Classic Music: Vinyl Versus Everything

Tajai from Souls of Mischief (you should know who they are), famously said on the group’s classic track “’93 Til Infinity”, “Sometimes it gets a little hectic out there’, in speaking to his native East Oakland. One could surely assert that that same sentiment could apply to the entire world now, as well. We’re surely dealing with some unprecedented circumstances these days, and it would be pretty easy for us all to complain and whine about how limited we are now, in dealing with self-isolation and social distancing, due to the current pandemic. But rather than harp on the negative and focus on that end of the spectrum, we’ve decided to take more of a grateful approach to where these conditions have placed us. Home.

And the cool thing about being home all day, (apart from binging reruns of The Honeymooners), is that we finally have the time now to invest in the things we really love and enjoy. And that could be anything from our families, more exercise, meditation, hobbies, reading, writing, etc. But this post is all about music

This site was started with the intent of championing music and its rich history and how that’s influenced us so much and has enriched our lives in such great ways. In times of uncertainty, as well as good times, and when we just want to relax and zone out, it’s more than likely that most of us tend to lean on music for that escape. It’s the warm fuzzy scarf on the chilly day, or the ice-cold bottle of water after running a full-court of basketball during the summer. Music is the friend that will always have your back, no matter what mood you’re in. It will never leave you. So it’s only right that we show some appreciation to what’s always been in the background of our best moments and still acts as the soundtrack of our lives. The music. 

Over the past few years, I’ve really started in rebuilding my vinyl collection. I’m old enough to remember what it was like to buy an album on cassette. Running home excited, and not being able to wait to rip the plastic off, so I could read the liner notes and study everything in them. Our affinity for cassettes (homemade and retail) shifted to CD’s in the years to come. And we would lose our minds for those too. Carrying 25-30 discs at a time in CD caddies and changing albums in and out of a Sony Discman while casually walking down the street with our friends, was a daily occurrence. I can’t say we expected the digital boom that was to come, which is evidenced by how many hundreds of physical media, such as cassettes and CD’s, ended up in boxes after we all adjusted to the new mp3 craze that would swoop in and change not only how we listened to music, but also the actual music industry itself, forever. 

So I decided to get back to the essence, in a way. I wanted music and the acquirement of music to feel the way it did way back in the day. I loved being able to throw a million songs on an iPod and have every piece of music I owned in one place, but there was always something missing. A feeling. My appreciation for what music always felt like, was starting to dim. So after buying a new turntable and going back out to dig for vinyl, slowly but surely, that addiction to music and the heavy appreciation for collecting it, started to creep back in. My spot was Good Records in NYC. I started hitting them up a couple times a week for whatever classic album I could find and I’d be in there for 3-4 hours digging through crates searching for all things Hip Hop, Rock, Jazz, Funk & R&B, that I’ve always wanted and needed on vinyl. The more I went there, the more the itch intensified. So I started checking out other record shops across the country, even Barnes & Noble. Then there was Discogs and eBay for my online searches, and of course, ol’ reliable, Amazon. 

As time went on, my shelves started to get tighter and tighter, to the point where I had to get new shelves to store all of the vinyl that I had been buying. But with all these records coming in and getting delivered every other day, I started to notice a change. My love for music and what it’s always meant to me, was back to its zenith. Being able to actually hold an album and study the cover, scan the gatefold credits or go over the list of band members on a classic jazz album, all of these things are what made me so deeply connected to music as a kid. And getting back into collecting physical media, has sparked that love again, in a way that’s pretty hard to explain. I know it’s become trendy to buy vinyl now, and I have no problem with the newcomers. Music is a platform that welcomes all, and I think it’s great when I see vinyl newbies in the shops digging for something good. We’re really all one big family. 

Back at home, I upgraded my turntable to the Audio-Technica AT-LP120-USB, last year, up from the LP-60. It’s been a dream and a steal at the price it goes for, in relation to how high quality it is and performs. I constantly re-sleeve my records with fresh sleeves and organize them by genre and artist. That way, I can pull from the shelves quickly and know where everything is. It’s a rather expensive habit, but it can also be a messy one, if you’re not meticulously organized. With the USB version of my turntable, I can also buy older vinyl to sample from and run the signal right into my Mac, to use for beats later, if I choose to. I can also convert those songs into files to have on my phone, if I can’t find them on Spotify or own them already. The move back into collecting again, really has refreshed my love for something I’ve been obsessed with since I was a kid, and it’s also connected me with other vinyl-addicts who share that same love for the forgotten medium that we all left behind the minute cassettes popped up on the scene. So this post is kind of a love letter to vinyl and also an apology as well, for us forgetting where we came from. It feels good to be reunited. 

There’s nothing better than getting lost in music and just sinking into a really dope album. That’s why we’re going to start a new vinyl appreciation label on here for posts, where we’ll have classics albums on vinyl that everyone should check out or own. We’ll document digging trips and highlight great finds, our favorite sellers, other collectors, and also promote our favorite record shops, and speak about the joy of both digging in the crates, but also collecting vinyl and the benefits of doing so. 

With that said, we’re excited to bring this new look to the site and we hope that you’ll enjoy it or even share your adventures with vinyl or digging with us. Stay safe out there and throw some good music on!

Blog Layout Designed by pipdig