Porn is everywhere these days, just not the porn you’re thinking of, although that too is plentiful. But today there’s “food porn,” described as “a glamourized spectacular visual presentation of cooking or eating.” And there’s “house porn,” where networks like HGTV and DIY feature beautiful houses and interior design. It’s probably fair to say that whatever your obsession is, you can find it on the internet, Twitter or Instagram, preceded by a hashtag, and followed by the word “porn.”
But…let’s face it. Wasn’t vinyl porn the first porn, after porn porn? The post-digital vinyl phenomenon has been steadily growing since vinyl was declared dead. Some things aren’t so easy to kill, and thankfully, Eilon Paz has beautifully documented the undead freaks and geeks of the vinyl world in Dust & Grooves: Adventures in Record Collecting. This is a mammoth 400+ page love letter in the form of a photographic…umm…spread to vinyl porn.
The book is an extension of the author’s website, where readers enthusiastically responded to the picture/interview blog posts and encouraged Paz to continue to “tell their stories.” A successful Kickstarter campaign followed, funding the massive book, which focuses on “personal collections shot in an intimate way,” and includes a brief quotation from the subjects. There are also 13 longer-form interviews at the end of the book including one with The Roots’ Questlove.
But — stop me if you’ve heard this before — don’t just skip ahead to the pictures, because the writing is really, really good. Paz’s introduction is essential to setting up the premise — and the promise — of this undertaking. Playing vinyl, Paz posits, is “acknowledging the importance and beauty of music in our lives, acknowledging that they can and should demand our attention. And it’s a more rewarding experience when we know we’ve worked a little harder to get there.” That’s hard to argue with.
Now on to the eye candy. Paz uses a very cool technique throughout the book where he pieces together multiple photographs to create a larger image. It really gives these vinyl collections a sense of scale. The opening multiple image of Joel Oliveira in his NYC record store Tropicalia In Furs is a stunner and sets the tone for the book. Elsewhere, a Queens, NY collector sits amidst his huge collection and says, “Questions like favorite album /artist/genre/label/cover are utter bullshit. People less consumed with music can easily give you those answers. But I (and those of my tribe) cannot, and that’s just the way it is.” And while I agree with a lot of that — that all depends on the mood, day, setting, event, company etc. — it’s interesting to note that the majority of collectors in the book are either holding up a cover or covers, or comment on what it is they’re holding. I can only assume it wasn’t random, but instead, indicates a favorite, or at least meaningful, personal choice. In either case, my eyes would soon drift across the picture to try and identify these selections.
There are hundreds of wonderful, joyous and funny photographs within, each punctuated with an insightful quote. Some that resonated with me include, “Just when you think you’ve found a really strange album, an even weirder one is just around the corner,” and “My record collection probably tells the story of my life better than I could in words.”
As one collector from London sums up: “A magic disc that, as well as looking great, makes a noise and is often contained within a book full of information and pictures. What’s not to love about that?”
There’s an awful lot to love between the pages of Dust & Grooves. #TakeAPeek
Update: Dust and Groovs has a second edition and several different "special editions." If you would prefer to support the author directly, you can view and purchase these unique editions here: www.dustandgrooves.com/book
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