• Strange Days: Memories of the Future: 7 key works for music lovers

    By | October 3, 2018

    “Music is the field through which we rediscover our bodies throughout the show.”

    Strange Days: Memories of the Future brings together 21 of the most radical video artists and film-makers working today. Drawn from 10 years of exhibitions at New York’s New Museum, the works have been brought together by The Store X The Vinyl Factory and Edlis Neeson Artistic Director Massimiliano Gioni to explore personal and collective memory, often juxtaposing sound and image in radical and evocative ways.

    Taking place in the same brutalist structure that housed The Infinite Mix and Everything At Once in recent years, Strange Days at The Store X, 180 The Strand will host 21 artists, from artist Kahlil Joseph, whose work with Flying Lotus and Beyoncé transcends popular culture and black experience, to Ragnar Kjartansson’s ongoing collaborations with The National.

    To help guide you into this extensive show, we’ve selected six works where music and sound play a crucial role.


    Kahlil Joseph
    Fly Paper
    (2017)

    In part inspired by the legendary jazz photographer Roy DeCarava who captured musicians and everyday life in Harlem, Fly Paper expands on Kahlil’s work with artists like Beyoncé, Sampha and Kendrick Lamar to weave a narrative of visual literary imagination and “polyphonic portrait” around musical and cultural realities of Harlem’s black community. As Natalie Bell writes in the exhibition notes: “Fly Paper moves beyond the visible by expanding Joseph’s practice into sound, unfolding a complex acoustic environment throughout within which sonic textures and original compositions resonate.” Drawing on samples from Kelsey Lu, Thundercat, Alice Smith and Kelan Phil Cohran, among others, the sound world of Fly Paper is brought to the fore at Strange Days with a bespoke sound system that immerses and unsettles in equal measure.

    Photo: Kahlil Joseph, ‘Fly Paper,’ 2017. Installation view, The Store X, 180 The Strand, 2018. Photo by Jack Hems.


    Ragnar Kjartansson
    A Lot Of Sorrow
    (2013-2014)

    Icelandic film-maker, performance artist and bon vivant Ragnar Kjartansson’s A Lot Of Sorrow is the final piece at Strange Days – a six hour denouement which sees and hears The National perform their 2010 track ‘Sorrow’ manfully for one full 180-degree turn of the hour hand. Originally performed and recorded in front of an equally stoic audience at MoMA PS1, experiencing the work is a kin to meditation: the first few minutes might be difficult to access (each rendition of the song feels slow, heavy, similar), but give it just a moment longer and Ragnar’s work takes on a transcendent, mantra-like quality; at once a study in the circular, all-encompassing, often absurd nature of grief, and a celebration of human spirit, perseverance, and camaraderie.

    Photo: Ragnar Kjartansson, ‘A Lot of Sorrow (2013-2014)’


    Pipilotti Rist
    4th Floor To Mildness
    (2016)

    Immersive in every sense of the word, Pipilotti Rist’s 4th Floor To Mildness invites visitors to lie on beds looking up at two vast screens of footage, shot largely under water, as if looking up at the surface from the river bed. Moving between the abstract and the literal, the murky and the clear, the film is a vehicle for human reconnection in a world alienated by screens, knitted together by the dream-like soundtrack of experimental Austrian artist and musician Anja Plaschg aka Soap&Skin. The soundtrack will be released by The Vinyl Factory and be available at The Store X later in the show.

    Photo: Pipilotti Rist, ‘4th Floor To Mildness,’ 2016, Photo: Maris Hutchinson / EPW Studio


    Hassan Khan
    Jewel
    (2010)

    Inspired by seeing two men dancing around a homemade speaker with a flashing lightbulb attached to it in a Cairo street, Hassan Khan turned the spectacle into a short film called Jewel. His 6 and a half minute work features an original Shaabi (which translates to “of the people) musical composition. According to Khan, the genre captures an “automated moment of civilisation… where obscenity and sanctity can coexist in an intense contradiction that is not contradictory.”

    Photo: Hassan Khan, ‘Jewel,’ (2010), Installation view, The Store X, 180 The Strand, 2018. Photo by Jack Hems.


    Camille Henrot
    Grosse Fatigue
    (2013)

    In Grosse Fatigue, Camille Henrot attempts to tell the story of the universe’s creation, via a desktop browser view, naturally. The chromatic film features original music by NYC-based electronic composer and producer Joakim, who released The Studio Venezia Sessions on The Vinyl Factory earlier this year. Over the course of 13 minutes, its multi-windows open onto varying views, combining tabs you would expect to find on your computer’s home screen – Google, Wikipedia, etc – and ranging from a combination of museum purviews at the Smithsonian to hands tossing marbles across a yellow backdrop to a rotund gentleman browsing filing stacks.

    Photo: Camille Henrot, Grosse Fatigue, 2013 (still), courtesy of the artist.


    Wu Tsang
    The Looks
    (2015)

    Wu Tsang’s interest in the transformative and liberating potential of the dance floor runs through her work, from 2012’s Wildness – an experimental documentary centred around the Silver Platter, a historic LA bar for queer and trans Latinx people that came to host a weekly party for a younger generation of queer artists of colour – to Into A Space Of Love (2018), which explores the legacies of house music rooted in New York underground culture. The Looks operates in a similar space – a Black Mirror-esque sci-fi performance doc that explores the tension between social media technology, control and ecstatic rave euphoria.

    Photo: Wu Tsang, The Looks, 2015


    John Akomfrah
    Vertigo Sea
    (2015)

    A lyrical, visual and sonic ode to the ocean presented as a cinematic triptych, John Akomfrah’s Vertigo Sea delves into contemporary and historical narratives about the Atlantic. The hypnotic 48-minute installation features a detailed composition of music and sound, with quotations from philosophers and writers alongside seascapes and aquatic archival footage from the BBC Natural History unit.

    Photo: John Akomfrah, ‘Vertigo Sea,’ 2015. Installation view, The Store X, 180 The Strand, 2018. Photo by Jack Hems.


    Strange Days: Memories of the Future runs from 2nd October – 9th December at The Store X, 180 The Strand, London, WC2R 1EA. It is open Tuesday to Saturday, 12pm – 7pm, Sunday 12pm – 6pm and is free to visit.

    All photography: Jack Hems, courtesy of The Store X

  • Our 10 favourite new albums to own on vinyl this month

    By | September 30, 2017

    September’s essential vinyl releases.

