House Hunting #50 – Various Artists Ltd #5
To celebrate the 50th edition of House Hunting you know I had to get a guest comp on the go. So, yeah, it’s that time again where I get the vinyl vendors, prime purveyors and serious selectors to get record reminiscing and wax lyrical about their choice crate crusade whether a bargain bin belter or hallowed house Holy Grail. So time to discard your Juno carts and Discogs wantlists – get inspired from these rack raids and take a jaunt to your local wax haunt for a deep dose of House Hunting…
ACE MUNGIN (ACE BEAT RECORDS)
Though most heads would probably reference Blaze or Kerri when talkin’ about the ‘New Jersey Sound’, one of the true innovators of the emergent East Orange scene was Ace Mungin. Having been a resident at Newark institutions such as Rumors and Club 88, in ’85 he set up Ace Beat Records that built the early foundations of house with heads like Paul Scott, Shedrick Guy and Stephon Johnson pioneering some proto-house styling (House Hunting hint – check Paul Scott’s ‘Off The Wall’) and housed the New Jersey house hierarchy with Blaze, Yomanda and The Hump all releasing records on the label. Check out the Ace Beat catalogue here on Discogs which houses a whole lotta house for so lil’ money proper bargain bin pressure for this New Jersey flavour. He also has crate credentials as he owned an Ace Beat record store in New Jersey but instead of the usual House Hunting diggin’ tale Ace takes us back to his days in the studio revealing his favourite house recording of the era…
JOMANDA – ‘I’LL GIVE IT TO YOU (COME GET IT)’ (QUARK)
Some of my music picks are from the Ace Beat catalogue, with one of my favourites being ‘Holding On’ by Intense which I loved producing with the Ace Beat Crew. Memories include the trax by Intense ‘Let The Rain Come Down’ which was first written and recorded in New York in a studio over the top of a Go Go Bar – I don't have to tell you this was FUN (forgive me GOD I was young!). Charvoni’s ‘Always There’ was our first production that was signed to a major label produced with the help of Fly Guys Pro, Blaze and Intense (love these guys). Ace Beat Music has been very blessed with so many great artists coming through its doors. Jomanda ‘On Top (Of The Groove)’ was sampled to death by many Techno DJ's and was the first recording for the girl group but my house hunting find is Jomanda ‘I'll Give It To You (Come Get It)’. I loved being in the studio with the Backroom Productions crew recording this really underground treasure. Wow again so many great memories in the studio and DJing at Club 88, Zanzibar and my club Rumors.
AIDY WEST (VINYL UNDERGROUND)
Northampton probably ain’t the first town you think of when jettin’ on a crate crusade but if you’re a serious house fiend then trust me it’s worth being a Midlands marauder and venturing deep to the depths of NN1 to Vinyl Underground. Housed on the second-floor of a furniture shop, Vinyl Underground has been in business for over 20 years now and continues to be a dependable source of the deeper and more discernible facets of house whether it’s the latest records or hand-picked vintage vinyl – have an online peruse here or better still jet up/down the M1 to dig deep in this diggers paradise. Aidy is also an ace DJ and having run nights with him years ago in my home environ of Leicester, I’ve witnessed first-hand his warm-up wizardry and serious selections. Check out this recent live set at Field Maneuvers in the Field Moves Tent – gone down in Field Maneuvers folklore… On to his House Hunting and Aidy embarks on the eternal search for some long lost Gherkin flavour…
GHERKIN JERKS – ‘STOMP THE BEAT’ (GHERKIN RECORDS)
Having been buying and selling records for over 20 years and collecting for years before that I'm constantly digging and have found rare records everywhere. Ones that spring to mind are Retroactive's and countless US promos out of distributors garages near Heathrow in 1993, overstocks at a NEC record fair the same year (started Vinyl Underground after that) and Ron Trent unreleased whites above a Pizza Parlour in Chicago. But on a personal tip my biggest search was for Larry Heard's ‘Stomp The Beat’ 12" on the all round house diggers favourite Gherkin Records.
