarious, it was a reference to the novel Onse Hymie (by Etienne Leroux), one of my favourites, which I had mentioned in an interview. (Hymie Rabinowitz, the main character, is a trader in the Karoo, specialising in plastic buckets and golden pine cones.) I was very impressed.
This great photo formed part of a fashion article in Directions magazine in 1997. They had musicians, in different settings,”modelling” the clothes. The hotel room was messed up a bit, and we had to look blasé while the model pretended to clean.
It was a strange time for fashion advertising: quite often, the product advertised was hardly visible in the image used. For example, a watch ad would feature a photograph of someone feeding geese in a park, wearing long sleeves, with only part of the watch strap showing.
Paul Riekert laments his dead iPod.
It was a bit sudden. I knew it had to happen sooner or later, but that didn’t make it less annoying. After twelve years of faithful service, my iPod (a 2004 fourth-generation 20GB ) has died.
A bit dramatic?
It was my main music player outside of the studio – in the car, every room in the house, while travelling, and so on. It looks like a wood-burning steam engine by today’s standards: limited storage, no bluetooth or wi-fi, no colour screen, no movies or artwork – just music. In retrospect, that was the charm: it was a music player in its pure form, designed and used for that purpose only.
Is it absurd, the sense of loss we sometimes feel when a machine dies? Perhaps it is just misplaced affinity. They are just machines, after all. But they are designed by humans, with many human characteristics built into them. One such quality we share with machines is an expiry date.
by Paul Riekert
This was a gift from a punk (looking properly medicated) after a Battery 9 gig at a club called Inferno in Sunnyside, Pretoria, in 1996. Through the haze he could still crack a few jokes.
Some people prefer devices or software that do not have a piece of fruit for a logo.
So – new Battery 9 single ‘Pluk ’n Lat vir Jou Eie Gat’ now also available on Google Play.