    September may well be harvest time, but few years have been as bountiful as this. A 30-day parade of fresh produce from across all corners of the globe – from James Murphy’s Brooklyn, to the Tanzanian capital Dar Es Salaam, via South London – September brought forth, and we were thankful.

    Whether it was anticipated releases from the likes of LCD Soundsystem, The National or Moses Sumney, shrugging off the pressure of expectation with deft grace, or under the radar drops like Idiom or DJ soFa’s excellent Elsewhere MCMXIII compilation rising to the occasion, we struggled to chop the list down to ten.

    But as with all times of plenty, we must remain frugal. Gorge yourself or store them up for the winter to come – here are our 10 favourite new albums you simply must own on vinyl this month.


    LCD Soundsystem

    American Dream

    (DFA)

    Listen / Buy

    Believe the hype – LCD’s American Dream return is simply stunning. James Murphy has spent almost two years getting this album together (after getting the band back together that is) and the quality runs from beginning to end. Yeah it has glimpses of those disco skills they’re so good at, but it runs much deeper and a little darker too. Straight double vinyl, no variants, no gimmicks – the real deal.


    The National

    Sleep Well Beast

    (4AD)

    Listen / Buy

    The highly anticipated return of The National is the first of this week’s major album releases not to disappoint. Whether or not the oblique reference in the title to the roused beast of W.B. Yeats’ The Second Coming is intentional, this is an album that directly connects with the political upheaval of 2017’s widening gyre. “I don’t understand why people separate love and politics in their art,” singer and lyricist Matt Berninger has said of the album, which is as pre-occupied with the redemptive power of dreams and nightmares as it is with providing answers for real life. Tracks like ‘The System Only Dreams In Total Darkness’ and ‘Walk It Back’ are emblematic of that desire to ride out life’s personal and political tragedies. Unlike Yeats’ though, The National’s beast is dragging a more truthful future along with it.


    Mount Kimbie

    Love What Survives

    (Warp)

    Listen / Buy

    Seven years since Crooks and Lovers, and Mount Kimbie sound like they’re finally settling into a new phase. Coming off the back of two now legendary 12″s for Hotflush, Crooks and Lovers was a fitting culmination for the post-dubstep era that also catapulted the likes of James Blake and Joy O into the wider consciousness. Although 2013’s Cold Spring Fault Less Youth had its moments, it was, in footballing terms, something of a transitional record. Reunited with Blake for two of the stand-out tracks on Love What Survives, Mount Kimbie return with a more fully-formed vision of what could possibly come next. Although starting slowly, the album settles into its propulsive, krautrock meets post-punk stride by the beginning of third track ‘Audition’. The gentle, lilting collab with Micachu is a shimmering highlight on an album that reveals itself as more detailed and considered with every listen.


    Zola Jesus

    Okovi

    (Sacred Bones)

    Listen / Buy

    The Slavic word for ‘shackles’, Okovi hears Zola Jesus throw off hers for a strident and surging new album on Sacred Bones. Exploding into life on ‘Exhumed’, Zola Jesus grapples with darkness and death throughout an album perforated with personal experiences and woven together with fictitious narratives. Sonically, Okovi inhabits a vast and agoraphobic landscape, whether through the operatic grandeur of ‘Ash To Bone’, electronic drone pop of ‘Siphon’ or the cello-balladry of ‘Witness’. An exciting, liberating album.


    Greg Fox

    The Gradual Progression

    (RVNG Intl.)

    Listen / Buy

    As influenced by the spiritual jazz improvisations of Pharoah Sanders and Don Cherry as the technological specifics that allow Fox to trigger tonal palettes through sensors attached to his kit, The Gradual Progression is a deftly syncopated, deeply persuasive album that pushes the envelope for contemporary jazz once more. Incorporating minimalist aspects, as on the Reich-esque ‘My House of Equalizing Predecessors’ or atmospheric surges of ‘Earth Center Possession Stream’, Fox’s The Gradual Progression is a rhythmic tour de force that will leave you utterly discombobulated.


    Msafiri Zawose

    Uhamiaji

    (Soundway)

    Listen / Buy

    Tanzanian gogo music meets electronics on this superb outing by Msafiri Zawose. A jack-in-the-box of live-wire instrumentation and lush fx, tracks like ‘Nosaga’ pop and fizz with slow-mo grace, redolent of Crammed Discs’ most adventurous ’80s outings, while at the other end of the spectrum ‘Kunyemo’ rattles with high-octane drums and a Four Tet-esque propensity to bring euphoric syncopation to the dance floor. With a cover design that nods to cult Afro-electro record Noir et Blanc, expect this to appeal to those on the weirder fringes of the disco and balearic scenes.


    Joe Armon-Jones & Maxwell Owin

    Idiom

    (YAM Records)

    Listen / Buy

    A light-footed six-track EP from the guts of South East London’s jazzy broken beat movement (beginning with the smooth-as-you-like ‘SE Discoteque’), Idiom is the latest release on Peckham record shop YAM’s in-house imprint. Deftly feathering a deep house sensibility with Nubya Garcia’s buoyant saxophone on stand-out track ‘Tanner’s Tango’, Idiom is a poised, late-night record, for fans of Tenderlonious, Hector Plimmer and the rest of the gang.


    DJ soFa / Various Artists

    Elsewhere MCMXIII

    (ICI Records)

    Listen / Buy

    DJ soFa takes the cutting edge to the knife stone, with this vital double vinyl survey of the slow, low, weird and wavey end of the club spectrum. Working on behalf of Débruit’s ICI imprint, soFa channels the kosmische noir of Salon des Amateurs to turn out a set of Mogadon bangers and metal dancers from the likes of Bufiman, Fred Und Luna, Der Kundalini and Tolouse Low Trax. If you fancy dirty dancing with your rusted robot lover, this should get you right in the mood.


    Moses Sumney

    Aromanticism

    (Jagjaguwar)

    Listen / Buy

    Few artists have commanded as much expectation as Moses Sumney, and his debut LP doesn’t disappoint. As the title suggests there’s a classicism to much of the record, which shines through most vividly on the orchestrated movements of ‘Don’t Bother Calling’, where shades of Thom Yorke and Billie Holiday vibrate like ghosts among Sumney’s fragile falsetto. It’s in these moments that Aromanticism really resonates, and the textbook crescendoes of tracks like ‘Lonely World’ feel forced in comparison. For a major pop album though, Aromanticism has enough textured understatment to be well worth exploring further.


