Vinyl Moon – Volume 027: Skyride

The first album received as part of a new subscription with Vinyl Moon arrived last week. I thought I’d actually give it a bit of a listen before commenting on it, that’s only fair, though the first thing that has to be mentioned is that for international subscribers it is quite expensive at $39 (which today is equivalent to £29.14).

The album arrived in a nice custom mailer and, apart from a very slight ding in one of the corners of the cover, everything was fine. I opened it all up and, just as I had expected, there had been a lot of attention to detail when creating this release. The cover was a glossy gatefold with a embossed title, inside there was a die-cut art insert along with a lyrics and info booklet. The vinyl itself was, transparent blue, or translucent marbled sky blue officially. It all looked rather nice. Here is an image swiped directly from the Vinyl Moon site due to my inherent laziness:

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Looks nice doesn’t it? It does, but the more important thing is what is actually on it, well, here is the tracklist with some of the tracks available for you to have a listen to (but not all of them as some just aren’t available online at all):

Side A

thanks. – Chacho Song
Motherhood – Save Me

Sam Frankl – Gold Rush

Strangelove – From Heights

Plastic Picnic – Bite

Side B

Glassio – Papaya
Ella Rae – Someone Else

Williott – Back of the Prius

Mørk – See You Dance

Skela – Secret

I would suspect that many of the above artists are completely unknown to most people, myself included, but that is sort of the point of the whole series. It is analogue music discovery, which is a nice idea and I do really like most of the tracks , particularly the opener by thanks. who have almost no online presence and, as far as I can tell, this track is their only release.

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I have paid for the next one, so I’ll wait and see what’s on that before deciding whether to continue with the subscription, I’d like to, it is just the cost that is putting me off. All in all pretty much a success this one, it is an interesting and different concept.

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Mondkopf ‎– They Fall, But You Don’t

Mondkopf ‎– They Fall, But You Don’t
Label: In Paradisum ‎– IP028
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album
Country: France
Released: 21 Feb 2017
Genre: Electronic
Style: Abstract, Ambient, Dark Ambient, Drone

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This was last months offering from vinyl subscription service, ‘That Special Record” and, after some initial delays in actually listening to it and then some reservations around whether I actually liked it or not, everything changed.

Sometimes I will be doing something entirely unrelated to what \i m listening to and just keep playing a record over and over, often becasue I’m just too bloody lazy to go and get another off the shelf, and sometimes, something clicks. This is what happened here, all of a sudden I just found myself liking it, and not just liking it but loving it if truth be told. The murky electronics, disembodied voices, ethereal vocals and the atmospheres, bathed in a half light where figures are reconisable shapes but features are hidden.

The tracks, all six of them are all called Vivere, which I think means ‘live’ in Italian, but my Italian isn’t up to much so I might be wrong.

Tracklist
A1 Vivere, Parte I 8:04
A2 Vivere, Parte II 5:36
A3 Vivere, Parte III 4:48
B1 Vivere, Parte IV 9:36
B2 Vivere, Parte V 5:26
B3 Vivere, Finale 6:37

Here is the album in full, give it a little time, it will turn out to be worth it.

Credits:
Mastered By – Lawrence English
Mellotron, Synth – Frédéric D. Oberland
Recorded By, Mixed By, Synth – Paul Régimbeau

Notes:
Performed, recorded & mixed by Paul Régimbeau at The White Desk Studio between November 2015 and May 2016. Additional arrangements (Mellotron & Critter & Guitari Pocket Piano) performed & recorded by Frédéric D. Oberland at Magnum Diva Studio on May 2016. Mastering at 158.

I believe that most of the instruments on this album are analogue, and I like that, I like most things analogue over digital, it seems to add an air of authenticity to things and the impression that more effort has to be taken to produce a final result, as well as the probabale introduction of random happy accidents. Here there is much that is discordant but it is allied with an underlying harmony which always seems to truimph and shine through.

But what is ‘Mondkopf’? Well essentrillay it’s a French chap called Paul, but the the name itself as explained by him is: “People were saying that I always had my head in the clouds (« avoir la tête dans la lune » literally means « to have one’s head in the moon ») and that I wasn’t able to concentrate. I finally came up with this german word (« Mondkopf » literally meaning « moon head »)”

Part IV is a particular faviourite of mine and I’ve included it seperately below:

When all is said and done, another great reccomendation from Miguel at That Special Record.

Vinyl Subscription Services

I’ve spoken before about being a member of a record club many years ago, this was for cassettes at first and then, later, CD’s. This model has been resurrected for vinyl lovers in various different flavours.  I subscribe to just the one, ‘That Special Record‘ , which I have mentioned numerous times and will again shortly, but there are several out there, so let’s have a look at them.

