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The vinyl things in life

“And if there come the singers and the dancers and the flute players,- buy of their gifts also. For they too are gatherers of fruit and frankincense, and that which they bring, though fashioned of dreams, is raiment and food for your soul." Kahlil Gibran

 

Picture a crisp vinyl record case, hard-backed and intricately inked, sharp-edged and cool in your hands. Hug it to your chest - the corners pliant, but the vinyl beneath hard and unwielding. Your fingers leave tiny prints on each pristine corner. Enclosed within two sturdy walls, the record beats like a second heart against yours, music spilling out from between the pages…

We desire to have and to hold the impossible. A vinyl record embodies the music we can’t touch or see, but which feels achingly real to us. It’s also an ode to the creativity and the beauty of the final piece, showing how we invest and express ourselves in our favourite music.

A finely crafted vinyl record reads like a book: turn the page and the waiting music tells a story. Each of our records includes a USB card, which includes all the music as high quality .wav files as well as extra tracks, and additional treats such as notes, photos or videos. So even if you don't own a record player you can take part in the experience and enjoy the melodies...

The finished music itself has also been on a journey from source to record, expertly mixed and overlaid in order to give the listener the most high quality sound. This process begins with an initial recording where each instrument is recorded on a separate microphone and stored on a separate file or ‘track.’ Some artists may also record all the instruments all together to add ambience. Then the different tracks are put together in a process called ‘mixing.’ Much like creating a collage, different tracks are cut together or doubled up to give texture and layers to the music.

Each instrument is treated like an ingredient in a recipe, with different concentrations producing a different feel, flow and overall experience. The biggest job is adjusting different volumes for different tracks, so they play in harmony. Some instruments or a voice might be made louder than others for effect and clarity in the song. Much like top notes in a perfume, these draw us into the music so we can appreciate the overall effect.

Different music formats require different noise levels to give the best quality. For a punk band, it can be quite crucial to give the recording power and volume. For a classic symphony, where the quiet parts are as important as the loud ones, this process determines how those changes in volume will sound.

The music is then sent digitally to a Mastering Engineer who records the music onto a master plate or ‘lacquer,’ from which all the other records will be made. It is important to get this right, so a small test run is made, called a ‘test press,’ which checks for cracks or pops in the music. If this is approved, the full press is ordered, while the master plate is carefully stored.  As all the vinyls produced will be pressed against this original plate, the model has to stay in perfect condition, in a temperature controlled environment to prevent degrading.

The new records are pressed, tucked into their beautifully artworked cases, and carefully packaged to go out to shops. On shelves they wait to be plucked up by music lovers, clasped to beating hearts and taken home to fill your house with music and light...

 

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