Records FTW!

All you need is love… and a record player!

Take a musical trip back in time

Between Jay Z practically begging us to sign up for Tidal, and Apple Music trying to play all-day DJ, the world of music is evolving. As much as we’re down for anything that means cheaper tunes, more musical variety and did we mention Nicki AND Beyoncé together, we’re still kinda intrigued by the old-school appreciation of music.

That’s why we’re taking it back and discovering the magic of vinyl. And who better to ask about the allure of the old-school than self-described “grumpy-old-man-in-training” and all-round creative Nas Who? Rocketed to Earth from a dying world that didn’t need him anymore, Nas Who is a freelance wordsmith, a writer for SECTOR and the co-co-founder of Another-Day, where he podcasts occasionally about creative people in South Africa.

Over to you, Nas!

Vinyl in the 21st Century

Despite a general distaste for trends, a few nights ago a friend of mine sent me this photograph:

 

Accompanying the picture was a single line of text: “Finally bought a record player”.

You have to understand, for grumpy-old-men-in-training like us, buying into a trend is a game changer, so his message left me with a few questions.

What makes this trend so much more acceptable to people like us?

How is the return of vinyl better than chokers, bad tattoos and dungarees (seriously guys?)?

What made this medium warrant a “finally” at the start of his statement?

You never hear anyone saying, “Finally! I got one of those old refrigerators that pushes the power bill into the red” so why are record players considered a valid pursuit by so many people born decades after they stopped being useful or practical or even entertaining to use?

And I checked with the rest of my friends, believe me. Within seconds of requesting photographs of everybody’s record players I got the collection you’re seeing right here: Wall-to-wall people under 30 willing to stop what they’re doing and flip an album around to listen to the entire thing. Madness!

 

People who make money by reading graphs and inventing weird names for statistical groupings say that the latest generation is very interested in experiences. Whereas previous generations were content to simplify life as much as possible, the current crop (we?) allegedly don’t value information as much as we value really getting to interact with the things we love, and I think you can see how that’s grown off the back of growing up as little itty-bitty consumers.

When everything is handed to you as a complete product, your interactions with the things you love become the most meaningful part of your time with those things. Whether it’s fast food, toys or TV shows, the most important part wasn’t the consumption of the product, but the good times had while doing it. Record players add that touch of activity to something that had been made more of a passive act with the creation of the CD and the iPod (remember those?)

 

When I think of listening to records, I think of the music video for Cornershop’s ”Brimful of Asha” or that scene from Almost Famous where the kid flips through The New Girl’s record collection.

Whether these are real moments or just signifiers of an era, they had an impact on a generation, creating a desire to really, truly engage with the things we love. Listening to music on your iPod is convenient, sure, but it also turns the act of listening into something that happens in the background while you pretend you enjoy running. It also offers more control: skip buttons make radio DJs out of everyone, and make breezing through albums to “the good parts” almost too easy.

And in an era where most of what we see of everyone’s lives are the good bits, vinyl functions as something fun to do with the people you aren’t sleeping with, a return to the ritual of music.

4 places to buy records in Jozi

If you live in Joburg and you’re looking to plug into the ritualistic aspects of music, there are a couple key places you need to swing by:

  1. The primo spot is still Record Mad in Linden because they have the best service and a better selection.
  2. You’ll also wanna make sure you swing by Katy’s Palace in Kramerville every second Saturday for their Vinyl Fair, which is populated by dozens of record store owners from across the city, with new stock at every event.
  3. Lest we forget, Aware Records has opened its doors in Joburg’s student district, Braamfontein.
  4. And Warm & Glad orders new vinyl on the regular, so you should check with them if nobody else can help.

For more from the magical mind of Nas Who, find him on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr.

Need your music fix right now? Click here and enjoy eight quality local and international hip-hop tracks picked just for you!