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mmmm that sandwich looks tasty af – Shroomie Who We Are We are a handful of people from different parts of the world who share two passions – listening to…

I Have A Record Player Now

Cover art of 'An Angel Fell' by Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids
Source: https://idrisackamoorandthepyramids.bandcamp.com/album/an-angel-fell

Although I’ve dipped my toes into analog music media before with my mom’s record player when I was still living at home, I’ve never owned one myself and thus was never inclined to start building my own collection. Until now. Quite coincidentally, a few days prior to Shroomie’s vinyl post I got myself a good deal on a used record player. Now I’m ready to start my very own journey and (probably) financial demise – hunting for records. It only seemed fitting to document this journey on our blog.

What I Already Had

To start off I already had 3 records at my place:

1. Miles Davis and Gil Evans – Sketches Of Spain

My first of probably many Miles Davis records to come, the Kind of Blue follow-up Sketches Of Spain is probably a staple in most jazz lover’s collections. While some might put it down as boring, slow or elevator worthy, this record is a bliss to listen to. It’s strangely calm and tense at the same time and overall sound-wise very delicate, which makes me glad that I decided on buying a brand new record.

2. Frank Zappa – Sheik Yerbouti

As a devout Zappaphile and dancin’ fool I just had to get this record when I saw it in the store staring at me with the ‘used – 12€’ price tag. It’s got many of my favourites like Dancin’ Fool, Tryin’ To Grow A Chin, or the lanky Yo’ Mama. However, with my next Zappa record, I’ll probably go for a more instrumental one.

3. Bobby McFerrin – Simple Pleasures

This one was lent to me by my brother so I would have 50% more records when starting off. If you want to have a Bobby McFerrin record, it should probably be this one, as it contains the famous (and probably also dreaded by some people) hit Don’t Worry, Be Happy. I absolutely adore McFerrin’s vocal skills and his feelgood upbeat songs never fail to lift me up a little.

The Hunt Begins

Unfortunately, the Vinyl situation in my City isn’t super great. There is one ‘bigger’ record store here. It’s probably the biggest hub of used records in town, but other than that it’s pretty focused on Rock releases. So I went out to visit 2 of the (I think) 4 other record stores in town to check them out.

The second one I went to was a small very run-down shop that actually had a second record shop in the back room. The first of the two had a disappointing 1/2 a box of jazz records and 2 other boxes with blues, soul, world and funk records crammed into them. To make things worse, those boxes were on the floor making me to awkwardly kneel down in my winter apparel, sticking my ass out to the seemingly undead shopkeeper sitting in the corner. The back room shop at least had a dedicated rack for everything and actually had a good, albeit very small, selection of jazz, blues, and funk records. I bought one record in each of those shops:

4. Manu Dibango – Afrijazzy

The Cameroonian is a huge name in the world of Ethnic Jazz. This afro-funk – and jazz record and contains a star-packed version of his most famous piece Soul Makossa, whose refrain was used in both Michael Jackson’s Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’, as well as Rihanna’s Don’t Stop The Music.

5. Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes

It’s a funk and soul classic which I have personally overlooked for quite some time until I (re-)discovered it on JQBX. It was an easy groovy 10€ bargain. I’ll probably spin it some mornings, similar to what I did with Vulfpecks ‘Outro’.

I probably wouldn’t pay this store another visit, if it wasn’t only 2 minutes from another absolutely lovely little store. This other store is actually a small bookshop with a little vinyl section, hidden in the attic above the main area and accessible via an old narrow wooden staircase that creaks on every step.

Vinyl area in a book shop
A little vinyl area in a bookshop. Please excuse my bad photography skills and potato camera.

Now, this was by any means the tiniest collection of records I have ever seen in a store, but man was it nice and cozy in there. You could just feel that it’s a little passion project done with love for vinyl music. The collection consisted mostly of new Hip Hop, Indie and Jazz releases. I didn’t get to talk much to the owner/employee, but it felt like it was a very carefully selected collection of artists. The Jazz records hit exactly my taste which inclines me to check out the Hip Hop and Indie records although I set out to buy records from other genres first. I want more record shops like this! Since I’m kinda strapped by cash I only bought one record, but I’ll definitely come back for more.

6. Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids – An Angel Fell

This spiritual-jazz record kinda knocked me off my feet when I first listened to it and did again when listening on vinyl. It’s really good. Fuck, it’s sooo good. It’s an excellent mix of lanky spiritual jazz and colourful free-jazz sprinkled with the perfect amount of vocals throughout the record. And to top it all off, the cover art is absolutely gorgeous and perfectly sets you up for what is inside.

Conclusion

I’m very happy with what I have so far. I can’t quite describe it, but listening to great records via an analog medium adds a certain oomph into the music and the experience as a whole. I’m a little disappointed by what my city has to offer though and will probably have to (reluctantly) lean more towards online sales in the future. For my next hunt though, since I don’t live too far away, I’ll probably make a day trip to Hamburg, which should provide a significantly bigger and better experience.

Lanky dude from Germany. I try to dabble in every musical genre, but but in the end I always come back to Jazz and Funk.

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