Wax & Stamp

Price: £26 a month

Wax & Stamp is a British subscription service that selects two records every month, one is an LP and one is a single and each week a guest selects one of them. These are selections that are outside the mainstream, as they say on their site: Wax & Stamp send out a wide range of genres, textures and styles. The only thing we shy away from is the mainstream. Every month is a surprise, as we don’t let anyone know what we’re sending out.Last month Wax & Stamp selected ALBERT / PERSON OF INTEREST -EDR002, the guest,  Martin Fitzgerald (RamAlbumClub), selected THE PARROTS – LOS NIÑOS SIN MIEDO which is a Spanish Garage Rock album.

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Here is a track from The Parrots album to give you an idea of what they sent out last time:

Flying Vinyl

Price: £20 a month, £216 a year

Another British service, but this time for exclusive 7″ singles. Focused on the Indie band end of the music spectrum, these 5 singles arrived boxed and with a booklet, explaining what’s in the box. There are alos often prints and lyric sheets included and at least one of the 7″ singles will be on coloured vinyl.

The last box sent out (October 2016 according to the web site, at the time of writing) contained the following:

Jaws – Right In Front Of Me / What We Haven’t Got Yet (On purple vinyl)
Annie Bea/DA7 – Luxury Kills / Dopamine Fiend (On colourless vinyl)
The Bay Rays – New Home / Four Walls
Swimming Tapes – Set The Fire / Souvenirs
Alex Lahey – You Don’t Think You Like People Like Me / Let’s Go Out

Jaws got the coloured vinyl treatment so, as an example, let’s have a listen to that:

Trax & Wax

Price: From £21.90 a month, £180 a year

Trax & Wax appear to be for lovers of the 12″ single which they offer in 5 different box options, Trax & Wax, Disco, Old School, Nu Skool and Techno boxes. You have a choice of 2 or 4 12″ in a box which depends on how much you are willing to pay, the standard 2 is the £21.90 option. As far as I can see you can change which box you wish to receive month on month, oh, and they are also British. Below is a selection of tracks they’ve listed as being in the boxes recently.

Vinyl Me, Please

Price per month: $23 (month-to-month), $25 (3-month) or $27 (annual)

This is probably the best known service of all of them. Vinyl Me Please delivers a surprise album every month and are focused on the deluxe re-issue aspect of the market, providing a piece of art and a cocktail recipie with every album (Nope, I have no idea why anybody would want a cocktail recipie but I guess some do). It appears that they are now 47 records in, and there are some there I’d like for sure, but some I would have no interest in at all. I guess that’s to be expected though. The latest issue, No.47 is The Books – The Lemon Of Pink, originally released in 2003, and it is a very desirable looking thing:

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Here is the track ‘Tokyo’ taken from this album:

Side note: they are actually on No.48 which is Nina Simone – Sings The Blues

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Price per month: $39 (month-to-month), $37 (3-month) or $35 (annual)

The above prices may seem quite steep compared to the others but this service offers 3 LP’s a month for that price based on what you like. You select a #vibe, which I assume is then based on your pre-specified music tastes and you receive records that are broadly within that category. They also do their own branded turntable and have a physical store (it’s in Santa Barbara, California. For people outside the U.S.A you will have to pay postage.

Vinyl Moon

Price per month: $30 (month-to-month), $29 (3-month), $28 (6 Month) or $27 (annual)

Vinyl Moon offers a rather different service by creating a compilation LP of 10 tracks every month. This is what they say is included as part of the package:

  • A compilation/mixtape of ~10 songs by great new bands/musicians.
  • Pressed on gorgeous colored vinyl.
  • Ultra premium record jackets designed by amazing visual artists.
  • A gatefold art sheet that features band info, lyrics, and single artwork for each track.
  • A members-only note about the music, art, and that month’s experience.
  • VIP access to the monthly record release party (Held in different cities)

Each monthly volume has a limited pressing, which must depend on the number of subscribers, so membership is, presumably, closely managed. The last volume to be shipped out contained the tracks below:

Volume 14:
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Side A

  1. Everything Is Green – “Drip Dry”
  2. Mallrat – “For Real”
  3. BF/C – “Temple”
  4. Pleasure Principle – “Let Me Hear It”
  5. PAIDEIA – “Restless Child”

Side B

  1. Arthur Wimble – “Hearts”
  2. Noble Oak – “All I Said”
  3. beGun – “NARI”
  4. Vimes – “Rudal”

 

Numero Group Project 12

Price: From £100 – £375

This is an interesting idea, which will be explained directly by the text from their website:

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These records won’t be available in stores and they won’t be repressed. We’re not issuing them on CD and the only way you can buy them is by joining the club. And that club? It’s limited to just a thousand members.

