February 7, 2019

Moon_Ray Into The Archive: 300,000 Records, 4 DJ’s, 1 Day

What does 300,000 records look like? Surprisingly small, actually. But we love well organised catalogs, we love databases, we love pristine collections and we love finding new music when digging through old records, so we’re super excited to be working with RE:VIVE and Red Light Radio in Amsterdam, following renowned DJs as they sift through one of the biggest collections in The Netherlands. RE:VIVE is an initiative from Nederlands Instituut voor Beeld en Geluid (The Netherlands Institute For Sound & Vision) that brings archives and musicians together to create new productions inspired by old collections.

We live in the present and spend a lot of it worrying about and planning for the future. Even if we had the time, why would anyone bother sifting through the past? Archivists are not building homes, saving lives or keeping bad guys off the street, so in a world where we rightly expect people to make useful contributions to the world, the the utility of the archivist can be harder to define than that of the builder, the doctor or the law-maker.

But that’s only because their work is less tangible and less immediate. Archivists, and the archives they create and exhibit, are in fact indispensable for two reasons. Firstlly, they act as strongholds of information about how people lived and societies operated. Secondly, they help document how people and societies change, and therefore help us understand how our present world came to be.

But the thought of sifting through old marriage registrations and property deeds still sounds a little dry, doesn’t it? Enter the ‘media archive’. What better means for understanding people and societies than to see their faces and hear their music? You don’t even have to speak the same language. To me this makes music one of the most important things to catalog and make accessible to everyone forever. It takes real effort to prevent the painstakingly woven fabric of life from returning to its natural state of short, unconnected fibres, and musical archives are one of the most valuable arrows in the culture builder’s quivver. Most record collectors would probably tell you something similar: it takes countless hours to accumulate and organise a collection, but few other things will ever come so close to summarising who we are and what we care about.

This is also one of the reasons I have so much respect for the 450,000 Contributors to Discogs and the effort they put into cataloging the world’s music so that anyone can learn and discover things about all the music in the world.

But the realisation that sound collections are important, and should be a part of any cultural heritage program worth its salt, has in fact only recently begun to get traction in the public arena. Sound & Vision is a world-leader in this field, and our office in Amsterdam is only a short train ride away. So I was over the moon when we were invited to explore their sound archive alongside some of Amsterdam’s most prodigious DJs and selectors, as part of a program called “Into The Archive”, alongside local radio stalwart Red Light Radio.

Sound & Vision have literally millions of hours of sound and vision material, including 300,000 vinyl and shellac records, 4,000,000 pictures and 20,000 artifacts from media history (such broadcast equipment, televisions and computers), which makes them the media archive of The Netherlands. With 10.5 million Releases in our catalog, Discogs is currently the world’s largest online music database, but Sound & Vision’s physical music collection adds up to almost 3% of that. They are also a big part of the Netherlands Digital Heritage Network, developing a national system to improve the visibility, usability and sustainability of audio-visual heritage. We feel right at home working with them because we’re on a very similar mission: to build the biggest and most comprehensive music database that has ever existed, a site with discographies of all labels and all artists, all cross-referenced, to which anyone can contribute freely; and a marketplace built off that database, with which anyone in the world can build and curate their own personal musical archive.

Sound & Vision’s music collection is not actually as large as neighbouring Rotterdam’s Muziekweb, but it’s part of a more holistic collection, covering the whole of Dutch media history, not just sound. And it has a far more interesting backstory: it started life as the radio music collection for public broadcast radios in The Netherlands. At the time it began to take form, in the late 1960s, the public broadcast radio system was very complex, with multiple omroepen (stations) sharing the same frequencies. There were, for example, several different news, sports, politics and musical programs that occupied different time slots across five radio frequencies. This system has its roots in the political concept of Verzuiling (Pillarisation), under which societies are organised around segments  or ‘pillars’ along religious or ideological lines (only culturo-politically, not physically!). Each pillar is granted its own social institutions, such as newspapers, broadcast networks, political parties, trade unions, banks, schools, etc. Ever the practical innovators, the Dutch decided it would be a good idea to build a single repository for all the records (and later CDs) that all the different pillars’ radio stations could share. This collection formed the basis of what would later become Sound & Vision’s music archive.

Some of the rarest items in the collection are the various performances that were broadcast live for radio. Once such artifact is a film reel of Aretha Franklin and The Sweet Inspirations’ legendary performance, in 1968, at the Concertgebouw Amsterdam. The footage is amazingly well edited in a dizzying, ur-MTV style full of rapid zoom cuts between stupefied dancers and Aretha’s sweat drenched faced, and complete with backstage cigarettes before the performance. The highlight of the show is definitely watching the MC try and miserably fail to make everyone sit down! Apparently standing and dancing were not befitting of the prestigious venue. These moments make the reel a palpable document of the changing face of society in the late 60s, which is not only super entertaining but critically relevant in a 21st Century Europe again struggling to understand how to deal with the rapid change of its social fabric.