    Godspeed You! Black Emperor

    Luciferian Towers

    (Constellation)

    Listen / Buy

    The 6th album proper from Godspeed You! Black Emperor and one of their best in recent years sounds all the better for its avoidance of post-rock bombast, and favouring of a more subtle and cohesive approach. Still managing to channel political and cultural malaise into visceral instrumental works 20 years down the line, this one’s a recommended listen for newcomers and hardened fans alike.


  • The National’s Sleep Well Beast vinyl edition is a thing of brooding beauty

    By | September 15, 2017

    Pseudo-corporate logos probe the cult of big business in Trump’s America.

    One of several major albums released this week, The National’s Sleep Well Beast has hardly left our turntable. But perhaps more than any of our other favourites in the last seven days, we’ve returned time and again to the artwork and packaging of the record, designed by Luke Hayman, Andrea Trabucco-Campos and Elyanna Blaser-Gould of New York agency Pentagram.

    Read next: Art-rock adventurism: The complete 4AD story

    In essence, the design of the album is built around the barn assembled by the band in Hudson, New York, where the album was recorded and which graces its front cover. Aware of the implications of hiring a major design agency like Pentagram to brand what The National have always guarded as their very singular aesthetic, the album artwork became an exercise in subverting the idea of the band as a propaganda machine in and of itself.

    As Pentagram told Creative Review recently, “The band are very active in social and political causes, including what’s going on right now in the US, and wanted something that was not obviously political but riffed on the idea of propaganda, a society/cult, with its own symbols.”

    Using the barn as its starting point, the Ntl. branding was extended across a range of mediums, including the most banal office stationary available. By offsetting it against photographer Graham MacIndoe’s punkier inserts, the band were able to riff on the tension between the personal and the political, or the intimate and the industrial.

    It’s a feeling evoked on the album’s cover, where the viewer is witness to a scene of warmth and creativity, while remaining on the outside looking in, conspicuously excluded from the events.

    Released on limited blue and standard white edition vinyl, you can order your copy here and check it out in more detail below.

  • The 10 best vinyl releases this week (11th September)

    By | September 11, 2017

    A 100% album special.

    The beasts have awoken from their summer slumber. As the party season draws to a close, it’s back to business and with so many huge albums to choose from, we’ve opted to break free from the shackles of also presenting five singles to bring you a bumper 10-album edition of our weekly round-up.

    Hold on to your hats, horses and hosiery and hoist yourself into the cockpit for new releases from Mount Kimbie, The National, and Zola Jesus, albums on Sub Pop, RVNG Intl. and Editions Mego, a brace of stunning reissues courtesy of Crammed Discs and Cocktail D’Amore, and the latest reconstructed broken-beat-jazz-gem from South London’s YAM Records.

    Scroll down for our definitive across-the-board rundown of the week’s new vinyl releases as selected by The Vinyl Factory’s Chris Summers, Patrick Ryder and James Hammond with help from Norman Records. 5 singles and 5 LPs every 7 days that are unmissable additions to any collection.


    The National

    Sleep Well Beast

    (4AD)

    Listen / Buy

    The highly anticipated return of The National is the first of this week’s major album releases not to disappoint. Whether or not the oblique reference in the title to the roused beast of W.B. Yeats’ The Second Coming is intentional, this is an album that directly connects with the political upheaval of 2017’s widening gyre. “I don’t understand why people separate love and politics in their art,” singer and lyricist Matt Berninger has said of the album, which is as pre-occupied with the redemptive power of dreams and nightmares as it is with providing answers for real life. Tracks like ‘The System Only Dreams In Total Darkness’ and ‘Walk It Back’ are emblematic of that desire to ride out life’s personal and political tragedies. Unlike Yeats’ though, The National’s beast is dragging a more truthful future along with it.


    Mount Kimbie

    Love What Survives

    (Warp)

    Listen / Buy

    Seven years since Crooks and Lovers, and Mount Kimbie sound like they’re finally settling into a new phase. Coming off the back of two now legendary 12″s for Hotflush, Crooks and Lovers was a fitting culmination for the post-dubstep era that also catapulted the likes of James Blake and Joy O into the wider consciousness. Although 2013’s Cold Spring Fault Less Youth had its moments, it was, in footballing terms, something of a transitional record. Reunited with Blake for two of the stand-out tracks on Love What Survives, Mount Kimbie return with a more fully-formed vision of what could possibly come next. Although starting slowly, the album settles into its propulsive, krautrock meets post-punk stride by the beginning of third track ‘Audition’. The gentle, lilting collab with Micachu is a shimmering highlight on an album that reveals itself as more detailed and considered with every listen.


    Zola Jesus

    Okovi

    (Sacred Bones)

    Listen / Buy

    The Slavic word for ‘shackles’, Okovi hears Zola Jesus throw off hers for a strident and surging new album on Sacred Bones. Exploding into life on ‘Exhumed’, Zola Jesus grapples with darkness and death throughout an album perforated with personal experiences and woven together with fictitious narratives. Sonically, Okovi inhabits a vast and agoraphobic landscape, whether through the operatic grandeur of ‘Ash To Bone’, electronic drone pop of ‘Siphon’ or the cello-balladry of ‘Witness’. An exciting, liberating album.


    Greg Fox

    The Gradual Progression

    (RVNG Intl.)

    Listen / Buy

    As influenced by the spiritual jazz improvisations of Pharoah Sanders and Don Cherry as the technological specifics that allow Fox to trigger tonal palettes through sensors attached to his kit, The Gradual Progression is a deftly syncopated, deeply persuasive album that pushes the envelope for contemporary jazz once more. Incorporating minimalist aspects, as on the Reich-esque ‘My House of Equalizing Predecessors’ or atmospheric surges of ‘Earth Center Possession Stream’, Fox’s The Gradual Progression is a rhythmic tour de force that will leave you utterly discombobulated.


    Msafiri Zawose

    Uhamiaji

    (Soundway)

    Listen / Buy

    Tanzanian gogo music meets electronics on this superb outing by Msafiri Zawose. A jack-in-the-box of live-wire instrumentation and lush fx, tracks like ‘Nosaga’ pop and fizz with slow-mo grace, redolent of Crammed Discs’ most adventurous ’80s outings, while at the other end of the spectrum ‘Kunyemo’ rattles with high-octane drums and a Four Tet-esque propensity to bring euphoric syncopation to the dance floor. With a cover design that nods to cult Afro-electro record Noir et Blanc, expect this to appeal to those on the weirder fringes of the disco and balearic scenes.


