Any Colour Vinyl, As Long As It's Not Black
There’s no denying that vinyl sales are helped along by the weird and wonderful editions that pressing plants are capable of, and for that reason alone it’s worth a look-in. I’m talking splatters, I’m talking swirls, I’m talking whatever ink spot vinyl actually is.
Now, the cynic in me wonders how much thought actually goes into the colour of a record, at most it seems to be a case of picking a prominent colour off the cover art. But I’m willing to be generous - maybe there are deeper meanings to vinyl colours, and I’m going to find them.
Ivory coloured vinyl
Hunting elephants for ivory is a practice that is rightly looked down upon, but I understand why the material is so sought after. It’s beautiful, hard enough to be versatile and capable of depicting designs of great subtlety. But, in the pit of your stomach, you know there’s something wrong with it. Chromatics’ music has always gleamed, there’s a perfection to it. What makes ‘Night Drive’ interesting though is the sense that something is wrong, and it’s that which makes it perfect for ivory-coloured vinyl.
Indies only splatter vinyl
Moses Boyd is a fantastically talented young jazz drummer and producer who’s already something of a key figure in London’s jazz scene. That he’s gone for a splatter vinyl for his debut album ‘Dark Matter’ makes sense. The abstract pointillism of splatters recall the deftness of jazz drumming, its unpredictability and its beauty.
Red & white splatter
One of the many ways you could enjoy Sleaford Mods’ 2019 album ‘Eton Alive’ was on red and white splatter vinyl. To my eyes the red and white can only be in reference to one thing, the Saint George’s Cross. Sleaford Mods have built their career by expressing dissatisfaction with their country with eloquence, incredulity and wit. How better to capture that feeling than by making a vinyl record which looks like a deconstructed English flag.
Recycled vinyl (unique colour mix)
A while back records started getting pressed on the upsettingly named “virgin vinyl”. This was vinyl that hadn’t been used previously, something that supposedly resulted in improved sound quality. Max Cooper doesn’t care for the practice, with ‘Yearning For The Infinite’ coming on proudly recycled vinyl and each pressing being unique. And should you want to collect them all? Why, you’d be yearning for the infinite too my friend...
Transparent green vinyl
Throughout their career, Throbbing Gristle rode ambiguity about as far as it would go. I suppose the word we might use is transgressive, though that tends to carry negative connotations with it nowadays. But the fact remains - the intention behind their work, certainly the more performative aspects, was always clouded by uncertainty. Transparent coloured vinyl is generally more translucent, clarity only coming when you’re pressed right up to it. I’m sure Throbbing Gristle knew exactly what they were doing.
Olive green with translucent red splatter and translucent red with olive green splatter vinyl
Every so often you see a vinyl colour that surprises you. Oh Sees’ ‘Face Stabber’ is available on *deep breath* “olive green with translucent red splatter vinyl and translucent red with olive green splatter vinyl”. Firstly - olive? Olive green? That’s a new one. But the most interesting thing to me about this variant is that each LP is the inverse of the other. Oh Sees must be on about the duality of man. Surely.
Lemon coloured vinyl
When life gives you lemons you make lemonade, and when Beyoncé hands you ‘Lemonade’ you immediately press it onto lemon-coloured vinyl. The idea of making good with what you’re given is the album’s central theme, and so an album called ‘Lemonade’ emerging from lemon-coloured vinyl becomes a surprisingly powerful metaphor. This act of transformation is built not just on hope, but on drive, something the record has in spades.
Red & light blue coloured vinyl
Now red and light blue are two colours that go very nicely together, and I want to applaud Tame Impala for taking advantage of their double-vinyl release to make such a wonderful contrast. But truth be told, we didn’t select ‘The Slow Rush’ for the color of its vinyl. Instead we want to draw your attention to the little sticker on the bottom right which makes it clear what colour vinyl is inside the sleeve. There’s an immediacy about Tame Impala, the way their music is produced leaves nothing up to the imagination, just like that sticker.
Orange coloured vinyl
This album has a vividness that screams orange to me, just screams it. Even when he’s at his glummest there’s something sunny about Jens Lekman. The tales of his many heartbreaks are delivered with knowing winks; it’s charming, funny and relatable. ‘Life Will See You Now’ incorporated samba and bossa-nova rhythms as well as the occasional steel pan drum, Lekman letting sunshine pour in after the winter of ‘I Know What Love Isn’t’. It had to be orange vinyl.
Blue & purple splatter vinyl
From its first single it was clear that The Men’s eighth album was going to be funky. That wasn’t something I ever expected to write, being that they were very much a noise rock-band when they got started. Though The Men will never leave those early chaotic impulses behind, which explains the splatter vinyl. Now when I think of funk, I tend to think of a certain purple-loving savant who’s sadly no longer with us. That explains the purple. And the blue is for the fact that this is the Men’s third album with the same line up, because what’s more stable than royal blue?