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, 18 August 2015

Thank You Dear Reader, Thank You

I just had to post again.

Congratulations to Jez Smith in Florida who won the Greek pressing of the Cocteau Twins album Treasure on lovely vinyl, posted today to Jez. Thanks to Martin Aston for picking the winner as well. I put a list together of folk who entered the draw, numbered by the date and time order of when they requested to be entered. Martin Aston then gave me a random number and what a surprise, that number was 4 of course.

When I first started this blog I wondered if anyone would be interested in reading it, I guessed that with the power of the internet that I may find one or two like kinded people. More than anything, I wanted to make sure I stuck to this quest and the best way to do that was to make my mission public and more embarrasing if I ever was tempted to change my mind.

After seven months from starting this blog, I was estatic about getting 1000 views of my humble blog. I couldn't believe that there are enough folk out there interested in my crazy mission to want to read this.

4 years and loads of blogs later and I have over 950 related items collected and I'm expecting to be about half way through getting to the final target of acquiring every release by 4AD from the first decade from every country, in every format, inlcuding all the related compilations and pre-4AD signing releases. I still haven't began to look at putting a website together or even where to exhibit the collection in 2030, which is the main part of the grand plan.

The journey so far has been incredibly interesting, frustrating, fun, depressing, humbling and rewarding. Today has been a very rewarding day. Giving away a piece of 4AD history to a fan is part of the whole mission and makes me so very happy. If the mission is to exhibit my 4AD collection in order to make sure that the amazing art that 4AD released does not drift into obscurity, giving away a part of it fulfills that same mission. It's also a good day because.....

This morning this little blog reached 49,999 page views, then......

...........50,000 page views

I'm absolutely bowled over. Thank you so much for everyone that has taken time to read this blog, commented on it, entered for any of the giveaways or just given me moral support. I actually believe I can get another 50,000 over the next 4 years which is so far beyond any amount of interest I even dreamed of when I started this. So thank you to you all and please keep on reading, please keep on commenting and please keep your eye out for more giveaways.

The journey continues ..............

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

You bought it for how much?

It's been a long time since my last entry. Ah what can I say, I have no real excuses. But interesting things have happened on ebay this week. Three early Bauhaus test pressings went up for auction in the week and I watched with suprise and dread as the bids sky rocketed for them. Take a deep breath, if you have any of these on your radar...this could induce a wallet attack.

First up is a test pressing of the flexi-disc 7" of God In An Alcove. This was released in 1982 and was blue in colour and was part of the flexipop magazine that gave away a single with each copy of the magazine. The song came from their debut album In The Flat Field which was released under 4AD, so although released in 1982 after the band moved to Beggars Banquet, it still fits into my collecting criteria. On Discogs the test pressing for this release has sold twice in the last year, once for €15.00 (around £10) and again for $10 (around £6.40). These were sold in February and June of this year, so not so long ago (I can't believe I missed those).

The ebay auction finished at a whopping £180....ouch!

The three auctions were all from the same seller. All looked as genuine an item as they could, but I do always wonder how easy it would be to get the regular release and paste a white lable onto it. The next item was a white label test pressing of the 7" single Telegram Sam. I haven't seen a test pressing for this before, so I was quite eager to see if the bidding would stay in the sensible area or sky rocket like the item above also did. When going into an auction, I always think it best to think rationally beforehand of the absolute maximum you are willing to go to before you get involved with the bidding process, as many times a sort of primeval instinct takes over and you can easily convince yourselve that this is the only moment in your life that you will ever see this item for sale and start bidding accordingly. I judged that the item might be worth around £40, seeing as you can easily pick up the full release for a couple of quid. it was already at £45 by the time I found it listed....arse!

The final winning bid .....£205....what???

I know smart ass, this isn't the uk version!!

The final item, the one I could easily have arguments with myself over about how willing I was to push the spending limit on, was a white label test pressing of one of the first pressings of the 7" single Dark Entries. I have reviewed the versions I currently have here and it looked as though this could be the crowning piece as the matrices showed it either to be the first Axis version or the blue 4AD labels version. As with the Telegram Sam release, I had never seen a test pressing of this before. It was hard to know what this would be worth so as to set myself a reasonable limit. I actually thought £50 would be a reasonable upper limit, as this would very likely be the only test pressing of this release I would ever see. This is what you have to be careful of with auction sites such as ebay, you can so easily argue with yourself into bidding more and more and if you dont make up your mind beforehand about your upper limit and leave the decision until near the end of the auction, you can easily argue even more with yourself. The typical argument is, "wouldn't be a shame if it just went for £1 more than I was willing to go to" or "I'm losing, I'm losing". It's so easy to get drawn into a bidding war with someone. As usual the bids went through the roof on the final few seconds.

The winning bid .......£361.....!!!!!!!!!!!

Needless to say, I came away from the bidding empty in basket.

Following from my previous submission, I did promise further research into CD production and the ability to be able to spot newer prints from older ones. There were a few little things I spotted at the time, such as the change from the black print text on the CD to later having colour picture CDs. One very interesting piece of infomation was about the introduction of SID codes in 1994. These are 4 character codes on the inside ring, near the hole of the CD itself. These are usually marked with the letters IFPI followed by the 4 character code marking the mastering and replication source of the CD. Becasue this standard wasn't introduced until 1994, it's a very good identifier for later re-prints. Here is an official PDF which introduced the standard to the industry.

I have found that I have a number of CD's myself that I thought were original copies but have SID codes. This is a really useful piece of infomation for those trying to identify an original.

In the last few months, I toyed with a visit to the Netherlands in the autumn and the Utrecht International Record Fair. This has to be one of the largest record fairs in Europe and has been on my radar for many a year now, but I easily talk myself out of things. The typical argument with myself is how poor every other record fair has been and this was likely to be just as bad, but on a larger scale. But then if I dont give it a go, I can't really have an informed opinion can I? The window of oppurtunity passed me by and I managed to talk myself out of it, but my lovely, long suffereing wife persuaded me to perhaps have a more serious attempt to go next year. So there is a good chance I will go sometime soon. When I do, I will certainly report back.

For two reasons I have another giveway for anyone that fancies a slice of history. The first reason is the fact that it's been way too long since I gave anything away on this blog, I'm piling up quite a pile of duplications. The second reason is down the usual bumbling uselessness from a trader, making out they were selling a white label test pressing then sending the standard release,... numpty. I've had my money back and the trader doesn't want the item returning.

So I'm giving away a copy of a Greek pressing of the Cocteau Twins album Treasure on Polygram. If tens of thousands of copies of this album were sold in the UK, then thousands must have been sold around northern Europe and by the time the album filtered down to Greece I would not at all be suprised if the number of pressings were in just the hundreds. So in my estimation this vinyl copy is a rarity indeed. Not stupidly rare, but a lovely item to own none the less.

It also has those unusual Greek labels that seem to be either poor copies of earlier 4AD releases in the UK or left overs from the same period sent to the Greek manufacturers. Anyhoo, in the usual fashion, if you want to get your hands on this, just get in touch with me and I'm sure it will end up in a good home, I already have this anyway. Facbook, email, comment on this blog or carrier pigeon will do.

Thanks for reading as always