Wolf’s Kompaktkiste : I’ll show you mine…

Editor’s Note: I was originally planning to reformat, edit, and restructure this feature, but once I started working on it, I gave up on the idea. It’s not that I’m lazy (you already know that, right?) it’s just that the editing has masked that something special that was indeed very “Wolf”. So I decided to publish this interview here as is, in its raw, unedited form. Enjoy… Oh, and please be careful – you can get really swallowed in here, and then, no one will ever find you :)

– How many records would you say are in your collection?

never enough. and way too many.
current status would be about 10k cd and 7k vinyl releases,
plus some 3k dvd/hddvd/bluray videos.
if you count doubles as two etc. a total figure would be 25k,
a reasonable sized collection, nothing outrageous.

also i’m taking care of dr. walkers backstock since 2001,
moved all of it to my place in 2006.
that was *quite* a lot as well, if not more.

current cd/dvd shelf meter count: ~140
current expedit/kallax count: three 5×5, two 4×4,
nine 4×2, two 4×1, two 2×2, one 2×1 inside my room,
two more 4×4’s and some backstock inventory shelves outside.

since my earliest collector days
i have always sold old (or new) stuff to be able to buy new (or old) stuff,
so far total numbers have only ever increased.
this might change, hopefully sooner than later. letting go is hard.

– Do you consider yourself a ‘collector’?

‘record collector’? most definitely yes. the definition of me.

there are many other much cooler ways to enjoy music
without recording products or outside of the home environment of course.
let alone to create music whichever way or experiencing it done.
don’t play any instruments or machines myself, so i’ll stick to records.
this is about the collection aspects anyway ;-)

no music, no life (tower records tagline), true.
still, for me, it’s not all about the music. there’s more,
like history & recording context, presentation, ambience, memories,
and relating to the artists sound creation via the physical object(s)
representing it,
up to the strange situation that a recording product means as much as
the music itself,
due to everything attached individually.
i basically live inside my humble collection.
all walls plastered, immersed in sound *and* records.

the state of my lil collection is an ever-evolving, ongoing process,
“it’s alive! it’s alive!” ;-)
just as my personal preferences come & go in long phases over time.

– What is your playback setup like?

hi-fi. i’m no audiophile,
maybe might become one later once i made the lottery.
and i like bass, at home. deep bass. like, really deep. sub bass.
most of the fun happens there,
take almost any fax record, especially the late namlook drones,
or some echospace, or any basic channel, while we’re at it.
rumblings a standard setup does not even touch.
11 meters of straight room length allows for some deepness.
ask the neighbours.

speakers: Quadral Vulkan Mk II (ca. 1984),
bought in march 1987, best music decision ever. 20hz at -2db? easy.
bass chassis completely refurbished by original manufacturer with
original parts in 2004.
a JBL center channel plus 4 JBL Control One’s with low freqs cut off.
power amp: Yamaha MX-70 (ca. 1989) bought in ~2001.
always wanted an MX-1000 but hey. even more expensive these days.
pre-amp: Yamaha CX-50,
replaced by Sony TA-E 2000ESD, until it started to utter digital clicks… then
replaced in 2009 by a Sony STR-DA3500ES receiver for 7.1
(7.0 here, no need for a subwoofer, hehe)
Behringer equalizer to play with.
one cone of my ~1986 Beyerdynamic DT-770 headphones.
sources: two Technics SL-1210MK2 with cheap ortofon concorde.
Pioneer CDJ500-II and computer, mostly through the old Pioneer DJM-500.
Sony bluray, Toshiba hd-dvd (two each for redundancy),
Pioneer & Philips sacd players which i didn’t get set up properly…

still have my first love, the Sansui R-50,
and my other special (to me) hifi item, the 1992 Sony DTC-670 dat player.

– What was the very first record you purchased?

my first records were some kiddie stories,
abba’s greatest hits and the beatles red album. those don’t count.
my first active lp purchases late 1977 were
electric light orchestra – out of the blue,
and jean-michel jarre – oxygene.
some led zeppelin, deep purple and genesis soon after.

those days were dominated by cassettes recorded from radio.
if a friend had an lp already it was deemed unnecessary to have it as well.
buying an lp was something special. for a long time.

– Tell us about the most prized record in your collection.

hmm, no idea which one that might be.
plenty of items i’d never let go, for various petty reasons.
but i’m getting softer with age.

‘prized’ defined as cherished,
it might be the pump panel – ego acid v4 bootleg
with the confusion mix on the flip. not worth a lot.
but what a milestone!
bought it in august 1996 when i ended my ~8 year vinyl hiatus.
maybe my favourite record of all. changed a lot.
no wait. khan & walkers super8 001 was in the same batch!

