I bought a record player 5 weeks ago, but this story starts over 5 months ago.
In what was possibly one of the most memorable nights of my life last January, I went to a tycho concert in Singapore, met a girl from Bangkok with a killer dream pop band, a rising Singaporean pop-star, an architect that works at DP Architects (Dubai Mall, Singapore Esplanade, among others), and an owner of a small record shop in the hippest of neighborhoods in Singapore, Tiong Bahru. a night to remember post
That night meant a lot of things to me, but a piece of it spawned my interest in purchasing a record player. Tremon, the owner of curated records, told me to stop by his shop. Pretty sweet place.
So anyways, I was in Tremon’s shop and I saw the Tycho record Awake (the one they were touring). I got to know so many incredible people because of such a random concert that I promised Tremon that I’d come back to his shop at end of my semester and buy Awake. And I did. I asked Tremon to place an order for me (such an nice guy), and I came back to Curated Records during my last (quite sentimental) week in Singapore to buy Awake. I bought Awake, Lonesome Dreams by Lord Huron, and Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust by Sigur Ros. I had no record player.
I purchased the Pro-ject Debut III on Amazon this fall when I got to school. It would have been hard to make a better decision.
I’ve come to be a huge fan of River Street Beat Shop in Troy. I saw Earl Klugh this past summer on my Birthday with pops & step ma, and I picked up this record for $4 a couple of Sundays ago. Also, Earl Klugh’s cover of Jamaica Farewell is on this album and I used to fall asleep to Harry Belefonte every night as a kid. Memories.
But, seriously, why get a record player?
No. It’s not all that. Don’t get me wrong – vinyl sounds great. There is something incredibly magical about analog music. The sound feels pure. It’s damn good. But no, the experience owning a record player has been so much more than just the audio quality.
I listen to albums. Always have. I rarely make playlists and tend to listen to albums from various artists in phases – rediscovering one is always an ear-opening experience. Something about listening to songs in the order that they were curated by the artist carries meaning for me.
Owning a record player forces album listening to its fullest. When you spin a record there’s no choice. You have no play to switch up the artist, skip a song, replay a song, or really pause for that matter. There’s start and there’s stop, and I love it. It’s an immersive experience that can truly take you on the story an artist tells.
The ritual of vinyl
There is a ritual to pulling a record out of a sleeve, cleaning and de-static-ing it, setting it on the platter, spinning it, and dropping the needle. It’s a whole process that makes you consider more the music you’re playing. Playing music becomes more than just pressing play. The ritual of it makes the experience so much more involved. Sound becomes only one of two senses at play – the other being touch.
Music ownership & unlocking the doors of Spotify
I’ve struggled to use Spotify (or Rdio) in the past few years because I’ve never been ok with the idea of only “renting” music (i.e. paying for a monthly subscription). Historically, I’ve both torrented and bought music on iTunes and Google Play, but I’ve never paid for subscription services because I like the concept of “owning” music. Until purchasing a record player, I wasn’t comfortable leaving the ownership camp, but now I am. My turntable has allowed me to own some of the music I love in such a tangible way that I’ve started to use Spotify as my backup for the “Sorry, I don’t have that on vinyl” occasion.
All in all, it’s been an incredible ride. If anything in this piece speaks to you, I highly suggest the investment.