An Introduction

I first became interested in 4AD, a UK independent record label founded in 1980, towards the end of the '80's. I was falling in love with the music of Dead Can Dance, Clan of Xymox, Pixies, Bauhaus and The Birthday Party and was surprised when the 4AD label sampler "Lonely Is An Eyesore" came out in 1987 that all these bands were from the same label.

After visiting a Pre-Raphaelite exhibition of some American's collection of art, I came to thinking of all this musical art that 4AD have released that may one day drift into obscurity unless someone shows it as art. So now I'm on a crusade, to collect the first ten years of 4AD's releases and exhibit the collection on 4AD's 50th anniversary in 2030. This is a big task which will have some interesting twists and turns along the way.

Monday, 1 December 2014

Get the wish list below 900 by the new year (Check back Regularly) Part II

I've decided to start a new post for December as the November one was starting to fill up. Come back for regular updates as I try and attempt to get my wantlist down to 900 releases by the years end....

30th December 2014

There is nothing I can do now. The ability to get my wantlist down to 900 items by the year end is in the hands of fate. All I can do is watch the post coming in and hope that there are enough items to finish off the seven needed to make 900. The post doesn't get delivered at my house until about noon and today each hour in the morning was spent listening for any noise at the letterbox. My wife decided to take the dog for a walk at around 11am, it felt silly sitting in for the postman just in case he was early, so I went along. On the way back the postman was making his way down the street in front of us. I was tempted to hassle him as we slowly caught up with him and consequent lost him as he turned into an industrial complex of buildings.

I needn't have bothered, as as usual there was nothing in the post except spam mail from every holiday company we have ever booked with in the last twenty years. No post again, nothing off the wantlist and only one day left, one last post. There is no way that I'm getting seven items in the morning, I have missed the target!!!

Let us see if it will be any closer tomorrow.

29th December 2014

I wasn't sure if Royal Mail posted on a boxing day or not, I still don't know whether or not they do as there was no post. Neither was there any on Saturday. The days count away and I feel helpless to even try and accomplish anything. There was some hope today as there was a record fair about 15 miles away, which produced a single compilation album called The Beggars Banquet File, but later today I also found a Cocteau Twins test pressing that I had to add to my wantlist. So the wantlist is still at 907. There was nothing in the post again today and I have two days left. It's looking like a fail for the end of the year, which is really upsetting. Maybe everything will turn up tomorrow morning, I can only wait and see

25th December 2014

No post at home yesterday, on my birthday as well. Of course there's no post on Christmas day either. So the count stays at 907, even though I visited a record store in Chesterfield yesterday...and found nothing of course. Anything bought now online will not likely be posted and received before the year end, so it's down to what will get delivered from already purchased stuffies. There is a small hope on the horizon. There is a record fair on Monday and a really nice trader chappie that I passed my wantlist to, says there might be a couple of things for me when I see him there. I will keep my fingers and anything else crossed. This is going down to the wire. Enjoy your day, I will be back.....

23rd December 2014

Every time everything looks terrible, no deliveries at home or at work, suddenly everything turns up at once. I managed to find a few awful pop compilations that once again features that persistent single Pump Up The Volume. I also had the exciting opportunity to acquire an item that wasn't on my wantlist, mostly because it's as rare as rocking horse poo found with bits of hen's teeth in it. Today I had a test pressing of Dead Can Dance's album Aion, not the UK release, but the Italian release on Contempo. The standard Italian LP is rare enough, the test pressing will obviously be even more rare.

Work is now over until the new year, so no more post from my workplace, I am now relying on post to home. This is getting so very close. Wantlist = 907, days left = 8

17th December 2014

No delivery yesterday and none today. There are quite a few items on their way but then it is Christmas and the post slows to a crawl. I have 4 work delivery days left, and 12 post to home days left and a wantlist count of 912. Again I lost one from the list as I found another compilation that was now listed as released in 1991 and so was outside my ten year inclusion (don't get me started on the fact that actually its eleven years, starting in 1980 means that the inclusion of 1990 is actually the eleventh year, it's the Roman lack of zero's and the 1st Century all over again). I need one a day, which is do-able, but with the postage issues, is quite a task. I'm not giving up though...

