How Record Collectors Find Lost Music And Preserve Our Cultural Heritage – A TED Talk By Alexis Charpentier (2018)

Ted Talk FB Note Image.png

This is a wonderful 14-minute talk about my most impassioned life’s work.

Charpentier shares a fascinating tale about a record digger discovering an unknown independent artist’s music in a dusty flea market – an artist who had never experienced fame in his time. This discovery and the determination and passion of the digger directly led to the artist’s music being reissued by a major label and inspiring the artist to begin performing again for the first time in decades. This is the magic that can come of crate digging and cultural curatorship.

And he describes how our collections become an autobiographical legacy meant to be passed on to future listeners.

He says, “Beautiful art deserves to be cherished, shared, and rediscovered.”

“We are alternative voices to the mainstream music channels, digital or otherwise. Go beyond the algorithm.”

“This music will change your life.”

Watch this short segment and understand my motives and my passions just a little better. ❤

Just Keep Spinning – Reflections on Music Collecting

A friend kindly recommended my latest film screening – So Wrong They’re Right, a low-budget indie VHS documentary on offbeat 8-track collector culture and the 8-Track Mind zine. I’ve been exploring UK hauntological music and art lately so the retro subject matter fit right in. It was great to hear Wally Pleasant’s “Rock n’ Roll Yard Sales” on the soundtrack.

And serendipitously, while watching the film a related short appeared in my social media feed – an informational demo film to educate consumers about the upcoming compact disc format produced in 1982.

And WFMU just shared that Atlas Obscura published a feature yesterday called, “Inside the World’s Best Collection of Unintentionally Funny VHS Tapes” with this hilarious short!

Much like the VHS culture documentaries, Rewind This and Adjust Your Tracking, the 8-track film made me reflect on my own music collector hobby and how in the past year I’ve really put the breaks on my vinyl habit. Unlike vinyl, most 8-tracks are practically given away and as interviewees of the film profess, they’ve had to plead with Goodwill store managers just to get them to put their 8-track stock on the sales floor. (There are exceptions, of course. Discogs currently offers over 8,000 8-tracks in its marketplace, the second-most-expensive of which is a mint tape of Trout Mask Replica presently priced at $1,500.00.)

Captain Beefheart - Trout Mask Replica 8-Track Tape

But conversely, with vinyl, I’ve reached a point in my collecting where all the remaining titles on my wish list command $80-$550 apiece. And the days of scoring elusive original pressings of releases you’re after at your local VoA are long gone after the store’s inventories have been thoroughly picked over by eBayer resellers or by hipster employees who pull all the good stuff before it has a chance to hit the floor. And for my personal tastes, thrift shops have never been a good resource for the kind of content I seek.

Thankfully a lot of the rare early electronic, drone, and import tape music of the last century, and even of the 90s during vinyl’s darkest days, are being remastered and reissued by Dutch, German, and UK specialty labels, but with shipping you’re still looking at $60 minimum per release so I’ve resolved to reel in my habit and to spend more conservatively this past year.

It’s left me to wonder what the future holds for my hobby. I really enjoy the research and the unconventional subcultures surrounding the format, I just don’t know to what degree I can continue to participate in the acquisition and trade of the albums, themselves. And vinyl has been a significant part of my identity for many years, so I question how I’ll continue to occupy myself beyond this bizarre little pastime.

Thankfully, I have more music at present than I could experience in a lifetime, so at the very least I can kick back and enjoy exploring my archives. And I can continue to supplement my web-based research with more contextual studies from books specializing in my favorite genres. My next read will be Mars by 1980: The Story of Electronic Music by David Stubbs and should provide hours of reading enjoyment and hopefully an intimate understanding of a century of electronic sound.

Whether as a collector or just a researcher, this is indeed the finest time to be alive. Sites like Discogs and RYM provide instantaneous access to release data and listener reviews which previously took days or weeks of calls and form submissions to the LoC to obtain, and every day more and more fans upload thousands of hours or rare and exotic content from their collections to YouTube and file-sharing networks. It’s a curious phenomenon because when everything is accessible, nothing is rare. So, arguments for the paradox of choice aside, this is the greatest time in history for the inquiring listener. I plan to keep reading and listening, and maybe one day score a few of my remaining white whales.

Whatever your preferred format, be it 8-track, LP, cylinder, cassette, CD… just keep spinning.

The Ultimate Avant Garde Collectible from Salvador Dali

I have wonderful news!  After bringing my broken Denon DP-60L to a hi-fi guru I learned that the tonearm is NOT broken – all I need is a new cartridge!  I need to raise the funds for it, so I am offering for sale an incredible collectible for fans of the weird.

This jawdropping collectible is a brand new copy of Salvador Dali’s lost opera, Etre Dieu – a rare velvet bound 3 disc set with a 326 page book. The opera is a six-part work and features Dali as God, Brigitte Bardot as an artichoke and Catherine the Great and Marilyn Monroe doing a striptease.  The book contains notes and libretto in English, French, German & Spanish.

It doesn’t get much more avant garde than this!

I have just opened the shrinkwrap on this treasure which was released on a German label 20 years ago just before they disappeared.  It is long out of print.  The last two copies that sold on the internet went for over $100 each. The discs have never been played. I’m only asking $60 for this mint copy.

These photos are the actual copy you will receive.

Message me to make it yours and to help make my turntable work again!  Thank you.

UPDATE!  The item has been sold and a cartridge is on its way!  Stay tuned, I’ll report in 2 weeks when the turntable is back in action!

Published in: on August 28, 2012 at 11:53 am  Comments (2)  
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An Endless Boogie, Onward Into Oblivion

Through a wonderful stroke of luck, I have come upon two beautifully rare discs from a fantastic band.

Endless Boogie is a band out of NYC who Pitchfork took notice of when they released their first major disc in 2008.

They accurately summed up the band’s formula in a few words:

The concept that guides Endless Boogie is a relatively simple one: Take the moment at which any good blues-rock jam crests– the four bars of transcendent face-scrunching and pull-off-laden glory– then extend that moment onward into oblivion.

The discs I’ve come upon are legendary in collector’s circles.  The band quietly released two albums in 2005 – Volume 1 and Volume 2.  The first was limited to 500 copies, and word is that 50 of them have been rendered “less-desirable.”  Volume 2 was limited to 299 copies, though my copy is mysteriously hand-numbered 90/’150.

Both of the albums and their jackets are NM with their respective inserts.  They sound absolutely amazing.  The opening track of Volume 1 is a 24 minute epic anthem.  The closest I could come to a sample for your enjoyment is the first track of Volume 2, courtesy of youtube.

And here’s a slow, bluesy cut from one of their CDs – “Slow Creep.”

Pitchfork went on to describe them as a cross between Captain Beefheart and Dr. Teeth… which couldn’t have made me happier!

As much as I’d love to keep them for my own collection, I’ve decided to offer them as a set and have just posted them as the lowest-priced copies available on Discogs.com.

Click here to check out the copies I have for sale!

Endless Boogie - Volume 1 (Black)

Endless Boogie - Volume 1 (Black)

Endless Boogie - Volume 2 (White)

Endless Boogie - Volume 2 (White)

Published in: on April 27, 2012 at 10:24 pm  Leave a Comment  
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