on life, music etc beyond mainstream

2018 8 Feb

„Vinyl matters“ – Mr. Hicks writes to Gregor

von: Manafonistas Filed under: Blog | TB | 2 Comments

Dear Gregor,


my German is not good enough to make it public, but I’ve been reading your column for quite some  time now (with a little help of a friend from Hamburg). You are really keen on vinyl, aren’t you!? I think it’s been well established at this point that vinyl is the enduring physical medium. Vinyl has already been at death’s door a couple of times in recent history, both when cassettes became the most popular format in the early ’80s and then again in the ’90s when the CD grew to dominate the market. We can debate why vinyl keeps surviving these onslaughts, is it actual vs perceived sound quality, the collectible nature, the intangible cool factor, but the fact remains, records simply will not go away. Even during those eras when it was being forced out to a large degree by newer formats, a hardcore collector market remained and was still actively buying and selling vinyl.

Having said that, I do think certain segments of the vinyl market are not sustainable. The idea that every release needs to come out in multi-color limited variants or a deluxe box set nearing the $100 price point just doesn’t seem to have enough demand for it to be a viable concept long term. As someone who buys some of these products, I can tell you that a large percentage of these titles end up being drastically discounted several months down the road when retailers need to purge dead inventory.

Once we get over the paradigm that every record is a potential collector’s item and get back to it merely being a preferred way to enjoy music, I think the talk of the “vinyl bubble” will cease and we can get back to just buying records for more utilitarian purposes as opposed to investing in them. So that’s what I think the future of vinyl really is, I can definitely envision a time when it’s the only physical format and everything else is just digital, or brain implant or whatever crazy technology is coming next. But there will always be people who want to hold an album in their hands, put it on a physical player and kick back with the liner notes and album art. Those folks will be listening to vinyl for a very long time.

As for record of last  year, the champ to beat in my mind is Father John Misty – Pure Comedy. The production is just immaculate, perfectly balancing strings, horns, vocals and even some electronic elements into a coherent and lush whole. And lyrically the guy is just going for it, a truly scathing critique of modern culture and his own role in it. I was a big fan of I Love You, Honeybear, but he really took it to another level with this one, at the risk of alienating a lot of people as well, which in my mind really paid off. Sure it’s kind of a downer, but as an artistic statement, it’s definitely an ambitiously brilliant work.


XO, J. Hicks


(and my kindest regards for all „Manafonistas“ around whatever that name means, seems to be a riddle, ha!)

This entry was posted on Donnerstag, 8. Februar 2018 and is filed under "Blog". You can follow any responses to this entry with RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.


  1. Gregor:

    Lieber Mr. Hicks,

    über Ihr Schreiben habe ich mich sehr gefreut. Sie schreiben in brillanter englischer Sprache, da kann ich nicht mithalten und antworte in deutscher Sprache, ihr Hamburger Freund steht Ihnen ja zur Seite. Mich hat Ihr Brief deshalb gefreut, weil er nicht den alten Vinyl-CD-Streit hochkocht, der mich unendlich langweilt. Ich habe meine Freude an Vinyl-Scheiben, kaufe mir auch öfter welche, aber eben durchaus auch CDs und -sic!- manchmal ist auch ein Download dabei (wenn mich gerade nur ein Stück einer Platte interessiert). Teure Deluxe-Box-Sets sind ohnehin nicht mein Ding. Ich gebe aber zu, die eine oder andere Kostbarkeit habe ich mir in der Vergangenheit schon geleistet, etwa die Complete-Riverside-Recordings von Bill Evans, ein schwerer Ziegel, von dem weltweit nur 4000 Exemplare existieren. So etwas macht mir dann schon Freude.
    Meine zwei liebsten Langspielplatten des Jahres 2017: BJ Nilsen: Massif Trophies und eine Platte, die ich in Michael Engelbrechts Radioshow gehört habe: Trains In The Night: Steam Locomotives AT WORK ON BRITISH RAILWAYS (between 1959 und 1962). Diese Platte überhaupt zu bekommen, das war eine lange, spannende Geschichte. So etwas gefällt mir.

    Seien Sie ganz herzlich gegrüßt

    Gregor Mundt

  2. Michael Engelbrecht:

    Great letter, fantastic album!

Manafonistas | Impressum | Kontakt | Datenschutz