Direct 2 Disc Beck and others

Infrasonic Sound Goes Direct-to-Disc with Beck
Jul 23, 2007 – 10:51:48 AM

Los Angeles, CA (July 23, 2007)–Infrasonic Sound Recording Company has completed a series of direct-to-disc sessions for a new wave of high-profile artists on its vintage Neumann lathe that has cut music by Elvis Presley, David Bowie And Lou Reed, among other legendary artists. Under the instruction of Richard Simpson, Infrasonic engineer Pete Lyman inherited not only Simpson's knowledge of the recording process, but the Neumann lathe. Most recently, Lyman completed a direct-to-disc session with Beck, capturing a series of singles.

In the Infrasonic studios for one week, musicians Jason Falkner (past collaborations include Air, Jon Brion, The Nines), Roger Manning, Jamie Lidell, Mocky (both of whom have worked with Gonzales, Feist) and bassist Justin Mendall-Johnson all joined Beck on the session.

Omar Rodriguez-Lopez of the Mars Volta also has plans to join Lyman in the studio for a direct-to-disc session later on this year.

Eliminating the use of a multitrack recording device, direct-to-disc recording captures a live performance directly to vinyl lacquer. The performers must play without stopping, timing their session to the length of one-side of their LP. Unlike multitrack sessions, where the musicians may play in isolation, the recording is done in a live room, with all musicians on the album playing together. Simultaneously, an engineer in the control room mixes the performance and sends a feed to the vinyl lathe located in Infrasonic's adjacent mastering suite, where a mastering engineer cuts the program to a master vinyl lacquer.

The uncertainty of vinyl's future in the music industry became a major concern with the advent of CDs in the early 80's. As a result, the number of cutting engineers began to diminish. Pair that with a major lack of cutting systems and spare parts, and direct-to-disc recording became an incredibly unique medium. Infrasonic Sound Recording Co. remains one of the few studios left in the world that continues to execute the technique.

Infrasonic Sound Recording Co. is a 2" 16/24 track classic recording studio: CD and vinyl-mastering suite. Operating from a custom-built facility in Los Angeles, CA, Infrasonic is outfitted with the best in traditional recording and progressive digital audio technology. The location also serves as headquarters for Infrasonic Sound Records, as well as the west coast showroom for Vintage King Audio, the largest dealer of "vintage" and high-end recording equipment in the world.

For more information, visit

Old post office is vinyl frontier

Old post office is vinyl frontier
Kevin Cheesman in his shop
Kevin Cheesman in his shop

Fans of vinyl records could soon be making tracks into the heart of rural west Oxfordshire.

In one of the more unlikely new enterprises for an old village post office, newspaperman Kevin Cheeseman has just reopened the shop at The Ridings, in Leafield, to sell second-hand discs.

Where once villagers used to come for their stamps, there are now racks with hundreds of records, from jazz and soul to Hawkwind and the Sex Pistols.

Several curious residents have already popped in to the revived shop, called Footprints Vinyl, but Mr Cheesman is confident there will soon be enthusiasts and collectors coming from far and wide.

"I've always been passion- ate about vinyl. I got my first record when I was 14 and have been collecting ever since," he said.

"There are loads of people out there who have the same interest – vinyl is massive now, so I thought now I'm nearing 50 I'd give it a go."

Mr Cheeseman has taken a two-year lease on the shop and is opening on Saturdays only for the time being, earning his wages during the week as a circulation and sales rep for Express Newspapers.

He remembers the first vinyl he bought, Son Of My Father by Chicory Tip, in the early 1970s, but his all-time favourites are anything by Led Zeppelin and Bob Dylan.

Tapes and CDs pushed vinyl out of production, but in recent years it has made a comeback with DJ mixing decks and specialist albums.

"The nearest outlets for vinyl are in Oxford and Cheltenham, over 20 miles away from here. Collectors will travel any length to see a collection, so being out in the sticks is not a problem," he said.

"The shop was there, not being used, so it's good that something's being made of it," added Mr Cheeseman, who lives with his wife in Milton-under-Wychwood.

Some discs are not for sale, though, as he keeps private the records he wants to hold on to for old time's sake.

For more information, call Mr Cheeseman on 07799 855689.

9:05pm Monday 13th August 2007

Fearne Cotton  


Fearne Cotton: I'd have gone for Prince William if I was single

By JON WILDE – More by this author » Last updated at 20:08pm on 11th August 2007

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Ferne Cotton's career has become increasingly diverse, including her own show on Radio 1 and presenting TV programmes like Love Island and The Xtra Factor.