I had the track I later knew as ‘Parameters’ on a London Pirate Radio tape for years but had no idea what it was, it was an unknown I could listen to often so became my must find record – the fun is always in the search! I had the other Gherkin Jerks ‘1990’ EP since 91/92 but personally wasn’t a big fan – I was always looking out for the raw bassline cuts so didn’t think it would be in that series (not that I’d seen a copy, even then there wasn’t many about). This is years before internet searches etc so just had to rely on knowledge learnt from peers, in shops and those all important pirate tapes, it took years not minutes to find tracks. I even used to play the tape when I did some early radio shows, somehow knew it was Larry Heard but that was it. I played it to anyone I met who might know it and eventually think it was original house head Rene in Bristol said it might be Gherkin Jerks and there was a few different 12"s.
Around 94/95 I used to travel down to North London to meet some of the import vans that did the rounds, making sure we got offered the same US 12" as the London shops. While I was waiting at a shop I knew, I wandered up the road to another smaller Import shop and asked the guy if he knew or had "the blue Gherkin Jerks 12" – I would forget/give up searching for this, then remember when I hit a new spot every few months. He went out the back and produced a copy, played it and I immediately recognised those bass tones so I couldn't get the record off the speakers quick enough!
He offered it to me at £8 (standard rare record price, imports sold for £5.99 around then). To me it was a steal, I kept my cool paid the money and my long search was over – can still remember the feeling at that moment and him coming out with it in his hands. So no digging in mice filled basements or dusty warehouses like I have done for Vinyl Underground just a classic Gherkin find. Anyone I met back then who knew and searched for Gherkins I immediately connected with and mutual respect was shared!
I first came across Brawther via Chez Damier’s revived Balance imprint through its Balance Alliance offshoot. This new Balance banner served as a platform for Chez to bring other emerging artists to the fore who he mentored and was inspired by with Brawther becoming a Balance mainstay releasing on all its incarnations – whether it was his debut EP on Balance subsidiary Balance Alliance, numerous EPs on parent-label Balance or running Courtesy Of Balance Recordings and nurturing the next generation of house heroes. His deep, signature sound is reminiscent of all those early doses of Prescription with his EPs already gaining speculator special status though to remedy this he released his ‘Endless’ LP earlier this year on Balance housing all those deeper than the cosmos opuses – check ‘em out here along with some of his mixes… As well as Balance he has released EPs and an LP under his Izmo alias (including a tribute to Eddie Perez of Smack fame), hooked up with Parisian kindred spirit Jeremy ‘Underground Paris’ Fichon on My Love Is Underground, contributed an EP to UK club institution Secretsundaze and has released punishing basement jams with partner in crime Tristan Da Cunha as deadly house duo Dungeon Meat. As well as his DJ and production exploits, Brawther has also collaborated with Alixkun on an exciting new project where he has unearthed the more obscure realm of Japanese House for his 'Once Upon A Time In Japan…' compilation. The retrospective will be presented on a beautifully packaged triple-vinyl set with its release date on the horizon – have a listen on record behemoth Juno. In keeping with the Far East flavour for his House Hunting Brawther unearths some proper Japanese obscure allure…
HIROSHI MATSUI – ‘SAMBA DE HOWA HOWA’ (PROMO)
This is one of the records that gave me great pleasure to discover.
I found this record during my first ever trip to Japan around five years ago. It was at King Kong records in Osaka. This trip was really special as I was properly lost in translation and had only this record store guide to guide me as a compass. I looked into the J-POP 90's section and couldn't believe my eyes when I saw it. It contained ‘Samba de Howa Howa’ that was later on picked up by King Street for their ‘Sounds of the Far East’ release. Since there was so little information on old Japanese records available anywhere online or print, the prospect or finding a Japanese first pressing is always high and remains a question mark; "Did this ever come out on vinyl?" and "Was there ever a promotional record made out of it"?
I had never seen this record before and could not believe my eyes, this is how excited I was. It was definitely a private pressing. Looking at this label, with Japanese text and all, I knew I found something really special. Immediately after I rushed to the listening station to see what kind of tracks there were and then found out that there was a proper acid house number with some vocals on top! Wow! This was one of the very rare Chicago influenced tracks using a 303 that I had heard coming out of Japan. It seems somehow influenced by Lil Louis's ‘The Original Video Clash’ with its thunder like cymbals. A few years later, when I met Mr. Matsui and interviewed him, he told me that the acid line on the record was the one that was already programmed in the 303 when he bought it!!! I love him; he is such a nice and funny guy!
