Metronome Records

Metronome Records (Sweden) / 1952

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Design: Lively stylized graphics of musical instruments, in 'hot' colours, in the usual cut-out stencil style of the 1950s, with the spindle hole as the mouth of the saxophone. A music staff with a couple of arbitrary notes, again set at a steep angle, proceeds out of the mouth of the horn. The elements, placed at dynamic angles, are visually balanced on a solid horizontal panel at the foot. The typography is a mix of very different typefaces: a fat-face 'modern' for the word 'metronome,' and a brush script for the word 'records.'

History: Thanks for info to Alf Arvidsson, ethnomusicologist at Umeċ University, Sweden, who writes: "Brothers Lars and Anders Burman, Anders also noted jazz drummer ("Andrew"), together with Börje Ekberg (jazz fan, wirecorder-owner) started a company in 1949, making jazz records as well as commercial records. Innovative in many ways ­ introduced multitrack recording, the 10" vinyl LP, etc. They recorded the Swedish Jazz elite at a time when critic Leonard Feather started promoting Swedish jazz in U.S. jazz magazines, and records by Arne Domnérus, Lars Gullin, Bengt Hallberg, Reinhold Svensson were released in the U.S. by Esquire and Prestige. They also made noted recordings with visiting American musicians together with Swedes, as James Moody (the example of the Prestige label you have reproduced is one, the 'mr' ­ matrix index signifies all Swedish Metronome 78 recordings), Stan Getz ('Dear old Stockholm' 1951, covered by Miles Davis in '52), Roy Eldridge, Quincy Jones. Huge pop hits in the early 50s with singer Alice Babs (later with Swe-Danes, and Duke Ellington). Delta Rhythm Boys made some popular records where they sang in phonetic Swedish, old Swedish folk and pop songs (the one you've reproduced above has a Finnish title so it would have been made for the Finnish market). They also released records on the German market (there are even some odd releases in Japan only!), and they had a rather independent Danish sub-company. They were early to change to vinyl production. In c. 1953 they started producing LPs with classical music. In the early 60s they were mainly into pop and folk songs, and they were influential in producing a distinct Swedish post-Dylan singer/songwriter genre in the 70s. However, their economy relied more and more on distributing LPs from Atlantic Records, and in the late 70s WEA took over the company. Premium Publishing in Stockholm has recently released a book on the company, as well as a 4-CD album covering its different directions during its lifespan."

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