Most recently, she was chosen to interview Princes William and Harry ahead of the Concert For Diana, leading to reports that the former took a firm fancy to her.

If true, Prince William wouldn't be the first interviewee to be smitten by Fearne's charms.

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Ferne pictured recently with Prince's William and Harry

R&B star Usher declared her to be "completely gorgeous", and Robbie Williams proposed marriage live on camera.

"There was no way that I'd marry Robbie," she says.

"Apart from anything else, I could never be part of that celebrity world.

"As for Prince William's rumoured interest in me… if I was single, I might be interested.

"In person, I found him very suave and sophisticated, a proper gent in all ways. But even if romance had bloomed between us, I can't imagine that the Palace would have encouraged it. I'm far too common.

"Having said that, I think I'd make a really good Queen. I wear a tiara well. I could change the National Anthem to Led Zep's Good Times Bad Times.

"And I'd issue a decree that every home in Britain must have a record-player and a decent collection of vinyl."

Yes it seems you can keep your CDs and your digital downloads. According to Fearne, there's only one way to listen to music: on vinyl.

"Ah, nothing beats the smell of fresh vinyl in the morning," declares Fearne Cotton.

Cheekily misquoting Robert Duvall in Apocalypse Now, she arrives at the west London photographic studio to find herself knee-deep in the objects of her passion – vinyl and plenty of it.


Twelve-inchers, seven-inchers, black vinyl, every-colour-under-the-sun vinyl. Fearne beams, her smile lighting up the studio like a strobe light. Vinyl makes her happy. Vinyl makes her giddy. Vinyl is Fearne's religion.

Music has been a constant theme in her ten-year career as TV presenter and DJ.

Whether interviewing bands on the early-morning Disney Club at the age of 16, introducing her favourite acts in the last years of Top Of The Pops or meeting and greeting the world's biggest names at July's Concert For Diana, Fearne, 26, has always reserved her greatest enthusiasm for music.

And when it comes to listening to her favourite bands, she is one of a staunch breed of fans for whom vinyl is sacred – a fast-growing breed it would seem, with recent reports suggesting a huge revival in the fortunes of vinyl records.

With bands such as Arctic Monkeys, Razorlight and The White Stripes leading the way, sales of vinyl singles leapt 13 per cent in the first half of 2007 and now account for two-thirds of the market.

If you want to get a rise out of Fearne, simply play devil's advocate, ignore the statistical evidence of vinyl's booming rebirth, and playfully suggest that vinyl records are a quaint anachronism, almost entirely redundant in these digital days. Then stand well back and watch her blow a fuse.

"That's a monstrous thing to say – vinyl is king," she says. "It's still unbeatable as a musical format.

"CDs are functional but essentially unloveable and there's no magic involved in downloading a song. But playing vinyl is a beautiful ritual.

"What can compare to the feeling of carefully removing a treasured record from its sleeve, placing it on the deck and hearing that reassuring crackle as the needle hits the groove?

"People say, “Yes, but records get scratched.” I love the scratches. Some of my favourite records have scratches and those scratches become part of the listening experience.

"I'm not completely opposed to the iPod – I've got one and it's handy for the car.

"If I could play vinyl when I'm driving, I would. But flipping the records over would be a bit difficult when I'm tearing down the M1.

"Last month, I went camping with friends in Cornwall. On the second day, I was craving my fix of vinyl.

"So we went to a car-boot sale and picked up a load of bargains – original Elvis, Johnny Cash and Dolly Parton albums for 50p each.

"Then I managed to find a portable, battery-powered record player going cheap in a second-hand store.

"We were all set up for the week. Endless barbecues and music being played as it should be played. Idyllic."

Fearne's vinyl fixation goes back as far as she can remember.

Growing up in the London suburb of Eastcote with younger brother Jamie, music was always around her.

Father Mick worked as a signwriter for large music events such as Live Aid and yielded to no one in his love for classic rock bands like Led Zeppelin, the Who and the Doors.

Her mother Lyn worked in alternative therapy and had a penchant for Phil Spector's Wall Of Sound productions, Stax and Motown.

"I was about four when I first started to get into records," she says.

"My dad would put on Led Zeppelin IV and play Stairway To Heaven over and over. "I was fascinated by this gorgeous sound coming off a piece of plastic. But it wasn't until I was seven or eight that my parents trusted me with their record player.

"After that, there was no stopping me. Whole weekends would be spent going through their collection, discovering all kinds of amazing stuff.

"When I was nine and getting pocket money I could afford my own records. I remember heading down the shops with 50p in my pocket wondering which record would take my fancy.

"I happened to find a copy of the Beatles' Strawberry Fields Forever in a secondhand shop. It was scratched to bits but I loved it beyond words."

