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, 14 May 2011

Additions and storage conundrums

 Well, manage to acquire AXIS 1 some weeks ago. This weeks triumph is The The’s first single “Controversial Subject”, although still not yet delivered. Some releases are surprisingly worth little, but when a release crosses more than one collectors groups, the desirability increases and so does the price. The The are collectable in their own right, and this 7” single was their first release and the only one on 4AD. Although main man Matt Johnson also released an album with 4ad in the same year.

Also purchased today an A1 sized portfolio wallet. This is a large briefcase that holds A1 size plastic wallets on a ring binder spine. I’ve deliberated for a while with different storage methods for the different format releases. Polythene seems to be the best choice for records and not PVC. Although PVC seems thicker, it seems to sweat and also has a habit of sticking to the gloss of picture sleeves. Unfortunately PVC is the majority of the sleeves that I have at the moment and need to be changed before damage is done to the record sleeves.

Other releases such as postcards and the beautiful card covers of the Pleasantly Surprised tape series are kept in a photo album. But again I’ve realised today that these also have a plastic covering that hold the pieces in place. Do you remember having an old photo album and all the photo’s in it, that haven’t moved in years, stick to the plastic cover that holds the photos in place? I’ve had a photo’s gloss ripped of in the same way a record sleeves gloss can be ripped off when using PVC sleeves. So I need to think of a new way of storing these.

The A1 portfolio is for storing the posters. The wallets have black A1 size pieces of paper in them. I plan to store the gloss side of each poster facing the black paper with the blank side facing the plastic wallet. If sticking occurs, nothing would be damaged on removal. At the moment some posters are stored rolled up in cardboard storage tubes, which causes problems trying to flatten them when taken out of the tube, and the rest framed and displayed in our house. The problem with a permanent display like this is light bleaching. Even if displayed where little natural light shows and posters are only illuminated by artificial light, there is still some bleaching taking place.

With all these I’m fighting a balance between preservation and enjoying my collection. Is a collection worth anything to me locked up and fully preserved, or should I get some enjoyment from it by having it out at greater risk of depreciation and damage? I think finding the right balance is the trick.

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