For years I have been wanting a record player. My oldest brother was lucky in few ways when growing up but there was one clear cut thing that he had an advantage on as the oldest…the realization that some things my parents owned were cool. And when they were ready to upgrade, he was ready with arms open. Well, not really. He just saw the gems before I could even fathom what they were. I mean, he is 15 years older than me, so of course he did. Anyway, one of the things that he got was my parents record player and sound system (I think…shoot. I am pretty sure he did). Because he was older, he was with my parents while my dad was at the bottom of the professional ladder. Times were tough whereas when I was born I was surrounded by name brand stuff.
I am in constant awe of my brother, Mike. He really has guided me to where I am musically. I will never forget how he used to bring home cd’s from when he was DJing at his college radio station. He would lock himself up in his room and play music so loud and he would allow me to just sit next to him and look at him all googley eyed in amazement. In my eyes he was so cool… him in his twenties, me somewhere between elementary and middle school. He introduced me into what is classified as indie rock, college radio, electronica, rpm. You name it, I found out about it through Mike. And to top it all off, he would make me mixtapes of the music that he played that I really enjoyed–and yes, they were on actual cassettes! He introduced me to the music scene that is now my passion–the thing that drives me. Years later I would be in the same spot at a college radio station.
He also re-introduced me to vinyl and record players. When I come to visit him in SLO the vinyl is always spinning; he chooses music that sets the mood but does it without seeming snooty. It is natural fluid thing that he does without hesitation. Anyway, I started realizing the beauty in vinyl through him. The purity of sound. CDs don’t really carry that same level of spledonr. They are made in huge proportions and are duplicated tons of times over.
I have only had my new record player for a few days now and I get uber stressed out just placing the needle down. My hand gets all shaky and I wonder whether I am going to break something. But I like that nervousness. I like knowing that the music I purchase is fragile and built to be loved…because it is! Now I just gotta figure out how to upgrade my sound system! Ay yay yay!! It is a hot mess…
Last, there is one last thing that I learned about recently through my big bro– Direct Metal Master Vinyl. It is high quality vinyl. One Little Indian, record label of Bjork and Sigur Ros (just to name a few) explains it as this:
The newest technology in vinyl manufacturing – Half Speed Direct Metal Mastering. The groove is cut directly in copper metal. Transient response is greatly improved. Stampers are plated directly from the DMM Copper Master, eliminating two of the three plating steps required for lacquers. In short, DMM yields better detail resolution and a lower noise ratio. This is especially good for long play albums, or audiophile material. All albums are remastered direct from the original master tapes and pressed on 45rpm heavy weight 200g virgin vinyl audiophile discs.
Usually, records are made by cutting onto a lacquer-coated aluminum disc. DMM cuts straight into copper created a higher quality disc. Lacquer-coated discs have more steps in the process where it has to go into a fridge to be cooled, yada, yada, yada. DMM’s bypass two steps in the process of creating records and therefore there is less unwanted noise in the background of the music. Direct Metal Mastering was developed by two Germans and due to the popularity in compact discs, is dwindling at a rapid rate. In fact, the two DMM cutting facilities located in the US were sold in an auction to…..drum roll please….THE CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY! That is a whole story in itself. I guess the main man of Scientology wants his words to be encapsulated so that they can be heard for many years to come. Gross and yet not surprising. Most creepos have ridiculous wants and needs. Unfortunately, that puts us Americans at a disadvantage though. Our two machines are not producing music. Furthermore, I don’t think that the Church of Scientology follows the rule that “sharing is caring.” Fuck ’em.
Anyway, the overall moral of the story is this–if you have records that you feel are life-altering, have to have forever, are the meaning of life to you, search out whether they are available as DMM’s. They are higher quality and sound better…and they look prettier I looked around and they are out there. For me, One Little Indian has them for most of the re-issues of Bjork, so I am probably going to purchase Debut and Post. I also want Sigur Ros‘ Takk. But don’t get too needy, these records come at a cost. I also looked into classics like Rubber Soul. It is available too.
Woohoo. Yeah, for vinyl. I’m finally the owner of a record player!!