Fearne was 19 and already established as a children's TV presenter when the time came to leave home.

This was particularly heart-wrenching for her as it meant that she would be separated from her parents' vast vinyl collection.

"I begged them to let me take it with me, but no luck.

"They were afraid I'd throw wild parties and spill beer all over their most treasured records.

"They only started to relent when I got myself properly sorted in a nice, orderly flat and fixed myself up with a state-of-the-art hi-fi.

"Then I was allowed to borrow their collection in small instalments, solemnly promising to take care of it.

"Over the years, I've managed to borrow quite a large chunk and I've got hundreds of my own records.

"Just recently, I also managed to persuade my mum to hand over her entire collection of original Motown singles.

"I think that calls for a special vinyl party at my place."

In 2004, after badgering the BBC for three years, she achieved her childhood dream, becoming Top Of The Pops' regular presenter until the plug was pulled on the show in 2006.

For Fearne, the show's demise was as poignantly symbolic as the fading popularity of vinyl records.

"Growing up, there were certain things that for me encapsulated the romance of pop music," she says.

"If you loved it, you'd read about your favourite bands in Smash Hits or NME, saved your money to buy their records, and wait all week to see them on TOTP.

"I experienced so many great moments on that show, such as when U2 played a 30-minute set in the BBC car park.

"People were hanging out of windows to get a good view.

"Traffic came to a standstill. I had to pinch myself to remind myself I was actually a part of it.

"I was so gutted when the BBC decided to end the show. I'd have happily done it for nothing until the day I died."

Traditionally, it's the male half of a relationship that seizes control of the record collection, taking responsibility for what's played and ensuring that every disc is put back in its rightful alphabetical place.

But not in Fearne's house. In a neat reversal of conventional roles, it's her model boyfriend Jesse Jenkins who gets to do all the cooking, while Fearne is left to play the in-house DJ.

Unsurprisingly, the arrangement suits her just fine. In fact, right now, everything in her life suits her fine.

"I'm quite looking forward to getting old," she says.

"Living on a hill with my man and my cats, listening to my old vinyl. Then, when I finally pop my clogs, I can leave my massive record collection to my grandchildren.

"What are all the downloaders going to do? Bequeath their hard drives? It's just not the same is it? No wonder people are coming back to vinyl in their droves. You'd be mad not to." "Holly & Fearne Go Dating" is on ITV1 next month. Fearne presents "The Xtra Factor" this Saturday on ITV2

Vinyl records rebound


Vinyl records rebound

Vinyl record shop endures


Vinyl record shop endures

ESCONDIDO —- After enduring the ups and downs of eight-track tapes, cassettes, compact discs and I-pods, one record store in Escondido is holding on and hoping that reports of a vinyl comeback don't fade away.

Want to find an import-only copy of Jimi Hendrix's 1968 "Electric Ladyland" album, on display with Post-Its concealing the bodies of the ladies on the cover?

Or perhaps sample the "unrepresentative" music that Canadian rocker Neil Young's record company sued him for making in the early 1980s?

Gary's Record Paradise Vol. II offers classic rock, preferably on black plastic records made of polyvinyl chloride.

"I don't know if time has caught up with us," said owner and manager Eustaquio Kirby, a day before the store's 30th birthday this weekend. "Some people say vinyl is coming back."

To illustrate his point, he picked up a new LP version of "Endless Wire," released last year by The Who.

Aficionados say that vinyl offers a warm sound that digital CDs remove, but walking into Gary's shows that part of the appeal of the vinyl record comes from provocative or cheesy album covers. Records with well-preserved cover art sell at Gary's for several times what they did in the 1970s.

Early phonograph records were made of shellac and vinyl records came into wide use after World War II, only to fall out of favor after the introduction of CDs in the mid-1980s.

Although the British recording industry reported a jump in vinyl sales in the first half of this year, records make up a tiny fraction of U.S. music sales tracked by Nielsen Soundscan, the company that provides weekly sales figures to Billboard magazine. In 2006, 858,000 LPs were sold, compared with more than 550 million CDs.

Nielsen Soundscan says vinyl sales in 2006 increased slightly compared with 2005, but the trend for the last several years has been down.

Kirby specializes in locating hard-to-find albums. He and a co-worker visit garage sales and swap meets a couple days per week to find hidden jewels for his customers, he said.

"We offer CDs, but what if you're looking for something like Humble Pie or Grand Funk Railroad?" he asked.

He has a separate job as a physical therapist and keeps a treatment table in the back of the store.

Financially, the store "runs just even," he said.