15th December 2014

In the post today was a UK 12" of Xmal Deutschland's Incubus Succubus II. I can't believe that I didn't have this already, but there are the odd Uk releases still to get, though they are very few in number. I have the time to do this, I don't have many delivery days left though and I just can't find the stuff to buy. I will keep looking though....wantlist down to 913

13th December 2014

Yesterday morning I had a delivery of a cassette bought through ebay. The item is the Colourbox album called Colourbox. The ebay page showed a chrome cassette and a virgin label and catalogue number. This wasn't on my wantlist and I hadn't seen it before, so I was quite excited to get my hands on it. In the post though was the standard UK cassette which I already own that looks completely different to the photo shown and has a completely different catalogue number. I also won a French 7" single of Cocteau Twins Love Easy Tears single a few days ago, then got a message from the seller saying they can't find the item.

Ebay does get on my tits. The failure rate is appalling. It doesn't matter if I get an apology, money back etc, it just grates on me that people can't get a simple thing right. That's two items I could have added, one of which would have reduce my wantlist count.

BIG ARSE!!..oh well, count still 914

11th December 2014

After 2 months on likely the slowest ships on the Atlantic ocean, a package from Canada arrived. Land mail as opposed to airmail is about half the price and for a reason, it seems to take forever to arrive. When buying from Canada it's a must as the the postage costs can be a killer.

Inside was a M/A/R/R/S - Pump Up The Volume Canadian 7" single, Modern English - After The Snow Canadian vinyl album, a pop compilation vinyl LP called On Top and finally a Canadian CD version of the soundtrack to the film Pump Up The Volume. I found out that the CD was a club version. I had noticed these club versions popping up on CD releases in a few places and wondered what they were, until my wife reminded me about the 80's and 90's Brittania music club. This was a club a person could join by agreeing to buy so many CD's a year. The CDs were slightly cheaper than the ones to be found in the high street shop. Of course the club was making money out of a guaranteed per year quota from buyers that may not have bought that many in the year. The clubs were sometimes run by record labels and the CDs were sometimes made especially for the club market and slightly different to the high street shop versions. There was even doubt over the quality of the club versions and accusations of them being of lower quality because of their guaranteed sale. See this article from around 1994 about the audio quality conspiracy.

I was always envious of the music clubs, I could never afford them at the time and just drooled over the vast selection of music, although a lot of it was pop tat.

Another good haul today and I also noticed on discogs that I had two entries in my wantlist that were obviously the same and should have been merged together. That has reduced my wantlist down to 914.

10th December 2014

Today brought me Le Mystere Des Voix Bulgares US CD of A Cathedral Concert. This was in my wantlist, but then realised today that this version was released in 1992 and therefore outside my collecting criteria. This is the nature of such a fluidic and dynamic wantlist that struggles to keep up. There was another version of this album that I also had on my wantlist, but I was fortunate enough to notice this time before I bought it that it also was from 1992. At least taking that version off my wantlist reduced the count a little.

I also received today a VHS video of the alternative collection series Indie Top...As you can see it was the Indie Top Video Take Two compilation. This was obtained for the inclusion of the Wolfgang Press track Raintime. My boss at work first asked if had a video cassette player, to which my answer was "Nope". He then asked what the point of having it was, wouldn't it just have been worthwhile having the empty case?

This is the funny side of such a collection. I suppose I'm being a completest. But at some point I may find the time to convert it to digital, although I wouldn't be surprised if it ain't on youtube already. It's a peice of history and a relevant one to the collection as well. To have it and preserve it is the whole point I suppose.

