The resurrection of vinyl over the last decade or so is the stuff biblical references are made of. Its resurgence is nothing in comparison to its pre-digital glory days but it’s enough to warrant a trend. And once that trend moves out of the realm of hipster stardom, the very soul that it was stripped off can be restored. That’s precisely why we love this generation’s record collectors so much. In a lake of mimicry, a sea of feigned enthusiasm and an ocean full of easier aural options, it takes an incredible amount of genuine dedication (and maybe some ritalin) to stay focussed on building a true record legacy.
In lieu of our vinyl-themed FLUX party this weekend, perhaps the best thing to come out of its organisation was our discovery of a small-but-scattered group of serious vinyl collectors in Mumbai. They’re not necessarily easy to connect in 6 degrees but a tape that winds is a tape that binds and familiarity aside, they’re part of a lesser known community here in Bombay.
We interviewed 3 interesting collectors we discovered strewn across the city and one of them even agreed to play their collection for us this saturday. Watch this space for the next batch of interviewees, and if you happen to know of any afficionados, let them know we’re looking for them!
Scroll on for the full scripts:I. Mathieu Josso
Who: Whip master at Bhavishyavani Future Soundz, Dj under the moniker of M.MAT
“Vinyl is a costly dear, old friend.”
The Record Count: Approximately 1500 vinyls.
On His Collection: My collection is mainly dance music oriented with the exception of a couple of classic albums (Stevie Wonder/ Beastie Boys) I started buying more regularly in the mid ‘90s unfortunately my purchasing pattern has definitely slowed down with the appearance of digital djing technology. There’s a lot of Chicago House/ Detroit Techno in there and about half of them are in India while the other half is in my parents’ basement in France. They used to be in a total mess when i was still djing on vinyls because I would never put them back in the proper order of style or label after a gig. Now they are stored away safely at the Bhavishyavani office after a couple of months in a trunk.
One Record He Desperately Wants: Shina Willians & His African percussionists - Agboju Logun
The Rarest Gems In His Collection:
I don’t know if they are particularly rare (definitely not easy to find) but here are my 5 favourite vinyls from my collection:
1. Moodymann - Don’t You Want My Love2. Stevie Wonders - songs in the key of life3. DJ Funk - Run (dancemania rec)4. Rhythim is Rhythim - string of life on transparent vinyls5. Underground Resistance #046 - printed Red vinyl - NSC4 “talk to Me”6. Motorbass - Pansoul
One Collection He’d Swap His Out For: Gilles Peterson or Laurent Garnier .. but not sure they would be interested in my collection.
II. Vitek Goyel
Who: Besides collecting records, Vitek’s also an entrepreneur with a focus on digital and interactive arts. He’s the founder/CEO of Pixeltek - a Mumbai-based 3D arts studio that has been developing 3D graphics in the video games/ simulations space for over 10 years. He’s also the Vice President of Phoenix Online, A US Based indie games developer and publisher. He is also, and perhaps most importantly so for the purpose of this article, a musician and songwriter who releases music as Slow Down Clown, an Alt Rock band with a few tracks in regular radio play and TV Rotation.
“Unfortunately the days of starry-eyed romance are gone and at this point, it’s a hopeless addiction. But I mean that in the best way possible!”
The Record Count: Close to 1500 records and counting, including several 45’s and 78’s.
On His Collection: Records have always been a part of my life in some way or another. My parents had records back in the 80s and I remember playing many of them. But I grew up mostly on CDs and tapes, as did most of my generation. The move back to vinyl only happened fairly recently, about 6 or 7 years ago. I bought a cheap turntable and rediscovered my parents’ old vinyl and the bug bit me again. Then began the weekly scouring of Chor Bazaar and rummaging through various relatives’ and friends’ houses to look for more records. The records started piling up pretty quick and soon one shelf wasn’t enough! The only problem is finding space because the collection doesn’t seem to be slowing down. I just recently ran out of shelf space after returning from my most recent trip to the US. Every time I come home with an armful of records my wife just shakes her head and gives me a disappointed look!
Musically I am all over the place. I listen to everything from Punk Rock to Hindustani classical. My collection definitely reflects this, and I try to mix things up whenever I can. Sometimes when I’m rummaging in flea markets or bazaars I might just buy a record if I like the cover, or for the label it’s on, or because of who produced it. I’ve found some great stuff this way that I would have otherwise never heard - especially obscure 60s groups. Although I am mostly Rock centric, I also love to collect Jazz and Classical music. I have a few spoken word albums and some very strange records like a Cockatiel training record. I have another album that is basically just a recording of this guy playing drums on empty boxes and plastic water jugs. That’s actually a pretty great record! As for other genres, I have a pretty nice selection of ambient and electronic music, none of it being EDM or dub step - I think I missed the boat on that. I also only have a couple hip-hop albums though, but I am looking to expand more in that area.
