Why?

Because it is extraordinarily good, that’s why.

Mix Tape: Volume 3: Side 1 (There is beauty in everything)

Everybody’s view of what is and isn’t beautiful is different, my own is that there is beauty in everything, it may not always be pleasant, or uplifting, but it can still be beautiful in some way. Most of us just choose not to look for it, and sometimes, that is the right thing to do, but it does not stop it from existing.

Here, in this 3rd mixtape are songs that to me, in some way, are beautiful.

The Cinematic Orchestra – To Build a Home
Ludovico Einaudi – Night
Neil Cowley Trio – Lament
Mammal Hands – Mansions Of Millions Of Years
Mew – Comforting Sounds
Sigur Rós – Ára Bátur (at Abbey Road Studios)
Radiohead – No Surprises
Múm – Green Grass Of Tunnel
ANTHONY AND THE JOHNSONS – HOPE THERE’S SOMEONE
Mogwai – Hunted By A Freak
Mazzy Star – Fade Into You
Iron and Wine – Naked as We Came
Trespassers William – Vapour Trail
Cocteau Twins – Tishbite

Listen to There is beauty in everything by  Verian on Apple Music.
https://itunes.apple.com/gb/playlist/there-is-beauty-in-everything/idpl.ec46776fe3fc46648b7d80c5eaa510e0

Click the link below to listen to there is beauty in everything by Verian Thomas on Spotify
https://open.spotify.com/user/1136278651/playlist/1eb46gRw1WNd799EXhNxJS

Record Cleaning

Having bought a vinyl cleaning kit for under £10 I thought I’d give it a go on the Future Sound Of London 12″ that I bought at last weeks Record Fair. Here is the kit, which, for the price, is pretty good. The instructions aren’t though so I tried to figure it out myself.

812+dsY5gCL._SL1500_

Below is a video where you can hear the difference before and after cleaning. It isn’t a good video as I made it without the benefit of a soundcard and having spent 2 hours figuring out how to get the video from my iphone to my PC, I was rather frustrated by then. It does, I think, show quite well the benefits of giving what was a pretty poor sounding vinyl a good clean.

You Sexy M.F.

In June 2012 I wrote the following facebook post:

For reasons that are still unclear, I am listening to the entire Prince studio album discography today (excluding soundtracks and live ect.) I feel I’m punishing myself for something, but having had the idea pop into my head yesterday in a “Why climb Everest” moment, I am underway, I may not make it, if I don’t then please tell my family I love them.

I’m going in.

and in I went, all the way, including those soundtracks that I initially excluded. My memory of it was that I listened to them all, almost in order of release as I went back to Graffiti Bridge at some point, and that it was a creative downward trend from ‘Symbol’, with occasional peaks. Every album though had something to recommend it, there was always a moment, a turn of phrase, a whole song that made the album worthwhile, but at times there were difficult listens.

I have anything released after June 2012 to listen to, because, sometimes I am a completist. I will listen, and then, quite unexpectedly, I will be finished. There will be no more and despite my negativity about much of the later material, somewhere in the musical appreciation corner of my mind I still believed that there was another album coming that would bloody well blow my socks off. I can not even begin to explain how utterly delighted I was with this album:

223925_10150883951951884_889462478_n

Opening with the extraordinary ‘My Name is Prince’ and immediately followed by the brilliant ‘Sexy M.F’ and on and on, track after track, pure gold but, for reasons I’m not sure I can explain as they are a mystery to me, I never bought another. I was waiting for one more brilliant album though and I believe there would have been one if he had not so unexpectedly died.

On that, I heard the news, I’ve seen it all over the internet, but it won’t sink in, I am genuinely in almost complete denial about the whole thing. Not intellectually, but emotionally.

My heart refuses to feel, believing that if it does then it will be true.

