Record Collector magazine december 2004


Rund Um Den Watzmann

A mountain stuck on a record that playes looped yodeling? Films that you can watch on your record player while listening to the accompanying music? Impossible, you say? Not for the German label Rund um den Watzmann, which has been focussing on the possibilities of extreme packaging since 1990. Label boss Rene Heid debuted with a 12" by Legendary Pinkdots and Beequeen, packed in cartons with printed T-shirts.

Over the years, Watzmann has released an edible record (!) by To-Ja, a single by Af Ursin with a varnished aluminium cover, a CD by Erwin Stache that produces sound when you open the cover, a box set by Felix Knoth containing film-loops that can be played on your record player while you listen to the music and more. The best one so far is Ja Soa Schmarrn by Vegetarian Bavarian In Exile (a box containing a 3-D miniature mountain complete with miniature figures), which is on permantent display at the prestigious Dutch Booimans-Van Beuningen museum. A copy sold on eBay for $900.
The most recent release is based on the concept of recycling; a sturdy carton cover containing two shellac records, which have new layers of transparent vinyl pressed over the old shellac discs. The new layer plays music by Vance Orchestra. Since the new layer is very thin you can hear echoes of the original 50s recording underneath. Watzmann's packaging crosses the boundry between music and art, and are made with loving care. Visit for more information.

Freek Kinkelaar.