The making of Klang

Work Associates looked to some of the Germanic influences on The Rakes’ third album, Klang, to create their entrancing typographic sleeve for the release and the supporting singles. Here’s how they did it…

Work Associates looked to some of the Germanic influences on The Rakes‘ third album, Klang, to create their entrancing typographic sleeve for the release and the supporting singles. Here’s how they did it…

Recorded in a former radio studio in east Berlin (and titled after the German word for “sound”) Work based their imagery partly on Bauhaus principles and on colour theorist Ludwig Hirschfeld-Mack‘s 1920s experiments with various apparatus that could generate moving projections of coloured light. His processes were later explained in his booklet, Farben Licht-Spiele.

“Hirschfeld-Mack’s idea seemed to convey the appropriate movement to suggest sound in a single image,” explains Work’s Rob Crane.

Ludwig Hirschfeld-Mack’s original machine for projecting coloured light

“In his ‘Colour Light Plays’ multiple coloured light sources were photographed through a cut-out mask. So we built a replica of his apparatus in the computer using Lightwave software.”

Screengrabs showing the virtual apparatus, adapted from Hirschfeld-Mack’s projection machine

The resulting letterforms were then re-drawn based on a Josef Albers stencil sans serif (which, actually, later became Futura Black) as the shape of the font was more suited to the cut-out masks originally used in the apparatus.

Back cover of Klang

Group shot as featured in the sleeve inlay

Work applied the same graphic approach to the singles 1989 and Reason.

More work at wrk.me.uk.

  • It’s lovely artwork, and I still find it incredible that you can replicate the process of Ludwig Hirschfeld-Mack’s original machine by “creating” the apparatus in Lightwave. I personally would haven wanted to have a go at building an actual replica though! The biggest shame here is that this artwork is for The Rakes…

  • wow. at first glance i would have thought, yeah photoshop. but rebuilding the apparatus in lightwave is so much cooler. very inspiring!

  • Absolutely beautiful, I so wish it was done for real though. Def gonna do some experiments for myself, never would have thought of this.

  • Nice work!

  • Musgove

    Would be nice to see The Light Surgeons commissioned to work with them at their gigs. Old skool projection geniuses!

  • Lovely!

  • nice artwork and process.
    designers really should get away from the computer more, though – it is healthy!

  • Excellent, very interesting piece of work

  • Matt

    I was really struck by this album when I first saw it and now having read how it was produced, it makes it even more interesting.
    shame the band had to break up though, they were a breath of fresh air.