Archive for October, 2010

A letter from New York City

Saturday, October 30th, 2010

It has been just one week since I returned from Liverpool, and I am finally emerging from the fever dream of Never Records.

During the eleven days we were open, I lost eight pounds and worked twelve to fourteen hours a day. I was lucky if I got five hours of sleep a night, and my sleep was beleaguered by a pervasive sense of urgency. There was too much music to hear and too many talented people to meet.

Ellis and Jon kept urging me to say no to the visitors to the shop that just wanted me to cut a side of some beloved demo or some booming dance track, but I could not refuse anyone, and I don’t think I did until the final hours before we packed the lathe. While these dubs prevented me from cutting all of the live recordings we made before I left for New York, I relished each conversation and each moment I placed the headphones over the ears of an astonished musician, a sonic coronation, and said, “Here is your record.” I can’t describe the smiles that cracked open people’s faces without smiling myself.

Not a day went by, without at least one person, often it was three or four, saying to me, “You have made my dream come true.” Not a day went by when I didn’t feel chills from an impromptu recording session. I felt like the musicians themselves were experiencing the same chills at the potential rapture of it all. I am in awe of these interactions, and I never anticipated Never Records would affect people this deeply.

My original plan was to record eight concerts and cut five copies of each concert, but after the first feverish musician burst through our doors carrying a beat up guitar stuttering, “I heard you guys will make a record of my song,” I realized my initial plan was inadequate. I realized that the rhetorical self-congratulatory pose of the art world, by which I had been indoctrinated, could be exorcised with each bit of truth performed and captured in process. As the week progressed, we created a secular community bonded by the pure metaphysics of music.

The record lathe, purchased seventy kilometers from my father’s hometown in Germany, is the mechanism of heartbeats and fingerprints, of eardrums and diamonds. This new old machine bewitches all who witness its organic simplicity, Luddites and the perpetually online alike. As it records low and high frequency waves in a nautilus of continuous spiraling groove, its alchemy captures our songs like insects in amber. In twenty years MP3s and CDs will be extinct, but our voices etched into vinyl will echo forever.

Never Records- You are not listening.

Ted Riederer

Stu Downes

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

stu downes track 3

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stu downes track 1

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After waiting around for hours for Binary Cell to quiet down, Stu laid down some amazing finger picking guitar and vocals.