Carnivalism Beauty is in the Beat

Carnivalism

Happy Record Store Day!

Record Store Day came into being in 2007 when over 700 independent stores in the USA came together to celebrate their unique culture.

The UK followed suit and 2012 will see the fifth celebration of the UK’s unique independent sector. This is the one day that all of the independently owned record stores come together with musicians to celebrate the art of music. Special vinyl and CD releases and various promotional products are made exclusively for the day and hundreds of artists across the globe make special appearances and performances. Festivities include performances, meet & greets with artists, DJs, in store quizzes and many other events.

While at school there were two record shops in my town, Our Price and Andy’s Records. Woolworths actually had a go at selling a few bits of vinyl too (of which I did pick up a few bargains – Juliet Roberts’  Free Love & Caught in the Middle spring to mind). However, I distinctly remember a feeling of regret battling with the excitement of buying some new music, particuarly from Andy’s Records. As I left the shop walking past rows and rows of records, perhaps genres that were alien to me, 100s if not 1000s of songs that maybe would never pass my ears. My sadness was for the potential that my most favorite record might never in fact find me.

Technology has reduced that risk greatly, we can share our tastes our joys, we can sample songs from our armchairs, Spotify will tell me what my sister is listening to in Mallorca, 1000 miles away. I love this distribution of music but for me, it does feel different to a vendor sussing you out in their store to spot you a hidden gem, or the leap into the unknown as you pick up a mysterious 12″ just because it has an interesting cover. When we quicken the ability to discover, do we listen less? The time it takes to put a record on, the ritual; leafing through my collection, un-sleeving a record, a smell of memories, reading its cover, gently cleaning, the contact of diamond and vinyl crackling through the stereo.  We revel in the occasion and makes these possessions sacred. I have some great digital tracks but I wonder if I treasure them less as I can’t recall so well how or where I found them, nor is there a surge of nostalgia if I pick a track out of the 50,000 on my hard drive as opposed to unearthing something from my wall of records.

Sure digital djing has brought new aspects to playing music, to create, remix and push sets in directions not possible before. As a DJ, I for one welcome these progressions. But never to forget the ceremony and awesomeness that analogue, in all its glory brings. One thing digital will always come in a shoddy second.

Visit National Record Store Day’s website

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