Thursday, May 19, 2011

101 THINGS TO DO IN BONGOLIA (Electric Cowbell, 2011)

My wife once asked me, not long before we got married, how did I envisioned my professional future. You know how this is, no matter how much they say they love you, they don't wanna marry you if you're completely delusional in your bohemian aspirations and plan to make a living as a DJ for the rest of your life. 
Anyway, I told her that in an ideal scenario, where the money issue was taken care of miraculously, my dream job would be to run a home-based record label that only presses music that I like, exclusively in 7'' vinyl. 
Yeah, I know from the top of my head who'd be the first ten artist that I'd sign, all people that I personally admire, who made songs that I wish I was able to play in my vinyl sets if it was available in that format. 
Pressing 7'' vinyl is a whole statement in itself. Like the 7 Inches blog wisely puts it "It's safe to assume if you're pressing 7" vinyl, you're not in it for the money." It's implied that you do it for the love of music. The money to be made in such a tiny market is insignificant in comparison to the investment risk. Plus, only a real music lover would prefer to listen to music in this uncomfortable format, that forces you to stay right next to the record player, or at least within a ten foot radius, because you have  to change it or switch sides every four minutes, or less. Most people don't care about music that much, they just want something to play in the background, they would never just sit in front of an audio device and pay attention to a whole song, they don't dedicate the time to actually listening to music, they just want something to hear. Multi-CD changers first and MP3s later, changed those listening habits forever. Now music is something that's just there, in the background, we take it for granted, we get it for free, from the internet, and we let it play in shuffle mode. 
So, playing 45's, besides being a hip anachronism it is, at least for me, a statement of how much you love and care about music. I have the feeling that this was the main motivation behind the New York-based label Electric Cowbell. They opened doors just over a year ago with an explicit motto: press exclusively 7'' vinyl of music they love, regardless of the genre. Amongst their impressive catalog, they released a couple of really good Latin 45's that I've reviewed in this blog and played on my sets and mixtapes
The fact that the music was only available in that format, for me, was like the ultimate fuck you to the obsolete CD. Oh, you don't have a record player? I'm sorry, get one! Some are way cheaper than an Ipod and I bet you have one of those, right? You wanna really support the artists you love, buy their music in a format that cannot be bootlegged!
Anyway, the Electric Cowbell guys just released a compilation of their catalog's bests... in CD! I have to admit I was greatly disappointed at first. Like if they had just betrayed everything we were standing for. So what if you aunt can't listen to your music because she doesn't have a record player? Fuck your aunt! 
But then I understood. The Electric Cowbell guys probably thought that that same ideal scenario that I was fantasizing about when my wife asked my about my future was a real place. That there's actually a parallel reality where running an only-vinyl record label is a viable, profitable enterprise. While the truth is that we, 7'' record enthusiasts, are a niche within a niche and that yes, we need to cater to your aunt too. 
Oh well, talk about popping my bubble. Of course I had to tell my wife that my plan was going back to school and get a diploma of some sorts and find a decent job. And of course, Electric Cowbell now releases CD's too.
101 Things To Do In Bongolia includes, besides many of the Electric Cowbell tracks that I previously reviewed here some really good remixes and bonus tracks worth having. As usual, I'd recommend people to purchase the originals in vinyl. But I realize a lot of you fuckers, and aunts, don't give a shit about my beloved old-school format. So there you have it, you can buy the CD now, or the digital download, whatever fits your lazy-ass music listening habits the best. 

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