 

Leamington Record Fair

I visited Leamington Spa’s Town Hall on Saturday to dig my way through heaps of vinyl at the record fair. There is plenty there if you are prepared to pay for it, but I’m generally not. I’m there to pick up bits and pieces as cheaply as possible. There are albums that I most certainly would like, but paying £25 or more for something that I may, not will, but may find cheaper elsewhere is not something I like to do. It will nag away at me and I will eventually find the same thing for half the price and then be annoyed at myself were I to have bought it, so the most I have ever payed for anything at a record fair is £8, and that was this Saturday. Here is what I bought (with the exception of Roots Manuva which was an RSD purchase), can you guess the £8 album?

recordfair

Isaac Hayes – Shaft is an original 1974 release, a double, and it plays very nicely, the cover is in good condition as well. I haven’t played either of the Art of Noise albums as yet but they look to be fine. The Cult – Electric is in very good condition and I have played it and it sounds really good. Soul II Soul I haven’t played yet, it appears to have the wrong inner sleeve though. Ooh Las Vegas by Deacon Blue looks like it has been well kept, it’s a double made up of B-Sides and suchlike. Black Sea by XTC is in good condition as is Slave to the Rhythm byu Grace Jones, which plays very well indeed. The only one that is not as good as I might hope is ‘My Kingdom’ by The Future Sound of London. It has a mark about the size of a thumbprint on side one and it really affects the playing quite badly. It is a 33 1/3, 12” single with an 11 minute track on side 1, which samples Ennio Moricone so it’s obviously good, Moricone makes everything better, but that mark really bothers me so I did a little research and ordered a record cleaning kit, to see if that can sort it out, it’s this one:

812+dsY5gCL._SL1500_

It’s not expensive at £8.87 (an odd price) but hopefully it will go some way to reviving not just this 12” single, but several others I have that are showing their age. Here is the blurb on it:

“Vinyl Revival is the world’s safest and best vinyl record cleaning solution. Our alcohol free liquid has been designed by leading scientists to exact laboratory standards. Using lab grade ingredients and equipment, Vinyl Revival has been packaged in a dust free environment, ensuring the cleanest and safest solution for cleaning your vinyl record collection. Vinyl revival is the only 2 step product in the market – a necessity which none of the other ‘garage chemist’ suppliers of competing products are even aware of. Shockingly, other suppliers are openly admitting to using both distilled water AND alcohol in their products! Please avoid putting distilled water anywhere near your vinyl! Ask us, if you’d like to know why. There has been much debate over the years about which products are safe to use on vinyl records with many claiming that alcohol (or isopropyl alcohol) is perfectly safe to smear over your beloved vinyl record collection. We, and our research partners do not believe this to be the case. This is why Vinyl Revival is completely alcohol (or any alcohol substitute) FREE and is, ultimately, the only safe product to use on vinyl records. Also, many other products we’ve tried in the market will contain detergents or other soaping agents. These, again, should be avoided because they will leave behind microscopic deposits on your vinyl surface, which will affect sound quality, increase static and also, potentially, damage your stylus. Vinyl Revival is the product of choice for audio archiving specialists and DJs around the globe.”

I’ll post about the results after I’ve used it.

So which is the £8 album?

Interactive Album Covers

Good video on interactive album covers, I enjoyed it. The Eluvium one I covet!

Your F***ing Sunny Day (Episode 19)

Record Store Day 2016

Well, I was a little underwhelmed by Record Store Day this year as it seems to me that Record Stores are doing quite well nowadays actually and the reason for it’s existence is somewhat diminished. I did pick up two records, of 5 or 6 that I wanted, so a reasonable percentage. They were, PIL live at the O2 Sheperd’s Bush Empire, which is a double on clear vinyl:

TESIMN2Y15X8R63Z0FQ7

The other was Roots Manuva, Switching Sidea, a long 12″ single i that it has 5 tracks on each side, the same tracks, but side 2 is remixes of side 1:

158385

Apparently it’s limited to 500 copies, which is nice.

