As I sit here in front of my gleaming alloy-framed iMac, stuffed to the brim with super-hot CPU’s, memory and thousands of MP3’s…I find myself staring, with a smile, at a 7 inch disc of black plastic with a hole in the middle ( slightly paraphrasing Welsh guitar rock super-hero’s Man there).
Where does this inky black disc fit in my Mac? Why does it bring back such fond memories of flicking through singles at WHSmith in Stockport and finding bizarrely, a copy of ‘City of Tiny Lites’ by Frank Zappa? Or ‘Devils Answer’ by Atomic Rooster? Who was the manager of WHSmith (Stockport Branch) in 1979?
Anyway. Vinyl. Morrissey. It’s the antithesis of everything digital. And it’s the perfect example of why music used to be so…Special. Because it was hard to get recorded, hard to get it out there and hard to get it listened to.In 2011, the first two are easy, but the answer to an equation of three parts is always the same, so now, it’s even harder to get listened to. Democratisation of the creation process is fabulous, that’s why I don’t have to rely on photo-labs and fabulously complicated video editing suites. But, sitting here looking at vinyl, dreaming of GPz550’s and that girl in the white dress in front of me at confirmation and also slightly confused by the fug of nostalgia on a Friday night…I have to say the now of today, is sublime. Quality, I think, will always rise to the surface.
So, what does it sound like? Vinyl is glorious. It’s a direct connection to the actual analogue response when a guitarist hits the string. I ‘think’ it sounds better, but actually the best part is that it degrades over time. A crackle on vinyl becomes as familiar as a worn pair of jeans. It’s a two way conversation of shared experiences.