20200916

Ralf Hütter and the first Suicide album

Have you ever noticed the record in the little stand on the floor there next to Kraftwerk's Ralf Hütter in this iconic photo? Ever wondered what it is?
The photo was taken in fellow Kraftwerk co-founder Florian Schneider's apartment in Düsseldorf, probably in 1979, and (now this will come in handy for those of you who didn't read the title of this post) what we're seeing there in the wire record rack is the back sleeve of the the self-titled debut album by Suicide, the pioneering electronic New York duo of Martin Rev and Alan Vega.
Now, have you ever paid attention to the turntable next to Ralf? The record player that's also visible in this photo, taken from a different angle? Wish you knew what it was? Florian Schneider's deliciously chunky phonograph? 
You're in luck today, my friend. I'm here to tell you that it I've pinned it down. And what it is, is a Micro Seiki DDX-1000. 

Micro Seiki was a Japanese manufacturer of high-precision metal parts. In the mid 70s, they decided to enter the turntable market. And so they did, with one of the most elaborate and considered record players seen. It was the DDX-1000 – according to Micro Seiki a 'highly sophisticated turntable for discerning music lovers in pursuit of the ultimate in disc reproduction'. The DDX-1000 allowed you to mount up to 3 separate tone arms at different, dedicated mounting points, all isolated from the turntable itself. 

The company ran into financial difficulties in the 1990s and stopped making turntables (thanks, Compact Disc) but the company is still in existence as a precision engineering workshop. 
If you were in the market to to purchase a used Micro Seiki DDX-1000 today, you'd end up paying somewhere around €3000. 

There are a few other images available that show Florian's flat at the time. And it's clear that Florian has many interesting and beautiful things. But what are they? Who designed the living room suite, the sofa and the chair? What's that triangular, probably mid century side table next to where Ralf is sitting? 
And what exactly is in that impressive looking rack next to the record player? 
Is that a clock on the left hand side in his sleeping alcove? And what's that standing on top of the TV – looks a bit too small but could it be an early VCR? 
Speaking of things, it is said that these black and white panoramic photos of Florian's apartment were taken using a Horizont camera. Horizont (or Горизонт) was a Russian swing-lens panoramic camera manufactured from 1967-1973. 
Foto-Quelle, a subsidary of German mail order and department store giant Quelle and once proudly 'the biggest photo house in the world' sold a version of the Horizont camera intended specifically for the German market. It was called Horizont Revue, and given the prevalence of Foto-Quelle catalogues in Germany at the time, it seems likely that this is the model that was used. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Danke!