Kirby said he doesn't view chain stores as his main competition. Rather, it comes from other North County shops that specialize in vinyl records, such as Lou's Records in Encinitas and Spin Records in Carlsbad.

"From my point of view, vinyl never really went away," said Lou Russell, owner of Lou's. "What we're seeing now is that major labels are paying more attention. A lot of young people are looking for classic rock on the original vinyl."

Gary's is named for Gary Goldstein, who founded the business in 1977 at 113 S. Broadway, next to what is now a vacuum cleaner store.

Goldstein said he previously worked at a Los Angeles record store called Platterpuss. He felt he had enough savvy to open his own store in the San Diego area, away from the competition of Los Angeles. He benefited from Elvis Presley's death because he had a trove of Elvis records, he said.

Goldstein moved the business in 1997 to 336 E. Grand Avenue, near Taste of Florence restaurant, and then to West Mission Ave in 2001. He sold the store in 2003 to become a math and literature teacher at Escondido Charter Elementary School, but still visits a couple times per month.

Goldstein said Kirby, who has worked at the store since 1986 and bought it in 2004, has shifted the focus of the store from compact discs toward vintage vinyl in an effort to stay viable.

"The challenge is even harder now," he said.

Goldstein said he experienced one of the "greatest honors" in his tenure when Alfred Lion, founder of jazz label Blue Note Records, visited the store. Lion, who died in 1987, lived in Rancho Bernardo near the end of his life.

Gary's has scheduled an acoustic guitar birthday concert in the store's parking lot on the afternoon of Aug. 18.

— Contact staff writer Quinn Eastman at (760) 740-5412 or Comment at

Gary's Record Paradise Vol. II

440 W. Felicita Ave., Escondido

Classic rock records on vinyl

Open 1 to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday

(760) 741-8778


Vinyl is part of the groove of life for collectors

Vinyl is part of the groove of life for collectors

Sunday, August 12, 2007

As Rock Cesario lifted the needle and affectionately placed it down on “The Soul of Ike and Tina Turner,” the record popped like bacon sizzling in a frying pan.

The black shiny vinyl circled round and round on the turntable, projecting a huskier Tina Turner voice unlike what is heard in her later, more famous work.

What’s love got to do with it?

A whole lot when you are a record collector.

If you are not in it to sell, then you’re in it for the hunt and love of the music and the memories, said local record collectors.

“Life’s composed of two things,” said Tim Sheen, 61, a local artist and record collector. “Events and memories. And make sure your memories are good.”

He said he bought his first record in 1965 when he was serving in the U.S. Army, and he is still adding to his collection.

The last week of July, he came into Cesario’s store, Triple Play Records, on a mission.

“How much would you sell a Peter, Paul and Mary album (for) that’s never been opened?” Sheen asked Cesario.

Sheen pulled “The Best of Peter, Paul and Mary: Ten Years Together” out of his JanSport backpack. Hot Wheels cars and a few other records spilled out of his backpack onto the counter.

Sheen showed the record off in all its shrinkwrapped-never-been-opened glory. He said he bought it for 10 cents at an antique store.

Cesario priced it at $24.

Sheen leaned on the store counter near the incense matches and buttons and rubbed a smooth black stone with his left hand. A peace sign was tattooed on the top of his right hand.

“The only musical instruments I play are the jukebox and the stereo,” Sheen said.

Sheen repeatedly said collecting records is about the treasure hunt, the fun of it. Playing records is like recalling memories.

“I remember the person I was with when I first played” a record, he said.

A collector is “looking for the music that maybe you fell in love with someone to,” Sheen said.


Music enthusiasts, casual browsers and disc golfers often meander into Cesario’s store to retreat from the heat of the day.

A couple came in looking for a specific song that could have been on any number of CDs.

A man walked in with his teenage daughter and told Cesario that “the first time I showed my kids a record, they thought it was a big CD.”

Another man was looking for 45s and possibly another working record player. His was about worn out.

On Aug. 4, Cesario said, the store sold roughly $300 worth of vinyl, about 50 records.

Not too bad for a town “growing” in its appreciation of vintage vinyl, Cesario said.

“Anything that was cream of the crop when it came out pretty much sells,” he said, flipping through some Iron Maiden and Motley Crue records someone had just brought in.

When asked about record collectors in the area, Cesario suggested a man named Jason Ross.

Ross lives in Telluride. He is 37, married, a plumber, DJ and volunteer at KOTO community radio. He has 1,300 records in his collection and he drives to Grand Junction “every couple of months” to buy from Triple Play.

“I think of vinyl as maybe books in a library,” Ross said. “You can look them up and do research.”