For years there was not a single bit of information about this record, no pictures, no previous listing, nothing. I never added it on Discogs cause in the digging world, there is a rule that the more people know about a record, the less chances you have to find another copy. It’s only about six months ago or so that a Japanese Discogs user uploaded the record and is now selling it, at a 300 dollars – and I don't blame him as this record is rare as hens teeth. With very little house music exported outside of Japan, the chances of finding this record are low, even if Hiroshi pressed 300 copies. These were mostly handed out as promos.
You can now get the track ‘Crazy Miracle Dub’ on mine and Alixkun's compilation ‘[House] Once Upon a time in Japan’.
BRETT WILCOTS (GHERKIN RECORDS)
If you regularly tune in to House Hunting you’ll know that I’m a proper Gherkin geek and am always shoppin’ for more Gherkins to add to the jar… Though the label and distributor has left a lasting legacy, less is said about its founding father Brett Wilcots. This enigma is one of the unsung heroes of house whether it was opening the legendary Chicago record store ‘Importes Etc.’, remixing revered disco artists such as Kasso, September and The Salsoul Orchestra or releasing some of the most influential and collectable Chicago House records of the era whether it’s a Mondee Oliver mournful melter, a lush Frankie Knuckles reinterpretation or Larry Heard’s more experimental opuses under his Gherkin Jerks guise. Check out my love letter to Brett and Gherkin here which also features this ace Gherkin guest mix courtesy of Thunder’s main man Miles Simpson. For his find Brett deviates to disco and takes us back to his roots before house was born…
VENUS – ‘MADISON ’76 (PART II)’ (COLUMBIA)
Man that's a hard one. The place is easy. A used record store in Evanston, Illinois. The kids will remember the name. It was a bonanza of early dance music usually 50 cent to $1.99. What stands out for me are the records that were not available to me here in Iowa. I got a promo 5 min 12" copy of a Venus Madison 76 that I only had on 45. If you listen to this you’ll hear my earliest orchestral arrangements influences along of course with Patrick Adams, Norman Harris and Vince Montana. It was played by my first DJ mentor John Alibizo at the City Disco Park in Des Moines. He was at the top of his game and introduced me to Gramaphone and Dogs of War, where the latter I became a mail order member then finally worked for. Most of my Patrick Adams records came via both stores. Pam Todd and McGee’s version of ‘It Ain’t No Big Thang’ and Salsoul promo double 12" copies of the ‘Salsoul Disco Maddness’ LP where I was introduced to the enormous talent and Stravinsky of mixers the late Walter Gibbons. As you see this was at the genesis of house. Some just call it disco I prefer to say house in the womb music. Norman Harris things I could not find in chain stores I picked up through these early on. I started a rap sheet called Sound Advise that got me a reportership for… eek Billboards competitor Music World which, when I moved to Chicago later it became the name of the first tip sheet article in a local magazine Gay Chicago. I gave most of my vinyl to my late partner Frank Sells who later opened his own used store for an income prior to his progression of AIDS. Sorry no short answers from me I could write a book!