For listeners of a certain age, the recent news that Columbia House was at last filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection was met with a mixture of amusement and sadness. Columbia House thrived in a now-vanished monoculture of limited choices, offering seven (or eight or twelve or twenty) albums for a penny and following up with poorly designed full color catalogs full of a few hits and a lot of misses. Once hooked, a game began in which the warehouse would dispatch a record or tape each month—a surprise, almost always something unwanted— forcing the “club” member to choose between paying up or sending the thing back. And as crazy as it seems now, if you were from Terre Haute, Indiana, or Billings, Montana, this is probably how you got your music.

The 21st century is defined in part by an overwhelming panorama of choices. Especially in the world of recorded music, of which the near-complete history is available in two or three clicks. Want to hear Carly Rae Jepson’s Emotion? Or Ray Charles’ complete Atlantic recordings? You can, and you should. But the question remains—how will you find out about Jimmy Carter & the Dallas County Green’s undeniable 1977 private country-rock masterpiece? And how will you experience it with something resembling the sense of excitement that accompanied those seven Columbia House selections for a penny, the ones you actually wanted? Isn’t the predictability of unlimited choice part of what’s turning us all into such jaded monsters? In a world of unlimited access, we’re exercising some small degree of restraint. Like some poor kid stuck in 1991, we want you waiting by your mailbox. We want you to love every record so much that you keep the custom box it came in.

It’s cheaper in the US and about 50% more for outside the US, so 12 albums would cost you $150 in the UK (or $375 (rather than $450)if you signed up for all three series)

 

That Special Record

Price: From €28 per month with discounts for 3 Months etc.

OK, so this is my faviourite, which is fairly obvious as it’s the one I subscribe to on the 1 LP a month plan. I did look at most of the other services but this just suited me more than the rest and I can’t fault the service I have received from them. Although I have had major concerns about the records I’ve received before actually listening to them, they’ve all always turned out to be something that I liked (Which is a surprise in itself as I’d never heard of any of them). Miguel does a great job over there in Portugal and sometimes offers a more personal touch with a handwritten note or even a free 12″ included. I’ve been a subscriber for 6 months now and at no point have I considered cancelling my subscription, the surprise element of what will be in that months package is really rather fun and I do look forward to it arriving every month. I’ve also recently bought some LP’s from the store as That Special Record is most aligned among all the subscription services with what I am looking for.

As Miguel says: “That Special Record is here to help you discover the best outsider electronic music that’s currently being released on vinyl. I’m a record collector…literally obsessed with weird, obscure, interesting, outsider electronic music so I won’t sell you any records I wouldn’t buy myself. Less is more, that’s why our selection is small but carefully curated.

I also received an album by ‘Unearth Noise’ called ‘Prayer and Resonanace’ which has one of my faviourite cover images ever, so much so that it is in a frame on the wall above my turntable.

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There is also:

The Third Man Records Vault

Price per quarter: $60 for Platinum, $20 for Gold

Mississippi Records’ Community Supported Records

Price: Between $68 and $300

Did I miss some? Let me know and I’ll add them

That Special Record – Update

I mentioned a little while ago that I had subscribed to the vinyl service – That Special Record – and yesterday I opened the first package from them.

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It’s a double vinyl from ‘The Gods Planet’ titled ‘LP2’. Here is how it is described by one site:

Nietzsche once said: “I would only believe in a God who could dance”. The 2nd The Gods Planet LP, simply titled LP2, is ample proof that you can trust in Claudio PRC and Ness to make you dance. Built upon pieces of music purposely made for a live presentation at Paris´ well-regarded Concrete club, it sees the Italian duo of techno producers applying a willingness for inner and outer discovery, and a more human outlook to the brand of thoughtful, detailed, yet emotional and powerful productions, which they have built their name upon. New machines, techniques and skills are dexterously applied to the foundations displayed on the 1st album, from 2013, making it more direct and overtly danceable, not as experimental but certainly as explorative as before. It is the sound of two artists further more at ease with their standing in the scene, taking stock of their surroundings, before further ventures into the unknown, but still as interested and skilled as ever in telling stories. And what´s presented here is a compelling story of self-discovery woven into Claudio and Ness´s vision of techno and house music.  

This is quite possibly true, I really haven’t had a chance to listen to it properly. The main question that arises is, do I like it and do I think that my money was well spent. Early indications on whether I like it are good, that’s as much as I can say on it for the moment, at least until I’ve had a chance to have a proper listen and to have lived with it for a little while.

