London’s Electric Recording Co. is making vinyl albums the way it was done back in the 50s. The New York Times reports:
Tucked in a trendy co-working complex in West London, just past the food court and the payment processing start-up, is perhaps the most technologically backward-looking record company in the world.
The Electric Recording Co., which has been releasing music since 2012, specializes in meticulous recreations of classical and jazz albums from the 1950s and ’60s. Its catalog includes reissues of landmark recordings by Wilhelm Furtwängler, John Coltrane and Thelonious Monk, as well as lesser-known artists favored by collectors, like the violinist Johanna Martzy.
But what really sets Electric Recording apart is its method — a philosophy of production more akin to the making of small-batch gourmet chocolate than most shrink-wrapped vinyl.
Its albums, assembled by hand and released in editions of 300 or fewer — at a cost of $400 to $600 for each LP — are made with restored vintage equipment down to glowing vacuum-tube amplifiers, and mono tape systems that have not been used in more than half a century. The goal is to ensure a faithful restoration of what the label’s founder, Pete Hutchison, sees as a lost golden age of record-making. Even its record jackets, printed one by one on letterpress machines, show a fanatical devotion to age-old craft.
“It started as wanting to recreate the original but not make it a sort of pastiche,” Hutchison said in a recent interview. “And in order not to create a pastiche, we had to do everything as they had done it.”
Electric Recording’s attention to detail, and Hutchison’s delicate engineering style in mastering old records, have given the label a revered status among collectors — yet also drawn subtle ridicule among rivals who view its approach as needlessly expensive and too precious by half.
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