His “research” is spending, at times, all day searching through bins at record stores, thrift shops and garage sales for records.

In the evening after he gets off work, he listens to records playing on either his antique four-speed record player or his Technics player.

“You can listen to the whole record, and while you’re listening you can look at the sleeve … study the artwork, read the liner notes,” he said.

All of his records are kept in his living room in specially made wooden crates. He said his collection is “salt and peppered” together and organized by genre.

“I think records are supposed to be practical,” he said. “I think you’re supposed to wear a groove in them.”

And wear a groove he does, when he plays records for his young son, who prefers George Clinton records.

“It’s fun to dance to, I get the smiles and big eyes,” Ross said, describing his son’s reaction to the music.

Records remind Ross of his friends. “It all goes back to friends,” he said.

When he walks into a record store he always scopes for anything by Buck Owens. “Exile on Main St.” by the Rolling Stones would be an ultimate find, he said.

The Beach Boys’ “Today!” was the last record Ross bought. It’s out of print in CD, he said.

“I think it’s definitely compulsive to some point,” he said of record collecting. “I think it’s a music addiction.”

Ross’ KOTO radio show “Nature Boy” is broadcast in Telluride and over the Internet every other Saturday.



At the offices of KAFM 88.1 community radio in Grand Junction, Peyton Montgomery-Scott’s desk sits two steps higher than the other desks.

As the station’s operations manager and the only woman on the full-time staff, 27-year-old Montgomery-Scott fills the mother hen role by default.

Montgomery-Scott could think of only one other woman in town who collects records.

To collect, you have to have the patience to search and the willingness to spend your money on it, she said.

Last week, she stood near KAFM’s vinyl collection, which looks massive at four shelves high lining the length of the room, about 25 feet. Some shelves were labeled “help me file these,” others “donated music.”

Montgomery-Scott said the size of her collection isn’t as daunting. It’s about 250 records. She’s selective about what she keeps.

As a child she listened to “Banana Boat Song,” a calypso song from the ’50s, over and over again on a record at her grandparents’ house. The same song is on the “Beetlejuice” movie soundtrack.

“I collect vinyl because I use it. I believe in reusing things,” said Montgomery-Scott, who wore a skirt she bought at a thrift store in Washington and a black Ramones T-shirt.

Her record collection at home is organized and alphabetized by genre, rather like her neat and labeled desk at KAFM.

Most, if not all, of her vinyl was bought used or was “gifted” to her such as her copy of Pink Floyd’s “The Dark Side of the Moon.”

She got the record from a former boss as a goodbye gift when she left a bartending job.

Fortunately, the boss didn’t realize that tucked inside the record’s sleeve were two rare Pink Floyd posters and pyramids stickers.

One of the posters she hung up. The other and the sticker she still keeps in the cardboard record sleeve. She pulled them out to show them off.

“Smells like cardboard and plastic and age,” she said. “Reminds me of old books.”

Another of her most cherished records is “The Joy of Belly Dancing: With the King of Belly Dance Music George Abdo and His ‘Flames of Araby’ Orchestra.”

She found it at a thrift store, and inside the cover were pages of how-to instructions handwritten in purple ink. It also had written patterns for a dancing outfit, including how to make a girdle, Turkish pants and a veil.

She burned the record onto a CD so she could listen to it at her KAFM desk.

A voice on the CD sings along with the sound of finger cymbals, and Montgomery-Scott shifted in her chair to act out using finger cymbals by snapping her fingers together in the air.

Oh, the things loves makes you do.

Samantha Stiles can be reached via e-mail at

Vinyl’s comeback more than spin


Vinyl's comeback more than spin


  • Beatles-era technology makes for a cool sound … Andy Cuddihy of Vinyl Factory Australia.

Beatles-era technology makes for a cool sound … Andy Cuddihy of Vinyl Factory Australia.
Photo: Steven Siewert

Conrad Walters
July 23, 2007

LONG, long ago, when dinosaurs roamed the vast plains of the local music store, vinyl ruled. But far from facing extinction amid discounted CDs and online downloads, vinyl is reclaiming ground in the digital era.

Last week, Vinyl Factory Australia, the country's only vinyl record manufacturer capable of automated pressings, produced 600 copies of Powderfinger's latest album, Dream Days at the Hotel Existence.

The records were stamped on a Beatles-era EMI 1400 machine and are among an estimated 500,000 records expected to emerge from the company's Marrickville factory this year.

"We've got the capacity to make 1.5 million records a year," said Andy Cuddihy, managing director of the prospering business. "This month is already double what last month was."

In partnership with two sister plants in Britain, the company expects to produce 13 million records this year, although Mr Cuddihy said European plants could pump out millions of CDs a day.