Wantlist now down to 918. Wow what a difference in just a couple of days

9th December 2014

Thursday nothing, Friday nothing, then the weekend, so no post. Then yesterday and today there was much rejoicing...yeah.
Cocteau Twins - Heaven or Las Vegas - Japan CD
Cocteau Twins - Blue Bell Knoll - Canadian cassette
Cocteau Twins - Tiny Dynamine/ Echoes In A Shallow Bay - Canadian CD
Cocteau Twins - Victorialand - Canadian CD
Dead Can Dance - Serpents Egg - Canadian CD
Le Mystere Des Voix Bulgares - Le Mystere Des Voix Bulgares - Canadian CD
M/A/R/R/S - Pump Up The Volume - Spanish 12"

There was to be a US Promo version of Pump Up The Volume, but the seller sent the wrong item. It happened yet again, instead I got the standard US 12" which I already have. I'm starting to get quite the collection of releases that are duplicated. I feel another give away coming, although not Pump Up The Volume, I don't think anyone would take it off me. I also had an item on my wantlist that isn't 4AD related (there aren't many of them).

One item had to go onto the wantlist though. I found that there is a Canadian cassette version of Pump Up The Volume. But great progress has been made. The count is now down to 921 which I am very pleased and relieved about. The downside is that there is little in the pipeline at the moment and time is quick to pass.

3rd December 2014

Another package today filled with mixed blessings. A German pop compilation album was today's delivery, a release I needed because of the inclusion of MARRS Pump Up The Volume single. The rest of the compilation is pretty dire. But it would mean another notch off the never ending wantlist. Unfortunately I also found another cassette, this time a French single called Velouria by the Pixies. One down and one back up again. So the count stays at 928 for today

There are a few things in the pipeline, but not the amount I need to be getting for the end of the year.....

2nd December 2014

At last, a time to rejoice...I had post.

A French Colourbox album on Virgin and two Various artists records, both with MARRS single Pump Up The Volume on them, both Italian. That would have meant that I had 10 of the 12 versions of the Colourbox album, until I realised that there seems to be a Canadian cassette release that I hadn't previously known about. Bum!

Oh well, three ticked off and one added back on. That takes the current tally down to 928... in the right direction at least

1st December 2014

My wife is going to need room in the spare bedroom for studying, a room full up with records, cassetttes and CDs for selling to fund my 4ad collecting habit. The problem has always been finding the time to run the sales along with everything else. The time taken, finding stock, listing it and then selling it, packaging and posting it for very little return, has been better spent recently hunting for stuff to reach the 900 milestone. The need for room for my wife and the time that I need has meant that I have reluctantly decided to stop selling. That meant a trip down to second hand record shop on Langley Mill about 7 miles away with a car full of stock selling to a guy that really doesn't need a few hundred more pop items to add to the thousands and thousands that he already had.

While at the record store, of course I had to do a bit of shopping as well, even though I got practically nothing for all the stock I had accrued. I picked up a Wolfgang Press album, then realised when I got home that I already had it. I also picked up a great christmas album by a punk band called The Yobs, a record I recommend highly, especially at this time of year, you will never sing those christmas carols the same ever again.

There was one more album I bought which was an album I loved from my childhood and one that got my mind thinking about 4AD. I always wondered why 4AD released the Le Mystere Des Voix Bulgares albums, which were Bulgarian folk songs recorded decades before. I could see the connection with Lisa Gerrard from Dead Can Dance. Her vocal style borrowed from many cultures. When I was young, I saw a BBC documentary about the Condor and the wildlife living in the Andes. It became very popular and spawned a chart topping single and album of the folk music of the people's of the Andes and their panpipe music. What I didn't realise until recently, was that the music was released by the Beggars Banquet label, an independent label similar to Rough Trade that used to part own 4AD. The album was by a group of musicians going by the name of Incantation and was very popular in 1982. It was buying the album today that made me realise how it likely paved the way for 4AD to release the Bulgarian folk music after seeing the success of the South American folk music. With success from one independent label releasing unusual folk music, it wouldn't have been that unusual for 4AD to do something similar a few years later.

Wantlist count at 930