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Sunday, 15 July 2012

Stating the Case for Vinyl






In the February 2012 edition of Mojo Magazine Jack White has this to say about vinyl:

“It’s still the best medium for music to be delivered on. You should expose kids to it like you expose them to books.”

Vinyl has survived reel-to-reel tape, cassettes, eight tracks, CDs, DAT and it will survive MP3 downloads.

So renouncing boomers, lapsed Gen Xers and download only Gen Yers, it’s time to buy a turntable and experience the real sound of music. I’ve been through my own period of not buying or listening to music on vinyl. After being a teenager in the 1980’s, buying vinyl and amassing a collection of a couple of hundred, I bowed to the seemingly inevitable in the early 1990’s and bought a CD player and I didn’t buy any vinyl again for five or six years. Luckily I did not sell my neglected collection.



It wasn’t until I was studying in the mid to late 1990’s that I started buying vinyl again, simply because it was cheaper to buy second hand. Here’s where I rediscovered its superior sound, its warmth, the smell of the cardboard sleeves and full sized artwork. Most importantly it was the sound that grabbed me – that warmth and the full impact of the bass and drums. It was a revelation.

Even so it took a while for me to be convinced. After years of listening to the plastic ‘perfection’ of CDs I heard every pop, crackle and rumble produced by the needle in the groove. After I started to buy newly released albums on vinyl I would have internal arguments about whether I was doing the right thing investing money in these imperfect objects. But the imperfections are all part of the organic experience of analogue sound and you come to embrace it and love it. You can have a meaningful relationship with your vinyl and it is a rewarding one.

Closed Groove is basically a tour of my record collection with its coloured vinyl, special editions and obscure classics. Although I’ll comment on the music I’m not particularly trying to be a critic, more an enthusiast encouraging people to take a trip down to their record store and reacquaint themselves with the vinyl record. Hopefully via this blog you’ll get to discover some new music, be reminded of great music you’ve neglected and most importantly be inspired to buy a turntable and make a start on your own relationship with vinyl.


14 comments:

  1. Popped over here from Thrifty Vinyl and your link. Welcome to the blogosphere! I have a small vinyl collection, but I have no plans to set up a blog and post them. At least, not yet.
    Will add your site to my bookmarks, and will see what transpires!
    Jack

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  2. Great! Thanks Jack, hopefully you'll be entertained.

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  3. dear jeremy

    best of luck with your new blog - i'll bookmark it too...

    as you probably already know i am a regular "responder" to the thrifty vinyl blog - if so then you'll be aware that for me it's all about the actual music than the format it comes in (i'm sure asbo and i have had some discussion on this subject in the past!), but if it's worth it to you to collect and listen to records (and smell them!) then keep on doing it...

    i see you are based in perth in oz, which as far as i'm aware is possibly the most isolated city in the world? if so then a bit of a disadvantage for cruising around for charity chops or car-boot sales, but presumably like others you make the most of the internet these days...?

    ps - i think i recognise the pic disc on your deck as primal scream "screamadelica" LP...?

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  4. Hey thanks for that Wilberforce. I have about 600 CDs, itunes and a ipod, but I love vinyl, and yes - I do smell it!

    Perth is indeed the most isolated city on the planet, in terms of distance from another major city. despite this there are plenty of records here and plenty of record shops, but thrift shops don't seem to come up with the goods. If I found half the records on Thrifty Vinyl i'd be amazed.

    Actually that's a slip mat from the box set release of Screamadelica - a picture disc would be nice though.

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  5. Hey Jeremy :) Looking forward to following this blog too, and will pass it onto the gal's brother as he's a big vinyl collector and likes to spin them on RTR, I'm sure he will learn lots from your collection. I would love for you to review Television's 'Marquee Moon' - my all time fav :)

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  6. Hi Colleen - thanks for your enthusiasm! I love Marquee Moon as well, but don't currently own it own vinyl. I had it on CD for years and thrashed it, so I haven't got around to getting a vinyl copy yet. Now I have a good excuse.

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  7. My perception is that blogging - publishing and following - has been on the wane recently. Endless technology twists and turns - twitter, spotify, mixcloud et al - seem to pull people in different directions. So it's good to see a new blog focussing on vinyl.

    Good luck with your new venture and I will link you when I have my next link overhaul.

    PS love Marquee Moon too. Only ever had the 12" single until recently, with the album on an old cassette. Car booting finally paid dividends on the TV front last year when I picked up a vinyl copy, then a few months later a found another copy in even better condition (and the follow up - Adventure).

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  8. Yeah, there is such a disorienting slew of media - what we need is focus! Haven't heard Adventure all that much - could be a good one to catch up on. I've never seen the 12" single of Marquee Moon, but I have the single of Little Johnny Jewel.

    Thanks for linking me!

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  9. Hi Jeremy, Dig the blog, brings back golden memories of my dads room, miles of cables, tonearms and stylus bits and pieces looked like spacejunk as a kid. He had a quest for a clearer sound like most audiophiles!

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    1. Hey thanks for becoming a member! They'll be plenty of posts to come. I have thousands of records. There's something special about old school stereo gear - I've got 70's and 80's equipment. They don't make it like that any more.

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  10. The bloke who does the The Music Salon blog has some great posts, good method of comparing youtube examples you might like.

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    1. I'll check it out. You posted on my birthday! It's like a little prezzie....

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  11. I raise a glass Jeremy! Love your Kenwood amp with those huge controls. just isn't the same cranking it up on a bar on the screen!

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    1. Old AMPs like that are so beautiful. Bet you could get one second hand.

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