"Vinyl's not very big in the overall scheme of things, but it's definitely growing," he said. "HMV stores and Virgin Megastores [in Britain] are ripping out CD racks and putting in vinyl racks – huge amounts of it."

Although Mr Cuddihy jokes that he may be a "flat Earther", vinyl records have advanced with the times. Exchanges of music are now done electronically.

"We can get a music master [recording] and have it in Abbey Road in two hours," he said.

Vinyl Factory feeds four discrete audiences: collectors who adore the large format, audiophiles who rave about the superior sound (particularly in the bass range), indie and punk bands who like the retro feel, and DJs who want vinyl records for their shows.

Mr Cuddihy, a former DJ himself, said vinyl suited the performance aspect of the role in a way that digital music could not. "If you go to hear a DJ, you don't want to see them waving a mouse over their head and going, 'This is the best download I've ever played'.

"We have pressed for most of the major Australian record labels."

Powderfinger, Ministry of Sound and the John Butler Trio were among the bigger names, but Vinyl Factory has also pressed for virtual unknowns, such as Mindsnare, a local punk band.

The motivation for music companies, particularly with dance music, was to build demand, Mr Cuddihy said.

"They'll spend $2000 on having the vinyl pressed and have it in the stores so DJs can buy it and then they use it to build a buzz in the clubs."

The music industry has begun bundling CDs with vinyl records, which can cost $30 to $40. This strategy has been used for a new release by Liam Finn (son of Neil Finn, of Crowded House) and his latest work, I'll Be Lightning.

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Tower records is gone.

And as of last month, Virgin Megastore is too.

So are scores of local independent record shops, slaughtered by the iPod, iTunes, and "big box" stores like Best Buy and Target.

R.I.P. record stores, you old dinosaurs you. Right?

Wrong. Independent record stores are alive and well in the Chicago area. Some even claim to be–gasp–making money. Some crazy folks are even opening new ones.

Customer service is one reason. But another, perhaps more surprising factor is the growing demand for LPs.

Two of the newest record stores–Permanent Records on Chicago Avenue and year-old Revolver Records on 18th Street in Pilsen–opened specifically to specialize in vinyl, carrying thousands of used and rare records.

It's a quest for tangibility that is, in some ways, driving the vinyl craze. To some music lovers, CDs, at about 16 grams, feel less substantial than a 180-gram audiophile vinyl record. And that's not counting the record jacket, with its poster, perhaps, and liner notes and art on the back and front.

There's something alternative, even subversive, about vinyl, especially when everybody is carrying around iPods.

"If everybody from your mom to your grandparents has ear buds in their ears, how do you differentiate who's cool?" said Eric Levin, president of the Atlanta-based Alliance of Independent Media Stores. "The girl at the end of the dorm hall spinning records is infinitely cool. It's a huge youth movement. Vinyl is just out of control. It's like somebody pushed the cool button again."

Elliot Pence–a 19-year-old sophomore at DePaul University who sports an inner-lower-lip tat that reads "romantic," a nose ring and an occasional pompadour–concurs, noting a trend toward nostalgia among his peers.

"I think vinyl is definitely coming back, along with vintage clothes and just wanting something different," he explained.

Pence said he had only ever been to Virgin once. "And that was to buy movies," he said.

"I like to buy from independent places, to try to keep them open, 'cause I like them better than giant corporations. They're so much more personal and the staff really knows their stuff and actually cares about the music."

The Jazz Record Mart on East Illinois Street was looking pretty alive on a recent Tuesday afternoon with a half-dozen customers sifting through its bins, including Gustavo Verdesio, a University of Michigan professor with a collection of 2,500 albums in his Ann Arbor, Mich., home.

On this summer day, Verdesio was looking to add three or four more. In his hands he had CDs by jazz pianist Fred Hersch and jazz saxophonist Chris Potter and a rare album by jazz pianists Tommy Flanagan and Kenny Barron that he didn't even know existed before he spotted it in the bin. It was $7.99.

Verdesio was thrilled.

"It's the sensual experience of touching the records," he said, explaining why he goes online for music as a last resort. "If it's secondhand, it's the arbitrariness of how the records are located. And there are people around you, so you get a feeling of community. Buying online is a lonely experience. I have nothing against lonely experiences but it is nice to alternate."

A few aisles away, Ashley Crawford was clutching a CD by jazz saxophonist Cannonball Adderley. In town from Mystic, Conn., to visit family, Crawford said she prefers visiting record stores to ordering on the Internet.

