With a wary eye, furrowed brow, and contended hand I remove the outside world with one last clasp of my window.
Vintage is rife… vintage is wrong. The novelty of fixed geared bikes, ill fitting and musty clothes will soon wear. Teenage boys and girls will slink to Topman and shop once more, and I will sit removed again in a dashed lit corner of my room with a record player. The thing I don’t understand is that most people invest in vintage with the prospect of renewing it…. a new age vintage. The clothes are shabby, the bikes are worn. There was a reason you found it in Bold Street Oxfam in the first place. Buying something old to be paraded as something new is hollow and misdirected and few people achieve the right cocktail of vintage drab and modernity. It’s a facade that does neither the clothes justice nor yourself.
But a record however, is something special. Records, particularly vintage ones, have a habit of crystallizing a certain moment in time, it fails to become anything contrived… it’s never found wanting. A deft hand and precise drop will see the scythe like needle remove everything exterior at that present moment in time. A record never dismisses time, rather becomes timeless. My Elvis Sings Lieber And Stoller (1957 – RCA records) is wholly organic and original, formatted into vinyl yet maintaining its crux of production accuracy, warts and all. It exhumes such an authentic husk that a boy of my age will never hear again. “Hound Dog” still sounding so crisp yet lanced with a raw tone that sees your lungs punch out at your ribs when the big man swings. Even as an artistic exponent, it will always hold more sincerity and resonance than its poignant digital counterpart.
Physical music has a potent heritage, and requires a dynasty to live long after Steve Job’s has finished his domination. Appreciation of physical mediums of music must be asserted that it is not an ignorant and non-conformist defection of digitalism, nor is it a reaction. Rather an embrace of physicality – music has become far too disposable. It has lost the spectacle it once owned amongst music lovers of all ages, and has now became demoted to a simple tedium to pass time whilst travelling to work, rather than the arresting expectation of crackle found on the sweet beginnings of a whole new record. Vinyl still habituates modern music too; its presentation of the Lo Fi genre is marriable, seeing the likes of Devendra Banhart’s Lo-Fi aesthetics harrowingly powerful and sincerely sweet. Not to mention the purchase of this waxy number provides a digital accompaniment anyway.
It is a continuum that refuses to yield to the corporate domain. No needs mention the importance of vinyl in the acknowledgment of the omniscient record producer, commercial or indie. But more importantly a record has an indelible ability to seize a unique moment in history, and for that unique ability alone, it should be honestly commended by all music lovers of all genres as a documentation of musical evolution. Perhaps then all you fellow lovely Liverpudlians should don your vintage glad’rags and attend the Record Fair at the Bluecoat (December 2011 – Free admission). Show your face and give some due support to an overshadowed yet grossly underestimated music medium. Mr. Miyagi was wrong, you can wax on… but you’ll never wax off.