    Joe Armon-Jones & Maxwell Owin

    Idiom

    (YAM Records)

    Listen / Buy

    A light-footed six-track EP from the guts of South East London’s jazzy broken beat movement (beginning with the smooth-as-you-like ‘SE Discoteque’), Idiom is the latest release on Peckham record shop YAM’s in-house imprint. Deftly feathering a deep house sensibility with Nubya Garcia’s buoyant saxophone on stand-out track ‘Tanner’s Tango’, Idiom is a poised, late-night record, for fans of Tenderlonious, Hector Plimmer and the rest of the gang.


    Yasuaki Shimizu

    Music For Commercials

    (Crammed Discs)

    Listen / Buy

    Whilst renowned for his Oscar nominated film scores and interpretations of Bach, it was the reissues of Yasuaki Shimizu’s Kakashi and Mariah’s Utaka No Hibi that sparked a renaissance of his ’80s works. With Crammed Discs having initially released his Music for Commercials as part of the intriguing Made to Measure series in 1987, vinyl lovers have another worthy launch point into Shimizu’s sound-world with this reissue. With these pieces recorded for the likes of Seiko, Sharp and Honda, and at a time when a musical approach could be considered a key element in forming a corporate identity, there’s a suitably wide palette of sounds and ideas on display here. An LP that rewards dipping in at any given point to explore a prodigious musical imagination.


    Shit & Shine

    Some Poeple Really Know How To Live

    (Editions Mego)

    Listen / Buy

    He’s back! Craig Clouse returns for his second long player on the ever wonderful Editions Mego and it’s as exceptional as ever. Here he goes even deeper with his own unique brand of twisted dancefloor breaks, booming bass and the always on point choice of hooks, samples and cuts. From the killer sleeve to the tracks within, this is a hard ten out of ten all the way.


    Iury Lech

    Musica Para El Fin De Los Cantos

    (Cocktail D’Amore)

    Listen / Buy

    Taking a break from their frenzied club capers, Berlin’s Cocktail D’Amore see out the summer with a strong contender for reissue of the year, soothing our worries and smoothing our brows with Iury Lech’s sublime Musica Para El Fin De Los Cantos. Originally released on seminal Spanish imprint Hyades Arts in 1990, this sweltering ambient gem has been out of print and nigh on impossible to track down for far too long. Thankfully this official reissue offers one and all the chance to bathe in its warmth and play with an obi – superb!


    Chad VanGaalen

    Light Information

    (Sub Pop)

    Listen / Buy

    Fragile and frantic guitar scree and pop from the man who recorded all those Women albums we loved. Pretty and intricate noise pop with twisted nether zones.

  • The National announce 10th anniversary Boxer vinyl reissue

    By | July 21, 2017

    Pressed to grey vinyl with new bonus 7″.

    The National will mark the tenth anniversary of their 2007 album Boxer with a new vinyl reissue through subscription service Vinyl Me, Please.

    Arrived on grey vinyl, the new edition also comes with a 12×12 art print by Philip Johnson and a bonus 7″ featuring two tracks (‘Guilty Party’/’The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness’) from the band’s forthcoming new album Sleep Well Beast, set for release on 4AD on 8th September.

    Selected as Vinyl Me, Please’s album of the month, Boxer will only be available to members of the service, who need to sign up before 15th August to secure a copy.

    Remind yourself with the album’s second single ‘Apartment Story’, which you can hear below:

  • A telescopic look at Sufjan Stevens, Bryce Dessner’s celestial collaboration Planetarium

    By | June 2, 2017

    On the astral plane.

    Earlier this year a new collaborative project was announced between Sufjan Stevens, The National’s Bryce Dessner, Nico Muhly and Stevens’ drummer James McAlister. Planetarium, as the name suggests was to draw sonic threads between unfathomable outer realms of the solar system and the equally mysterious inner workings of human consciousness. Or as the press material describes, “the 75 minutes of music that follow provide a complex thesis: to be human is to be a total mess.”

    With a concept that shoots for the stars, it’s not surprising that the vinyl release is equally expansive. To do it justice, eleven artists were commissioned to create eleven astral portraits of nine planets, the sun and the moon, all of which are presented on individual 12″ cards slipped into the album’s gatefold.

    Featuring work by Ragnar Kjartansson – tasked with representing Pluto – it rekindles The National’s ongoing work with the Icelandic artist that has seen them collaborate on ambitious 6-hour performance and box set release Sorrow and as part of Ragnar’s Bel-Air Glamour showcase last year.

    Ahead of the release of Planetarium on 9th June, we got hold of a copy and photographed it from all sides to get a sense of what Sufjan Stevens means when he says: “[Compared to] the unreachable, insurmountable, distant mystery of the universe,” says Sufjan, “all of a sudden it feels so small—it feels so claustrophobic, on planet earth. I see now why we look to the stars.”

    Find out more and pre-order your copy of Planetarium here.

  • The National to release new album Sleep Well Beast on double vinyl

    By | May 11, 2017

    On white or blue wax.

    The National will release their seventh stdio album Sleep Well Beast via 4AD on the 8th September, Pitchfork reports.

    Since the release of 2013’s Trouble Will Find Me, The National have been collaborating with Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson, with whom they released the epic Sorrow box set. Bryce and Aaron Dessner have also since played with Ragnar’s Bel-Air Glamour troupe at the Barbican in London.

    Teased videos featuring clips of new music and the phrase ‘The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness,’ Sleep Well Beast is now available to pre-order on double vinyl from the 4AD online shop, in both white vinyl and an indie’s-only blue vinyl edition. You can also listen to new track ‘The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness’ above.

    Check out the tracklist (including the superbly named ‘Dark Side Of The Gym’) and artwork below, and look out for more news ahead of the release on 8th September.

    Tracklist:

    01. NOBODY ELSE WILL BE THERE
    02. DAY I DIE
    03. WALK IT BACK
    04. THE SYSTEM ONLY DREAMS IN TOTAL DARKNESS
    05. BORN TO BEG
    06. TURTLENECK
    07. EMPIRE LINE
    08. I’LL STILL DESTROY YOU
    09. GUILTY PARTY
    10. CARIN AT THE LIQUOR STORE
    11. DARK SIDE OF THE GYM
    12. SLEEP WELL BEAST

  • Sufjan Stevens, Nico Muhly, The National’s Bryce Dessner detail collaborative album Planetarium

    By | March 27, 2017

    The group have shared their first song, ‘Saturn’.

