Thursday, October 19, 2006

addenda to the below

1/ realised there was another of the woebot nonesuch scan-gallery i didn't have, the eric salzman/avant-theater thing -- heard it in a store, definite must to avoid

2/ re. record-fiending on the cheap/the quidditch.... can you beat this Carl/Geeta, i think not , I THINK NOT-- LPs for 12 pence!!!!!! That's the rate they were going at thet Housing Works mega-sale a few weeks back. Five albums for a dollar, so at current exchange rates that's about twelve pee in the new money. Housing Works is a used bookstore/used record store/café in SoHo that is a charitable entity, all the money goes to the homeless and similar causes; so many people donate entire collections, including a lot of not very desirable stuff, in crappy condition, which HW can't say "no" to, anyway I guess they had to make space, and had a megasale of books and records in the street ouside. Unfortunately I turned up quite late in the day and the I suspect none too delectable in the first place carcass had been picked pretty clean, so it was quite a struggle to find anything even worth 20 cents to be honest. Tons of Nonesuch actually, but all the choral/early music/bog-standard classical. Old classical records--especially the multi-disc ones in falling apart cardboard cases-- really are the pits when it comes to collector undesirability. In the end I came away with only a couple of half-way intriguing bits: a john klemmer album (70s jazz guy who put effects and delays on his horn, the results not nearly as interesting as i'd hoped, proto-Kenny G really) and then an album on Elektra by Oregon, an American jazz-meets-4thworld ensembles whose ranks included Ralph Towner, one of the ECM greats, this particular album had a very sombre-brown and wrong-looking cover of a forest with gigantic woodwind instrument next to the tree trunks and what grabbed me, its heavy gatefold sleeve was wrapped in really thick PVC protective sleeve, also gatefold, which you don't see that often these days, and the whole thing had an institutional aura, moreover it's previous owner had stamped their name with some kind of john bull stencil/embossing device on the back cover, making me wonder if it was literally a library record . The record's okay, self-produced, the group achieving a Manfred Eicher-ish clarity and expanse as if literally auditioning to be on ECM, which I think they were later, but well.. the whole experience was possibly a potent argument in favour of Woebot-style high-end trawling.

3/ spending too much time in used record stores has made me fascinated by pricing fluctuations. firstly, by how small they tend to be--
a record at one store will tend to be priced in the vicinity of the price it is at another store, as though there is a market determined price – either the dealers having a common professoinally acquired nous or being molded by mechanisms like ebay, gemm, pricing guides. But then going again that unanimity of valuation are the instances where a store will have a wildly aberrant price for a particular record, way out of line with consensus—usually more expensive, but sometimess -- the dream of us hunter-collectors for whom money is an object—sometimes much cheaper. Most intriguing of all though are the used record stores where everything in the store is way way WAY over-priced. Whenever I come across a store like that I think they must be trying to drive customers away, must be a front for something. And when you go in they are often empty. There’s one that recently opened on 12th between broadway and university (a few doors from where we used to live in the 90s ) and, germane to the nonesuch discussion, it'ss fabulously stocked with avant-garde and electronic classical, along with just about everything else under the sun. Only problem for the tightwad massive is that it is wildly, I mean, insanely overpriced. For instance Nonesuch second-divvers like gaburo or wuorinen will be priced at 25 bucks, more than twice the most expensive I’ve ever seen those go for in NYC. Indeed Rudin's Tragoeida , which this store has for 22 bucks, I picked up for 6 dollars literally five blocks away. The more highly desirable avant classical things in there are priced anywhere from 70 to 140 bucks, way more than even places like hipster mecca Other Music would charge. So how does it work for these extorto-stores, operating so far in excess of the going rate? Can they just rely on chumps to keep them afloat?

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