I see that you somehow wanted to show me those series of LPs. What do you think of the vinyl revenge/retromania that obsesses a lot of people? I mean, I love the ‘full size’ of LP covers, and the warm sound of vinyl, compared to the sharp one of CD… but for some reason I keep loving the CDs more than LPs, maybe just more practical?
Well, I’m not pro nor against vinyl per se. I’m listening to a lot of electro music (Dopplereffect, Caron, Maelstrom, Drexcyia, Alexander Robotnick, etc) and the preferred format for this music is the Mini LP. It’s a nice format and most of the times also the price isn’t too high. They cost about 8/10€ each. The thing I hate the most is that almost no one is including a Bandcamp link to download the wave files. I like to be free to listen to the music whenever and where I want to, so I have to rip the records I’m purchasing, just like I was doing in the 80s, when I was taping them. In my opinion, that’s crazy! About the quality, in my opinion vinyl isn’t better than CD. They are different format and the CD is not affected by all the restrictions you have to follow when you print a record. You don’t have to cut frequencies under 40Hz or above 16KHz (that’s why you have a warm sound, you can’t have the whole frequencies spectrum), you don’t have to have bass frequencies recorded in mono, you don’t have pops, cracks, etc. The cool thing about vinyl is the format and the fact that it won’t rot like some CDs. At the moment I have only few CDs affected by the rotting CD “plague”, but a friend of mine had other problems with original CDs. On some he noticed that parts of the metal layer, where the data is, disappeared! There are like holes! That would be a disaster for me, first, because of the money I spent. Second, because some of the CDs are out of print! About the CD, the shit factor, besides the fact that if you are unlucky, they aren’t working no more, is the bad mastering! The famous loudness war! I have an Apple Music account and I was listening to the newest Gizmodrome album (a super band formed by Stewart Copeland of Police fame, Level 42 bassist Mark King, Italian keyboardist Vittorio Cosma and guitarist Adrian Belew who played for King Crimson, Talking Heads, etc), the sound was really great as the songs are. As soon as I found the CD at a cool price, I purchased it, also because I thought: “Mmmmm…. 50′ of music on only one vinyl it would sound like shit! You know, low and without dynamic”. When I listened to the CD I wanted to use it as coaster for glasses! All the songs on every moment is sounding like someone is shouting in my ears! A very unpleasant effect! The cool thing about CDs, is that they are cheaper to purchase used, postage isn’t costing as the CD itself and, firstly, the sound won’t be affected by pop and cracks if someone listened to it a lot of times!
Among them, I see my loved Death in June (Patrick Leagas will soon be on these pages), a band that is controversial and has devoted fans and enemies. I and you are in the first bunch, I suppose. What do you like about them, what makes them so special to you? Which ‘era’ in their career?
Crisis, the band where Tony Wakeford and Douglas P. were playing before forming Death In June, were punk and really left wing. After that, Tony had some years where he’s been linked with right-wing movements and Douglas with the time choose an aesthetic which is really close to the Nazi one. I liked their music and I’m following them since the “Guilty Have No Pride” MLP. The feeling I have is that – besides the powerful effect that that kind of aesthetic is able to arise – Douglas, in my opinion, is feeling himself like that Japanese that didn’t know that the war was over and is overwhelmed by melancholy because his romantic vision of Europe won’t turn into reality. I really liked their post-punk period (the first stuff until “Nada”) as well as the following ones until “Rose Clouds Of Holocaust”. After that, luckily he found a new inspiration with the help of Albin Julius, but things, as it’s normal it would, were different. About the stuff released in the new millennium, I think that “All Pigs Must Die” is the only one which has a good inspiration. I’ve been really disappointed by “Alarm Agents”. I think I listened to it only twice. I recall it like it was the result of an evening passed by friends who were annoyed and then recorded some music. Another bad one has been “Peaceful Snow / Lounge Corps”. On “Peaceful Snow”, the duet with Douglas singing and Milo playing the piano isn’t working at all, because Douglas sounds bored. There’s no passion into his vocals. If you check the same songs he re-recorded for “The Snow Bunker Tapes”, they sound really better. His vocals sound convincing and that seems how it should have to be since the beginning!
I see you enjoyed putting side by side Psychic TV and Wretched. I like the first ones, I don’t know the latter, perhaps because I’ve never been into metal (I guess they are a metal band, but maybe I’m wrong). I also see a lot of Soft Cell: the thing that struck me is that you seem that kind of heavy collector that buys different versions of the same record, right? I’ve never been like that, but I’m curious about the dark force that pushes you or other ones like, for instance, Andrea Marutti, to do this.
Wretched have been an Italian hardcore band active in the mid-80s. They did only one LP, one MLP and several 7″ EP. The most valuable one is the one they shared with Indigesti. It has never been reissued into its integrity because Indigesti didn’t allow labels to reissue their side, so, also into the box which gathers all the EPs, the Indigesti side is blank.
I have different copies of the same albums for very few bands. Wretched is one of these. In my 20s they have been very important to me as well as Black Flag and Henry Rollins later, because they gave me the energy to face some issues I had.
Soft Cell have been one of the bands I loved the most when I was a kid along with Siouxsie & The Banshees, Bauhaus and Japan.
At that time I wasn’t too much into Joy Division, a band which I appreciated later.
For the different copies of the Soft Cell records, this is true only for few records.
To go into details:
1) I knew of the release of “The Art Of Falling apart” listening to Mixo (yes the same that now is working at Radio Capital) when he had a show at the local radio, Radio Flash. He told that the first copies had a free 12″, so the day after I took the bus (at that time I lived at 30Km from Torino) and went to the biggest alternative record shop in Torino I was used to go (Rock’n’Folk) ready to purchase my copy. When they told me that it was sold I was really disappointed but I purchased the normal copy, anyway.
A couple of weeks after, I saw that they were selling a copy of the first edition at double or so. At first I thought that they were rip-offs.
Maybe they were hiding some copies to sell them overpriced in a second time.
That was strange to me, because I already purchased Bauhaus’ “The Sky’s Gone Out” with the free live album at a normal price from them and I don’t know if with Soft Cell they did it on purpose… Anyway… The fact is that I refused to purchase that edition at that price until 2015, when I found it again, 32 years later at the Hoersturz stall at the W.G.T. in Leipzig for 10€, maybe.
Then, the last year, I was a copy of the reissue at Amazon Italy for 11€ or so and I purchased a third copy.
For other titles, like “Non Stop Erotic Cabaret”, one is the Canadian version which differs from the English one because they substituted “Chips On My Shoulder” with “Insecure Me”.
The second copy of the “Bedsitter” 12″, is because I purchased at a bargain price different Soft Cells’ 12″s and the one I had has some crackings…
Also for the first Human League, I have the first three vinyls double, because, first of all I found them at a cheap price and also because I had the Italian crappy 80s vinyl ones without inner sleeves, etc.
So, everything is depending on the band and on the price!
Also… of my preferred stuff, I have CDs and vinyls…
Maurizio Pustianaz is an experimental and electronic musician (Gerstein, Noisebrigade and A New Life), alternative music journalist since 1985 with Snowdonia, Maelzel and Psycho Tales ‘zines then with Rockerilla and Urlo magazine. In the mid 90s created CHAIN D.L.K. with Marc Urselli, one of the few magazine about electronic and experimental music which is still existing. One year ago he started a radio show about Italian 80s alternative music at lyl.live/noisebrigade.