    Sufjan Stevens, composer Nico Muhly, the National’s Bryce Dessner and drummer James McAlister have released a new song from their forthcoming album Planetarium.

    The group announced that they had finished recording the solar system-inspired record in March.

    As well as sharing their first song from the album, ‘Saturn’, the collective have revealed new details about the project. The album will span 17 tracks and is due out June 9, see below for a tracklist.

    Stevens recently scored the soundtrack for coming-of-age drama Call Me by Your Name. Directed by Luca Guadagnino (A Bigger Splash), the film is based on Andre Aciman’s novel of the same name. It is set for release later this year.

    Carrie & Lowell, Steven’s seventh studio album, was released in 2015.

    Tracklist:

    01. ‘Neptune’
    02. ‘Jupiter’
    03. ‘Halley’s Comet’
    04. ‘Venus’
    05. ‘Uranus’
    06. ‘Mars’
    07. ‘Black Energy’
    08. ‘Sun’
    09. ‘Tides’
    10. ‘Moon’
    11. ‘Pluto’
    12. ‘Kuiper Belt’
    13. ‘Black Hole’
    14. ‘Saturn’
    15. ‘In the Beginning’
    16. ‘Earth’
    17. ‘Mercury’

  • Ragnar Kjartansson and the Bel-Air Glamour Records gang star at the Barbican

    By | July 21, 2016

    Cigars were smoked and champagne was swilled; Iceland’s finest bring the heat for a raucous London showcase.

    “With Bel-Air Glamour Records we want to create an enterprise based on dandruff sprinkled artistic fantasies. Working with unique and outrageous talent, making deals in smoked filled backrooms and on golf courses.” So begins Ragnar Kjartansson’s label manifesto, played out in all its chaotic, charming, virtuoso glory on stage at Barbican theatre in London this week.

    With Ragnar as a confidently maladroit compere, the evening flowed with vaudeville flair, each act helping to create a surreal, humorous, often melancholy atmosphere, whether through opera, poetry, percussion or power ballad renditions of Schumann compositions.

    Joining the self-styled troubadours – who in previous lives represent the best of Iceland’s close-knit music scene, from Sigur Rós to múm – were The National’s Aaron and Bryce Dessner, for a hokey double duet with Kristin Anna and her sister that ushered in a glorious finale with the whole gang in full song.

    With The Visitors soundtrack out now on vinyl and more in the pipeline, check out a gallery of this most shambolically glamorous, life-affirming record label, below.

  • The National’s Grateful Dead tribute compilation to be released as limited 10xLP box set

    By | May 20, 2016

    Anohni, War on Drugs, Courtney Barnett, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Kurt Vile, Tim Hecker and tons more cover Dead for epic release.

    Four years in the making, the National’s enormous Grateful Dead project Day of the Dead is finally out today. You’ll have to wait until September for the vinyl though, which has now been revealed as an extraordinary 10xLP box set.

    Created and curated by brothers Aaron and Bryce Dessner of The National, the 59-track compilation is a wide-ranging tribute to the experimentalism of the Dead. The release features covers by 60 high profile artists from across the board including Wilco, the Flaming Lips, Sonic Youth’s Lee Ranald, Terry Riley, members of Grizzly Bear, and many, many more. Find the impressive tracklist below.

    All proceeds from this six-hour-long epic goes towards Red Hot, the HIV/AIDS not-for-profit.

    Due on September 9 via 4AD, check out photos of the limited edition, coloured vinyl 10xLP box set in the gallery below. Pre-order here.

    Tracklist
    A1. Touch of Grey – The War On Drugs
    A2. Shakedown Street – Unknown Mortal Orchestra
    A3. Loser – Ed Droste, Binki Shapiro & Friends
    A4. Jack-A-Roe – This Is the Kit
    B1. Peggy-O – The National
    B2. Bird Song – Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy & Friends
    B3. Brown-Eyed Women – Hiss Golden Messenger
    B4. Sugaree – Phosphorescent, Jenny Lewis & Friends
    C1. Help on the Way – Béla Fleck
    C2. Franklin’s Tower – Orchestra Baobab
    C3. King Solomon’s Marbles – Vijay Iyer
    D1. Box of Rain – Kurt Vile and the Violators (featuring J Mascis)
    D2. Friend of the Devil – Mumford & Sons
    D3. Wharf Rat – Ira Kaplan & Friends
    E1. Cassidy – Moses Sumney, Jenny Lewis & Friends
    E2. Candyman – Jim James & Friends
    E3. Clementine Jam – Orchestra Baobab
    F1. Playing in the Band – Tunde Adebimpe, Lee Ranaldo & Friends
    F2. Eyes of the World – Tal National
    G1. Terrapin Station (Suite) – Daniel Rossen, Christopher Bear and The National (featuring Josh Kaufman, Conrad Doucette, Sō Percussion and Brooklyn Youth Chorus)
    H1. Ship of Fools – The Tallest Man on Earth & Friends
    H2. Estimated Prophet – The Rileys
    H3. Morning Dew – The National
    I1. Me and My Uncle – The Lone Bellow & Friends
    I2. China Cat Sunflower -> I Know You Rider – Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks
    I3. If I Had the World to Give – Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy
    J1. Dark Star – Cass McCombs, Joe Russo & Friends
    J2. Nightfall of Diamonds – Nightfall of Diamonds
    J3. Dark Star – The Flaming Lips
    K1. Rubin and Cherise – Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy & Friends
    K2. Althea – Winston Marshall, Kodiak Blue and Shura
    K3. Mountains of the Moon – Lee Ranaldo, Lisa Hannigan & Friends
    L1. Stella Blue – Local Natives
    L2. Standing on the Moon – Phosphorescent & Friends
    L3. To Lay Me Down – Perfume Genius, Sharon Van Etten & Friends
    M1. Uncle John’s Band – Lucius
    M2. High Time – Daniel Rossen and Christopher Bear
    M3. Dire Wolf – The Lone Bellow & Friends
    N1. New Speedway Boogie – Courtney Barnett
    N2. Cumberland Blues – Charles Bradley and Menahan Street Band
    N3. Black Peter – Anohni and yMusic
    N4. Easy Wind – Bill Callahan
    O1. Here Comes Sunshine – Real Estate
    O2. Rosemary – Mina Tindle & Friends
    O3. Drums -> Space – Man Forever, So Percussion and Oneida
    O4. Transitive Refraction Axis for John Oswald – Tim Hecker
    P1. What’s Become of the Baby – s t a r g a z e
    P2. Garcia Counterpoint – Bryce Dessner
    Q1. Brokedown Palace – Richard Reed Parry with Caroline Shaw and Little Scream (featuring Garth Hudson)
    Q2. Till the Morning Comes – Luluc with Xylouris White
    Q3. Attics of My Life – Angel Olsen
    R1. Cream Puff War – Fucked Up
    R2. Truckin’ – Marijuana Deathsquads
    S1. Going Down the Road Feelin’ Bad – Lucinda Williams & Friends
    S2. Black Muddy River – Bruce Hornsby and DeYarmond Edison
    S3. Ripple – The Walkmen
    S4. And We Bid You Goodnight – Sam Amidon
    T1. St. Stephen – Wilco and Bob Weir (live)
    T2. I Know You Rider – The National and Bob Weir (live)

