20 September 2005


Following on from my little rant about labels on records being the wrong way around, I was pleased to see words of support from Dan Pope (of Gussetblog fame), who added further food for thought with his comment "...closely related to my #1 pet hate, not printing the play speed on the label artwork. That wouldn't be too much to ask would it?". No Dan, it wouldn't. When exactly did it become unfashionable to print the rpm playspeed on a record, eh? Although it's can be generally assumed that a 12" playing only one track will be 45rpm and 2 or more tracks at 331/3rpm, the fact is that it doesn't always happen that way. I've no idea why. And yes, it can be bloody annoying at times, especially as it's would be such a simple thing for the artwork designers to incorporate. I recall an example of a fellow blogger who ripped an Aphex Twin track at the wrong speed once (although it sounded pretty creamy at 33!). Maybe these young guns running labels today don't actually remember that there was a time when rpm speeds were noted on labels...

Take this example from 1985 - a 12" with each side playing at different speeds. Designer Neville Brody made sure that no one would be confused by making the play speeds the main focus of the design:



...and how do I know that this was released in 1985? Because it clearly states the copyright date on the label. Why does nobody bother with that anymore either? In years to come, when I'm flicking through my dusty old pile of dubstep slates, it'd be nice to have an idea of what year they were released without having to check at bloody Discogs!

I reckon me and Dan (and whoever feels the same way) should start a campaign to bring back the rpm speeds, copyright dates and all the other helpful little bits of info that we used to take for granted. Who's with us?

Before I go, here's another example of cool rpm design, care of the mighty Designers Republic. Not on the actual label, but as a sticker on the sleeve:


Now that's the shit, ain't it?

Oh, hang on - a couple of honourary mentions for labels keeping the flame alive:


Shout-out to the geezer who designs the labels for Various Production. They don't give much away, these people, but at least you know the playspeed and the year. Respec'!


Fuck me! Big-up Sting Recordings for keepin' it real with the 33 flava and the copyright date action. All other underground labels take note!

Oh, one more thing - how about noting the bpm counts too? If it's not too much fucking trouble, that is...


Good to see that Geroyche, Serpico009, Loki and (I think) JW are all backing my 'bring back the rpm speeds' campaign, although Blip's against it (though he does agree about the copyright dates) and Blackdown just thinks I'm losing the plot, which is probably true.

My other pet hate was rekindled yet again today when I popped into Rooted Records to grab a copy of the latest DMZ release. Got home, slapped it on the turntable and lo and behold - the labels are on the fucking wrong way round!!!

DMZ005At least there's no chance of me making any embarrassing mistakes this time, cuz I'm very familiar with "Neverland" (it's been caned on dub for ages) and spotted the error immediately. Top tune of course, and no surprise that it's been so popular with the DJs - listening to it all the way through at last, you realise how perfectly designed it is to be 'mixable', with generously long drums-only intro/outro sections and a classy breakdown two thirds of the way in. But actually it's the flip "Stuck" that really does it for me, with the haunting pads, cascading droplets of echo-drenched melody and bulbous subby b-line. Righteous emotional music. Pure class.

Still pissed-off about those labels though. Don't really like that colour scheme either. Actually, what is that colour - mauve or summit? At least it's a thumbs-up for including the copyright date!