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Vinyl Picture Discs, Laser Etchings and The Vertigo Swirl

By Mike Singleton 🌜 Mikeydred 🌛Published 3 years ago 3 min read
Barney Bubbles Album Art

Growing up, purchased music was on vinyl, and we had record players.. If we wanted to record you needed a reel to reel tape recorder which was expensive and cumbersome and certainly not portable.

Come the seventies we got cassette recorders , then CDs and then to MP3 , digital , but vinyl has made a comeback.

I got a vintage record player from RPM in Newcastle , and according to my son in law Mark it’s best to get something made before 1990 as after that they have built in obsolescence . If you follow me on Instagram you will see a lot of my records playing on the system and it sounds amazing.

The thing is that music on vinyl is true analogue therefore it is a curve whereas the digital signal is lots of tiny little blocks., great for going on the move and streaming put possibly a bit antiseptic.

Anyway back to the point of this it’s generally about Picture Discs. All of these are available on Discogs. The first one I bought was “Magical Love” by Saturnalia . The artwork on the disc was the only selling point with it’s lenticular centre label and the pictures on the actual disc, Sound quality is awful. You can get it here and see it playing below on my record player.

Prior to this I believe the first ever rock picture disc was a German Elektra compilation on the Metronome Label called "Off II - Hallucinations (Psychedelic Underground)", with artists like the Door and MC5. It is available quite cheaply and looks impressive but again sound awful , though it will be closing in on 50 years so maybe that should be expected.

You can pick it up here for as little as a fiver

After that we had the Curved Air "Air Conditioning" Album with a mandala effect that makes the record look like it's playing backward. The sound quality is not too bad but it's the disc design that is the real reason for buying this which you can get here and see below.

Though not a picture disc as such the Vertigo Swirl effect is a stunning 3D and this is on "Piledriver" by Status Quo , if you buy it , check the label that it has the swirl.

There are some really nice modern ones such as the Trojan 50th Anniversary album and "Anthem of The Sun" by The Grateful Dead.

One of the most impressive looking singles I have is the laser etched copy of “History Never Repeats” by Split Enz and the album it came from “True Colours” features similar etching. You can buy them here.

Finally I have two albums that feature laser etched holograms in the run off grooves that you can only see under a direct light. The first time this was done was on Jack White's "Lazaretto" with it's small Angel Hologram and the the Star Wars soundtrack with the Millennium Falcon and Tie Fighter Holograms. The hologram side of "Lazaretto" actually plays backwards from inner label to outer rim , which I found most confusing.

The final point I was going to make is that packaging and ingenuity seems to be absent from current vinyl releases. The vinyl is much better quality but coloured vinyl and picture discs are generally humdrum these days.

I will lead with a video appreciation of some Barney Bubbles album artwork and whether it is pure finance or not , there are virtually no interesting album sleeved being produced at this moment in time.

I haven’t covered my whole album collection and some CDs have great album artwork but today’s vinyl is generally mundane thinking that coloured vinyl is a selling point.

vinyl

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Mike Singleton 🌜 Mikeydred 🌛

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Comments (1)

  • KJ Aartila2 years ago

    I think that swirl would drive me bonkers! But this is good, informative piece. I thank you for sharing it! :)

Mike Singleton 🌜 Mikeydred 🌛Written by Mike Singleton 🌜 Mikeydred 🌛

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