  • The National curate Grateful Dead tribute for limited edition vinyl box set

    By | March 17, 2016

    59-track Day of the Dead compilation features 60 artists.

    The National’s Aaron and Bryce Dressner has curated a sprawling tribute to the Grateful Dead across almost six hours of music. Released as a 5xCD set and as a limited edition vinyl box set, all profits will go towards AIDS/HIV charity Red Hot Organisation.

    The 20th compilation in the series, Day of the Dead features a house band of Aaron and Bryce Dressner alongside fellow National bandmates Scott and Bryan Devendorf and vast cast of contributors, that includes The War on Drugs, The Flaming Lips, Angel Olsen, Tim Hecker, Courtney Barnett and Unknown Mortal Orchestra.

    Released on 20th May via 4AD, there’s no pre-order up yet, but you can register here to keep informed. Browse the mammoth tracklist below:

    Touch of Grey • The War on Drugs
    Sugaree • Phosphorescent, Jenny Lewis & Friends
    Candyman • Jim James & Friends
    Cassidy • Moses Sumney, Jenny Lewis & Friends
    Black Muddy River • Bruce Hornsby & De Yarmond Edison
    Loser • Ed Droste, Binki Shapiro & Friends
    Peggy-O • The National
    Box of Rain • Kurt Vile and the Violators (featuring J Mascis)
    Rubin & Cherise • Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy & Friends
    To Lay Me Down • Perfume Genius, Sharon Van Etten & Friends
    New Speedway Boogie • Courtney Barnett
    Friend of the Devil • Mumford and Sons
    Uncle John’s Band • Lucius
    Me and My Uncle • The Lone Bellow & Friends
    Mountains of the Moon • Lee Ranaldo, Lisa Hannigan & Friends
    Black Peter • Anohni and yMusic
    Garcia Counterpoint • Bryce Dessner
    Terrapin Station (Suite) • Daniel Rossen, Christopher Bear & The National (featuring Josh Kaufman, Conrad Doucette, So Percussion & Brooklyn Youth Chorus)
    Attics of My Life • Angel Olsen
    St. Stephen • Wilco with Bob Weir (live)
    If I Had the World to Give • Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy
    Standing on the Moon • Phosphorescent & Friends
    Cumberland Blues • Charles Bradley and Menahan Street Band
    Ship of Fools • The Tallest Man On Earth & Friends
    Bird Song • Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy & Friends
    Morning Dew • The National
    Truckin’ • Marijuana Death Squads
    Dark Star • Cass McCombs, Joe Russo & Friends
    Nightfall of Diamonds • Nightfall of Diamonds
    Transitive Refraction Axis for John Oswald • Tim Hecker
    Going Down The Road Feeling Bad • Lucinda Williams & Friends
    Playing in the Band • Tunde Adebimpe, Lee Ranaldo & Friends
    Stella Blue • Local Natives
    Eyes of the World • Tal National
    Help On The Way • Béla Fleck
    Franklin’s Tower • Orchestra Baobab
    Til the Morning Comes • Luluc with Xylouris White
    Ripple • The Walkmen
    Brokedown Palace • Richard Reed Parry with Caroline Shaw and Little Scream (featuring Garth Hudson)
    Here Comes Sunshine • Real Estate
    Shakedown Street • Unknown Mortal Orchestra
    Brown-Eyed Women • Hiss Golden Messenger
    Jack-A-Roe • This Is The Kit
    High Time • Daniel Rosen and Christopher Bear
    Dire Wolf • The Lone Bellow & Friends
    Althea • Winston Marshall, Kodiak Blue and Shura
    Clementine Jam • Orchestra Baobab
    China Cat Sunflower · I Know You Rider • Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks
    Easy Wind • Bill Callahan
    Wharf Rat • Ira Kaplan & Friends
    Estimated Prophet • The Rileys
    Drums · Space • Man Forever / So Percussion / Onieda
    Cream Puff War • Fucked Up
    Dark Star • The Flaming Lips
    What’s Become of the Baby • s t a r g a z e
    King Solomon’s Marbles • Vijay Iyer
    Rosemary • Mina Tindle & Friends
    And We Bid You Goodnight • Sam Amidon
    I Know You Rider • The National with Bob Weir (live)

  • The 10 most collectable records of 2015

    By | November 30, 2015

    We begin our end of year review with a look at the 10 most collectable records of 2015.

    Over the next two weeks we’ll be looking back at the year in vinyl, from the best artwork to the most important reissues, the strongest 7″s to the most complete LPs. As we did last year, we’re starting things off with something a little less clean-cut. Here, more than in any other list, it’s important to set out our terms.

    There are many factors which make a record collectable, and many reasons why those factors will mean more or less to every individual (just take a look at our number one…) The first thing to say is that rather than rank these releases as a definitive list, we’re taking each as an opportunity to discuss a different aspect of what we deem to be collectable, and by extension, valuable.

    The most ostentatious mark of value is, of course, monetary. Given that we’re dealing with this year’s new releases and reissues, the time period in which a record can accrue value is relatively short, so any increase should be treated accordingly. While some records will look to artificially create value through limited runs or extravagant packaging, others will simply go up in value through a combination of quality and demand. The most desirable Record Store Day releases are a good example of the former, Arca’s self-released 12″ which topped last year’s list, a good example of the latter. In every case, an inflated re-sale price tag can only tell you so much.

    Collectability can also be defined in terms of the desirability of an individual object for a specific fan base; a record that acts as a trophy or fills some unassailable void (like Ringo’s No. 0000001 copy of the White Album). By the same token, rather than looking at records as totems, collectability can also be seen in terms of series, where a completed set represents more than the sum of its parts.