But for me, with my heavy musical bias, the most culturally significant part of the collection is still the 300,000 records that represent most of what was broadcast on public radio in The Netherlands from the 1960s to the early 1990s. By the mid-90s most stations had switched to digital resources and there was no longer any need for the shared record collection, although the collection has always been very well preserved, and continues to be. But what’s the point in just preserving things? Archives need to be used and participate in creative activities if they are to be relevant.

Sound & Vision are, again, world-leaders in this space. They recently spent the better part of a decade digitising over 100 years of media as a part of their Images For The Future project, which has enabled them to engage in unprecedented educational, cultural, and economic activities, and their focus on partnerships is also stronger than ever, as seen through the many joint exhibitions and projects with other knowledge institutes and companies. A case in point is this RE:VIVE project, which is bringing together the worlds of archives and Electronic music, to change the way people hear the past. The combination is pretty much heaven for anyone who likes music, archives, catalogs and collections as much as we do.

One of their first projects was to have contemporary sound artists create new works with old sounds from the archive. Apart from the obvious fact that music is kind of like a universal access point for understanding or learning about people and cultures, having the artists work within these constraints meant they were forced engage with the heritage in a different way. The results speak for themselves:

At the end of the day these new works are also just great music that anyone can enjoy. Some of them are also dance floor ready, and have been played by the likes of Aphex Twin and Paula Temple. But the deeper context is there for those looking to go a little further. What a nice surprise to find out you’re actually dancing to mechanical rhythms pulled from archival footage of  flood control facilities.

Recognising that the culture of selecting and spinning records is woven deep into the social fabric of Europe, especially in Amsterdam, RE:VIVE’s latest project hones in on the talent of some of those local selectors. In collaboration with Red light Radio and Discogs, “Into The Archive” explores the possibilities for creating new from old when you have an incredible collection and creative selectors. This is not an algorithm. This is an old school approach to selection and curation, relying simply on the depth of knowledge of the selectors.

Over the past few weeks, some of Amsterdam’s finest selectors – Gilbert Cohen (AKA DJ Gilb’R), Robert Bergman, Femke Dekker (AKA Loma Doom) and Clélia Zida (AKA Kléo) – have spent a day each digging through Sound & Vision’s 300,000 strong record collection. I spent time catching up with each of them and talking about archives, activism, personal cataloging methods, Spotify, YouTube, and the changing shape of the music landscape. You can read about their day in the archive and their selections here:

  • Gilb’R – runs the 22-year-old Versatile Records label
  • Robert Bergman – Your favourite DJ’s favourite DJ
  • Femke Dekker – one of the longest running and most loved selectors on Red Light Radio, charming listeners around the world once a month with her Tuesday Night Prayer Meeting
  • Kléo – programs music at the infamous Café Belgique in Amsterdam



Read our
Overview Of How Discogs Is Built


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LowEnd91 Discogs Mix 43 – J. Rocc

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One of the original turntablists, J. Rocc founded the Beat Junkies in 1992 with Melo-D and Rhettmatic, but has done just as much on his own as in a group setting. He began DJing in the mid-’80s with a California group named PSK. Soon after forming, the Beat Junkies became a seminal force in the rise of instrumental hip-hop, including core member Babu plus future stars Shortkut and D-Styles.

In addition to numerous mixtapes and his own production for various Stones Throw Records releases, J. Rocc has been the DJ for Madlib’s live shows since the early 2000’s, was the 3rd member of Jaylib (Madlib & J Dilla) during the group’s live events, and collaborated with Madlib on Beat Konducta Vol. 5-6: A Tribute to J Dilla. J. Rocc’s first album of his own original production, Some Cold Rock Stuf, was released in 2011. Since then, J. Rocc has continued to travel the world as an in demand DJ, and also hosts the Adventures In Stereo radio show on Los Angeles radio station KPFK. Check out J. Rocc’s Discogs mix on Soundcloud!
<!–Performers at the festival include Black Thought, Bun B, Jay Electronica, DJ Premier, Slum Village, 9th Wonder, D.I.T.C. luminaries Diamond D and A.G., Royce Da 5’9”, Blu & Exile, Rapsody, Kev Brown, DJ Craze, and many more.
In addition to performances from the above hip hop legends and leaders of the now-school, J Dilla Weekend will also feature producer panels, BBQs, photo/art exhibits, meet and greets, and other events celebrating Jay Dee’s life and legacy. This year also includes an official Dilla Record Exchange, presented by Discogs, which will feature a special all-45s DJ set by Diamond D! You can order your tickets for the event online.

