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Friday, May 10, 2013

Why modern vinyl sounds better than old vinyl

Chris Topham flies jumbos for Virgin Atlantic for a living,  runs the vinyl label Plane Groovy for a hobby and is spinning the records at our next Word In Your Ear show on May 20th for nothing.

Plane Groovy has put out records by Chris Difford, My Darling Clementine, Henry Priestman and Francis Dunnery plus lots of progressive rock, which is Chris's particular taste.

These are proper records. Hefty things, often doubles, packaged in thick card covers and tightly shrink-wrapped so that they feel special and worth £19.99. To unpeel one is to be re-acquainted with the feeling of anticipation that vanished from recorded music thirty years ago.

They sound strangely good as well. Chris says the reason the vinyl records of the 70s and 80s popped and clicked was because in those post-fuel crisis days they had to be pressed on some recycled materials. "Modern vinyl," he reckons "sounds much better."

So few pressing plants are still open that it costs £3,000 to produce 500 copies of one of Plane Groovy's vinyl double albums. He does deals with artists on a handshake. Once the records, most of which are sold mail order, have earned back their manufacturing costs he splits things 50/50 with the act.

It's not a business that would provide anyone with a living but it takes more time than a standard hobby. He's trying to do a bit less flying so that he can spend more time with his records.

Chris will be spinning all kinds of vinyl inbetween the acts at our next Word In Your Ear gig at the Old Queen's Head on May 20th, a show which features My Darling Clementine and David Ford. You can book tickets here.