The Magic Highway


THREE of Spain's most well-known record collectors, including fervent Christie fan Victor Ramos, met recently to discuss the merits of vinyls at the FNAC store at Alicante, Spain. This article reprinted (and loosely translated) from Jueve magazine, June, 2010.

JueveCARLOS Sempere, Toño García and Victor Ramos are three of Alicante's most diehard vinyl collectors.
  Carlos owns around 5000 vinyls. " I've sold many of them for lack of space," he tells the announcer of M-80Radio. Toño inherited a great quantity of vinyls from his father. He has followed the tradition and his collection outnumbers 2500. Victor managed the legendary records shop UFO, now sadly no longer.
  Here they debate about their worship for this form of music, a piece on the verge of extinction due to the advent of digital music. They lament the fact that the development of the new technologies puts in danger the existence of physical vinyls; on the other hand, they welcome the resurgence of the vinyl product in the last years.
  Many bands are now also releasing their work on vinyl, probably for nostalgia sake. Big stars of rock belong to other decades, said Sempere, for whom the fondness for the records may not be the only reason for this turnaround.
  "The record industry has realised that the CD is a dead format and the vinyl cannot downloaded by internet. The difference is that the fans of Bob Dylan buy his records on vinyl and those of Shakira download “free” in mp3," he said.
  With the development of the technology and the digitalisation of music, they are many who question the viability of physical support as way of reproduction, possibly heralding the demise of records and CDs altogether.
  "But it would be very hard. Long-time enthusiasts like us know how important it is to touch the music, to feel it in your hands. But that now has lost its value. Before, with luck, you were buying a vinyl a week. Now you can download 100 CDs in one day. The music is the ame throughout, even in the elevator of Harrods," said Sempere.
  "Watching a vinyl between your hands gives you a lot of nostalgia. I don't want the vinyl to disappear," said Victor Ramos."If the vinyl disappear, it would lead to the disappearance of the collectors."


Victor plays his favourite vinyl single: Yellow River

  And it's not just the sound; the 'warmth'created by vinyls owe a lot to the graphical art used to create the covers.
  "The groups were contracting to companies specialised in the design of cover art because they were giving an added value to the music. It was the marketing of the seventies.Some of them are legendary, as those of Pink Floyd. The cover is the essence of the record. Really brilliant covers have been designed," said García.
  The three experts, who spoke at the FNAC store at Alicante, also touched on the fetishism that surrounds the world of the collecting.
  "Fetishists are those opbsessed with obtaining rare copies: discs with mistakes, signed singles, limited editions ..., " Sempere said. "The Japanese versions always have had very much value," García added.
  After the debate, all three played their favourite vinyl singles on the record player.
Victor Ramos played Christie's Yellow River.
  Says Ramos: "I travel frequently to Benidorm often. I always remember that Iron Horse (love this song) was written at the Montiboli. Thank you very much, Jeff."