‘prized’ defined as priced?
usually i simply ignore high-priced stuff, including rare originals.

my most expensive item is the pink floyd early years box, just wanted
to have it.
preordered it a my favourite local store,
and paid the full retail price on release day (minus the usual wolf
rebate). ouch.
even worse, half the price a month later on amazon? oh well, ok. happens.
that pile of led zeppelin super deluxe editions wasn’t quite the
definition of a bargain as well.
but again, very happy to have them all, in daily sight.

other special items?
maybe those very few records that survived in the collection
after i sold almost all vinyl during the late eighties.
simple minds – i travel 12″ proto-techno to me. a favourite.
new orders blue monday, bought in march 1983. not that special now!

oh,
maybe my two versions of napalm death – time waits for no slave picturediscs
signed by the band. they were auctioned in 2013 by their tour agency
for a good cause,
and i was there at the time. placed my one high bid on the first, and won.
then said wtf and placed another bid on the second one as well. and won.
yes – i was drunk that night. usually a huge no-go for impulse buying!
no regrets at all though, again, very happy i have them.

regrets you say?
only a few. items i’d rather not have sold, thinking back:
led zeppelin ii japanese lp. still have the poster ;-)
pink floyd dark side of the moon very early japanese gold cd.
all those zappa cd bootlegs sold ~fifteen years ago.
the money was good no doubt. but gone too soon, likely wasted on
something irrelevant.
and i’ll likely never get any of these back.

lots of unique & irreplaceable goodies in dr. walkers collection :-)
but some of the rarest i sold as well
(blue010, blue012 #001, djunglefever015, stroboplastics #001).

– CDs vs vinyl vs digital? Collectability vs usability?

i’m old enough to consider vinyl the standard physical medium.
however when cds came up i was the biggest fan, instantly.
my first player early 1986, a Yamaha CD-2 (rip), cost me more than a months pay.
my first cd was suzanne vega. about 150 in the first year alone,
when they were almost double the lp price.
i almost completely ignored the vinyl format (verry few exceptions
early on) until 1996.
these days i’m pretty much indifferent.
the rare occurrence of various cd rot phenomenon had me disillusioned a bit.
i don’t mind much (ofc i do) if i ruin my cds by careless manual action,
but whenever i pull out an oldie and see it slowly disintegrating
all by itself despite careful handling and storage,
my trust in the propagated lifespan takes a hard hit.
after more than 30 years experience with cds, and more than 20 with music files,
maybe it is time to acknowledge the longterm durability of vinyl records.

files for preview & research & archive.
cds when cheap (i.e. blue note jazz for €5 a piece? ok).
vinyl when i can afford it.
wouldn’t want to miss the advantages of any format.
being a vinyl fanatic is just as silly as being a cd fanatic.

would i be able to enjoy records as such if i was deaf from now on? yup.
would i be able to enjoy music files if i was deaf from now on? guess…

– What are your thoughts on the “inconvenience” of vinyl?

an ongoing argument that makes me cringe a little.
putting on a record is part of the experience, and the dedication.

“inconvenience” only comes up when you’re trying to move a sizeable collection.
i have no plans to move out of my basement, ever. and i’m not a dj.

– What makes you want to purchase an album on vinyl as opposed to any
other medium?

my available budget.

i wish i knew what would make me want to quit buying new stuff altogether
and get more into that collection that i already have?
two releases each day for thirty more years…

– Ever consider digitizing the collection and selling it off?

digitizing vinyl is something i never really bothered with.
way too tedious & time-consuming.
digitizing cds? have done my whole collection in 2006.
lost a (then) big hard disk soon later before i mirrored it.
shock at first, only for a moment though. didn’t care much later.
anyway, my digital archive holds way more
than i could listen to for the rest of my days.
it’s a library. a reference tool.
useful? definitely. valuable? maybe.
doesn’t feel like a collection though imho.

– What album has your favorite artwork and why?

* die ärzte – jazz ist anders
look it up & you’ll see. the pizza box. the picture discs.
the 12″ is a pizza, bottom and top, the 7″ is a tomato
& the download code is on a pepperoni.

* ian carr’s nucleus – in flagranti delicto
the best colours.
* a certain ratio – sextet
the second best colours.
* gary burton & steve swallow – hotel hello
as placeholder for any ecm cover ever.
* heino – heino (mfp5564)
poodles. and heino staring through his famous sunglasses.
additional pink version on the back cover. i’ve got two copies.
* jimmy smith – the cat
black cat on red. just cool. still don’t have a vinyl version!
* the mothers of invention – freak out!
the colours. wild. iconic. much to read on the inside.
how bold to release a debut double album like this in the mid-sixties.
* ‘big’ john patton – got a good thing goin’
dancing cover model is oozing groovy sexiness galore. fits the music.
is there a sixties Reid Miles blue note cover which is not perfect?

almost anything
by mo’type (harvest/syncom/hotel lotte)
by Bianca Strauch (harvest/kompakt)

honorable mentions:
the designers republic for sun electric
peter saville for joy division / new order
frankie goes to hollywood pleasuredome phase 12″es
plus all those i can’t think of right now or forgot about.
anything with a wolf or wolf references on it

– What do you look for when you go record digging?

my collectors’ buying habit? little but often and then a lot.
try everything, find out what i love next, then dig in there for more.
and more. repeat.

record digging rarely happens anymore. i miss that.

i remember when on saturdays visiting a dozen record shops and markets
was mandatory,
and somehow the only source to find out what is out there & available.
these days i try to visit my one favourite local shop at least once a month,
with enough dedicated time to browse almost all sections,
and especially the bargain bins.
barely visit a second shop,
since usually i find enough interesting stuff
to spend all funds i can afford to.

flipping through the shelves & crates i’m looking for covers i like,
fun releases, non-music, more jazz i might find interesting. and zappa.

information saturation does not help the experience either. no
surprises anymore.