    Being confined to the last twelve months, we’ve also taken into account some more timely trends (perhaps most strikingly where vinyl is concerned with video game soundtracks), nodding to the movements which have seen a revival of interest among DJs, and elevating the artists who have helped define them. There is really no point discussing collectable records in a vacuum.

    One final word before we start. The records we’ve picked below are subjectively collectable, a list of ten releases we believe to retain some intrinsic value. In doing this, we have sought to keep these choices as accessible as possible, opting (for the most-part) against high-end box sets in favour of ten records with ten unique stories to tell.


    Catch up on all our end of year lists:

    The 50 best vinyl LPs of 2015
    The 30 best vinyl reissues of 2015
    The 20 best 12″s of 2015
    The 20 best 7″s of 2015
    The 20 best record sleeves of 2015
    The Year in vinyl tech
    The 10 best vinyl soundtracks of 2015


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    10. Ragnar Kjartansson / The National

    A Lot Of Sorrow

    (4AD)

    If a pragmatist gauges collectability by monetary value – both on release and secondary markets – then, pragmatically speaking, A Lot Of Sorrow isn’t especially collectable. Retailed at £120, it’s not worth an awful lot more six months on, especially in relative terms. But concept can be as alluring as capitalism, and it’s on qualitative grounds that A Lot Of Sorrow scores points.

    The recording captures the collaboration between Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson and The National, who teamed up in 2013 to play the track ‘Sorrow’ repeatedly and continuously for six hours at MoMA. The marathon concert interrogated the potential for repetition to produce “sculptural presence within sound”.

    The release echoes that concept on vinyl – with ‘Sorrow’ pressed down 99 times, across nine, clear, identically packaged LPs; all housed within a functional acrylic box. Like Trevor Jackson’s FORMAT, A Lot Of Sorrow follows the archival turn in contemporary art but through near-laughable obsessiveness it pushes object fetishisation one step further.


    FrameShot4 copy

    9. Christian Marclay / Various Artists

    Live at White Cube

    (The Vinyl Factory / White Cube)

    Thereʼs nothing more collectable than a series, particularly when every sleeve has been hand-screen printed to designs by Christian Marclay. Released in conjunction with the artistʼs solo show at White Cube earlier this year, the series features performances from the worldʼs leading experimental musicians cut direct to disc in the gallery and pressed in editions of 300. Our mobile pressing plant, The VF Press was on hand to produce the records, which are among the first to have ever been pressed live in a gallery.

    Collectable in so far as youʼll need all fifteen to complete the series, here are records you could witness being performed and pressed for free before purchase. OK, we’re a little biased but weʼve included this series to highlight that collectable need not mean prohibitive expense nor outlandish novelty.

    Documents of a process of experimentation and improvisation, a number of specific releases also stand out, notably Thurston Mooreʼs collaboration with Christian Marclay, which rekindles a creative partnership first forged in the spaces of downtown NYCʼs no wave scene in the early ʻ80s and has sold for £70 since.

    And far from an anachronistic practice, the setʼs emphasis on contemporary music also sees Mica Leviʼs return to composition after her score to Jonathan Glazerʼs Under The Skin won a BAFTA at the start of the year, and Ryoji Ikeda collaborate with Marclay on the final 12” of the series. The VF Press was also in operation at Barbican for Doug Aitken’s Station To Station where Savages, Nozinja and Giogrio Moroder were produced in a similar fashion.


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    8. Rupture

    Israel Suite / Dominate En Bel

    (Digger’s Digest, French Attack)

    This year’s lavish reissue of holy grail vocal jazz fusion album Israel Suite / Dominate En Bel is an instant collector’s item. Recorded in France in ’73, but never commercially released, the original has held a mythical position for over four decades. No one knows how many copies were originally made, but you can bet your needles it’s less than 100 – which goes some way to explain why a first pressing has never traded on Discogs and why dealers push four digits for it.

    The reissue, a joint production from Digger’s Digest and French Attack, brought this rare groove masterpiece back within reach, but with just 500 released, it sold in a flash. With demand still far outweighing supplying, and no sign of a repress, this one’s a wise investment.

    Other reissue collectables this year include Mariah’s absurdly cult album Utakata No Hibi, and ‘Disco Shitan’, a super rare Italian cosmic disco banger from the ‘70s. We also reckon Athens Of The North’s 100 copy reissue of soul burner ‘Thousand Years/Party Time’ has the makings of a rarity, just like the revered father pressing.


    shit and shine2

    7. Shit & Shine

    Chakinʼ

    (Rock Is Hell Records)

    Craig Clouse rarely does things by the book. Following Shit & Shineʼs stellar showing in 2014’s top 100 records list, this yearʼs contribution comes in the form of five differently coloured, hand-printed editions of Chakinʼ, which originally appearedon just 250 cassette tapes. As collectable as those are is, weʼre here to talk about the vinyl, and why Chakinʼ is a perfect example of how hand-crafted anomalies can be both collactable in themselves and relative to the market.

    Not shackled by round numbers, there are 407 copies of Chakinʼ out there, each with variously different sleeve patterns. Hereʼs the breakdown: Green background print, limited to 149 copies. Green/Grey background print, limited to 3 copies. Green/Yellow background print, limited to 8 copies. Grey background print, limited to 99 copies. Yellow background print, limited to 148 copies.

    While ‘Green/grey’ is obviously the combination to covet, the concept is charmingly shambolic, somewhat random and wonderfully egalitarian. While weʼre not suggesting Shit & Shine super-fans are going to go out and complete the set, this kind of variation lends an intrinsic value to each individual object. Needless to say, the record is also heisse scheisse, and the kind of thing that should sky-rocket when S&S finally get the credit they deserve.


    Chimurenga-800x800

    6. Chiwoniso

    Zvichapera

    (Nyami Nyami)

    French label Nyami Nyami debuted earlier this year with the final recording of late Zimbabwean singer and mbira player Chiwoniso Maraire who sadly died aged 38, at the peak of her career. Weeks before she passed, Chiwoniso stopped by a studio in Harare where she and fellow musician Jacob Mafuleni, captured an enchanting, stripped-down take of ‘Zvichapera’ – a song popularised by Thomas Mapfumo.

    “It was one of the most emotionally intense sessions I’ve ever experienced,” writes Nyami Nyami label head Antoine Rajon in the record’s liner notes.

