Thursday, July 04, 2013

Put the needle on the record...

Cute little film about the format that refuses to die, vinyl (cute if you can ignore the corporate branding that is, c’est la vie). I was perhaps the last generation to grow up with vinyl as the dominant force in music formats and bought all of my early musical purchases on ‘wax’. I still have them too, early Depeche Mode singles, Golden Brown by The Stranglers, Madness’ House of Fun and Cardiac some...ahem...rather less cool songs. Bardo’s One Step Further anyone?

Hey, I was young. As a 15 year old I can remember my parents investing in a matt black stereo system and, inevitably, purchasing a copy of Dire Straits Brothers in Arms but I still stubbornly carried on buying vinyl, partially because it was much cheaper than its shiny little sibling (how times change eh?) and partially because it just seemed more substantial. Once CD's became cheaper though I, like most people, switched. As a thirty something I marvelled at the i-Pod and frankly still find the fact that I can fit a roomful of vinyl on something the size of a fag packet to be some kind of musical voodoo. But now, if and when I buy any music, it's pretty much vinyl all the way. It really makes no sense at all that people are continuing to use a technology that’s at least a century old now, but they are. Vinyl’s become COOL of course. People buy it just to own the THING now, not to play it at all and I’ve met more than one fan at a gig who’d bought a tour 7inch for instance without having access to anything to play it on. For some vinyl’s ceased to be a vessel that transports music, it’s now an artefact in its own right, a commodity (just look at the prices people pay for 7 inches on Record Store Day...staggering), something to store in an air tight plastic bags, untouched by human hands, as sterile and immaculate as it was the day it was pressed. That’s not really the point of vinyl though is it? It’s there to be played. Every single scratch, pop and hiss tells, like the wrinkles on a face, its own particular life story and that, for me, is part of vinyl’s magic. Digital formats are the botoxification of art and we all know how grim that is. So buy vinyl, play vinyl, I guess that’s what I’m saying. Covet that limited edition Jack White single all you want, just make sure that it’s the thing that’s on it, the music, that really matters the most.     

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