Romanus Records has taken the cake for strangest objects pressed into vinyl. The Indianapolis based company describes its products as “dangerous vinyl”, with razor blades and “free floating” gun powder pressed into the wax for Texas rock duo Ghost Wolves’ latest release.
According to The Vinyl Factory, dinosaur bones and brewery grains are also being filled into Ghost Wolves’ records. In an interview, Chris Banta, the CEO of Romanus Records, revealed, “We are always trying to push the bounds of creativity of what can be put in a record. It’s such an open-ended artistic format, with endless possibilities.”
“The process of making these is a mastery of the dark arts,” Banta said. “They are constantly evolving… It’s been a giant messy success so far.”
With these pressings, Romanus Records has shown blatant creativity in a surprising medium. They’re visually intriguing and one should never miss an opportunity to say “my vinyl is part dinosaur.”
A vinyl renaissance of sorts has grown in concurrence with the advent of streaming as the new most popular method of music delivery. Young music enthusiasts have become fascinated by the organic warmth of a record player’s sound, and grown fond of the nostalgia it engenders. In the UK in particular, vinyl had a particularly impressive resurgence in 2016, as the country witnessed a record-breaking year of 3.2 million units sold – the highest figure for vinyl sales in the UK since 1991.
Fascinatingly, vinyl records also bested digital downloads in the UK last year when comparing how much money was spent on each technology. This could be attributed to streaming, which clocked in at 45 billion plays in 2016. “Millennials, who’ve grown up digital, are increasingly choosing to experience both current and heritage artists on vinyl also. Meanwhile older baby-boomers are embracing streaming alongside their record collections,” stated Regent Street and Goldbar Records owner Vanessa Higgins of growth in the opposing technologies.
The music industry has always been in a state of perpetual change, though once the internet took ahold of it, that evolution was sped up exponentially. As such, predicting the trends before they happen tends to be difficult, though not impossible if one knows where to look and how to analyze the data.
One recent trend that seems to have taken the majority of the industry by complete surprise was the resurgence of analog gear and, more specifically, vinyl. While digital music has served as one of the most omniscient changes in the industry through the advent of the MP3 and the internet, it hasn’t been enough to completely eclipse the analog world. One recent study by the Entertainment Retail Association (ERA) irrefutably proves this point yet again. According to the ERA, last week saw sales of vinyl records surpass that of digital in the United Kingdom: £2.4 ($3.03) million and £2.1 ($2.64) million, respectively.
This is the first time in music history that this has happened (since the advent of digital music, of course), and was driven by a combination of digital sales falling drastically while the supply and accessibility of vinyl records increased to match the demand. The signs leading to this disparity first came to light with a finding in 2015 that showed vinyl sales already beating out the combined ad-supported streaming revenue from YouTube, VEVO, SoundCloud, and Spotify.
Justice‘s Woman excelled in pushing genre barriers – so much so, in fact, that we’ve named it our number one album of 2016. Now, the duo are pushing technological barriers in an unusual way. Justice’s third studio album has been available in CD, vinyl, and digital formats since mid-November; however, their backing label, Ed Banger, has created a prototype which melds the three formats.
Justice uploaded a video to their Instagram today, December 7, that shows a CD/vinyl hybrid of Woman in action. Captioned, “•WOMAN• one side CD / one side VINYL – this very limited edition is a prototype (first ever!) and is not yet for sale.” The video sees Ed Banger label-head Busy P showing off the progressively retro format to astounded cameraman Glenjamn. Though no release date for this multi-functional iteration of the albumhas been set, it will the ultimate collectors item for any Justice fan.
Imagine being able to appreciate the warmth of Xavier and Gaspard’s tertiary LP on a record player, then blasting “RANDY” in the Honda Accord’s CD player, and then becoming giddy with excitement upon the recollection that the Woman CD/vinyl can be transferred onto iTunes via any computer with a CD drive. Sure, the album is available on every major online streaming platform, but didn’t that scenario sound titillating?
Watch the “new” format of Woman being played on a turntable in the below video.
Likely putting herself in the running for “Coolest Parent of the Year”, Ukranian DJ Nastia stopped by her daughter’s elementary school classroom for a “bring-your-parent-to-work” day. To educate her daughter’s peers about her craft, Nastia decided to show rather than tell.
Bringing along a set of turntables and a mixer, Nastia spun vinyl with her daughter, while giving the class an overview of the mechanical process of DJing in real time. In the video posted to Nastia’s Facebook page, mother and daughter bob their hands in tandem to the beat, as the other children in the class look on in wonderment and begin to dance at their desks. Watch the heartwarming video below.
Boasting a fully-funded Kickstarter campaign with over 20 days still on the clock, MAG-LEV Audio has received a massively overwhelming response for their new product: the world’s first levitating record player. As its name suggests, MAG-LEV uses magnets to levitate and rotate the record player’s platter without compromising sound quality.
Designed with feet to hold the platter up while the player is off — as well as a built in backup power source designed to safely collect the platter should power fail — and subtle orange-red lighting underneath the spinning record on a base that comes in a wooden trim, as well as black or white, MAG-LEV’s latest gives off an appealing modern, minimalist vibe.
MAG-LEV’s Kickstarter concludes on November 21 with an expected delivery date in January 2017.
The Chemical Brothers have been a pioneering force in electronic music for close to three decades now, unleashing eight groundbreaking studio albums in the process. Their latest album Born in the Echoes arrived in the summer of 2015, reigniting interest in their startling compositions and psychedelic live shows.
Come December, longtime fans and record hunters will now be able to own the group’s entire discography on vinyl. December 9 will mark the release of the first seven Chemical Brothers albums on limited-edition vinyl, and by Dcember 23, all eight will be released on standard vinyl.
Britain recently unveiled its new five-pound notes, and their stiffness was so intriguing that a couple of citizens tested and successfully used them to play vinyl. Composed of polymer — a more environmentally friendly material — the corners are sturdy and sharp enough that with the help of a small microphone and amplifier, they serve as relatively adequate record needles.
Doubling as a vinyl player might be one of the few redeeming qualities of the new bills, which are incapable of folding into a wallet or being used in a vending machine. Watch a video of one playing ABBA’s classic, “Money, Money, Money” above. Learn more about the new five-pound note here.