"I try not to buy records online," said Crawford, a high school music teacher with a collection of about 200 records and so many CDs she has lost count. "I like seeing and holding what I am about to buy.",1,7040181.story?ctrack=1&cset=true

Vinyl Revival – New happy time media shop 


Vinyl revival

New Happy Time Media shop wants to bring records back to Columbia


Mike Kindelspire bought Whizz Records in May, along with about 375 boxes of vinyls. After renaming the store to Happy Time Media, he is slowly sorting through the records. “It’s a lot of work, but it’s the best job I’ve ever had,” he says.

August 3, 2007 | 12:21 a.m. CST

COLUMBIA-Like a forgotten music library, dusty piles of about 300 boxes and plastic tubs filled with records stacked four high and three deep line the back walls of Happy Time Media on Ninth Street. Owner Mike Kindelspire bought the vinyl collection from the previous tenant, Whizz Records, and is renting the space with the hope of starting anew.

It’s a work in progress, but Kindelspire and manager Brandon Kramer said they plan to sort, price and catalog all of them. They admit it’s a daunting task.

Kindelspire changes a record in his new store. Happy Time Media lets customers suggest what …

Stacks of records line the shelves at Happy Time Media, formerly Whizz Records in downtown …

“I’m a professional slacker,” Kramer said, laughing. “I work at a record store.”

In fact, the two friends have spent more than 100 hours cleaning and renovating the store at 20 S. Ninth St., which opened in May.

“It’s a lot of work, but it’s the best job I have ever had,” Kindelspire said.

His intent is to bring back something special to Columbia: vinyl records. The plan is to have the largest collection of wax (that’s vinyl) in the city.

“It’s a spectacular medium,” Kindelspire said. It offers younger music fans the opportunity to discover music that has been lost to them because the albums haven’t been reproduced on CDs. For people who grew up with vinyl, it offers a sense of nostalgia. And for people who are serious music collectors, it offers all of the greatest music recorded.

The store will also offer CDs, video games, used record players and USB record players.

A USB record player is a turntable that can be plugged into a computer and download the LP onto the computer. It is a lot more complicated than it sounds because the record is downloaded as a continuous sound file and has to be chopped up manually. Kindelspire’s hope is to have one in the store that staff can use to back up customers’ record collections; the estimated cost is $1 per song.

Kindelspire and Kramer met at MU six years ago and often talked about starting a business together.

“It used to be kind of a joke, and after awhile, it became a possibility,” Kindelspire said.

When they heard Whizz Records was up for sale earlier this year, they jumped on the opportunity. The two were hesitant to open a record store that specializes in vinyl, and they contemplated it for three months before deciding to go forward.

“Once we came in here and started meeting with people, we thought we could keep it (going),” Kramer said.

As for the name, Happy Time Media was the first thing that came to them, and it stuck.

“It goes with the idea of having fun around music,” Kramer said.

Along with new management come changes to the store itself. The first thing Kindelspire and Kramer did was knock down the back drywall and extend the store by about 350 square feet. They plan to fill the space with floor-to-ceiling shelves to display their music library. The front of the store will feature cases displaying new releases on vinyl and CD. The store’s lively color scheme includes orange, red and yellow.

“The main goal for the next couple of months is inventory, developing the Web site and finding wholesalers,” Kindelspire said.

They are trying to get everything sorted and ready by the time MU starts in mid-August.

Both Kramer and Kindelspire are music fans: Kindelspire, 25, loves jazz and blues but acknowledges, “Classic rock is my baby.” Kramer, 28, favors these genres as well, but most of his music collection consists of artists from the late 1980s to mid-’90s. They are still open to new music and let customers pick the music that plays in the store.

They agree that one of the most exciting parts of working in their record store is the steady exposure to so many artists and music.

“It’s like Christmas every day,” Kindelspire said.

Sifting through all the boxes of records, they have found some pretty interesting things.

“I think the most interesting album has been the W.A.S.P. single in the shape of a pig,” Kramer said. With blood-red eyes, pointy bat-like ears and oversized drooling fangs, it looks like what would happen if a pig was bitten by Dracula. Other vinyl gems include Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” and Captain Beefheart’s “Trout Mask Replica.”

“Most of the rare stuff was sitting in storage,” Kramer said. “So there are all kinds of goodies in there.”

