If I go through all the records I’ve bought this year a few things strike me. Like every year the amount of vinyl I have acquired surprises me (every year I think I’m slowing down only to conclude I’ve topped the year before). I probably buy more records each year than most people during their lifetime. I probably buy more than most people buy (or illegally download) online. On the other hand I do raise my standards and it becomes easier every year to let go of records. Well, I say let go but it’s rather taking them out of the collection, putting them in boxes with the ambition to sell them and then use these boxes, at best, as a nightstand. One day they’ll end up in a record shop.
The other thing that struck me is that I bought far more freshly released (or rather reissued) records than the years before. A result of the current boom in vinyl sales / difficulty for shops to fill up the crates with interesting new second hand stuff. New releases are omnipresent, even in the hardcore second hand stores. If not the choice is limited to absurdly priced collector items or upgraded cheap bins crap (a few exceptions notwithstanding). Seeing records announced as “original German release” if it’s not a German record originally is a reprehensible new thing in shops. Records are original or not. Adding a country might mystify the gullible, me it irritates.
I welcome the reissues if they are quality pressings with ditto artwork. I rather pay a reasonable price (overpriced represses are another irritating new thing) for a decent sounding record than half my wage for a VG sold as NM one in a cover barely holding together. I’m not a purist. This said, nothing beats the feeling of finding a forgotten gem or vinyl that has been on your wanstlist for ages in a local shop at ideally a price far under what the internet has decided it should cost. And I had more than a few of these moments in 2016. Let me share a selection of them with you.
Ashford & Simpson – Bend Me – Warner Bros
Opening track of their debut album together. Absolute beauty that stirs up all kind of feelings every time I hear it. Their songwriting / production genius is, although universally recognized, still criminally underrated. Collecting everything that has their touch has been an obsession for years now and due to their prolific output something I’ll continue doing for years to come. “Gimme Something Real” was the last of their own albums I needed and I found multiple copies this year. Far from being rare but if using Discogs feels like cheating it can take a while before you come across one in a shop after which you’ll typically keep finding copes.
Specimen & The Rizikoos – Storingen – Disk-O-Grino
Brussels / Flemish classic Belgian, Dutch sung, reggae. Found a mint 7” at Eddy’s records this year. My favourite shop in my former hometown that is always a source for discoveries and records you need. Wasn’t cheap but Eddy sold it at a more than fair price. As he always does.
The Beat Fellows – Sound Beat – Le Phare
Another Belgian 7” I first discovered and later bought through Rik-O, Brussels most enthusiast collector of deep funk, soul and alike. The joy of first discovering something that you’ve never heard of before, due to the nature of the record know few other have either and then owning a copy is why you’re diving into dusty crates at every chance you get.
Elephant’s Memory – Mongoose – Metromedia
Always loved going through playlists and discovering music this way. Far too few magazines present them these days. Both The Word Magazine and Love Injection were appreciated sources this year. Not sure where I found the list but this one I noticed in a Danny Krivit playlist and later found at The Collector near La Bourse in Brussels. Loving funky rock records. Someone should compile a list I can go through.
George Duke – Feel – MPS
I spend far too much time at Veals & Geeks record shop. Usually not necessarily going through the records but rather drinking beer, eating cheese, talking bollocks and finding ways to get first peeks at what records are fresh in. Got my hands on this George Duke classic this way. Sorry for everyone else but this never reached the bins. Collecting means being creative at going through the records first, bonding with sellers and quenching your thirst through the knowledge of other freaks like you.
Miriam Makeba – Xica Da Silva – Sonodisc
If you spend as much time in record shops as I do you get to know most records in your local haunts and you get annoyed with shops that offer too little fresh ones every time you visit them. I’ve extended my regular tours this year to Antwerp and Ghent to make my playing field bigger. Wanted this particular track for a while now and in Brussels the influx of Makeba records could satisfy that need. Luckily Antwerp came to the rescue. And weeks later Mr Bongo by releasing a 7” with both version of this track I adore and which I of course bought even though I got both originals. Easier for the dj-sets.
Rednose Distrikt – Hoor’s – HumHum
Not sure where I bought this one. Maybe Crevette where I had the honour to play the first dj-set at the opening and went through the crates right before the general public could do so, hehe. Found a few broken beat records I didn’t have already there. Which becomes increasingly hard to do. I think Yoeri slowly has a more than decent broken beat collection through all I keep passing him when we’re digging together. This is a killer one though that I now have on 12”. So rare the internet hasn’t got decent clips to share (it’s not the right track you’ll hear in the Playmoss list).
Der Plan – Ich Leb Doch – Teldec
Bought a random German compilation from the early 80s when in Ostend and it turned out to be a collection of superb synthpop. Added the album this comes from to the collection too (on reissue) and added several albums by other groups on this compilation to my wantslist. The Germans made some solid, funny bits in the eighties.
T.S. Monk – Candidate For Love – Mirage
Although I was generally a bit disappointed with what New York had to offer on the record front (more than compensated by the architecture, art, food, beer and weather) I found a few gems. Like this sweet disco 12” made by Thelenious’ offspring found in a quiet little shop somewhere in Brooklyn. More digging trips abroad in a plan for 2017.
Computer – Nobody Loves A Computer Because A Computer Does Not Dance – AB Productions
Another one I bought at Eddy’s. A record I selected purely on the cover and it didn’t disappoint. Not rare or exceptionally good but funny and I’ve learned to appreciate records that aren’t serious this year. Call it an antidote to all the awful things happening in 2016 but I truly enjoy playing nonsense in Onda Sonora sets. Expect that to increase dramatically.
Yma Sumac – Malambo No. 1 – Capitol
Had this on a compilation but found an 80s repress cheap in the last weeks of the year. Will appear in sets, no doubt, as part of that being less serious ambition. Even though I can be intellectual about it by referring to Club 57 but I’ll let you discover Tim Lawrence’s “Life and Death of the New York Dance Floor 1980-1983” on your own. Essential read.