DJ NATURE (GOLF CHANNEL RECORDINGS)
DJ Nature aka Milo Johnson jetted over to NYC in ’89 as a buyer for a Japanese record store and to pursue his own production projects. The move stateside was the catalyst in him gaining a rapport with the New York house hierarchy with the likes of Frank Mendez at Nu Groove, Felix Ortiz of E Legal/Black Label fame and Charlie Grappone of legendary NYC record institution Vinyl Mania. Under his early '90s pseudonym Natureboy, he deconstructed house and disco down to its most pure and raw form influenced by the primitive productions of house heroes such Farley and Todd Terry in tandem with the more rudimentary recordings of disco visionary Patrick Adams. After a few releases on Black Label, Dubweizer and his own Ruff Disco label (complete with reissues on Tomato Records), he retired his Natureboy project and things lay dormant for near a couple of decades until in 2010 when he resurfaced as DJ Nature. His new productions returned to the Natureboy formula but with an air of melancholy and nostalgia no doubt with more life experience and studio expertise leading him being a mainstay on choice stables such as NYC’s Golf Channel Recordings and Japanese tastemakers Jazzy Sport – you can listen to the DJ Nature discography via his Soundcloud. As well as producing, he’s a superior selector that has spun worldwide – if you’re in London Town on October 31st then jet down to the Big Wave Halloween Special who’ll be hosting him for a rare UK gig complete with a surprise guest in the intimate confines of London’s latest addition to the clubbin’ map The Pickle Factory. So see you down the front for some dancin’ not trainspottin’ – take your backpack and anorak off yeah? Anyway, with his experience in exporting DJ Nature gives us a proper House Hunting love letter…
JOE R. LEWIS – ‘LOVE OF MY OWN’ (TARGET RECORDS)
I think the first House record that was a must have for me was ‘Funkin’ With The Drums Again’ by Farley. I think we only heard about the track from someone who had just come from The States and said it was the baddest track out. Then we must have got a tape with it on there. After about a month we got that from Either Groove Records or Bluebird not sure which. The next track I kind of accidentally got introduced so to speak. There was an event in London for the release of the ‘Techno! The New Dance Sound Of Detroit' album with Mayday and Saunderson amongst other spinning on the decks. I was just up there from Bristol as a curious fan as I only had a few Detroit tracks by that time, but When Derrick May dropped ‘It Is What It Is’ I almost passed out man, honestly. I was so trying to keep my cool but there was no way. There was no track like that at the time and it kind of hit all the boxes for me in particular. I never did this before but I had to go up to the decks and just say to him how incredible that track was. I’m guessing he felt the sincerity in what I was saying and not just on the blag and he reached down and gave me a copy of the album. Not many events in men life match that one. I was just starting a residency (around 86/87) in a club called The Bank in Tokyo and that song and ‘Big Fun’ was the highlight of the night for as long I played there. I always played that track near then end and ended the night with Walter Murphy ‘Afternoon Of A Faun’ desert island disc numero uno. Great times.
I moved to NY from Bristol UK in 1989, as I have said before elsewhere. The reason for doing so was both to release my own stuff independently and as a buyer for a Tokyo record and clothing shop. Before the move I was aware of the house scene of course through tracks like ‘Funkin' With The Drums Again’ and the Larry Heard releases, Thomas Davis as well as the Detroit stuff that had hit England in limited quantity. But I grew up on a load of new wave stuff like DAF, A Certain Ratio, Shriekback and Jazz Fusion and Disco like Wilbert Longmire, Chic, Pat Adams, P-funk etc. The Chicago stuff was really the material that kind of got me wanting to do this thing, as it was a do it yourself version of the stuff I liked from that time. In the UK at that time I couldn’t see me doing what I wanted to do as an independent/underground house producer, so I left for NY. Of course just my luck a couple of years later the UK became a hot bed of house music generally and independent wise. So to start the store off with some good material I thought there was really only one place to go to and that was Barney’s Records in Chicago as it was the distribution point for most of the house music from that area. I called him up, told him who I represented and he said no problem. Little did I know that at that point in time Chicago was the murder capital of the USA if not the world, with a vicious gang war going. The only thing that I was aware of on arrival was how cold it was, never felt cold like that in my life. I arrived at the store and looked around and bought about 200-300 records of mainly 12’s. I was really happy at that point because I found some really interesting stuff. It may sound a bit selfish but the main reason I chose Barney’s was because I heard a track called ‘Love Of My Own’ on a radio tape of either Tony Humphries or John Robinson sent to me in the UK.
That track right there was my holy grail of house records. I didn’t find that record in that selection, but as I put the records on the counter Ray (Barney) said to me you know I got the warehouse downstairs and there may be some other stuff down there. I couldn’t believe my luck, so I steamed down those stairs and all you can see is untold record boxes all over the place. After about an hour I was like one-fifth of the way through when my eye locked onto that pink labelled beauty Joe R. Lewis ‘Love Of My Own’ it was an incredible feeling finding one let alone three. I felt like leaving right there and then, but if did I wouldn’t have found untold other records that I didn’t know but just looked interesting. One of them was another that became one of my all time favourite tracks by Project 122 – ‘Swing Your Body’. Anyway I eventually left that place with half a UPS truck of records and from that day on Ray sent me white labels of everything that came through his distribution company.
Final track of the really want list was Phlash 3000 – ‘1471’. Heard this track on a mix on DJ True’s brilliant Harlem Radio show ‘Deeper Than Disco’. I fell in love with that track instantly but I never got the title of it. Anyway one day I was in a downtown record store ‘Dub Spot’ run by my mate from Manchester Andy Hanley (Body & Soul). I told him what I was looking for by playing him a bit on minidisk and he knew what it was straight away. One copy on the wall that and been there ages, just waiting for me. That was like 2000, but I played it in every set for years after even up until about three years ago. And every time I would play it people would ask me what that joint was, when I told them it was Phil Asher they couldn’t believe it. Not sure what that’s about to be honest as I don't know what goes on in the UK with opinions and all that stuff. But to me it was pure class from the day I heard it.
FRANKIE BONES (NU GROOVE)
Though most heads will affiliate the legendary Frankie Bones with Nu Groove, he was also a mainstay of other NYC necessities such as Fourth Floor and Underworld with his inimitable ‘Bonesbreaks’ series – not to mention his own Breaking Bones Records label featuring other house heroes such as Tommy Musto, Lennie Dee and Bluejean. Though his productions had house roots they transcended the usual NY sound with their techno influence and soundtracked many a long lost M25 orbital mixtape with the heavy drum breaks, hypnotising rhythms, otherworldly synths and sampling ingenuity on records like his ‘Looney Tunes’ EPs thrusting him onto the UK rave scene. As well as the UK, Frankie played a pivotal role in the emergence of rave in New York with his legendary early '90s event STORMrave – which he resurrected earlier this year for Red Bull’s takeover of NYC. Not content with DJing and producing, he also ran his own record joint ‘Sonic Groove’ and still embarks on regular crate crusades on his home turf of Brooklyn. For his House Hunting Frankie gives us a short but sweet selection complete with a live rack raid from The Thing (!!!) proper dollar bin pressure…
PQM – ‘YOU ARE SLEEPING’ (YOSHITOSHI RECORDINGS)
Well here is how I do it. The shop is The Thing in Brooklyn. The story would be PQM ‘You Are Sleeping’ on Yoshitoshi, and sometime in 2005 I heard this song at a rave and on the way home on Sunday Morning, I was going to stop at The Thing and dig. The minute I got into the back of the store, the first record was a Yoshitoshi record and it literally jumped out of the crate at me… Exactly the song I went there to find.
JASON KENDIG (HONEY SOUNDSYSTEM)
Jason Kendig is 1/4 of San Francisco’s hot house supergroup Honey Soundsystem with the Cali crew also comprising of Jackie House, Josh Cheon and Robot Hustle – judging by this live clip of Chicago House hero Mystic Bill playin’ there for pride earlier this year def looks and sounds like my kinda party… Anyway, prior to laying down his roots down on the West Coast, Jason was raised in the Motor City where he had a weekly residency at the aptly named Motor Lounge in the late 90s holdin’ it down with local DJ legend Derek Plaslaiko – also warming up for Detroit deities such as Derrick May. This residency would build the foundations in his craft with his superior selections seamlessly segueing between the more discernible facets of house, techno and disco – check out his Soundcloud for his sets trust me serious… With Honey Soundsystem blowin’ up over the last year, I’m sure you’ll be seeing Jason jettin’ over to these shores very soon – keep him on your rave radar! So with his House Hunting Jason embarks on an East Coast raid for a bite of some obscure Big Apple flavour…
DANCE ADVISORY COMMISSION – ‘GONNA GET OVER YOU’ (FORE)
The most recent record find that had me walking out of the record shop in a glow was after my last trip to New York. I was visiting A1 records in the East Village and came across a copy of Dance Advisory Commission’s ‘Gonna Get Over You’ on Fore records from 1990 in excellent condition. I think I paid around $20 for it. The cut for me is the Jazzy Piano Mix which is a stripped back instrumental version with great percussion and a haunted vibe. There's been a bit of a renewed interest in the various projects that Ben Cenac has been involved in with reissues over the past few years of Push/Pull, Dream 2 Science & Sha-lor. He's probably best known for his involvement in the electro group Newcleus. Needless to say I was thrilled to add this slice of New York house history to my collection.
