German Bold Italic, A Song About A Typeface

Lots of songs can be connected to type and typographic subjects, but GBI may be the only song specifically about a typeface. GBI – short for German Bold Italic – is a collaboration of Towa Tei with Kylie Minogue. The single was featured on the Japanese DJ’s 1998 album Sound Museum. Towa Tei was best known as one of the DJs behind New York club sensations Deee-Lite. Interestingly the song incorporates a couple of samples also used in Groove Is In The Heart, their biggest hit which he produced.

The clip for GBI, directed by then-boyfriend Stéphane Sednaoui, is considered as one of Kylie Minogue’s most bizarre videos. At a point where she was going through a difficult phase in her career the Australian singer added vocals to this techno-influenced dance record. The result is probably the most avant-garde single in her career, and definitely the most obscure.

The song is not about any imaginary typeface. German Bold Italic is an actual font included as a bonus feature on the CD single and the enhanced CD version of the Sound Museum album, and can be seen on the single cover.

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  1. Unreal. Fantastic. Kylie Minogue looks like the great Nina Hagen. A typeface… Can you imagine? Great moment! Thanks.

    Posted by Paula on Jul. 12, 2011
  2. Oh my goodness! I bought the CD at the time, one of the prides in my collection BUT I never put it in my computer so I never knew it came with a free font.

    Years on bonus!

    Although unconnected with typography Kylie also added her vocals to an electronic track by Aussie band Gerling. Worth a listen. Search “G-House Project”

    Posted by erietta on Jul. 12, 2011
  3. Interestingly enough, I can see how type-face would provoke a music track. After all, they are both representative of “art!” German Bold Italic happens to be an interesting type face, none the less. I work at a New York-based website development company and my designer is always stressing the importance of typography. Thanks.

    Posted by White Media on Jul. 14, 2011

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