Friday, September 19, 2008

My Thing For The 12" Single [Warning: Nostalgia Alert]

Appropriately, when I was 12 years old I discovered the 12" single. Until then life had consisted of 12" LP's (Long Plays, ie full length albums played at 33 & 1/3 Revolutions Per Minute [RPM]) and 7" singles (little brothers of the album played at 45RPM). 7" singles (or 15.5cm singles - as WEA unceremoniouslyand totally unsuccesfully tried to dub them - some things never change, ie, the way record company execs are just total geeks) had just two tracks and were a teenager thing, after all on a $13 a week paper round, whole entire albums took quite some discipline to acquire, which I had none of. Then, one day on the radio I heard this strange and unusual version of a song I really liked. Except, instead of being 3 minutes long it was more than twice as long, in fact closer to 7 minutes! I was instantly hooked. How totally perfect! My favourite song, but twice as long. But what was this strange format they were playing on the nightly 1422 3XY Hottest 10? I soon found out it was a 12" remix, and thus I discovered the 12" single rack at the record shop, until then totally invisible to me. I quickly developed something of a fetish for 12" singles and remixes, being the pervert that I am. I had to get every single extended remix I could lay my hands on, whether physically from the shop or off the radio. Thankfully 3XY was very liberal with the 12" singles on Saturday nights, unlike every other radio station in Melbourne, and I got many a remix on cheap Coles brand tape in extremely shoddy mono AM sound thanks to their totally cool DJs. Thank you Saturday night programmers on Saturdany night 3XY in 1985/1986 - you have no idea how much influence you've had on me!! But sometimes it got a bit much. I remember one night spending 4 hours just hoping to get hold of the extended remix of Invisible Touch by Genesis. I knew there was one, but they just wouldn't play it! Goddammit!! It was driving me crazy! I finally rang up the station and demanded to know why they were playing every thing else available as an extended remix except that bloody song. Apparently the record company had never sent them a copy. Oh well. It was 1986 after all. But over the years I've wondered why I was so totally into 12" (vinyl, that is). I mean, a lot of these remixes leave a lot to be desired - a whole lot of them are mixers (people) turning up faders (knobs) of individual tracks, and well, ho hum, so what. On the other hand, I have been buying up quite a few of these pieces again, and now I think I might know why - it's because of all the pre-CD disc formats, the 12" vinyl was by far the superior in terms of sound quality. we had a pretty decent streo at home and I mean, take a close look, it's one song, on a plate spun at 45RPM (instead of 33RPM), usually short enough to take perfect advantage of the sweet spot - the audio quality is far superior to that of the competing formats at that time, the 7", the 33RPM LP album or the cassette tape. Fuck, it was no fetish, I was just a little audiophile in the breeding, haha. Interestingly, as soon as I got a CD player I pretty much lost all interest in vinyl - proof enough that analogue is not magically warmer, or sweeter than digital -until now that is, when nostalgia is taking hold, and I am compelled to stalk 12" racks in record shops once more, except now everthing is second hand, although at least blessedly free of any inflation over 20 years. I'm paying the same now for a 12" single as I did in 1985 LOL, except now I have a lot more money.

1 comment:

tezza said...

wow.. that's a shiny record! lol, I guess you look after them, really well.

I've just been listening to that Khanate clip, twice. From there to here loool.