Upon completing my MLIS degree in 2016, I decided to give our family a graduation present in the form of a small vinyl record player. I had accumulated a tiny (like, four or five) collection of vinyl records and thought that it might be fun to periodically play them for everyone in the house to enjoy. Cut to two-plus years later and Sarah and I are glorified vinyl geeks who pay frequent visits to Graywhale (while also making it a point to seek out local record shops whenever we travel).
First is the sheer physicality of vinyl. Records are substantial things. They take up space and (like a book collection) their presences provides a definite window into the interior world of the collector. They are also deeply contextual with sleeves that contain album art and metadata that reflect the army of folks it took to produce and capture a specific set of sounds in a specific time and place.
My second insight into the thrill of vinyl has to do with the joy of discovery itself. Going to record stores on the hunt for an unexpected find is pretty damn fun. It is something I remember from my formative years, first in the hunt for basketball cards, and then, later, CD’s.
Finally, I have come to enjoy (and actually rely on) the distinct difference in the listening experience that comes with vinyl. Unlike digital, which offers an overwhelming (exhaustive) number of choices to jump around in, a vinyl record by its very nature forces you to sit and consider the music in one continuous piece, just as the musician composed and arranged it. It is a slow process that has reaffirmed to me that for all of the convenience afforded by digital media, too many choices are often as good as no choice at all.
On our recent trip to Colorado, Sarah and I visited three different record stores, and I got an idea for how to fold this new hobby into my website. I have now replaced the photo gallery I wasn’t really utilizing with a link to our family Discogs page which catalogs and highlights selections from our growing collection. It’ll be a bit before it is completely up to date, but cataloging my record collection is something this information nerd is enjoying a bit too much. Rock on!