Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Day 5 - Searchin' for vinyl

Everytime i visit a new city I always try to track down any record shops, which still sell vinyl (new and second hand) which of course is getting harder in these days of the digital download. Sadly I searched and searched and couldn't seem to find any. There were a couple of cd shops, but no vinyl. Several people I've spoken to said they weren't any vinyl specialist shops, but flea markets were the best places for second hand vinyl. Sadly I'm not here long enough to visit the weekend time.

As in most countries under communist rule, there was a state owned or "directed" record label. Like Melodiya records Melodiya in the former USSR, Romania had Electrecord

Apparently the quality of the recordings is not great, but I'm interested in tracking some down and finding out more about what got recorded and by whom. And which artists, if any, from outside of Romania or other communist countries were published.

With friends in Lithuania we've been digging out their, and their families, old record collections and discussing their favourite records from the Melodiya label and why they liked that particular album so much. Also the significance of underground parties where friends would gather to listen to illegal imported records, particularly jazz, blues and rock.

Having had the freedom to listen to whatever type of music I've wanted to without fear of arrest from the powers that be, it's incredibly hard to imagine a situation where you don't have that freedom and what that form of control and oppression must have been like in reality.

Both Electrecords, and indeed Melodiya, are still functioning labels, although I'm not sure what their significance is anymore in contemporary russia and romania. Who still listens to their new output?

On a more contemporary note though check out Hades records, Romania's leading label for hip hop.

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