Commentary
5:30 am
Tue May 21, 2013

Into It: The Resurgence Of Records

The Neumann Record Cutting Machine.
The Neumann Record Cutting Machine.
Credit JacoTen / Wikimedia Commons

It seems like every new technology tries its best to kill off the vinyl record.

Digital music is the furthest we’ve come from running needles through intricate grooves, but record orders keep coming in. Metal stamp plates continue using thousands of pounds of pressure to squeeze vinyl pellets into the iconic disks.

But the continued interest in records brings new experimentation.

The Swedish band Shout Out Louds pre-released their new record “Blue Ice” by sending out ten box sets including a bottle of water, a mold and instructions on making a proper ice record. It might ruin your turntable, but for a block of ice it sounds surprisingly good.



Videos of wooden records are making the rounds, too. A tech-savvy San Franciscan named Amanda Ghassaei has made beautiful laser-cut albums from bands like Joy Division and Radiohead.


If wood seems too easy, try wood glue. Here’s what a few layers sound like after they’ve been patiently poured into shape.



The German artist Bartholomäus Traubeck took this even further with his project called Years. Using a PlayStation Eye Camera, he was able to play a tree trunk by scanning the surface and sending that data to a computer program. This signal could be made to sound like anything, really, but the interaction with the rings of the tree and the resulting track is haunting.

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