One Record He Desperately Wants: The first two Modest Mouse albums on vinyl, but their prices are astronomical on eBay and way more than I am willing to pay! I would also love to get the original 7” single of Love Buzz, the first Nirvana release.
The Rarest Gems In His Collection:
1) The Beatles - Please Please Me: Just the copy I have though, since it’s my Dad’s and my Granddad had bought it for him when he was on a business trip in London in the early 60s. My Dad had asked him to pick up an Elvis record but the clerk at the store insisted that he also pick up the Beatles album as my dad would be sure to love it. All his friends were pretty jealous coz at the time none of them had the album and he told me a few of them even tried to nick it! It’s safe and sound now though. My collection is like Fort Knox!
2) Sun Kil Moon - April: This is probably my favourite album of all time and Sun Kil Moon albums are notoriously hard to find on vinyl. I managed to find it in a small town record store somewhere in Vermont a few years ago. I have never grabbed something off the racks so quickly before!
3) Ananda Shankar - Sa Re Ga Machan: I recently got this album from a relative and I had never heard any of Ananda Shankar’s music before and thought it would be pretty traditional Hindustani classical. Oh boy was I wrong. This is one of the most creative and experimental albums I have ever heard. Forget fusion - this is truly groundbreaking and utterly fresh sounding even today decades since it’s release. This gets picked on the list solely for how it made my jaw drop when I first heard it.
4) Panorama of Musique Concrete - Pierre Schaeffer: When I was a student in University I studied quite a bit about early experimental composers like John Cage and various musical styles such as Minimalist, Dada, etc., but the one style I was most fascinated by was Musique Concrete. This mostly French Avant Garde movement used every day objects and sounds to create sound collages and symphonies. I found this 1950’s LP at a garage sale in Mumbai in mint condition for the princely sum of Rs 50. Nothing clears out drunken stragglers from a party at 4am like this record does!
5) Eric Dolphy - Out To Lunch! : I got this seminal hard bop jazz record for free from someone getting rid of their collection. On the original Blue Note label, these records sell for sometimes over $1000. Unfortunately mine is not in mint condition, not that I would sell it anyways. Even though it’s a little crackly in places, this sucker blows the roof off whenever I put it on the turntable. It’s got a raw sound to it that is indescribable. It just punches you right in the gut. Now I know why these original Blue Notes are so sought after - no reissue can do it justice. There is just some special kind of magic in these grooves that can’t be replicated.
One Collection He’d Swap His Own For: It would probably have to be Peter Buck, the legendary guitarist for R.E.M. He worked at a record store when he was young and actually met Michael Stipe through collecting records. Buck is a very well known vinyl collector with many thousands of rare and out of print records. He is a true connoisseur of vinyl recordings, if there ever was one. Besides Buck, I would also love to get my hands on cult cartoonist Robert Crumb’s world famous collection of blues 78’s. Unfortunately, I doubt I will get anywhere near them. But one can dream, right?
III. Gautam Muralidharan
Who: Gautam is a sustainable development guy and he runs a small eco-development firm called Oikos Ecological Solutions. Besides that, he is always working on offshoot ideas and concepts from the business, plant nursery, mushroom growing, wild food foraging and gardening.
“Contextualize my relationship with vinyl in one line? How about one word? Love.”
The Record Count: Approximately 6-700 records.
On His Collection: Hip-hop and downtempo are the most prominent, in that they are always up front, but there is an equally large chunk of oldies and classic rock records, which is what I was raised on. Think Credence Clearwater Revival, Crosby, Stills and Nash, and then some.
I have around 6-700 records. Wouldn’t say that’s large, but it’s the essentials. I have been collecting since 2001, when I went to the U.S. to study. My roommate Sean worked at a record store in Burlington, Vermont, and he exposed me to some proper underground Hip-Hop, and the digging started there. Since then I’ve collected whenever I travel abroad, and friends and family bring me records when they come down. It’s a good life. Just wish there were some record stores here.
One Record He Desperately Wants: Cannibal OX - The Cold Vein
The Rarest Gems In His Collection:
Disney’s 10 Happiest SongsAmon Tobin – PermutationHow to play the 5 string BanjoThe complete works of ShakespeareLive at the Future Primitive sound session – Cut Chemist and DJ Short Kut
One Collection He’d Swap His Own For: Felix Mesenburg in Berlin, Germany and Sean McCaffrey in Vermont, U.S.A are two people that I know who have great collections, and complementary to what I have, I know i’d find some familiar eclectic stuff, but then there’d be some things I’ve never heard of and artists I don’t know.
Besides that, I see Krunk and Homegrown are doing some interesting work and I have a feeling I may meet some really interesting vinyls and collectors in India soon through the avenues being created here.
[Gautam will be playing us a selection of his vinyls this Saturday night. We checked out his collection and we can vouch for its dancefloor-friendly nature.]