Thursday, April 23, 2009

Vinyl and Mojo

I have spent the past two weeks getting rejected by multiple funding agencies to help fund my research and dissertation writing, again…, getting stoked about DEMF, buying records and receiving some more records, and compiling an xls file cataloging my modest vinyl collection. I actually have more than a milk crate now!! I would like to keep track of what records I got where, whether they were donations or gifts, or where I bought them in Detroit. I doubt I’ll do this forever, probably just while I’m “collecting data” and documenting Detroit electronic music for my dissertation research. I’ve also been taking photos of my vinyl so that I can throw up the super cool vinyl flung on the floor shot that music writers must publish at some point!

In the above photo is Frampton Comes Alive! The dude at Melodies and Memories asked me what that was doing in with my Basic Channel, Scott Grooves, and Anonymous Release, but then agreed that it actually was "the shit." Also in the photo, Members of the House "These Are My People" / "Feel the Fire" 1992 on Shockwave Records; it actually says Mad Mike Music on the label! Love that. And $1 record that my 7 year old son found at Street Corner; everything is in Russian except the words "Russian Balalaika." And he loves it! I have been getting more adept at using James’ very lovely digital camera to take actual real lasting photos rather than my crap camera that I can’t do shit with. Take a look at these skills, and lovely pieces of vinyl:

In the above photos:
Freddie Roach, 'Good Move!' 2000(1963), Blue Note 4158.
Earth, Wind, & Fire, The Best of Vol 1. 1978 Columbia.
The All American Pop Collection, Vol. 3 - another score by my 7 year old.
Anonym, Anonymous Release 3 2005, Anonymous Release - totally hot, love it love it.
Craig T. Cooper - haven't listened to this one yet, my 5 year old picked it out.

I fully enjoyed the entire weekend of National Record Store Day! It was such a nice weekend; super intense and busy, and really great. Friday night after work, I came home and we all got ready to go out for pizza and then down to the College for Creative Studies (CCS) in the museum campus/Wayne State area of Detroit for a free outdoor show that WhoDat played at and then the Insomnia hip hop crew played. It was in the central courtyard of the school. There were all kinds of sculptures out on the front lawn donated by the Detroit Institute of the Arts. The boys were playing around them chasing each other and giggling. WhoDat played a lot of old Detroit classics like Sharivari and some Cybotron, and then some tracks important to Detroit techno’s history like New Order’s “Blue Monday.” We hung out there and watched the college kids skateboard and draw with chalk. The hip hop was great too. It was such a beautiful spring night. We parked a little bit far away and got to walk through a few neighborhoods around there. Really beautiful old brick buildings, a few magnolia trees, and a clear blue sky with purples and oranges in the sunset.

The next day was pretty busy. It was National Record Store Day. I remember last year going to Record Time in Roseville to see WhoDat spin and picked up an O’Jays CD – before I had turntables! Saturday we went to Melodies and Memories in Eastpointe and I got a few good records. Found a Scan 7, Scott Grooves, Basic Channel, Peter Frampton, and a few others. We also went to Street Corner Records in Beverly Hills. It is a nice store; I’d never been there – lots of cheap records, like under $3. Very small techno and house selection, which is fine, but lots of r&b, jazz, and old rock vinyl. Good place to start expanding my tiny collection beyond techno and house music. Saw WhoDat there, she was playing later in the day. It was really busy in there already and it was about 3pm. Then we headed down to the John K King Bookstore in downtown Detroit – it’s near the Cobo center, and the Lodge Freeway. James was looking for a photo book there. It’s a four story used book store FULL of books. And the shelves are all arranged like a library, not like a spacious book store. It was glorious! I don’t know how many books they have there, but it’s an amazing place. The children’s section was really fun to look through. Lots of old books that I remember from when I was a kid – Hardy Boys, Little House on the Prairie, Babysitter’s Club, etc. It reminded me of what libraries held when I was a kid. Old hard cover books with faded images, yellowing pages, and that old book smell. 1950s and 1960s designs, illustrations, and themes. They had milk crates to sit on and small, plastic flip top desks with books inside and little wooden chairs set up at those. We found some old Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles books, a mini Transformers comic, a Return of the Jedi story book with photos from the film, and an old chapter book called Robots on Saturn. It’s about the adventures of some kind of young space explorer. I can’t wait to read it with the boys.

