19 Mar: Hitting the Links: Paper Synths, The Velvet Underground, and Cuban Numbers Stations

Perhaps a budding Sunday tradition? Once again, I present five online articles that caught my fancy over the past week: Meet The World’s Most Obsessive Fan Of ‘The Velvet Underground and Nico’ Satlof’s collection began in earnest in 1987: a $90 autographed copy from “a record dealer in an antiques mall on Canal Street,” with a scrawled signature that the seller said was Warhol’s, but turned out to be Reed’s. Satlof casually picked up more…

03 Jan: Vinyl Nostalgia and the Album Experience

Music Industry Blog: Vinyl sales may have hit their highest level in the UK since 1991 but this is hardly a sign of what is to come. Indeed, a quick look through the top 10 vinyl albums of 2016 reveals that all but one of the artists were releasing music back in 1991! The exception is Amy Winehouse and she’s dead. The majority of the volume of vinyl sales is driven by nostalgic older music…

09 Dec: Don’t Believe The Vinyl Hype

The Guardian: Earlier this week, it was widely reported that vinyl is outselling digital downloads in the UK for the first time since the iTunes store was launched here in 2004. The real story is that sales of downloads are dropping not because vinyl is wooing back digital listeners but because streaming is becoming the default way of consuming digital music. The relentless spin on the so-called “vinyl revival” is getting ridiculous – as the…

22 May: Hitting The Links

The Essential Sun Ra Sun Ra is often cited as the founding father of afro-futurism, a tangent of thought which extends through the mothership connections of Parliament-Funkadelic, to the astral techno of Underground Resistance, to the aquatic, lardossian narratives of Drexciya; his work examines racial identity and the black experience in America through the eyes of an alien visiting humanity. The language of this deconstruction is peppered with his own neologisms, like the “astro-black” of…

30 Dec: Blowing Up The Vinyl Boom

Here’s a fascinating article from FACT on where the real problems lie in modern record manufacturing … to paraphrase James Carville, it’s the electroplating, stupid: Electroplating, a process which involves coating the master lacquer in a metal layer to produce stampers, is time-intensive and requires highly trained personnel. Those who have learned electroplating are still a long way from being able to prepare the lacquer – the lengthy process requires a great deal of experience…

22 Dec: Music On The Bones

The latest Fugitive Waves podcast discusses the fascinating history of Soviet ‘bone records’: Before the availability of the tape recorder and during the 1950s, when vinyl was scarce, ingenious Russians began recording banned bootlegged jazz, boogie woogie and rock ‘n’ roll on exposed X-ray film salvaged from hospital waste bins and archives. “They would cut the X-ray into a crude circle with manicure scissors and use a cigarette to burn a hole,” says author Anya…

08 Dec: The First New Vinyl Pressing Machine In Thirty Years

Digital Music News: German-based company Newbilt Machinery GmbH & Co. is now shipping the first, newly-manufactured vinyl pressing machine in more than 30 years. According to details from Plastics News (PN), Newbilt has partnered with Connecticut-based Record Products of America, a company specialized in creating vinyl molds, with prices starting at $100,000. The Newbit machine could seriously ease vinyl production deals, and spark a new surge in vinyl growth. “The new Newbilt vinyl record press…

07 Dec: Vinyl Sales May Be Rising, But Have You Seen Who’s Buying It?

Bill Brewster for The Guardian: The demographic of the average vinyl buyer is very clear. It’s a middle-aged man, possibly bearded (OK, definitely bearded); kids have probably left home, no longer on speaking terms with wife, spare bedroom has become a shrine to his teenage love: the Floyd (their album The Endless River was the best-selling vinyl LP in 2014). Essentially it’s me. Vinyl will never again reach the 1970s and 80s heyday. Having reached…

31 Oct: Empire Building: Vinyl Edition

The Dallas Morning News: [Josey Records managing partners Waric] Cameron and [Luke] Sardello say they approached [vinyl pressing plant owner Stan] Getz about buying A&R in July. They’d known him for years, having run dance-music labels of their own in the mid-1990s; like every local label, they had to get their records pressed at A&R, especially since the CD essentially killed the vinyl industry by the early 1990s and the nearest facility is now in…

28 Aug: Amazon Clogs Up Pressing Plants With Most Pointless Reissue Series Ever

FACT: Reissues make up a fair chunk of the vinyl market, so it’s no surprise that Amazon wants a piece of the action. However, its attempt isn’t a Death Waltz-style endeavour with bespoke artwork and coloured vinyl, it’s a shameless cash-grab that will no doubt clog up more of the world’s already stretched pressing plants.( *The five reissues up for pre-order are soundtracks for five of the most 80s movies to come out of the…