Initially spearheaded by hip hop DJs, the turntable renaissance has matured into a ripe appreciation for the music on the records themselves, as a new generation discovers that there’s still nothing quite as pleasing to the ear as a diamond–tipped needle in a vinyl groove.
SCAD continues to get in on the action by continuing its popular Record Fair. The next edition happens this Saturday at the River Club.
While the records themselves cost anywhere from fifty cents on up to collector’s prices, admission is free and open to the general public as well as SCAD students.
“We did it for a couple of years and stopped doing it,” says John Bennett, SCAD director of student media. “We did one in October, and we were so happy with the results we decided we could do it twice a year — particularly since there’s no independent record store in Savannah at this time.”
SCAD Radio General Manager Caila Brown, a student, says, “I know for my generation it’s kind of a throwback to the good old days. College–age kids are now finding all of this vinyl as something that’s new and interesting, like a new technology. I know a lot of freshmen are really excited — even if they don’t have a record player, they can go and get some vinyl.”
And let’s not forget that great, underappreciated aspect of vinyl albums, so overlooked in this age of thin jewel cases and small screens, and so appropriate for an art school:
“Personally I like looking at all the album covers,” says Brown. “That’s half the reason I buy vinyl. Currently my house is decorated with about 50 different album covers. We tack them up on the walls like framed artwork.”
Bennett says in an age where digital music is so convenient and easily acquired, turntables stand out as a more engaging alternative.
“When you play a record, there’s almost a ritual involved in taking the record out of the dust jacket, putting it on the platter, and putting the needle down on the groove. You can’t skip to the next song automatically like on iTunes, or decide to grab a totally different record,” he says.
“It’s a listening experience that is not in the background — it’s more present. The music is the focus. The real appreciation of the recording is I think a neat aspect.”
In an age where so many radio stations are little more than automated servers, SCAD Radio on–air hosts still kick it old-school.
“We do have a funk show and a bunch of DJ shows where they’re introducing vinyl sets into their shows on SCAD Radio,” says Brown. “I do a classical music show, and I like to fill it with as much vinyl as I can, both from the station’s collection and my personal collection.”
“Playing vinyl reflects the idea that our DJs are still hand–selecting music, physically pressing ‘play’ on a CD deck or a turntable and making music happen,” explains Bennett.
“The physical aspect of playing vinyl emphasizes that our students on the air at SCAD Radio are actively putting together those shows and are involved with what their listener hears,” he says.
“To my knowledge there’s not a technology out there now where a robot plays vinyl on a radio station and announces it,” he laughs
Savannah Record Fair
What: Dealers from around the Southeast offer vinyl records, CDs, DVDs and memorabilia.
When: Saturday, April 10, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Where: SCAD River Club, 3 MLK Jr. Blvd.
Cost: Admission free & open to the public