Why would I still play vinyl records?

vinyl.jpgRecords are heavy, they scratch, they take maintenance, they wear out, they hate sun, they’re hard to find, expensive and take up space but these are not bad things. In fact these reasons are what makes them valuable. They have a character unique to themselves. This is a good thing in these days of increasing homogeneity and bland consumption culture. The fact that I have to be aware of their needs puts them in a category usually reserved for friends. The interface for playing them live for people, turntables, are beautiful. The interaction of beatmatching and mixing is a performance in itself and way more interesting than watching some dude fuck with his laptop (sorry dude I still love you but buy a monome). Its true that there is more to Djing than pressing that fucking autosync button in serato while pretending to use the turntables. It takes a fair amount of skill and practice to craft a great set using vinyl. You owe a performance to the audience for being there to see you especially if they paid to get in. One of the DJs I look up to, DJ Magitope plays all vinyl and his theory is that the audience participates in the performance by way of the needle which picks up external vibrations like screaming and dancing. There is a huge backlog of music that might only exist on wax. Whole lives are spent digging for lost audio relics. No Digital Rights Management. This is where I throw a fit.

Dear iTunes buyer. You are a sucker. All one billion of you, you’re not alone don’t feel bad. Your ipod is only an island and the songs you buy are RENTED from itunes. You think you own them but you are wrong. You payed to rent them from itunes and store them on your island and you have been duped. The French government knows this. Also if you are DJing with these MP3s please stop. It hurts my ears. I would rather you punch me in the face than make my ears bleed with your shittly compressed snares and “soundsystem” that has to be turned up too loud ALWAYS to get any bass out. Beatport.com will sell you .wav files. Yes they are a dollar more. Its worth it. Here is why in one word, Psychoacoustics. There is research that says people perceive a higher quality environment if the audio is less compressed. Translated, you will be perceived to be a better DJ by playing .wav files or even better by playing records.

Of course records sound great. Really, I play with a lot of people who are all digital and its cool but not because digital sounds great. Its sounds digital/clean and in some cases this is awesome. The precision of digital is rad. The sound quality isn’t an issue with things that have been produced well and played as a .wav file. But for dance music I like records because they provide a layer of humanity to any digital production. Dance music is usually a bit sterile because its made on computers and the format of vinyl softens the harshness.

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