– Where do you purchase your albums these days?

haven’t done an analysis of my 2352 listed sources over the years yet,
so i can’t say exactly how they transform
or how the offline/online ratio evolved exactly. would be interesting.

local shop 25music.de always preferred,
for accidental used finds anyway,
and i also check my wantlist of upcoming new stuff with them.

i have quit to buy records & cds for the purpose of re-selling in 2006 already.
until then i got a lot from kompakt distribution for my own collection as well.

ebay for specific old & used releases, often via filter alarms.
for the regular (mainstream) releases i see jpc.de first,
and i still buy a lot from amazon, which seems kinda wrong.
not that often used,
but boomkat and norman records are favourites for some specific new releases.
more and more on bandcamp, mostly physical stuff.

– What are your thoughts on limited editions, original releases, and reissues?

limited editions:
a phrase so overused it has almost lost its meaning.
everything is limited.
anyway i appreciate it when the number of an edition is specified upfront.
these days many first editions already come in a variety of ‘limited editions’
of fancy vinyl colour variations, which is nice.
however i won’t be going far out of my way to obtain something specific.
if it is limited in a way that i’m forced to watch the webshop
during a specific hour only to get a mere chance to add it to my cart, nope.
unreasonably priced above a black version? nope.
us release not distributed in europe, only available from scalpers? nope.
do you want to buy this to impress others? don’t.

when a special coloured version of a recent release exists and is on
my wantlist,
and i can’t get it now for some reason,
it sometimes happens that i skip to buy that release completely,
in hope to find my preferred version one day. which then doesn’t happen at all.

original releases:
nice to have.
splitting hairs about first stampers & matrix numbers?
spending a months worth of active bargain bin digging on one record?
your prerogative. not mine.

reissues:
nice to have.
if some release warrants a reissue, fine.
audiobooks on vinyl in 2018? why oh why.
why not “dj mixes on vinyl” then too? oh wait..

i wonder if the ‘bonus tracks’ concept for reissues would exist if cds
didn’t have happened?

– What were the most memorable liner notes that you’ve ever read?

dunno.
some deluxe reissues have worthwhile documentary features included,
which give additional insider context,
for example the led zeppelin superdeluxe edition books,
the miles davis ‘complete’ editions, blue note cds,
the jethro tull anniversary 5.1 cd/dvd editions,
the black sabbath & motörhead double cds.

– What record do you think you could play all the time?

a specific record played all the time
will surely lead to dislike it, and madness.
my pick for eternal repeat, immune to dislike, would be one of these:
* beverly hills 808303 – the american lie
(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EjXGgsGLe70) :-)
* earth 2 – special low frequency version cd
* intrusion – amongst the stars 2cd on echospace (or any hourlong variant dub)
* brian eno – thursday afternoon
* john coltrane – live in japan volume 1&2
and of course, last not least,
* zappa & the mothers 73/74 band, the roxy releases et al.

– How is your collection organized?

labels first, by number (if i have enough to warrant a section for it),
then artists by abc, then compilations.
pretty much the same for cd and vinyl.

jazz cds & jazz vinyl have an extra section, abc.
classical cds as well, i have only two rows left anyway.
a dozen boxes with slim cd cardboard cover releases extra, by labels.
seven inches extra, pretty much unsorted.

two unsorted ‘hot’ boxes with current vinyl stuff,
plus a handful older boxes with records that never found their place.

my ‘for sale’ stuff from the collection is separate.

videos by format. dvds by abc, bluray/hddvd unsorted.

– How has vinyl impacted your life?

when you are able to feed your perceived needs aka wants
with small amounts of money,
saving up for something big is extra hard.
no fancy cars or holidays for me then, fine.

at least i could justify my collecting habit as an investment.
not really close to cash,
but maybe more fulfilling than spending on other vain acquisitions.
a good wife, a good home AND a proper collection that pays for itself? check

– What will happen with your collection when you’re gone?

fingers crossed,
i’ll be able to manage to sell it off completely before i’m gone.
well ok, not completely.
maybe 90% of it, which still leaves an above average collection ;-)
my dear wifeys biggest fear is to be left alone with it. and i understand.
i have it all documented in extensive detail, which helps.

kompaktkiste.de

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