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from Discogs Blog

Premier: Balkan Taksim – ‘Zalina’


Goldmine1 Marvin Gaye’s never-released 1972 album, ‘You’re The Man,’ set for 2-LP debut on March 29

Marvin Gaye’s never-released 1972 album, ‘You’re The Man,’ set for 2LP debut on March 29.

The post Marvin Gaye’s never-released 1972 album, ‘You’re The Man,’ set for 2-LP debut on March 29 appeared first on Goldmine Magazine.

from Goldmine Magazine

A concert now shrouded in mythology, though in fact it was only…

via The Real Mick Rock

Goldmine1 Marvin Gaye’s never-released 1972 album, ‘You’re The Man,’ set for 2-LP debut on March 29

Marvin Gaye’s never-released 1972 album, ‘You’re The Man,’ set for 2LP debut on March 29.

The post Marvin Gaye’s never-released 1972 album, ‘You’re The Man,’ set for 2-LP debut on March 29 appeared first on Goldmine Magazine.

from Goldmine Magazine

Joseph Hanna Audio-Technica’s VM95 Cartridges Have Something For Everyone

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The AT-VM95 is Audio-Technica’s newest line of consumer level phono cartridges. The major advantage of this cartridge line is the compatibility with any of the VM95 replacement styli. That means upgrading is as easy as swapping the stylus.

Each cartridge utilizes Audio-Technica’s dual moving magnet design, which has been honed through the decades. The body has threaded inserts with hardware included in the box that makes mounting to a standard head shell very easy. Alignment, of course, depends on our turntable. That could be a rather lengthy discussion. If you don’t know how to align a cartridge, there are some great articles and tools available for free online. The best judge is your ear, but protractors and overhang gauges can help achieve alignment much closer to what the manufacturer intended. Here is a quick rundown of options:

Bonded Conical Tip

There are some records in our collection that are what we could call “well worn.” They come to us with scratches, a thin layer of dust, and might be missing a sleeve. A lot of 45s fall into this category. Despite several cleanings, we can’t seem to get the grime out of the grooves. This is a perfect record for the AT-VMN95C stylus. The conical stylus has a sphere-shaped tip that stays out of the bottom of the groove and sails past the dust! On average, a conical stylus will last up to 500 hours. The economical choice and a handy tool for those records that are not in the best condition.

Bonded Elliptical

A bonded stylus has a diamond tip that is mounted to a metal shank and then connected to the cantilever. This is a tried and true, cost effective way to craft a stylus. Elliptical styli are shaped to sink deep into the groove, which extends frequency response and improves channel separation. The AT-VMN95E stylus is an excellent fit for 180-gram reissues, modern records, and 12-inch singles. The stereo image of the album was noticeably wider than the conical, and the inner tracks played back with less distortion. The bonded elliptical exceeded expectations, whether it was a solo acoustic guitar or a track with sizzling horns.

Audio-Technica VM95 Series Cartridges

Nude Elliptical

A nude stylus is a diamond shape mounted directly to the cantilever. This allows for increased dynamic range, better stereo imaging, and further extends the frequency response of the cartridge. The AT-VMN95EN had significant gains in every department over its bonded counterpart. The presentation of the music was realistic, whether the setting was a small club, large room, or concert hall. It captured keys clicking on saxophones, the first breath before a vocal entrance, and the chair squeak during a vigorous violin passage. It handled worn records better than expected, but this stylus should be saved for clean records in VG+ condition or better.

78 Stylus

With more turntables capable of playing 78 rpm records, the demand for a capable cartridge is growing significantly. The hard shellac records of the ’40s and ’50s require a special .0003 millimeter tip. Playing 78s with a 33/45 stylus will rub away the treble, even one such play can forever alter the music. For optimal playback, some early 78s may require a smaller tip radius depending on the time period, as the industry did not standardize groove size until the ’40s. It would be a good idea to research a little about the recording before deciding to spin that precious platter!

Audio-Technica has developed the AT-VMN95SP to handle a majority of the 78s we find out in the wild. If you have yard sale, inherited, or bargain bin 78s, this would be a great cartridge for you. Whether it was classical, big band, country and western swing, or rock and roll, the stylus sounded crisp and clear with a low noise floor.

Pristine 78s have incredible fidelity, one that rivals even the best 12-inch albums. The speed at which the 78 spins allows plenty of bandwidth for the music. Even though some of these albums were pressed over 80 years ago, the electroplating and mastering techniques used in the manufacturing process are still around today!