What I didn’t get but wanted were three re-issues by Kings of Convenience and number 1 on my list, the Mew album “And the Glass Handed Kites” which goes for £50 online but record store day has 2000 clear vinyl copies for £19.99 each, except I didn’t see one.

I went to Head records in Leamington Spa who had a fair bit in and I did arrive and hour after opening time so who knows what had gone by the time I got there. I headed off to Seismic Records at the other end of town via The Town Hall, which was hosting another record fair, but didn’t make it to Seismic, which is a shame as I like to support that shop.

This is from ‘The quietus’:

The whole event has become a record label promotion opportunity and nothing else. Record shops are merely the vehicle for a quiet time of the year marketing binge. From my point of view, as a record shop owner, RSD is damaging to us in the following ways:

1) The lead up to the day sees a dramatic fall in sales, and the post event effect is similar. Ask around. Do shops’ quarterly figures look any better whenever they take part in RSD? All the ones I know say no. New releases all but come to an end weeks before, and all promotional activities swing behind RSD.

2) The ‘underground’ or ‘niche’ nature of what indie shops provide is being watered down by dross releases with little artistic or cultural merit. It’s not about being a snob, it is about making sure the customer gets value for money. There is enough amazing music out there to change people’s lives without them being dragged into a bogwash of Abba and Status Quo re-issues (all of which sell on original black shit for £1 in my bargain bins).

3) Shops buy RSD stock on a cash-up-front basis, with no possibility of return. Who’s taking the risk here? The labels, the distro, or the shops? The risk is not fairly distributed amongst the players. Do any of these guys know what happens to our cash flow around RSD? I’ve heard of shops having to borrow money to buy stock. I mean for gods sake, how on earth is this helping! The big boys are the worse for this, but for distros like PIAS who continue to operate a no returned stock operation for their entire product, year round, there is little risk on sale from their side. This promotes poor quality. Labels are less likely to sell bilge if they see it all back in the warehouse three months later. Distros and labels like Cargo, SRD, Proper and Discovery operate SOR (Sale Or Return), consignment sales all year round. THIS IS SUPPORT. Expensive and risky on their part, they are working with shops, and this in turn changes the dynamic and it changes the quality (namely in an upward fashion).

4) All this stuff comes out on one day, so in the six month lead up to RSD, the pressing plants are choked full of RSD releases (as investigated by The Quietus here), and as a result the indie labels can’t get anything out in the interim. They’re forcing me to say it… CD is the new vinyl.

5) For many of the huge number of Bowie or Springsteen fans et al ad infinitum. the only option is to go online and pay an insane price for the special release they want from some eBay flipper. Thus encouraging this behaviour further (buying online). Now, as an internet seller I am not against the internet per se, but NOT ON RECORD STORE DAY.

6) Disappointment… perpetual disappointment. Shops will not have multiple copies of every release. As a result a significant number of customers get disappointed and disillusioned. Great…. a promotional event for record shops that leaves customer feeling disappointed and disillusioned. Well that’s just perfect.

The full article is here: http://thequietus.com/articles/19946-record-store-day-2016-shops-bad-reissues-bleugh

———————————————-
I’m not against RSD, but one point does strike me as on the mark, I am a regular independent record store customer, I spend regularly in them, two in particular and the loyal customer is apt to lose out on RSD and, if you really want something you could very well pay triple the price from somebody who bought deliberately to re-sell at this inflated price, which is a shame.

I certainly was surprised , as the writer of the article mentions, to see Justin Bieber and Status Quo involved, and, to be honest, a load of Alan Partridge picture discs along with a few others which seemed like a waste of time, to me at least. There are great opportunities to re-release brilliant albums on vinyl, but it is not often taken, or so it seems.

Until next year I suppose.

 

Discography

And here, for fun, possibly, maybe, are the last 20 vinyl records I picked up, thanks to Discogs.

album

%d bloggers like this: