How kind of you to ask!
This is my second (or third, depending) blog, and it's intended to be a run-through of my collection of [12", non-single/maxi-single] vinyl every day. I do work, so this might be complicated, but it is my goal.
Okay, but why?
This is a blog I've created with the intention of setting goals for myself, which is something I'm often terrible at. Alongside that, it's intended to be a little more "accessible" than my previous blog (There's Something in the Gold We're Digging) and a little more "digestible" as well. It is being written, essentially, in contrast to other blogs I've seen with similar goals (let's be honest: Liz's 1001 Albums¹) that operate on similar notions but, if you'll pardon my bluntness, don't bring much to the table.What is the information at the beginning of each entry?
If I'm going to listen to something, I want to do my best to understand it--both personally, and, in some measure, its universal position music-wise. I want to say something of interest and value, that might appeal to both those familiar and those who aren't. I could also pull out that book, 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die, but it would be silly: what the hell am I going to tell you or anyone else about The White Album or Pet Sounds? This, by contrast, seemed a reasonable goal. There are actually at least a few records here I have (somewhat guiltily) not bothered to listen to much (if at all). This makes me listen to them and creates entertainment for other people, so it works for me. I am going to eat my words before long, as I do own some rather classic albums on vinyl (including Pet Sounds, but I have an out for that particular one, which you'll see when I get to it--EDIT: I changed my methodology and my friends and family stuck me with Pet Sounds anyway. Drat.)
It is specific to the exact record I actually own. I do this because there are variances in releases--for instance, the album art for Highway to Hell was different in AC/DC's home country of Australia, or the various track listing errors and peculiarities I'm finding can be narrowed to define the release I own. It is laid out as follows, to the right of the photo of the cover:
[Record Label] ■ [Catalogue Number printed on my copy]
[Release date of record in question; does not account for reissue or repress]
[Production, engineering and/or mastering credits for the record]
[Production, engineering and/or mastering credits for the record]
[Encompassing quotes printed on album art, where applicable]
Cynical answer: as a relative fad, it will draw in readers. Theoretically.
Schmaltzy answer: I grew up with my father's collection of ~8,000 (no, really) records.
Real answer: I have way fewer records than I have CDs. If I stopped buying music on CD now (no, I haven't done that), I'd still take around 7 and a half years of writing--managing a perfect everyday schedule--to get through them. An admirable goal, but not a terribly realistic one. If I can keep this going that long, I'd be happy with a slightly less hectic pace and a greater variety from the influx of new records I'll probably gather.Doesn't it sound better?
That's complicated. In terms of accuracy of reproduction, no, it does not reproduce as--or more--accurately. Further reading here, with some more technical details.
As far as a universal "better" for the entire medium, that is entirely subjective and plays purely into how one "listens". I fully acknowledge a psychological appeal to it that I happily and freely admit is a silly driver for my own purchases and listening habits. There's something nice about the chance for only organic errors, and an appeal to the "natural" instances of problems that occur. It's not jarring, though it can be distracting, and is certainly more common.
Somewhere in between: music has been mastered in very strange, grating ways for some years now. It bothers some people more than others, but if someone can really show you the difference, you can most likely hear it. It's really disappointing. This does mean, then, that a lot of CDs (especially many "remastered" ones) sound terrible, as they have suffered heavy distortion from clipping, "brick-wall" mastering and other fun terms that basically drain it of the range it originally had, either when first released or when first recorded. I don't really want to get into this, as it gets a lot of people hot under the collar, and this entire subject is a mess on that front.Why don't you post uploads of whatever you're listening to?
There are a number of reasons. First and foremost: I have contact with a number of musicians and engineers. Not an awful lot of huge ones, but of varying levels of fame and fortune. I am acutely aware of how important their income can be, and how this differs from a variety of other fields. Most I know are very gracious about their income, and are not litigious. Some are aware of where their musical success has gotten them personally and reflect this openly, others do not have that musical success and live "paycheck-to-paycheck" by creating music and interacting with fans regularly. A lot of money goes into touring and the like, and if you want to see smaller artists live, they need income to be able to manage to do it, and generally a lot of their income ends up going back directly into this very avenue.
Beyond that: my turntable is mediocre at best, my cartridge should probably be replaced, and it would take a lot of effort to deal in that kind of encoding and compressing (and then I would get into the folks who insist I should've avoided compression, so on and so forth).
In the end, that's not the point here: the point is to tell you about cool music, to give you a reason to seek it out. I'm not an old fogey, I'm not a doubter about spending coming from questionable downloads--I used to do it myself, back in the heyday. However, it's spoiled a bit of the process when you can just pour an entire discography onto your harddrive in ten minutes (or less!) and then (usually) just ignore it because there's too much to get through. I want to laser-focus people on acquiring something specific, not just inundate."Verging on Vinyl"? How does that even make sense?
Given enough time, I could probably justify it to you. Honestly, I tried to think of an alliterative title that was not just using a totally obscure word and could make a kind of sense, even if tenuously. It felt reasonable--I've always based my understanding of words, more often than not successfully, on feel--and like I could make sense of it. Really, I suppose it was the idea of coming up upon it all: I've got this collection (about 3-400 records) that I haven't given half the time it deserves, so I'm "verging" on taking full ownership of it, in more than just the literal, legal sense.
Okay, it's thin, I know, but I'd have some measure of trouble getting people to remember "Vacillating on Vinyl," some spelling issues with people who wanted to reach "Visceral Vinyl" (plus implications of either exclusively Cannibal Corpse reviews, or of thoughtless gut-reactions, which is exactly what I'm intent on combating), and, well, find me another "v"-verb that makes any sense and maybe I'll go with it. I deliberately abbreviated the URL for just such an occasion.What's '12" non-single/maxi-single vinyl'?
12" vinyl is the most common size these days. Most albums are pressed on 12" platters, though if long enough they may take up 2, 3, or even (very rarely, outside of box sets) 4 platters. 10" and 7" are the other sizes (barring novelties) and are typically used for "extended plays" which might also be called "mini-albums" or singles, which are composed of a song released for radio/jukebox play (at least in theory, maybe just for ease of listening) and a b-side track that is occasionally played in the same fashion. Some 12" discs are also made for "maxi-singles" which are just singles with a couple of extra tracks, usually 4-5.
I'm not here to review single songs, if I can help it, so that's why I'm sticking to albums.
I do have a few 2x10" release albums and 10" EPs I might dip into, but most of the 7"s are off the table--just too song-specific to review for me. We'll see. If I violate this, it will be a sidebar to the main project. Otherwise, please consult the glossary for further details.You keep mentioning this word/term ("post-", "extended play", etc). What does it mean?
Drop a comment, or send me an e-mail at vergingonvinyl [at] gmail [dot] com and I will do my best to add it to a glossary at the top of every page of the blog. Don't worry if you feel like you "should" know any term (or about correcting me on it!). My aim is to be clear for anyone to read!
¹This site is no longer (publicly) available. You aren't missing much.