KEVIN STARKE (KSTARKE RECORDS)
Kevin Starke is the proprietor of KStarke Records which has become a Chi-town institution since opening nearly a decade ago in the Windy City’s West Town. Check out this lil’ video to get a flavour of the store – those house posters! Not content in just running KStarke, Kevin has proved a jack of all trades whether it’s DJing and producing under his Jackmaster Hater alias with releases on his Warehouse Box Tracks Records imprint, reissuing Chicago house heroes such as Larry Heard, Adonis and DJ Pierre on his KStarke label or unearthing long lost house Holy Grails by the likes of James “Jack Rabbit” Martin and Joe Lewis on his Chicago bootie label Booton Records way before the reissue craze – though back in vogue now to some of us these records have never been away… To add to all that earlier this year Kevin released his love letter to Chicago with his ‘KStarke Records (The House That Jackmaster Hater Built)’ comp on Jerome Derradji’s Still Music complete with some unreleased exclusives, house obscurities and pure Jackmaster Hater heat – if you ain’t copped it already then have a read and listen here proper house history… For his House Hunting, Kevin harks back to a collection that was the catalyst in realising his record store dream…
Z-FACTOR – ‘I AM THE D.J’ (MITCHBAL RECORDS)
This is one of those subjects that is so hard to write about in one small story because I have too many favourites. I will say this, digging for records, especially when it has been in a warehouse, a storage locker or an old or current one stop distribution’ it is a zen like experience for me. Nothing relaxes me more than being lost in a sea of vinyl and digging and finding either that one or a pile of great records that I know is gonna make me or someone else happy. It used to be I was looking for myself, but it's more of a dig for my customers than anything else now. You can't run a record store and fall in love with the vinyl for yourself. I had to give that up a long time ago. I do still wrestle with wanting to keep stuff when it comes in or I find things. Usually giving it to a customer wins out, but it's a definite fight to the end in my head!
If I had to pick one of my favourite digs, I guess it would be the time I was on 75th street on the southside of Chicago and I found Fletchers. This would be the precursor to me starting the record store in the first place. He has closed down the vinyl shop and had a CD store. This had to be back in 2004 if I remember correct. I asked I think his son or someone who worked there if he still had vinyl. They said they did next door below the video store he owned in the basement. So after a few attempts at asking to go down there, Fletcher himself was in one day and said yes. I felt special because no one knew it was there, I mean, it was like unearthing a buried treasure. It was hidden under an old video store in its basement (now closed sorry guys). When they turned on the lights, I lost my mind. It was thousands and thousands of LPs, 12" & 45's. I found tons of all the old house music records. Stuff on Westbrook, Catch-A-Beat, Mitchbal, Underground, Trax, Jes Say, copies of Rhythm Control ‘My House’, House to House ‘Taste My Love’, Armando ‘Land Of Confusion’ I mean, I got a box of Acid Trax, a whole box of them. Everything was pretty much still sealed. You name it, it was in there. I was in house heaven. I laugh a little now, because I had skipped on all that boogie, northern soul and funk that is so in demand now. At the time, didn't care, house was my main thing. He was charging like 4.00 a copy, which was fine with me. I must have went back there like 10 times. I kept stuff I needed cleaner copies of and from there I started selling online.
My first record I sold at that time was the Z Factor ‘I Am The D.J.’ which went (at that time) for over 200.00. I couldn't believe it. I was like, I wanna really start selling records professionally. So it grew from there into the store I have now. The best thing about finding that, is it made me feel like I was back in time to the '80s when I could actually go get this stuff sealed in a regular record store which in 2004 wasn't possible. It was like I was seeing it for the first time back when I starting buying as a 12 year old kid in 1983.