The Long and Winding Road to a Classic Vinyl Record

The Long and Winding Road to a Classic Vinyl Record

The long and winding road at Classic Records is the way I describe our daily pursuit of making the best records we possibly can which is often not easy. I have come to learn that everything matters when making records and that it is a challenge just to make a consistently good product. This is due, in large part to the number of variables that are involved. Take as an example that the quality of lacquers used when cutting makes a difference to the sound of the records pressed from stampers that result from the plating the lacquers. In fact, throughout the last three years there has been large variation in the quality of lacquers and hence the quality of the LP’s that result vary as well. I’m not talking about subtle variability here but in fact material issues that result in more or less background noise and sporadic ticks and pops that come from the lacquer material that propagates its way all the way to the finished product. Thirteen years ago we used lacquers from a company named Apollo with great success – they were quiet, cut and plated well and made great sounding records. At some point along the road, Apollos began to get noisy which we could hear by cutting a blank groove on a lacquer and playing the lacquer back on the lathe. We switched to Transco lacquers, which were not as quiet as Apollos originally had been but were quieter than Apollos had become. We used Transcos for many years with highly consistent and good sound results while continually experimenting with Apollo and other lacquers in the quest to always use the best possible lacquers at any particular point in time. All was well until, one fateful day when Transcos became noisy as a result of their supplier of nitrocellulose acetate, the material lacquers are coated with, delivering material that was not filtered as rigorously as it had been in the past and chemistry problems with the materials used to make nitrocellulose acetate. Further complicating the matter these problematic lacquers, even when we used hand-selected examples, often had problems in plating during the silvering process, requiring sides to be recut. On a tip from the plating plant, we sourced and began importing MDC brand lacquers from Japan, which for a while, were both quieter and plated more consistently than Transcos.
Instinctively knowing that MDC might fall back into the inconsistencies they previously had experienced, I began working with Transco’s ownership to help encourage them not to give up the battle to solve the materials problems and return to making consistently quiet master lacquers for the record industry. My instinct was right, in that, possibly the result of increased demand for MDC lacquers while Transco was struggling, MDC lacquers became more noisy and harder to plate requiring many more recuts. Volume is always an issue in providing a consistently good product, which is true at the pressing level as well which I will address later. I am happy to report that Transco has taken the control of the manufacture of its microcellulose acetate in-house by hiring the original chemist and buying the formula from their previous supplier. A local supplier who uses the highest quality materials and filtering is now strictly making Transcos microcellulose under the supervision of their chemist. Transco’s efforts and perseverance have paid off and I am thrilled that we are again using Transco lacquers with great success – they cut, plate and sound great! The point of this part of the story is that materials matter crucially in the final sound quality of an LP. Also, I want all to know that Classic Records has and will always pursue quality down to the materials level, which no other vinyl company is currently doing.

Another variable is vinyl formulas, which according to some Self Proclaimed Experts (SPE’s ) on well known vinyl enthusiast websites, only number two or three. In fact, there are four suppliers worldwide, each of which have somewhere between three and twelve different formulas each! We have, for years pointed out that vinyl formulas sound dramatically different. Some have more clarity in different frequency spectrums while others have better bass definition and still others sound warm and tube like but lack a little of the sense of “reality” that audiophiles so long for. We have again embarked on listening to a dozen different vinyl formulas and the variation is as great as I have ever heard. Other companies that produce LP’s use the vinyl that the pressing plant they contract with has available. Vinyl pressing plants strive to have consistency in manufacturing and hence their choice of vinyl is driven not by sound quality but by consistency in their pressing process and a minimum of rejects. I don’t mean to suggest that pressing plants have no interest in sound quality, just that it is not at the top of their list of objectives. They would like to make quiet records but quiet is only necessary and far from sufficient as a motivation in making the BEST sounding records possible.

Now for the bad news, over the past five years there have been dramatic changes in the market for vinyl pellets used to mold vinyl records. One of the major suppliers for decades, Kaiser, simply shut their doors and stopped producing vinyl pellets. A few of the top people that lost their jobs set up a new company, to produce vinyl pellets in Columbia (South America) and after years of struggling to make a consistent formula, now market and sell a variety of formulas under the brand name Kenan. We are experimenting with great success with a number of Kenan formulations. Add to the mix that Rimtec Corp. , a major producer of high quality vinyl pellets that Classic Records had used up until the third quarter of last year, announced that they would no longer be making vinyl pellets with lead and cadmium, important mold release additives. Vinyl formulas that are lead free are both harder to press consistently and sound different. Rimtec Corporation continues to make colored vinyl pellets which use no lead or cadmium but no more of the original leaded formula that we had used for many years. By the way, even if you ate a ground up record you should have no fear of lead poisoning from the amount added to vinyl pellets, although you may have digestive issues thereafter. We have listened to the unleaded material and it sounds great and we’ll have more to say about this and other issues that come up along the long and winding road in the future.

Stay tuned….

Classic Records
PO Box 93896
Los Angeles CA 90026