A sad turn of events following the popularization of digital music has seen the beautiful creation that is vinyl record pressings fade into a muffled existence. With CDs and mp3s being the top musical forms today, not many are sitting down to listen to a whole album like they used to. Today, I urge the masses to have a quick Google search for a turntable on TradeMe or make a trip to Shore Hi Fi in Takapuna or Paul Money Hi Fi on Mt Eden Road, because once you step into the world of vinyl, you’ll never look back.
The beauty of vinyl lies in the quality of the music. A well-pressed record, paired up with a decent turntable and a well-tuned set of speakers and a good quality amp leave you with an excellent listening experience. The technology behind vinyl records holds the key to this quality. As the diamond stylus runs along the grooves in the record, microscopic ridges in the grooves instigate vibration in the stylus tip (the tiny little diamond tip on the end of the arm). The cartridge on the arm then picks up these vibrations and amplifies them to sound waves, which after a whole lot of complicated steps, like sound waves and electrical engineering and shit we don’t reaaally need to know as long as it blasts some good tunes as the end product. The thing that really draws record listeners inis the physical substance that you have when purchasing a record. You can hold the record and lay your eyes on the cover art printed on a sleeve that still smells uniquely of new card, and a design boasted at a size that would unashamedly spice up any bedroom wall. Your music rises off the record as you listen to the comforting sounds of microscopic ridges bumping off a diamond stylus…
Now that I’ve mesmerized you into the beauty of vinyl records, I’m hoping you’re all wanting to go out and buy your own turntable and vinyl. Prepare to be folding out a sum of upwards of $500 though, so maybe touch up mum and dad for your next birthday. Look into Pioneer or Project, brands, which have a solid background in vinyl knowledge and will help you find a perfectly suitable turntable and amp to start your new set-up. On that note too, I wanted to remind you that a turntable can also make a great bit of décor and it speaks volumes as a character piece in a room.
Image Cred // The Lovely Side
From office to home to nightclub records have had a long meandering history ever since their conception in 1888, and their continued development into vinyl records in the 1930’s, but ending up in recent times as less than popular. Gone are the days (before I was around) that you would go to a club and hand the DJ a new record you just purchased and hear the club’s reaction. Gone are the days where record stores the size of Smith and Caughey’s were social centers of cultural frenzy. No longer do DJs use all vinyl pressings but they store their mp3s on their hard-drive, computer or USB – leading sometimes to cancelled world tours… David Guetta losing his entire life’s work on a little piece of metal, anyone?
Now if you’re sitting there thinking, “this f*&#ing idiot is preaching to the choir, I already have a turntable”, I’m probably writing for the wrong crowd but for those of you who don’t, I urge you to go out and buy one. And if you’re looking to start, build or expand your record collection there are a few essentials I feel anyone should have because they are all round good albums from start to finish. Take a look down at Real Groovy (cough cough), or my favourite: Southbound Records at the top end of Mt Eden Road by the Power Station, selling all new and second hand vinyl records in a quaint little location you should probably definitely visit someday. The following should find a spot on any enthusiast’s shelf.
Daft Punk – Random Access Memories
It’s pretty hard to look past the Album of the Year at the 2014 Grammys as an essential in the cabinet. Standout tracks obviously are “Get Lucky”, and a cool song to listen to “Giorgio by Moroder” or “Lose Yourself to Dance”. The whole album ties together excellently.
Kendrick Lamar – Good Kid, M.A.A.D City
I don’t even think I need to say anything about this. Even Macklemore apologized to Kendrick when he won best Rap Album earlier this year instead of the Compton man, who many believed had it in the bag.
Arctic Monkeys – AM
Controversially not nominated for best rock album in the Grammys, and what is easily [ED: Arguably…] the best Album of their career, the Arctic Monkeys pumped out a thing of beauty in the well titled AM. The whole album is a spectacle of well-produced genius
Frank Ocean – Channel Ocean
If you’re committed to the hunt for an amazing album, maybe you’re prepared to fork out a little dosh on this one. With only 2 extremely limited bootleg releases, there hasn’t yet been an official release of this album. Let me know if you can get your hands on Channel Orange because I’m desperate too.
Danny Brown – Hot Soup
Recently re-issued on vinyl earlier this year, the critically acclaimed debut mix-tape is a new one in my collection but it doesn’t leave the top of the pile at this stage. I can’t stop listening to this as it boasts 7 bonus tracks and single disc to compliment the outstandingly lyrical album itself.
Lastly, look into buying a couple of Lorde records. I know she’s very popularized and all that but honestly, I stumbled across a “The Love Club Limited Edition EP” which had a very exclusive release last year, and the album is great with a couple of awesome remixes like a Notorious B.I.G mash up “Can I Get Witcha Love Club”. It’s one sitting on my shelf that I’m hoping will definitely go up in value.
So on that note, I urge you guys and girls to go out there, buy a turntable and hook it up to your amp and speakers and please, get into records because as the industry of vinyl pressing comes back on the rise, we need to boost it back to its initial popularity because it’s not an art form that deserves to die.
Image cred // Ideal Magazine