Audio-Technica VM95 Series Cartridges

Micro Linear and Shibata

These two styli are placed in the same category because the differences between them would be difficult to summarize. Shibata styli were utilized in discrete quadraphonic systems, because they were capable of producing the 45kHz frequencies required for CD-4 playback. The tip is shaped to preserve the delicate high frequency signals in the record that can be worn away with inferior styli. The Micro Linear stylus is a line contact stylus that is shaped to increase stylus life and permits some of the lowest inner groove distortion of any stylus shape.

The overhang for the AT-VMN95SH and the AT-VMN95ML required almost double the amount of time as the other styli. Several albums were auditioned, and then minor adjustments were made to the cartridge overhang. As we move up in the world of cartridges, alignment is critical! You, dear reader, must have a deep and complete understanding of every aspect of cartridge alignment including VTA, azimuth, overhang, and tracking force to reap the full benefits of these styli. A small adjustment one way or the other will produce dramatic results.

Not all turntables are capable of handling Micro Linear or Shibata styli. Audiophile cartridges and styli are typically found on manual turntables with solid plinths and sophisticated tonearms. Fully automatic and semiautomatic tables have more hollow space in the plinth that may cause unwanted resonant frequencies, which could interfere with cartridge reproduction. They also risk ruining an expensive purchase if the table misses the edge of the record or has a cueing failure that causes the stylus to rake on the album. When selecting a cartridge, take into account the turntable to which it will be mounted. If the turntable is mostly plastic, stay away from these styli.

The Shibata and Micro Linear styli are capable of almost flawless playback with the right settings. The human voice, pipe organ, and piano are some of the most difficult instruments for a vinyl record to convey accurately. Both the Shibata and Micro Linear reproduced dissonant choral passages with ease and had an impressive dynamic range. Quiet moments were present and subtle, while tutti orchestra and pipe organ had a rich and powerful sound. The extended frequency response of the styli were capable of producing harmonics of a grand piano in a concert hall with a sweet, warm tone, that is characteristic of vinyl. These styli should be reserved for the most pristine records, as they will magnify everything, including imperfections in the pressing.

A veteran in the cartridge industry, Audio-Technica has once again made a significant contribution to the analog world. The ever-expanding consumer cartridge market has some fabulous new options for every price point. Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned listener, the AT-VM95 cartridge series has a stylus to fit your budget — and your ears.

Joseph Hanna is an employee of Magnetic Tape Recorder Inc and Stereo Center. A mom-and-pop vintage stereo repair and retail shop at 601 Baxter Ave. in Louisville, Ky., founded in 1956. They specialize in the repair and sales 1950s, ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s home audio and stereo equipment.

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jfl Dip Your Ears, No. 223 (Vadym Kholodenko’s Scriabin)

Alexander Scriabin
, Preludes, Etudes et al. for Piano
Vadym Kholodenko (piano)
Harmonia Mundi

The Ukrainian Vadym Kholodenko, 2013 gold medalist at the Van Cliburn International Piano competition (and sufferer of unfathomable tragedy) performs select compositions of the wildly sensualistic Alexander Scriabin on this disc: in chronological order with the two central Fourth and

from Ionarts

NeahkahnieGold Discogs iOS App Featured In Europe

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You may have seen the news firsthand, but if not we wanted to share. The Discogs iOS app was recently featured in the European iOS app store! We’re so proud that we wanted to take this opportunity to share some of the recent updates released by our hard-working iOS developers.

New Discogs iOS App Features

  • Buying Integration – by far the most requested service by Discogs users for years, this was, in short, no easy task. In 2018, the Discogs app team was able to fully integrate the Discogs Marketplace for both the Android and iOS apps. Collectors can now buy from Sellers around the world directly from their mobile devices.
  • My Discogs – it’s a place to call your own. A summary of your Collection, Wantlist, Discogs account and much more in one place. See how you connect with Discogs.

images of the Discogs iOS app features My Discogs and buying integration

Upcoming Discogs App Features

2018 was our biggest year ever for the Discogs iOS and Android apps. If you can imagine, a little over a year ago purchasing through either of the apps was impossible. In 2019, we’re dedicating ourselves to making both apps even better. The iOS app will soon see frontend design and UX changes to help you explore Discogs in new ways, along with backend stability updates. We think you’ll like what our cooks have stewing in the app kitchen.

Want to try out some of the new features before they’re served to the masses? Sign up to become a Discogs iOS app beta tester.

Download The Discogs iOS Or Android App

Are you not using the Discogs app yet? Well, friend, you should be! It’s a convenient way to tap into the more than 10 million releases directly from your mobile device. Scan by barcode, buy from Sellers around the world and organize your Collection directly from the Discogs iOS app.

Download now from the App Store
Download now from Google Play

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