Sunday, 10 August 2014

A Beautiful Dirge of Dust and Grooves...

I am lazy with music. I buy, I download, I upload and I shuffle. I am lazy with music and in many respects I like it that way. I listen to music on shuffle because it means that I get treats and surprises. I love music, but don't listen to enough of it. I don't own a CD player any more and I am ashamed to say that my record player is in a cupboard and my records relegated to the spare room, all mixed in with my dads.

It's a very small collection of vinyl. Though slightly bigger if you include the pilfered albums from dad. Though I think of this as rescuing, seeing he keeps threatening to sell them all. And amongst them is one of my favourite albums, The Beatles by The Beatles, commonly known as The White Album. It's one of those albums that I have known for as long as I can remember. Family trips, holidays to the seaside, dancing and singing with my family as we mucked around, has been sound-tracked by that album among other. It never goes bad, it never gets old, it never stops being a little musical treat in a shuffle of songs on my iPod. It remains an album I can listen too, over and over again.

And I'm not alone.

 Artist Rutherford Chang has created something fascinating. By only collecting first pressing of The Beatles by The Beatles aka The White Album, Chang has created something unique, a 1,012 strong collection of battered, abused and much loved LPs. (He can't have the one above whatever pressing it is, it's my dad's own battered and bruised copy, with its dishevelled edges, torn back cover and the extras still within. And that smell, that only vinyl and things from my grandparents lofts have.) 

Each copy has its own personality, some have been scribbled and drawn on, other are damaged and weather-beaten from too much play or water damaged and scratched with time, but this makes the artistic part of his collection more interest.

Chang has layered the sound of a hundred of his albums one over another, and each imperfection adds to the dirge. Where today, if you played a hundred copies of an album, one on top of another, you would get perfect digitalised synchronisation, with vinyl, each crackle, each defect slowing takes the first side of this four part LP out of synch and become something quite trippy.

Shame he never did the other three sides, though it is an on going collection. But, I'd have like to hear a hundred Helter Skelter's and a hundred Ringo Starr's singing that final orchestral lullaby, Good Night.

"Good night...good night, everybody...everybody, everywhere...good night." (Good Night, The Beatles)

Link | We Buy White Albums
Link | Rutherford Chang - We Buy White Albums via Dust and Grooves
Link | 100 Original Pressings of the Beatles' White Album Played at Once via Buzzfeed
Listening: Stronger Than Ever - Raleigh Ritchie

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