New book lifts the lid on the art of Aussie punk and post-punk 45s
Pressed for a Xmas gift for that special Rock Action person in your life? Worry no more. “Product 45” has landed.
“Product 45” is a lavish book released this week that focuses on the years 1976-1980 and showcases single cover art from the Australian punk/post punk era. This is the first book in a series of three that looks at the art of packaging Australian music as told by the musicians, the artists and the fans.
This lavish coffee table masterpiece has been lovingly compiled by Sydneysider Murray Bennett who has carved a career packaging records for Australian independent and major labels.
There is a ‘Limited Collector’s Edition’ of 250 books that will include two unique, exclusive 7’’ records from this period from The Last Words and Cybotron. These recordings have never been available or heard before.
“Product 45” features contributions from more than 50 artists, label heads, music writers and industry luminaries from the era including Bruce Milne, Dave Warner, Stuart Coupe, Keith Glass, Jules Normington, Steve Stravakis, Philip Brophy, Guy Blackman, John Foy, Roger Grierson, Mitchell Jones, Ed Kuepper (and yours truly.)
1976 was a pivotal year in the history of Australian music. It’s a logical time to start this book.
"Produc t45" looks at the creative way music was packaged, from the graphic design to the printing processes and finally the delivery of the finished product into the market place. Up until this time the music market was the exclusive domain of major music companies. 1976 was the year of change, where musicians started to do it themselves, to record, package and deliver their music directly to their fans.
It was small scattered groups of like-minded individuals who had the DIY mentality. And they were in every Australian capital city and scattered through the countryside. These creative minds just wanted to get their music recorded and heard, hand delivering it to their fan base.
This music was packaged in hand made, low budget paper sleeves that were spectacular. Without the constraints of the record company art departments, these releases were genuinely creative. While produced on a shoe string budget but with many hands, it was creativity to the maximum.
Nothing was off limits, the language used, the photos taken and the variety of print processes used, whether hand drawn and hand coloured, one colour photocopy or screen printed onto a variety of textured papers and boards. Some covers were glued, some just folded. Often there weren’t even 500 copies – maybe just a short run of 100 or 200. All have become highly priced and collectable.
Compiler Murray Bennett has worked as a graphic designer, art director, studio manager and photographer and has been packaging music since leaving art school in 1985. From going to see bands all over Sydney as an under-aged punter he has loved Australian music and the packaging it comes in.
Frustrated with the advent of CDs, he designs and patents packaging that returns the feel of the LP cover to CDs. An avid record and music collector, Bennett built the Inner City Sound music archive supplying music repertoire back to bands, artist and record labels for commercial release.
“Music is a wonderful thing, it means so much to so many different people,” said Bennett. “The same song can be loved or loathed. But music is intangible, you can’t reach out and touch it but you can with the packaging it comes in.”
Bennett continues: “To most musicians and bands the packaging of their music is integral to their music within. How their music is visually represented is important, to best reflect their style and feel to existing fans or a new audience.”
This book will be available from Australian book and record stores but if you want to be assured of getting your hands on a copy or want the limited edition, go to Facebook or contact Murray through this website.