It’s double black vinyl and as well as the note you can see in the image there was a separate inner sheet with a bit more information on. The track listing is:

A1 – The Gods Planet – Landing
A2 – The Gods Planet – In the Maze
B1 – The Gods Planet – New Dawn
B2 – The Gods Planet – Ascending
C1 – The Gods Planet – Nightfall
C2 – The Gods Planet – Glimpse
D1 – The Gods Planet – Fast Shadow
D2 – The Gods Planet – Time Machine
D3 – The Gods Planet – The Golden Age (Vinyl Edit)

Now, as for price, I paid €28,00, I’ve seen it priced online at €14,99, however, there was €7,98 shipping to add to that and that was not for international. I’ve written myself a little questionnaire to make it easier to clarify my thoughts.

Would you have chosen this album if you had stumbled across it yourself? :
I don’t think so, but I did know what I signed up for and I don’t dislike the album, though I do find it a little one dimensional musically. I am wondering how often I will be moved to play it in the future, I suspect it will be rarely.

How was the service provided, from a delivery perspective? :
No complaints there, it was well packaged, arrived in one piece and the album was already in a protective plastic sleeve, which is handy as it saves me using up one, although they are only 10p each it’s still good.

What are your thoughts on the price you paid? :
I found the album at €14,99 online, which suggests that this is the retail price or thereabouts, so the rest of my subscription went on what? Post, packaging, a plastic sleeve and a leaflet, which is €13,01. I don’t usually deal in Euros so I have to convert to £ for me to really get a sense of it, so we are looking at £21.87 for the subscription, £11.71 for the album and £7.94 for the rest.  When I look at it in those terms it does seem much more reasonable to me and, depending on the length of your subscription you can get the overall price down to €23,00 (£17.97).  That £7.94 for the rest though, it feels a little high to me but I guess I am paying for only having a month on month subscription.

Are you going to renew your subscription? :
I already have. I’m in for next month because I was really interested in some of the previous releases and, while this first album may not be exactly what I was hoping for, ‘That Special Record’ have built up a month on month list of releases that make it worth continuing to see what I get. Also, jumping back to price a moment, there is the curation aspect which I accept attracts a fee and is a portion of that £7.94 over and above the cost of the album.

More info on this subscription service can be found at http://www.thatspecialrecord.com/

Here is a track from ‘The Gods Planet’ – ‘LP2’

Let me know what you think.

Oh, one other thing, I do get a nice e-mail every weekday with a recommended album on it, you can sign up for that yourself as it’s free.

That Special Record

Having looked around for a vinyl subscription service and not had any luck finding one that I thought would suit me, I stumbled across, That Special Record who might well be just what I was looking for. My musical tastes are quite eclectic but I have a penchant for electronic, instrumental and ambient music, which this subscription service seems to cater for quite well.

They are based in Portugal but shipping is included and the 1 LP a month works out at £22.00, roughly what a new vinyl album costs + a bit to cover shipping, say £3.00 of it. What is more intriguing to me though is the surprise that it will be. I like the fact that what I receive I will never have heard of and that there is an opportunity to discover something wonderful. Conversely, I may hate everything I’m sent, but I think it’s worth the risk.

There are a few option available, you can sign up for 1, 3 or 6 months, the monthly cost decreasing the longer your term, although it is all paid up front, so 6 lps over 6 months will be a single payment of around £110, which renews with another single payment after the 6 months is up. There is also the option to subscribe to 1 LP and 1 EP, over the same periods at a higher cost to include the EP. I’ve gone for 1 month, to see how I like it, as I can cancel at any time that way without any up front outlay.

The releases from the last 3 months have been (just the albums not the EP’s):

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Icarus Records

Kevin Verwijmeren – Those Glorious Heights LP / Ambient music to travel deep into lost memories and accept the dark side of life.


 

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Black Sweat Records

Ariel Kalma– Interfrequence LP / Beautiful ambient space library record from the 1980’s, now finally reissued by Black Sweat Records


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Where To Now?

Ketev – Traces of Weakness LP / Hypnotising ambientish techno LP


They’ve been operating for over a year and a full list of everything they’ve issued is available at the site. I find the above intriguing and am quite prepared to give whatever turns up in the mail a fair listen.

“Most of our picks are records limited to 150-400 copies or under the radar records we believe are essential to any record collection. Sometimes, whenever possible, we send our members records pressed exclusively to That Special Record. Our boxes also regularly include stickers from the record labels we work with and a personal postcard with liner notes.”

I’ll update again when I’ve received a record.