In rotation: 6/16/22

Cambridge Audio Alva ST Bluetooth turntable lands just in time for Record Store Day drop: Stream your vinyl to wireless headphones and speakers. A fresh batch of Record Store Day ‘June Drop(opens in new tab)’ releases are coming on Saturday, and what better way to enjoy all that limited-edition vinyl than on a new turntable? Cambridge Audio’s long-awaited Alva ST record player is finally hitting the shelves, having been announced at CES in January. Available from today, just in time for Saturday’s releases, the Alva ST is one of the most eagerly awaited decks of the year. It follows the Alva TT, which was the world’s first aptX HD Bluetooth turntable when it launched in 2019. The TT earned four stars in our review and now has a successor in the Alva TT V2. So what does the ST bring to the Alva party? It’s a more affordable proposition than its Alva sibling for starters, costing £849 / $999 (about AU$1500) compared to the Alva TT V2’s £1700 / $1999 (about AU$3000) price tag.

Okotoks, CA | Vinyl-loving teen opens record store in Okotoks: After graduating a semester early, 17-year-old Jaica Tipper wastes no time fulfilling dream of owning her own business. Jaica Tipper knew she’d be running her own business someday, so opening Tipper Records in Okotoks late last month at the tender age of 17 didn’t seem like much of a stretch. After finishing high school a semester early thanks in part to credits earned working in the family business, Tipper decided to launch her vinyl-centric store to fill a void in town by selling albums that, in many cases, were recorded decades before she was born. She opened the Fisher Crescent store on May 28 in space adjacent to The Hidden Gem, the family-run business where she earned those school credits. When that space became available earlier this year and the family was deciding on what to do with it, she pitched the idea of a record store. “Four years ago when I moved from Calgary, where there are multiple record stores, I was super disappointed there wasn’t one here,” said the avid collector who shares her parents’ entrepreneurial spirit.

The Portable Vinyl Player That Tried To Cash In On The Walkman Craze: In the 1980s, portable music became a mainstay following the release of Sony’s Walkman. Being able to listen to music on the go, a game-changer then that we take for granted now, opened up an entirely new market. Scores of companies created products to try and cater to this craze, making for plenty of memorable gadgets. One of these was a portable music player created by Audio Technica, but with a (very impractical) twist. This device was a portable vinyl player, called the AT-727 Sound Burger. This device allowed vinyl enthusiasts to play their records wherever they went, however it required a flat surface to actually play the records, so you couldn’t exactly walk and listen to music. It also required users to carry around the records they wanted to play, which, compared to cassette tapes, were certainly not really known for their portability. The Sound Burger, also called the “Mister Disc” in some markets, faced many issues that made it unsuitable for walking around with, however it was still an interesting concept with surprisingly good sound quality.

The Vindication of Jack White: An obsessive protector of rock’s past could hold the key to its future. Something preposterous was happening the night I visited Third Man Records in Nashville. The label and cultural center founded by Jack White, of the White Stripes, generally strives for a freak-show vibe; you can pay 25 cents to watch animatronic monkeys play punk rock in the record store, and a taxidermied elephant adorns the nightclub. On the March night when I showed up, Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead was performing. Through a pane of blue-tinted glass at the back of the stage, another curiosity in White’s menagerie could be glimpsed: a 74-year-old audio engineer in a lab coat who calls himself Dr. Groove. In a narrow room behind the stage, Dr. Groove—his real name is George A. Ingram—stooped over a needle that was etching Weir’s music into a black, lacquer-coated disc called an acetate. This is the first step in an obsolete process for producing a vinyl record. The lathe he used was the very same one that cut James Brown’s early singles, in the 1950s.

Vinyl boom – After 20 years: records are being pressed again in Switzerland: A company from Aargau is again producing classic LPs and is also hoping for customers from abroad. Put the record on, place the needle and then a pleasant crackling sound before the music begins. Listening to music from vinyl records is back in fashion. However, no records have been produced in Switzerland since 2004, and Swiss artists had to have their vinyl records made abroad. This only changed this week: the Adon company from Neuenhof in Aargau bought a pressing plant and produces vinyl records for several 100,000 francs. The first customer was Philipp Fankhauser. “Vinyl allows for a certain warmth, a depth, a three-dimensionality that I really miss in the digital world,” enthuses the blues musician. Apparently, more and more music listeners feel the same way as Fankhauser. The sales figures for vinyl records have risen steadily in Switzerland in recent years, even if they are of course far from the level of the 1980s.

Laurie Anderson reissuing Bright Red on vinyl: Produced by Brian Eno. Laurie Anderson’s Bright Red album is being reissued on vinyl, via Music on Vinyl this July. Originally released in 1994, Bright Red was produced by Brian Eno, who also helped to co-write four of the album’s tracks. It also features contributions from The Velvet Underground’s Lou Reed, whom Anderson had begun dating during the album’s recording. Bright Red follows Anderson’s collaborative album with Eno and Ebe Oke, Dokument #2.

MNRK & Ruffnation Launch New Vinyl Label: MNRK Music Group announces a new partnership with Chris Schwartz and his Ruffnation Entertainment to form a new vinyl & merchandising company, Surface Noise Records (“Surface Noise”). MNRK will provide A&R and Marketing Resources, while Ruffnation Entertainment, through its partnership with Studio 4 Vinyl Manufacturing, has dedicated manufacturing and fulfillment services in a partnership between Schwartz, Phil Nicolo of Studio 4 Vinyl and Arik Victor, owner of Creep record stores, recording studio and record label. Surface Noise will be positioned to capitalize on a market demand which is exceeding the capabilities of both major labels and indie labels across the board as available manufacturing operations are overrun. Surface Noise will release projects from both new and heritage acts, in both the urban and rock genres. MNRK will distribute certain titles digitally, while others will be vinyl titles only, distributed online direct to consumer, as limited edition, or general retail releases.

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