The next day after a full afternoon of flying kites, starting a sugar crystals experiment, making vortexes that model the formation of the Great Red spot of Jupiter, and major planning for building shelves to hold turntables, mixer, amp, speakers, 1 CDJ, and records, James and I headed out to Bert’s Motown Room in Eastern Market for the 3rd annual Mojo Era Tribute Party. We got to the party in the middle of Rick Wilhite’s set. They had a projector for visuals which was different from last year; no visuals or decorations last year. There was some humorous video clips of a Richard Simmons aerobics class in there, some kind of animation involving brains, melting colorful liquid, and some footage of a traditional west African drumming and dancing ensemble. And, get this, this is the first time I have gone out to a club where I recognized a majority of the tracks played. Major breakthrough for Denise Dalphond!! Some things I already knew before beginning this research – like Kraftwerk, Cybotron, B-52s (but not Mesopotamia), Prince (of course!), Tom Tom Club. And a lot of the songs I now recognize thanks to WhoDat’s tutelage. Older 80’s songs that Mojo used to play and that were popular in Detroit during the 1980’s and early 1990’s, roller skating songs, funk like the O’Jays, Earth, Wind, and Fire, some really great break beats and funky hip hop that Carl Craig played that was so good. Oh yeah, Carl Craig freaking played and it was awesome. Carl Craig was there when we arrived and he was setting up for a while. Marc Duncan was there helping with the set up. Unfortunately I missed his set. I also missed The Butcher and Scott Grooves – the party started at 7pm. But I did catch them all last year at the party. Carl Craig had CDJs set up (I don’t think these were there last year, and I’m pretty sure all the other DJs listed above are very devoted to playing only vinyl). Carl also had a hard drive and a Mac laptop. He used ALL the equipment and played a great set – he used everything including the turntables for vinyl, and it wasn’t for Serato or Scratch or something because he was really flipping through his vinyl and looking for songs, playing actual records. He was really into it all too, really lively. So there you go, a great, moving set using a variety of analog and digital equipment to create a performance. I wanted to introduce myself to him and thought that I would because it seemed like he was finishing up around 1:30, but then he got back on the decks and kept playing. We hung out a bit longer and then I just couldn’t keep going. James and I were both exhausted. So I didn’t get to meet him, but I’ll try and get in touch with him.

And now I have to pause from this story to tell you this bit of disturbing news, for me at least:

I chatted with Pirahnahead the next day about the Mojo party and he said that Carl stopped playing right after James and I walked out the door to head home…what a nerd, I can’t believe I left when I did. I actually knew multiple people at the club who could have introduced me to Carl – like Pirahnahead, and little nerdo me didn’t stick around long enough to take care of my business! What a nerd!

Anyway, I talked to Mike Clarke at the party, and he said he just got the Archives of African American Music & Culture (AAAMC) newsletter, Linernotes, from Indiana University. This issue that I have linked to is not the most current mailed issue, but it is the most current that they have online. The AAAMC is the organization that I worked with to organize and fund the Roots of Techno conference back in October 2006 at Indiana University. I’m so glad he is receiving this newsletter and I hope that everyone from the conference is getting those. It seems like a nice way to keep in touch. Mike Clarke was actually on the cover of a previous AAAMC newsletter. The photo was taken by my husband, James Rotz. And yes, that is Cornelius Harris in the background. I also talked to Brian Gillespie at the Mojo party – he told me about the Red Bull Music Academy event coming up right before DEMF weekend (that's a Facebook link - so far that's all I got). He said that he had Juan Atkins all set to do it and now he’s going to be out of town and can’t do it. I think he said he’s trying to set it up with a producer and with a DJ. Should be good! I went last year when it was held at Submerge and Dennis Coffey, Funk Brother and studio musician for Motown when it was housed in Detroit, spoke about music and Detroit and Motown.

And now look at my Prince and Michael Jackson and miscelaneous collections:


cz said...

Denise - you know about discogs, right?

sign up for a free account and you can start tracking your vinyl collection (and wantlist) there, and then download your data automatically into xls, csv, or xml files.

fyi, i'm cpe1704tks on there.

as we get closer to the festival we should plan to meet up and say hello. :)

frank . count zero

Denise said...

Hey Frank,

Thanks for reading. Yes, I do know about discogs. But, I did not know that you could track your collection and download it to a file. Thanks!

Yes, let's definitely meet up!

Andrew said...

Great man..We MISS U...

I like this blog..

Thanks for sharing...


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