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.

Saturday, 9 April 2011

The male obsession with collecting

I wonder what makes some humans collect? It’s a valid question, because sometimes I go through the self doubt phases and wonder why I’m doing this. Really I’m collecting pieces of plastic. But I have to remind myself that in a lot of ways music tends to be forgotten as a form of art.

If I collected Constable artworks, it would be a respectful hobby and collection (and of course very expensive) and I would most likely be asked to exhibit all over the world. If I had a collection of Henry Moore sculptures, the story would be the same. But for music, it’s completely different. It’s probably because these artists did one to a handful of the same piece and it is these that are collectable, not the reproductions of them that the general public could pick up.

If this is the difference, then surely music has a near equivalent. If a painting by Constable is the non reproduced master of his art piece, then I suppose the master tapes of a musicians recordings must be the “real” musicians art piece. A set of master tapes would be rather boring to exhibit though.

So enough of this mumbling, the last couple of days has seen me acquire the cassette tape mini album “Scar” by the band Lush. This was interesting, bought off ebay. It was a “Buy It Now” item with an expensive price, although this cassette is pretty rare, I’ve not come across it before. A nice feature on Ebay is the “Make An Offer” feature on some “Buy It Now” items. This was really helpful, as the vendor accepted half the stated price for it. So I suppose it’s always worth having a go.

I heard the band Lush on the radio in 1989 and was in love with the heavy guitars and soft vocals over the top. I then saw them at Crystal Palace Bowl supporting The Cure along with James and All About Eve. Lush where incredible and their music fitted a huge outdoor concert in the late afternoon summer sun. I then saw them a few months later at the Leadmill in Sheffield. Although this gig was ok, the cosy, sweaty confinement of the Leadmill was a completely different vibe and showed more of their indie pop / rock side than the hard rock / ethereal Lush that I fell in love with. The former was the musical direction Lush decided to go in later releases.

Although I’m collecting the first ten years of 4AD, I can’t help also picking up other stuff along the way, Like Lisa Gerrard’s “The Silver Tree” promo and a Dead Can Dance “Into The Labyrinth” promo. Lisa Gerrard is my wife’s favourite artist and kind of helps keep her sweet when spending lots of money on a stupid hobby.

I’m full of useful hints today aren’t I. See you later

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