    The swan song, remix from her brother Tendai Marare (one half of Shabazz Palaces) and silk screened artwork all make for a fitting and beautiful testament to the artist. Totting up those elements and a limited run of 350, we’re taking a punt that Zvichapera will mature into a sought-after item.


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    5. David Wise

    Battletoads (‘Dark Queen’ edition)

    (Iam8bit)

    Digital composers of the ‘90s introduced teens to trippy and daring electronic music while they mindlessly bashed buttons on the NES and Sega Megadrive. It might have been background noise then, but it’s a digging treasure trove in 2015.

    Right up there is David Wise’s glitchy soundtrack – featuring the best pause screen music ever – for the impossibly difficult 8-bit beat’em up Battletoads. Iam8bit pressed up the soundtrack in a limited batch of 300 and sold it exclusively at the San Diego Comic Con back in July. That ‘Dark Queen’ gatefold variant – which plays music when you open it (like a massive birthday card) – now attracts three digits on second hand markets. It’s since been repressed without frills in a generous run of 3000.

    Other gaming collectables this year include Yozo Koshiro’s incredible Streets Of Rage score on Data Discs, Minecraft on Ghostly, Mondo’s reissue of the The Last Of Us, and Super Mario by Koji Kondo on 7”.


    tame impala_currents ltd

    4. Tame Impala

    Currents (Limited / numbered edition + prints)

    (Fiction Records, Interscope records)

    One of the yearʼs heavyweight releases and a collectable record in the traditional sense of the word. While loads of releases will throw in a limited edition run with a print or some kind of extra, these only occasionally become truly collectable. Hereʼs how Currents hit that sweet spot. This edition of was sold exclusively online through Get Music in Australia; it features five individually numbered lenticular prints of the album cover and the singles that preceded it; the appetite and size of the bandʼs following (over a million on Facebook alone) dwarfs its five hundred-copy run.
    
    While all these factors create fertile conditions for collectability, thereʼs one simple fact which has elevated Currents in this instance and pushed its value up ten-fold to between £200 and £300 on the re-sale market, and itʼs perhaps the simplest and most over-looked of all. Currents is a damn good record with emphatic artwork that delivers for Tame Impala fans on every level, and this run is the ultimate trophy edition. No wonder 500 was never going to be enough.


    Len Leise edits

    3. Len Leise

    Edits 001

    (Len Leise Edits)

    One place where value and rarity tends to stay constant is on the international balearic underground. Not so much a genre as a state of mind (once defined simply as anything that came out of Daniele Baldelliʼs record bag a little slower than intended), this brand of cosmic, afro-infused downtempo dance music has played a major role in 2015, both in the glut of reissues weʼve seen from labels like Music For Memory and Emotional Response but also in new music pushed by the likes of Stump Valley and, of course Len Leise.

    A relative enigma, here is an example of a year making a man. Culminating in his first LP Lingua Franca released on International Feel and a stunning afro-dance mix for us, 2015 began with the quiet release of Edits 001 in a run of 150 hand-numbered copies. Doing the rounds in no time, these two tracks sent the price of this 12” spiralling – a modern balearic rarity for a scene of seasoned collectors and DJs experienced enough to have a accrued a fair bit of disposable income.

    Such is the appetite for new music in the scene, and such is the international flavour of its cognoscenti – from Growing Bin in Hamburg to Music From Memory in Amsterdam and Claremont 56 in London – this 12” is a great example of the workings of a global online community in action. There may be a repress in the wind, but for a self-released 12” from an unknown artist to push £70 (itʼs never sold for less than £40) on Discogs is quite something. And if Lingua Franca charts well this winter, you know where those figures are heading.


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    2. PM

    Sweet Thrash

    (Paul McCartney Self-Released)

    The tide somewhat turned on Record Store Day this year, with labels, consumers, even record shops, knocking the annual festival. There’s a feeling (amongst some) that majors have co-opted the event: clogging pressing plants with pointless and novelty reissues – that are then turned out on eBay for dizzying profit.

    In the thick of it is this ‘secret’, self-released Paul McCartney record, with two previously unreleased mixes of ‘Hope For The Future’. Pressed as hand scrawled white labels only, selected shops in the UK and US received a single copy and were instructed to quietly file it away. No prior advertising, nor was it listed with the rest of the RSD releases; presumably the idea was that genuine fans riffling Beatles’ racks would find the record, rather than grasping market flippers.

    But with only 100 copies pressed down, it’s become risibly sought-after and inevitably invited three figure sums on Discogs and eBay alike. One fan even splashed £865 on it. Perhaps the insert card with details of how to download a ‘3D printable Paul’ figurine was one temptation too far. Easily one of most valuable records of the year (in price gain at least), completist McCartney fans can visit Discogs to fight over a copy. That’ll be $1,500 please.


    lee scratch perry - i am paint

    1. Residence La Revolution (Richard Russell & Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry)

    I Am Paint

    (RLR)

    Buying records can be an awfully passive affair. The simplicity with which you can access records online is both liberating and a little worrying. The period of contemplation between desiring a record and buying it is often brief, card details typed in and confirmation sent before youʼve had a chance to ask yourself whether you really wanted it. Sometimes, the answer would have been no, had there been any more resistance along the way.

    Thereʼs a little more activity involved in getting hold of rare records, particularly new releases (although Warp last year put pay to that by entering collectors into a ballot for new limited edition of Syro). None however, have required such active participation as Richard Russell and Lee ‘Scratch’ Perryʼs I Am Paint, where prospective ʻbuyersʼ were tasked with creating something of equatable value to be bartered for a copy of the record.

    Beyond the fact that the record itself was limited to two hundred and fifty uniquely (and literally) hand and foot-painted sleeves by Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, the project has spawned a series of unique artworks that are more or less collectable in their own right.

    Profiled on Richard Russellʼs tumblr, some of the most creative barters include a 3D printed teapot, a painted brick proclaiming itself as ‘I Am Stone’ and our personal favourite from Lee Waller, who first sent a letter suggesting he trade his own birthday for a copy, only to have his attempt denied for not having ʻmadeʼ his own birthday. Resubmitting both his letter and XLʼs response as a single image seems to have done the trick.

    An original, generous and endearing project that turns the concept of value, monetary or otherwise, on its head, itʼs been impossible to look beyond ʻI Am Paintʼ for this list. Thankfully, there isnʼt a single one up for re-sale on Discogs, making it not only the most collectable record of the year, but one with which those who own it may never want to part.


    Illustration by Hector Plimmer

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