KRISTAN J CARYL (TESHNO/KMAH RADIO)
Kristan is the founder of Leeds' KMAH Radio and is a full time music writer for RA, DJ Mag, XLR8R and various other outlets. He runs teshno.com, DJs (mostly for his wife and newborn son, at home, as DJ Slippers) and loves to get high. He is generally happier than his miserable face and short temper would suggest, and takes pride in having been a top knot wearer way before it was cool, and likely way after – just like me with my man-bun… Anyway, for his house hunting find Kristan unearths an NYC necessity at a basement bargain bin price…
PAL JOEY – ‘NEW BREED EP’ (LIQUID MUSIC)
I’ve only been collecting records four years, so still very much wear L Plates when I go digging. My first year was haplessly obsessive and I went from zero to 1000 records stupidly quickly. At the time I was lying to my wife often, and buying tons of less than essential shit just so I had a new record arriving at the door each day. When I finally weened myself off those daily deliveries, the quality of my collection went up. Though I still love late night sessions on Discogs or Juno or wherever, nothing beats the eternal sense of possibility that comes from flicking through thousands of slightly dank smelling slabs in some chilly basement (though every time I do I can’t help but wonder how many bits of gold I am unknowingly passing by).
Up here in Leeds there are a couple of places to do just that, as well as regular fairs in a church and in the Corn Exchange, and it is here that I have snagged some great deals: a tenner for a mint copy of Metro Area’s eponymous LP, same deal for Roni’s New Forms, same deal Mezzanine just last week. One of the finds that sticks out the most is Pal Joey’s 1993 New Breed EP. I was familiar with but no expert on the New York producer, so took a 50 pence punt. Turns out it’s chock full of OG deep and jazzy house gold and is valued at a princely £11.50 on Discogs. It’s unexpected little victories like this that help you forget all the horrible gambles you make along the way, and remind you that the joy of the unknown trumps all else.
RYAN SHAW (MASTER SOUNDS)
Having a background in design engineering, it was only natural that Ryan would set-up an audio accessories company with his two-decades plus experience in the music industry; whether DJing, at the controls of choice record shops including Phonica or co-owning Eclectic Avenue Records. Seeing a gap in the market for a turntable weight that would both be aesthetically pleasing and enhance an audio experience, Ryan developed his Master Sounds concept with the brand’s mantra being ‘audio accessories for the vinyl enthusiast’. His record weights have fast-become an industry-standard accompaniment utilised by revered tastemakers such as DJ Harvey, Colleen “Cosmo” Murphy, Nicky Siano and Gilles Peterson. As well as the weights, Ryan also stocks an array of Master Sounds approved mixers and turntables plus plays deck doctor whether it’s servicing, refurbishing or upgrading your tired Technics – have a gander on the website for full details of all accessories on offer plus check out the Facebook and Instagram pages for regular updates. So onto his House Hunting and Ryan sought solace in the section-hand section down at his local digs…
SWING 52 – ‘THE COLOUR OF MY SKIN’ – CUTTING RECORDS
After thinking about many records for this feature I thought I would go back to when I started buying records. Back then I used to be massively into tape packs and I collected (and still have) lots from the Hacienda, Back to Basics, the Arc and various other club nights/clubs from the late '80s and early to mid '90s. There were lots of records on the tape packs that I loved but had no idea what they were called as none of the tapes had a track list. There was a shop in my local town called Bradley’s Records which sold new and used vinyl, so I used to jump on the bus and go have a look every weekend. Back then I remember shitting myself each time I headed downstairs to the vinyl basement, as it was always full of DJ’s listening to music and chatting about releases. They seemed to know everything and I knew absolutely nothing! I remember as clear as day heading to the 2nd hand section and at the front was a sleeve reading 'SWING 52 COLOUR OF MY SKIN'. I knew instantly that I had found my favourite record and it made me feel sick with anticipation. Back then I was too scared to ask to listen to anything so I kept hold of the sleeve and bought a few other used bits for £1.00 each which took me up to my usual £5.00 limit. The record cost me £2.99 and when I got home I must have played it over and over for months. Great memories of an exciting exploration into a new world of collecting music!
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