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.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

New year, bring me more goodies!

After the year end of 2014 that was the marathon to get the wantlist below 900 items, I failed. But in some ways, 2015 has begun with new hope.

The biographical book I have been writing for the last two years had to go on hold while I devoted my time to this blog and getting my target reached for the year end. I actually did some work on it again last week for the first time in three months.

Then to my surprise, after nearly ten years of dormancy, my best friend Andy and I actually started writing some music together again in the studio, and the first flourish sounded extremely promising. I cannot believe that it's been ten years or more since we last worked in the studio together. This is one of the last songs we did

On the 4AD collection front, even now I haven't got below the 900 mark on my releases wantlist. The count is down to 905 items. As usual quite a few items have come in and a few new ones have been found to add to the list. Some were never even on the radar to begin with, such as a Spanish tape cassette of the Pixies album Doolittle, which coincidentally has recently been re-released as a triple vinyl compilation by 4AD with loads of extras, demo's etc. Take a look HERE

Every time something like this comes out, I am so tempted to buy it, but I have to keep myself focused on the challenge I already have. There have been re-releases galore lately that are so tempting. It's a different story with the none 4AD re-releases. Believe me, 4AD is not the only source of music (oh dear, I spoke the unmentionable). Having my weekly album listening evenings, where I devote an evening to just listening to two albums with no distractions, has made me aware of how poor a quality some of my vinyl has become and a welcome anniversary re-release on good quality vinyl has been a strong temptation.

So far in January my recent 4AD additions have been :
Modern English - After the Snow LP - on Intercord from Germany
Pixies - Bossanova CD - on Virgin from France
Cocteau Twins - Iceblink Luck 12" - on Rough Trade from Germany
Various - Spools Paradise cassette - from the Record Mirror a music magazine compilation which includes a Colourbox track
Breeders - Pod CD - on 4AD from France

Today I got a cassette of the US version of the soundtrack album Pump Up The Volume. So things are steadily streaming in. I have a feeling in my bones that the year is going to be a good never know, I may even find a decent record shop this year...

Sunday, 4 January 2015

The battle was lost but the war is only just beginning

A couple of months ago I set myself a target to finish 2014 with a wantlist of just 900. That's 900 releases I still needed to acquire in order to achieve my goal of collecting everything that 4AD released between 1980 and 1990, including foreign releases in the same period, compilation entries and all formats. At the time I had around 920 releases in my wantlist. But over the past two months that yoyoed up and down reaching a peak of something like 931 all the way down to 907 with just eight days left before the end of the year.

The last two months have been a typical example of what this hobby is like. I find a couple of things and then find another couple of things that I never knew existed and my wantlist bounces around like a ball bouncy thing. On top of that are the wonderful traders, that arse up orders, lose items, wrongly list them and just don't seem to care at all the hell they put collectors through.

Needless to say, I didn't make the 900 by the end of the year. In fact, I still have a wantlist of 907 on the 4th January 2015. Not a single item I ordered in the last two weeks of December to be delivered to my home address instead of the usual work address has made it here.

I also realised the enormity of the task I have undertaken. I have 15 years before the 50th anniversay of the 4AD label, when I plan to exhibit my collection. To be reasonable, that really means I should be targeting getting around 100 items a year, which will give me a little breathing space. That means getting around 10 a month. That's a big ask, going on the previous two months. It also means I'm seven behind already this month. As the wantlist decreases the easier to find and cheaper items get crossed off the list first, generally. Which means that as time goes by, the remaining harder to find and therefore more expensive items are going to take up more of the majority than the minority.

I'm also finding an increasing 2nd collection size. The number of times, even with my trusty list to hand, I buy the same thing twice, or a vendor sends me what I already have instead of what's listed and tells me to keep it, or I take a chance on a cheap, but poorly described item. I'm getting a number of second items. I feel another giveaway coming on....

I hope everyone has wonderful new year and you get lots of lovely music to listen to